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#ILTACON19: Post-Mortem Notes, Musings and Observations

Fri, 08/23/2019 - 15:16

Home now from ILTACON, the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association. It is five frenetic days of seminars, exhibitors and networking by legal technologists and vendors from all over the world. Here are some of my somewhat-random thoughts about the event.

Let’s start with what many were thinking: Orlando in August? I mean, WTF? But, guess what – the weather gods cooperated and kept any significantly stifling heat at bay. The threat of thunder showers was persistent, forcing the opening night reception to move indoors, but even the rain mostly held off.

I heard some griping about the hotel, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin – mostly about the outdated rooms and the walking distances. The Swan and Dolphin are separate hotels connected by an outdoor walkway. It takes no more than five minutes to walk from one to the other, but with programs in each, the back-and-forth-and-back-again trek ensured attendees easily got in their daily 10,000 steps. For those uninclined to walk, Litera-sponsored golf carts provided rides between the buildings.

The Swan and Dolphin resort.

Personally, I liked the hotel as a conference venue. The registration area, exhibit hall, and most meeting rooms were easily accessible. And the main hotel, the Dolphin, had a large lobby bar that served as the always-buzzing center of networking, well into the late evening. Both hotels had a variety of restaurants and fast-food offerings, so pretty much anything one might need to survive the week could be found on premises.

Attendance made it the largest ILTACON ever. Advance, full-week registration was 1,785, and ILTA expected that to meet or surpass 1,800 by final count. Adding in single-day registrations, ILTA said the full attendance would be 1,850. Last year’s total was 1,715. Eight hundred of this year’s attendees were first-timers.

On top of that, there were another 1,700 registrations by “business partners,” a category that includes vendors, members of the press, and others who are not ILTA members. Two-hundred companies had booths in the exhibit hall.

In an effort to make the conference greener, ILTA banned plastic water bottles and provided each registrant with a stainless-steel cup and plenty of places to refill it. As far as I could see, ILTA did not embrace #gagtheswag, as the exhibit hall’s 200 vendors offered plenty of swag to bag.

Speaking of the exhibit hall, for the second year it included a Startup Hub highlighting eight legal tech startups. I was glad to see two companies there that had also participated earlier this year in the Startup Alley I help organize for ABA TECHSHOW – Connective Counsel, whose client-facing app ConnectIVITY I wrote about earlier this week, and DocStyle, which automatically converts PDF files and styles word documents.

Others in the Hub were: AcuityKM, which provides AI-powered tools to enhance applications law firms already use; Canopy, which offers data mining for incident response; Infinnium, which uses AI to help organizations better manage their data; Lunar, which offers sales and marketing technology; MeasuredIn, which offers automated tools for managing M&A transactions; and Scissero, which says its AI technology can review, analyze and draft contracts.

A highlight for me was participating on a panel of legal tech journalists to discuss trends in the industry. If you’ve got 90 minutes to kill, the audio of that panel has been posted by ILTA. The panel was moderated by Gina Passarella, editor-in-chief, ALM Media, and also included Caroline Hill, editor-in-chief, Legal IT Insider; Zach Warren, editor-in-chief, Legaltech News; and Roy Strom, reporter, Bloomberg Law.

At work in the press room, Bloomberg Law reporters Roy Strom and Sam Skolnik.

When the journalists were not prognosticating on stage, they could be found in the press room that ILTA provided. The room was much appreciated, as it gave us a place to meet with company executives for briefings and demonstrations. And the fact that ILTA kept it stocked with snacks made it all the better. But next year, ILTA, give us coffee!

Also on my wish list for next year: A podcast booth. I recorded one interview there for my LawNext podcast, but lacking a quiet place, I was forced to record it in the press room, among a hubbub of background conversations and the decision by hotel staff to at that moment disassemble tables and chairs.

Keynote speaker Josh Linkner.

