So day two of Legalweek New York has arrived and it remains the only conference I’ve attended, perhaps with the exception of ILTA, where people greet you with their new and improved strategy for survival, while already looking a bit haggard and frayed at the edges.
For those of us balancing laptops on one knee and battling jet lag, the Hilton Midtown also remains the only conference venue I know of where you have to join a session or listen to a demonstration purely in order to find a seat: tip from the top, iManage has a suite with comfy white leather sofas on what I’m going to call the lower ground floor in absence of being able to find it on the map – if you want a quick rest and some snacks go investigate yourself a document management system. Others products are available.
There have been plenty of announcements, product launches and revelations since Legalweek kicked off in earnest on 30 January but as an overall observation (partly borrowed from a well-known head of knowledge management at an Am Law 100 firm) the biggest buzz on the exhibition floor is around contract management. Onit for one has a very visible presence on level 3.
Here are a few highlights. I’ll be chatting to more vendors and law firms today so get in touch if you’re making or have made an (interesting) announcement.
Lucy Bassli launches InnoLegal Services
Congratulations to Lucy Bassli, former assistant general counsel, legal operations and contracting and general powerhouse at Microsoft, who has left the tech giant to found InnoLegal Services – described as ‘the law firm and consultancy for the law practice of the future, bringing together process optimisation, technology and sound legal advice.’
Heralding Bassli’s new venture on LinkedIn, Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO and founder of Diversity Lab said: “If you’re the leader of a law firm or legal department that wants to improve its delivery of legal services and position the right talent (and technology) needed to do so, Lucy is definitely your go-to expert!”
Yes, document management
The DMS space continues to thrive and on 30 January iManage unveiled two new AI products: iManage Extract 3 and Insight 10. The former includes, iManage says, rapid self training, which enable users to locate and analyse content from documents and data sets “without dependence on AI experts.” Insight 10 uses RAVN technology to enable universal search across content regardless of location, with the Insight Knowledge Graph surfacing connections between people, expertise and knowledge.
Meanwhile NetDocuments on 29 January announced the creation of a new AI Marketplace, which it says is designed to streamline access to specific machine learning models from approved ND partners – and the first of those is none other than Kira Systems. So far there has been little commentary on social media about the new marketplace and the question will be whether this is enough to compete with the type of integrated tech we’re seeing from rival iManage above. [Update: speaking to one or two AI providers at Legalweek, they are excited about the platform approach, which is more consistent with the vendor agnostic platform approach being taken in Silicon Valley and the wider tech industry, which facilitates and integrated, best of breed approach.]
I’m catching up with NetDocuments today (31 January) so more on that later.
Document comparison (etc)
As Legal IT Insider revealed ahead of the market yesterday (30 January), Workshare has unveiled a trio of hires including former Chadbourne CIO Curt Meltzer, together with Shaun Locke from Reckon and Dave Englund from Phoenix Business Solutions and ex OpenText, which have been well received on social media with comments from Ben Weinberger at Prosperoware, White & Case’s chief knowledge officer Oz Benamram, and BD manager at File & ServeXpress, Joanne Berkow Schwartz, among others. Benamram says: “Impressive build up. Curt Meltzer is a strong brand that will get people on this side of the pond to pay attention.” You can catch that story in full here: http://www.legaltechnology.com//latest-news/workshare-to-unveil-trio-of-hires-including-ex-chadbourne-cio-curt-meltzer/
Separately I caught up with Avaneesh Marwaha, CEO of Litera Microsystems, about which rumours are circulating in the market – possibly encouraged by competitors – that the three way merger of Microsystems, Litera and the Sackett Group is less than plain sailing.
Marwaha tells me that Litera Microsystems hasn’t lost one top 500 law firm client, commenting: “Every single one is excited about having one single vendor for all their drafting needs. We can go end to end all in one toolbar.”
The strategic focus for the company is to take existing customers of one product to an enterprise level. Marwaha says: “People are buying more from us. I’m excited to see more emphasis on the end user – in meetings we talk a lot about ‘is this going to help get a lawyer home on time.’ Clifford Chance is seeing an hour a week per lawyer time saving because of improvements we’ve made to our proof reading tool.”
Records management/information governance
Records management software vendor FileTrail, who I met with yesterday, is announcing the the introduction of FileTrail GPS (Governance Policy Suite), which is designed to help law firms implement a comprehensive information governance solution that manages outside counsel guidelines along with firm policies. FileTrail came into the legal sector around four years ago, and on top of its corporate clients in the likes of the pharmaceutical sector, has an impressive law firm client portfolio that includes the likes of Sullivan & Cromwell, Dentons and Covington & Burling.
With cyber security and GDPR top of mind, records management is key in helping firms understand exactly where their clients’ data is and FileTrail helps to automate the process by, eg, flagging when data needs to be destroyed in accordance with client requirements.
FileTrail’s president Darrell Mervau tells me: “We can apply rules to any category of record. Law firms are very client centric but they also have thousands of employees. We can grab records from HR systems, iManage and across the whole enterprise.”
eDiscovery continues to dominate this conference, where DiscoverReady has announced not only that it has opened a new data centre in Paris but that it plans to open an office in the UK in the second half of 2018.
I met yesterday with DiscoverReady’s Vice President of marketing, Alan Brooks, who tells me that the North Carolina-headquartered company, which operates in verticals from technology to financial services to pharma, has with its new Paris data centre gone from a terabyte to a petabyte level system.
“In cases where we need to, we can leave the data in Europe and our entire infrastructure can be spun up in the cloud and in 48 hours we can have everything up and running from office space to systems,” Brooks says.
The move to the UK is being driven by customers and Brooks adds: “Some of it is their heightened awareness around data privacy, some concerns around GDPR and Brexit looming.”
The company plans to hire sales staff and project managers in London and Brooks says: “One thing we do that very few of our competitors do is that all of our project managers and review managers are employees. While we will use contractors for review, we don’t use them for managing anything, which helps us maintain our quality.”
Last but of course not least, ROSS Intelligence has launched standalone and free AI tool EVA, with which it says means attorneys will never have to write a case summary again, allelujah. Available across every practice area, EVA provides attorneys with content specific case summaries ‘in seconds’.
However, legal tech blogger Bob Ambrogi writes today that Casetext – who have their own brief analyser CARA – challenged EVA to a head to head robot war and ROSS declined: Casetext conducted it anyway.
EVA is a tool that can be widely used and Jake Heller, CEO of Casetext says in the robot-off: “We welcome a little bit of healthy competition.”
Bob won’t thank me for giving too much away so you can watch that face off here: https://www.lawsitesblog.com/2018/01/robot-fight-casetexts-cara-vs-rosss-eva.html
As an aside, the launch of EVA has driven questions on LinkedIn over why AI tools all have feminine names.
As the editor of a global legal tech publication, if I get any say in the matter, I’d like the next system to be called DAVE.
Caroline Hill is editor in chief of Legal IT Insider.