Comment, Opinion & Guest Articles
If I say that OpenText’s acquisition of Recommind, announced on 2 June, is unsurprising, that does not make it uninteresting or unimportant. There have been rumours of an acquisition by the one and of the other for some time, although the names had not been paired in my hearing. As so often with these things, it seems an obvious fit once mentioned.
Having first entered into a strategic alliance with Recommind in 2008, listed software giant OpenText has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the eDiscovery and analytics leader for $163m.
It’s been a busy month for legal tech startups, with news of major wins for legal draft supplier XRef Software Solutions; a big hire for eBilling startup Apperio; the first public commercial relationship for IBM Watson-backed ROSS intelligence; and the launch of new capacity management tech Salladore.
Reed Smith has published a comprehensive white paper setting out some of the basics of how blockchain technology works, before moving on to a more complex analysis of its advantages and disadvantages, and the underlying regulatory landscape in both the U.S. and beyond, in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Recent high-profile data breaches of internal IT systems at major international firms are causing clients to increase the scrutiny of their outside counsels’ cybersecurity efforts. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to ensure law firms are doing everything they can to safeguard their clients’ data against ever-evolving threats. While end users can often be the weak spot when it comes to security, it’s equally important that law firms embrace modern best practices around the storage and management of client data in their document management systems (DMS).
Welcome to the latest issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter – your monthly fix for all that is happening in the world of legal tech for May 2016
Should large law firms spend the money and time needed to implement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software? Ten years ago, when several large law firms declared an intention to implement ERP software from SAP AG, I wrote an article suggesting they might want to reconsider. I argued that ERP’s present a risk/benefit choice for the firms adopting them. Given the numerous accounts of ERP implementations gone expensively and sometimes spectacularly awry, the risks posed by an ERP implementation were obviously substantial. Did firms accrue enough benefits to offset those risks? I said no then, that any benefits that could be achieved with an ERP could also be achieved using powerful database technology on top of existing software, and with substantially less risk and cost than would be involved in an ERP implementation. The ERP fashion cycle has come full circle in those ten years and more large firms are now on the hunt for an ERP. Has the risk benefit calculus changed in that time? I still say no. Indeed, integrating existing best-of-breed law firm software into an enterprise platform with ERP-like functionality has never been easier.
The days of corporate resistance to the cloud are over. In fact, 95 percent of businesses are using cloud technology, according to the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report which surveyed 1,060 IT professionals about their current cloud computing adoption plans. But at the same time headlines about the latest corporate or government security breach document the escalating risk we all face. Although it’s tempting to envision a world where all of our data is safely stored away — kept in a deep dark vault behind lock and key — we must acknowledge that in today’s interconnected world, access to our data is truly mobile and global, which means new considerations for keeping data secure.
The relationship between inside counsel and outside counsel is changing. Lawyers on both sides of the divide are gradually coming to terms with a new reality in which the delivery of legal services has become a team sport. In the modern legal landscape, it is the quality of the teamwork, dialogue and collaboration between inside and outside counsel that defines successful legal representation.
This hasn’t always been the case. Pressures on both sides have meant the relationship between inside and outside counsel has not always run as smoothly as either side would have preferred. Teamwork doesn’t necessarily come naturally to legal professionals, with characteristics such as low sociability and high autonomy, rather than cooperation and collaboration, often driving dialogue, or the lack thereof.
Biometric authentication specialist Nok Nok Labs has published a white paper from PwC Legal looking at the key privacy implications of holding on-device and on-server biometric data.
For organisations considering biometrics as they move away from reliance on usernames and passwords, the report highlights why holding biometric data locally is a better approach when it comes to satisfying key privacy requirements on cross-border personal data transfers.
In January, Navigant appointed FBI executive assistant director of the criminal, cyber, response and services branch, Bob Anderson as managing director of its information security practice.
Anderson’s remit is to grow the practice, which falls within its 200-strong global legal technology solution group. The aim is to hire in around 40 more people, who will be dedicated to information security and incident response, helping corporates that have been hacked or advising them on how to avoid cybercrime.
A leading professor of computational legal theory at University of Edinburgh has warned both lawyers and technologists against repeating the mistakes of history and setting up artificial intelligence (AI) to fail, as happened 20 years ago, when AI fell into ‘a long winter of discontent’ because it couldn’t measure up to the hype.
In a wide-ranging talk in which he concluded by flagging up a number of potentially transformative current AI developments, Professor Burkhard Schafer took the Legal Leaders IT Forum (LLIT) in Gleneagles back to the 1980s, when AI was the ‘new big thing.’ “Suddenly, computers were good at playing chess. And, as you all know, playing chess is the ultimate pinnacle of human intelligence,” he said wryly. “So, because a computer can play chess, inevitably that meant that within two or three years’ time, they would replace humans in all other activities as well. Already then, people started to write about the end of the legal profession, or at least its transformation beyond recognition. It hasn’t happened yet, and that is partly a fault of our communities, both legal and technology, because what we were aiming for at the time was something like a robo-judge.”
Market commentators can be guilty of talking about alternative legal service providers collectively as if they have a slightly mythical quality about them and a little bit of pixie dust on tap.
At technology and outsourcing boutique Radiant Law, which operates on an entirely fixed fee basis, there is no pixie dust but the firm epitomises that agility you associate with a new breed of legal adviser.
Last week, Australian commercial data aggregator Encompass Corporation announced the appointment of the former CEO of the UK Asset Based Finance Association, Kate Sharp, as an industry advisor. Understandably the appointment didn’t particularly resonate within the legal sector, but behind the headline, the company is busy executing its plans for significant expansion into the UK legal and financial services verticals.
It’s no secret that law firms and legal departments are looking for more agile technology solutions to help them improve the way they work. The cloud is very appealing to these firms, as cloud solutions offer rapid set-up, pay-as-you-go costs, and eliminate many IT burdens – freeing staff to focus on higher value projects rather than maintaining and patching systems.
News reports frequently recount instances of problems arising in cases due to issues with the disclosure process, which begs the question: what steps can be taken to avoid or, at the very least, minimise the potential risk of these problems occurring in the first place?
How do you help to affect systemic, transformational change within your organisation?
This was a question posed at Legal Leaders IT Forum (LLIT) in Gleneagles, to a panel of four recognised legal innovators from both the corporate counsel and private practice sector, who have turned to IT and process improvement to overcome some of the familiar challenges facing other organisations.
Welcome to the latest issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter (April 2016 #292). This is our biggest ever issue and, along with all our usual news and reports, also includes the results of our own Brexit v Bremain survey plus a full report on the recent Legal Leaders IT Forum at Gleneagles.
Just under 80% of people working in the legal sector would vote to remain in the European Union in the forthcoming referendum in June, according to a recent survey conducted by Legal IT Insider.
The flash poll, conducted over seven days from 18 April to 25 April, garnered responses from over 300 law firm partners, general counsel, IT directors, legal IT suppliers and other senior personnel working in and around the legal and legal technology sector.
At the time of going to press, the ‘remain’ vote sat at 78%, with many respondents citing potential damage to the economy as their reason for not wanting Britain to leave the EU.
As firms enter a new financial year, budget allocation and expenditure gets well underway, with each department battling for a piece of the pie. Available budget is often redirected to other areas of the business to favour staff bonuses, business development and branding, leaving the IT department with little investment to cope with security threats aimed at the legal sector. The number of financial transactions that take place within law firms has made them a target for cybersecurity attacks from criminals worldwide. Therefore, IT must be considered as a tier one investment and not an afterthought which may suffer from reduced funding.