Apart from that, I regret to say, my schedule was so full of meetings that I made it to only one other session, the opening keynote by author and entrepreneur Josh Linkner, who spoke on harnessing innovation. There should be a special place in heaven for keynoters at large conferences, because it can be a thankless task – except of course for the large speaking fees some of these folks command.

Judging by the twitter stream and people I spoke with, Linkner won over the audience with his entertaining style and engaging stories of innovation across industries, including the crowd-pleasing tale of how a social media hoax about a public book burning saved the public library in Troy, Mich.

But Linkner suffered the fate of so many generic innovation speakers at legal conferences – he never connected the dots to the legal industry (even though his mother and stepfather were both lawyers). Instead, he offered platitudes, such as, “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it,” and then closed with two “action items,” one of which was to subscribe to his daily email and the other to “discover one fresh idea” every day for a week.

In terms of the technology on display, probably the most talked about company was Reynen Court, which is often described as creating an app store for legal. Its mission is to make it easy for law firms and legal departments to adopt and manage cloud-based software without having to trust firm or client content to the cloud. During the conference, I interviewed founder Andrew Klein for my LawNext podcast, and we will be posting that episode soon.

This reflect the continuing interest in a trend I wrote about in my 2018 wrap-up, The 20 Most Important Legal Technology Developments of 2018, and that is the platformization of legal tech – an extension of the model that made Salesforce so successful, turning itself from an application to a platform. As I noted then, this is a big part of the going-forward strategy for both iManage and NetDocuments, and is behind such recent acquisitions as Thomson Reuters of HighQ and Intapp of OnePlace.

Of course there were over-the-top parties.

For me, perhaps the most memorable aspect of the conference was not a product or an event or an exhibitor. Rather, it was the palpable sense of an organization reinvigorated.

The fact is, it had been a tough three years for ILTA, and the bad news always seemed to drop just as the conference was about to start.

To recount: In 2016, just a month before the conference, ILTA was rocked by news that its long-time executive director Randi Mayes would retire. Then, in 2017, just days before the conference, ILTA reshuffled its top management, replacing several veteran executives. In 2018, it was déjà vu all over again, as ILTA announced – again just days ahead of the conference – that the CEO who had replaced Mayes would be leaving. Dissatisfaction over the 2017 reshuffling led some longtime ILTA members to break off and form an alternative group, the Association of Legal Technologists.

So this conference was the first in three years that did not kick off with last-minute news of executive reshufflings. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Last October, ILTA brought on Joy Heath Rush, a former Litera vice president, as interim CEO, and then in February, it named her permanent CEO. Rush is widely respected and liked in the industry, and she and ILTA’s leadership have been working hard to restore a sense of spirit and camaraderie that some felt had been diminished or lost.

Joy Heath Rush welcomed attendees to the “family reunion.”

Rather than a staff shake-up, this year’s conference started with an opening session that had Rush on stage, standing in an apron at a barbecue grill and framed by a background screen that depicted a backyard, and enthusiastically greeting the crowd, “Welcome ILTA to our annual family reunion!”

In place of formal opening comments, Rush welcomed a variety of “old friends” to her faux barbecue – such as the VP in charge of ILTACON Dawn Hudgins and conference co-chairs David Hobbie, KM director at Goodwin Procter, and Julie Brown, director of practice technology at Vorys – each coming one by one on stage and offering brief remarks in the form of a conversation at a friendly backyard barbecue.

It was an opening that set the tone for the entire conference. In the end, ILTACON is all about networking. And even with 800 first-time attendees and a total crowd of some 3,500 people, it somehow managed to feel like that family reunion Rush alluded to. For a family that had been through a few squabbles in recent years, it was good to get back to enjoying the barbecue.

Webinar Tomorrow Will Provide Sneak Peek Into New PWC Product for Small Firms

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 19:37

Tomorrow I am moderating a webinar in which attendees will get an exclusive first look at a new product for solo and small firms being introduced by the PWC New Ventures group of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC).

The free webinar, How Successful Small Law Firms Get Ahead of the Game, is being sponsored by PWC and Above the Law. The featured speaker is T.C. Whittaker, leader of PWC’s law firm solutions group.

The new cloud-based product, which has yet to be launched to market, will offer features that provide automated bookkeeping and financial management capabilities with a dashboard that will provide a firm with insights and intelligence on key client and financial data.

Read more about the webinar and register at this page.

LawNext Episode 49: Dean Sonderegger of Wolters Kluwer on the ‘Future-Ready Lawyer’

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 21:11

Which firms are best prepared to keep pace with changes in the legal market? That was the question explored in a recent survey of U.S. and European law firms, the 2019 Future Ready Lawyer Survey, conducted by Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory. Among the findings: The firms that are best prepared for the future are those that already leverage technology.

In this episode of LawNext, I discuss the survey with Dean Sonderegger, who was recently named to lead Wolters Kluwer Legal and Regulatory U.S., the division of the global publishing giant that serves legal, corporate and compliance professionals in the United States. In a conversation recorded live at the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries, they also discuss innovation in the legal industry and the future of Wolters Kluwer.

At Wolters Kluwer, Sonderegger — whose formal title is senior vice president and general manager — is responsible for accelerating the vision and strategy for the business. He has a particular focus on rapid development of advanced digital products and services to enhance customers’ efficiencies and workflows.

Sonderegger is also a well-known speaker and thought leader on topics including artificial intelligence, blockchain, the evolution of the legal profession, and business transformation. He writes a regular column for Above the Law on the intersection of technology and the practice of law, and his commentary has appeared in several publications including Forbes, CFO Magazine and the ABA Journal.

A veteran of the information and software industries, Sonderegger joined Wolters Kluwer in 2015 as the head of legal markets and innovation. In that role, he is credited with spearheading customer-focused innovation. Earlier in his career, he was executive director of product management and marketing at Bloomberg BNA.

See also: Tech-Savvy Firms More Profitable Now, More Prepared for the Future, Finds Survey of U.S. and EU Legal Professionals.


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#ILTACON19 News: CloudNine E-Discovery Software Now Available Via Private Cloud

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 16:00

I wrote here last week about the rollout by CloudNine of new versions and enhancements for its suite of e-discovery products. Now at ILTACON, the company is announcing a partnership with the legal technology company Oasis Discovery to offer access to its products through a managed private cloud.

Law firms will be able to use CloudNine’s three on-premises products — Explore for early case assessment, LAW for data importing, and Concordance for document review — through the Oasis private cloud. CloudNine’s cloud-based Review product will be available in the Oasis environment later this year.

The main LAW panel as it appears in Oasis.

The Oasis platform allows law firms to select from a menu of e-discovery technologies from various vendors. Oasis handles the licensing, deployment, upgrades and maintenance, and also manages the servers, security and troubleshooting.

“We chose to partner with Oasis because of their deep knowledge in infrastructure management and cyber security as well as their specific expertise in the intricacies of electronic discovery,” Brad Jenkins, CloudNine cofounder and board member, said in a statement. “Furthermore, Oasis has built an excellent reputation, having supported over 50 legal service providers with infrastructure and e-discovery software over the last seven years, which gives us and our clients great confidence in their reliability.”

If you are attending ILTACON this week, you can find CloudNine at booth 624.

At #ILTACON19, Law Firm Tech Spin-Off Debuts App Designed to Better Serve and Inform Clients

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 15:00

Being announced today at ILTACON is a client-facing app and cloud platform designed to provide law firm clients with intuitive access to legal documents, automated legal forms and agreements, secure messaging, and digital billing and payment.

Called ConnectIVITY, the app is being developed by Connective Counsel, a startup technology company that spun off in 2018 after beginning as an internal project at the midsized Cleveland, Ohio, firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz (KJK).

The app is currently in a beta-testing release and will officially launch early in 2020. The company is accepting law firms to participate in the beta, during which the cost of the app is $100 per client per year. Several mid-sized firms are already participating, including KJK.

Attendees at ILTACON will be able to see the app demonstrated in booth 3 of the exhibit hall’s Startup Hub.

The company says that the app is designed to complement, not replace,  a firm’s document management system. It already integrates with the DMS Worldox, allowing lawyers and staff to select documents within Worldox and upload them to ConnectIVITY for client access.

The company says the app gives clients complete access and control over their legal universe, thereby increasing their satisfaction and helping the firm stand out as technologically innovative. Features will include:

  • Branding for your firm. Firms will be able to brand both the mobile app and web platform with their name and logo.
  • Client dashboards. Dashboards give clients insight into the status of their matters and keep them apprised on case information, documents and financial/billing details through push notifications.
  • Versatile applications. Able to store, assemble, and manage many different types of information, ConnectIVITY can be used to allow real estate clients to view closing binders organized by property or to create a corporate record book with a table of contents. , providing access to the whole cap table, a shareholders list, ledgers and operating agreements. An HR center will provide employee-management tools vetted by labor and employment lawyers.
  • Billing and online payments with machine learning. The company says that ConnectIVITY will use machine learning technology to transform paper bills into digital and enable payment within the app via a LawPay integration.
  • Secure messaging. Lawyers and clients will be able to communicate using the app’s secure messaging tool.
  • Contract automation and signing. Firms can have clients complete and sign simple contracts via the app, such as NDAs.

Web access to ConnectIVITY is through a unique URL for each law firm. The app runs on iPhones and iPads.

The CEO of Connective Counsel, Jennifer M. Hart, a former KJK lawyer who left to help launch the company, said that law firms wishing to participate in the beta may email to for more information.

Debuting at #ILTACON19: ‘Legal AI Efficacy Report’ Promises to Cut Through Market Hype

Sun, 08/18/2019 - 23:42

If there is one category of legal technology products where it is difficult to separate the hype from the reality, it is artificial intelligence. Seemingly every new product to come on the market claims to use AI in some way, shape or form.

Given that, the new Legal AI Efficacy Report, being announced tomorrow at ILTACON, should be a welcome resource for many law firms and legal departments. The report promises to be an independent analysis evaluating the efficacy of 50 AI-powered products across eight product categories.

The report will be published by the Blickstein Group, a legal consulting and publishing firm, and written by the firm’s principal, Brad Blickstein, together with Erin Harrison, former editor-in-chief of Legaltech News and InsideCounsel. Lawyer and legal technologist Dera Nevin is the report’s senior advisory editor.

Although the report will not be available until Sept. 23, the Blickstein Group is announcing is availability today and will begin selling it at a 20% discounted pre-order price. The report will be sold as an annual subscription with quarterly updates.

The report will be independent, the publisher says, with vendors unable to pay to be included or to influence the analysis. Its analysis of each product will be based on multiple factors, including the vendor’s own responses to questionnaires, a vendor briefing with the publisher, interviews with independently identified users, and review by the report’s advisory board, which is composed of senior-level law firm, law department and legal technology experts.

Each review will address the problem the tool solves, how the tool solves the problem, customer profile, how AI fits in, user feedback, pricing, product roadmap and analysis of issues such as ease of use, speed, implementation/training, language support and accuracy.

The cost of an annual subscriptions is $4,995 (or $3,996 with the ILTACON discount). For more information or to purchase the report, visit

Litera’s Acquisition of Doxly: I Speak with the CEOs on What’s Ahead

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:44

As I wrote here earlierLitera yesterday announced that it has acquired Doxly, a four-year-old company founded by a former biglaw partner to manage the legal transactions process. I have just had a phone call with the CEOs of the two companies and can provide more details.

First, to sum up the news. the document technology company Litera Microsystems has acquired Doxly, a platform designed to manage the transaction-closing process from end to end. The significance of this acquisition is enhanced by the fact that, just last month, Litera acquired U.K. company Workshare, which has its own transaction platform called Workshare Transact.

In the space of roughly a month, that means, Litera has gone from having no transaction-management technology to having two of the leading platforms — and platforms that span both the U.S. and European markets. By so doing, Litera has positioned itself as a leader in the transaction management space — and some might argue the leader.

Litera has been a company to watch in recent years, particularly since 2017, when a $100 million investment combined Litera with three other leading document technologies: Microsystems, XRef and The Sackett Group. Then, last May, Litera was sold to Hg Capital Trust Plc.

As for Doxly, it was founded in 2016 by Haley Altman, a former corporate lawyer with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in San Francisco and Ice Miller in Indianapolis, and her Ice Miller colleague Elizabeth Brier. The same year, they raised $2.2 million in seed funding. In 2017, Doxly was a participant in the first-ever ABA Techshow startup pitch competition (of which I was an organizer and moderator).

Last year, with Altman remaining CEO, Doxly brought on a new executive chairman, Christopher Clapp, who is an expert in leading companies to exits. At the time, I asked them if that meant the company was positioning itself for an acquisition. “We’re just trying to build a beautiful business,” Clapp told me, “and the rest will take care of itself.”

The CEOs Speak

Today, I spoke with Altman and Avaneesh Marwaha, the CEO of Litera, about the acquisition and what it means for the companies and their customers.

Marwaha called the acquisition a natural extension of his company’s current ethos. As Litera has been “heads down” working to improve the drafting process for lawyers, Doxly has created a product that is ripe to blow up the ability of lawyers and law firms to manage transactions. Litera has the resources to speed up achievement of the goals that Altman and Doxly were already pursuing, he said.

For customers, this is important because some are timid about investing in a product that is still relatively new to the market. With this acquisition, Doxly is now backed by the entire global Litera team of developers and support professionals. “This allows the buyer and user greater confidence that what they’re investing in will be around for a long, long time,” Marwaha said.

Altman said she was attracted to Litera because its vision mapped exactly to hers. Both companies share the goal of providing legal professionals with an integrated, end-to-end platform for managing the document creation and transaction lifecycle.

“This allows us to holistically expand to the whole document lifecycle,” Altman said. “All the things I wanted to have in Doxly are all there in Litera. I think that’s really powerful for customers.”

“The commonality is that Haley and I have both been practicing lawyers in the past,” said Marwaha, who started his career practicing IP law. “We have a passion to make life better for our friends.”

With last month’s acquisition of Workshare Transact, Marwaha said that the two products will eventually be combined into one that will better support transactions on a global basis.

“The communications that we’ve heard from firms is that they are keen to see this come together,” he said. “We want to bring it together; we want the end user to have the same experience everywhere.”

Altman will lead that integration in her new role as general manager of transaction management. “It was important for me to be able to say on,” she said. “We’ve always had a big vision and we’re not done executing on that.”

All 10 of Doxly’s employees will also stay on. Clapp, the executive chairman I mentioned above, will not remain with the company.

The deal came about quickly. From first meeting to final close, just 10 days passed, the two CEOs told me. Needless to say, the entire transaction was managed using the Doxly platform.

Friday Roundup: So Much News, So Little Time, Not to Mention #ILTACON19

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 16:26

So much legal technology news, I can barely keep up with it all, thanks in part to the fact that Sunday is the start of ILTACON, the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association. Here are some of the week’s headlines.

Litera acquires Doxly. Litera yesterday announced that it has acquired Doxly, a four-year-old company founded by a former biglaw partner to manage the legal transactions. With Litera having just last month acquired Workshare, a London company with a transaction-management product of its own, Litera has now positioned itself as a leader in the transaction management space. I’ll be writing more on this later today, so stay tuned.

Payment platform Headnote now tracks client satisfaction. In what I believe to be a first for a payment-processing platform, Headnote announced this week that it has added a Net Promoter Score (NPS) tool that surveys legal clients at the point of payment and provides the firm with ongoing metrics on its NPS, a measure of client satisfaction with your services. The NPS is based on how likely clients are to recommend a firm’s services and is a metric that can be benchmarked and tracked over time. Headnote says that client sentiment is at its most authentic directly after the purchase experience, so the new tool surveys clients at the point of final payment with one question: “How likely are you to recommend this law firm to a friend or colleague?” I plan to write more about this, but in the meantime, you can see it on display this week at ILTACON, where Headnote will be at booth 910.

Automated filing of litigation emails and documents. American LegalNet, a company whose product is an end-to-end application for managing litigation dockets, deadlines and documents, has partnered with ZERØ, an AI-powered tool for managing email, to launch an integration of their products that automates the filing of litigation-related emails and documents and intelligently directs them into a law firm’s document-management system. The two companies say that the integration creates the first AI-driven product that allows law firms to reduce non-billable, labor-intensive end-to-end workflows by managing manual administrative tasks. If you are attending ILTACON this week, you will be able to see it in action at ALN’s booth 209.

Hotspot Law to go nationwide Sept. 1. Hotspot Law, a new platform and mobile phone app that connects consumers to free consultations with local lawyers, will expand its platform nationwide on Sept. 1, it announced this week. The platform, which is aimed at solo and small-firm attorneys, launched earlier this year in New York City. Consumers using the app pick an area of law where they need help and a zip code to receive a list of available attorneys. The consumer can then schedule a consultation and speak with the attorney directly from the app.

Platform helps firms speed adoption of new tech. Reynen Court is a year-old startup that has generated a lot of interest for its idea to create an “app store” for biglaw — a software platform designed to help law firms and legal departments speed adoption of AI and other new and existing technologies. This week, it launched the beta of that platform, with five of the world’s largest law firms participating in the beta: Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance, both of which are investors in the company, as well as Paul Weiss, White & Case and Orrick. The company says that the platform combines a “solution store” for legal technology with a control panel that makes it easy for law firms and legal departments to run applications either on-premises or within virtual private clouds. The platform also enables firms to manage software subscriptions with enhanced interoperability between applications and provides usage monitoring and advanced application-specific metrics to aid in better predictability of IT software and infrastructure maintenance and expenditure.

Ahead of #ILTACON19, Levit & James Finalizes Its Pay-Per-Document Pricing for Best Authority

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 14:00

Software company Levit & James, Inc. today announced the formal release of a pay-per-document licensing option for the latest version 5.0 of its Best Authority, a Microsoft Word add-in that automatically finds and marks all the legal citations in a brief and generates a table of authorities.

Formerly, law firms could purchase Best Authority only through a site license. The price of the license was based on the number of litigators and appellate attorneys within the firm or organization.

With the new Pay-Per-Service licensing option, users pay no licensing fees or up-front costs. Instead, they are charged based on the number of documents processed.

The new pricing starts at $65 for producing a table of authorities for a single document. If a firm needs to process a TOA for the same document multiple times, they only pay once.

Customers now have a number of payment options for a document, including pre-purchasing credits at a discounted price.

Customers will be able to pre-purchase credits to pay for documents. When they pre-purchase credits, they can earn discounts of up to 45% off list.

There is no charge for pro bono or academic use.

By pre-purchasing credits, customers can obtain a discount of up to 45%.

Customers receive monthly usage statements in a spreadsheet format with fields such as client/matter, which can be used for management and cost recovery. They are entitled to technical support, instructor-led online training and product upgrades at no additional cost.

Levit & James first announced its intention to introduce pay-per-use pricing in 2017 as part of its planned beta launch of Best Authority 5.0. It has been beta testing the new pricing model for several months.

The new pricing model should be welcome news for firms that do not have the quantity of brief writing to justify a site license.

Levit & James will be exhibiting at ILTACON 2019 in Orlando next week. Find them at booth #303.

Join Me for A Legal Media Panel at #ILTACON19

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 18:28

If you are attending ILTACON 2019, the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association, next week, consider joining me and other legal technology journalists for a panel discussion on the state of the industry.

Moderating the panel is Gina Passarella, editor-in-chief, ALM Media. In addition to myself, panelists will be:

We will discuss and debate current topics driving changes in the industry. Among the topics we plan to discuss: the impact of startups in the industry, how law departments and firms are transforming and innovating, law firms creating their own technology, the impact of potential regulatory changes, and more.

The session will be interactive and questions will be welcomed from the audience.

The program is Wednesday, Aug. 21, 3:30 to 5 p.m., in room Asia 1 Dolphin.

ABA Votes to Urge Legal Profession to Address Emerging Legal and Ethical Issues of AI

Wed, 08/14/2019 - 15:08

The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body, voted this week to approve a resolution urging courts and lawyers to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence in the practice of law.

Among the AI-related issues the profession should address, the ABA said, are bias, explainability, and transparency of automated decisions made by AI; ethical and beneficial usage of AI; and controls and oversight of AI and the vendors that provide AI.

With a minor revision, the vote approved Resolution 112, which had been proposed by the ABA’s Section of Science & Technology Law.

“Lawyers increasingly are using artificial intelligence in their practices to improve the efficiency and accuracy of legal services offered to their clients,” the section said in its report recommending adoption of the resolution. “But while AI offers cutting-edge advantages and benefits, it also raises complicated questions implicating professional ethics.”

The resolution that the ABA adopted is brief and short on details. It reads:

“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges courts and lawyers to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence (“AI”) in the practice of law including: (1) bias, explainability, and transparency of automated decisions made by AI; (2) ethical and beneficial usage of AI; and (3) controls and oversight of AI and the vendors that provide AI.”

As proposed by the Science & Technology Law section, the resolution did not include the phrase “in the practice of law.” The HOD added those words in the version that it approved.

The section’s report outlined many of the ways AI is being used in the practice of law, such as for predictive coding in e-discovery, due diligence reviews, litigation analysis and legal research. Further, it said that a number of ethical rules apply to the use of AI, chief among them the duty of technology competence embodied within Rule 1.1, Comment 8. The report also describes issues of bias and transparency in the use of AI.

But neither the report nor the resolution provide much in the way of specifics with regard to how courts and lawyers should address these emerging issues. Regarding plans for implementation of the resolution, the section report said:

“The Section of Science & Technology Law intends to study with interested ABA entities a possible model standard for legal and ethical usage of AI by courts and lawyers. This resolution could also be used by the ABA, as well as by ABA members to promote continuing legal education related to AI.”

But the report also suggests that a purpose behind the resolution is simply to raise awareness of issues around the use of AI. “Courts and lawyers must be aware of the issues involved in using (and not using) AI, and they should address situations where their usage of AI may be flawed or biased,” the report said.

LawNext Episode 48: ROSS Intelligence Founders Andrew Arruda and Jimoh Ovbiagele

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 16:22

On this episode of LawNext, I travel to Toronto to sit down for a live recording with the founders of the AI-driven legal research platform ROSS Intelligence, CEO Andrew Arruda and CTO Jimoh Ovbiagele. Along with a third founder, Pargles Dall’Oglio, Arruda and Ovbiagele first developed ROSS at the University of Toronto in 2014, rapidly gaining international attention for what the news media dubbed the robot lawyer of the future.

In short order, the founders were invited to Silicon Valley to participate in the prestigious Y-Combinator startup incubator. Denton’s NextLaw Labs made ROSS one of its earliest investments. In 2015, they secured $4.3 million in seed funding and then, two years later, another $8.7 million in Series A funding. In 2017, Forbes named the three founders to its “30 Under 30.”

So where is ROSS today? On today’s episode, Arruda and Ovbiagele recount the founding of their company, its rapid rise, controversy over its marketing, major developments over the past year, and what lies ahead. They also share their thoughts about AI in legal more broadly and its potential impact on the practice of law.

RELATED: At AI Research Company ROSS, A New Stage of Transparency and Engagement.


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In Advance of #ILTACON19, CloudNine Rolls Out Upgrades Of Its E-Discovery Technology

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 15:28

Prepare for an onslaught of legal technology announcements, as ILTACON 19, the massive annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association, is set to begin Sunday in Orlando.

First up: CloudNine, which today is announcing new versions, features and performance upgrades to its suite of e-discovery products, which is composed of its on-premise products CloudNine Explore, LAW and Concordance, and its cloud-based Review.

The Houston-based company also announced a new product for release later this year, which it will preview at ILTACON.

According to today’s announcement:

  • CloudNine Explore 7.2, a tool for early case assessment, has been upgraded with a multi-core, multi-threaded processing capability across multiple machines to make it significantly faster and more scalable for larger projects. The product also now connects more seamlessly with the LAW pre-discovery production software to enable greater organization and data export options, the company said.
  • CloudNine LAW 7.2, a tool for data importing and exporting, now has more controls for organizing data and its Turbo Import feature now imports and analyzes data 73% faster than in the prior version.
  • CloudNine Concordance Desktop 1.07, a tool for document review, now has 70% faster import speeds, the company says, and also adds administrator tools, improves document and email text extraction, and provides new organization and management functionality to optimize both database and unstructured data. Also on view at ILTA will be forthcoming viewer and redaction capabilities.
  • CloudNine Review 2019, the company’s cloud-based review platform, has been enhanced to improve speed, performance and user experience, the company says. Also in the works for the product are new family tagging and field grouping features.

The new product, called Office 365 Connector, will extract data from Office 365 and automatically load it into CloudNine Explore. It will be released later this year, the company said.

In May, CloudNine named a new CEO, Tony Caputo, who had previously held executive positions at e-discovery companies Recommind, CaseCentral and as CEO of Omnivere. Over the coming year, he said, the company is looking to significantly expand its partner network and expand its sales among corporate law departments.

At ILTACON, you will be able to find CloudNine in booth 624. Also, Doug Austin, vice president of products/services and author of the eDiscovery Daily Blog, will be speaking at the conference’s Litigation Support Day on Wednesday, Aug. 21, and will present a program on predictive coding processes on Thursday, Aug. 22.

LexisNexis Reengineers CourtLink, Its Docket Research Product

Mon, 08/12/2019 - 14:50

LexisNexis Legal & Professional is today unveiling a major reengineering of its CourtLink federal and state docket research product that moves it to the Lexis Advance platform and that gives users more options for searching dockets while reducing the steps involved in doing so.

The move also means that users will be able to access all their LexisNexis products using a single sign-on, track all of their messaging from LexisNexis products in a single location, and unify their billing and invoicing for LexisNexis products.

Although now integrated within Lexis Advance, the product remains available as a standalone offering. Current CourtLink subscribers will be able to migrate to the new platform without any change to their subscription plans or pricing.

However, the reengineering means that CourtLink will be more directly integrated with other LexisNexis products — such as Lex Machina for docket analytics and TotalPatent One for patent filings — so that CourtLink customers will benefit from also having subscriptions to those services.

All alerts now appear on a single page within the Lexis Advance platform.

The new CourtLink has a much-simplified interface, reducing the number of steps required to conduct a search and allowing users to apply search criteria and filters from a single screen.

Formerly in CourtLink, for example, to search by docket number, you first had to pick a specific court. Now, just enter the docket number and search, without having to pick a court. The results will show all matches from all courts. Also, it finds matches regardless of the form of the docket number (such as use or not of a hyphen within the number).

Search results can be narrowed using various filters, including by court, case status, and nature of suit. For federal dockets, CourtLink uses the federal court’s nature-of-suit codes, but for state dockets, it uses each state’s specific set of codes. These filters are dynamic, to match the court being searched. If a user searches across multiple states’ dockets, CourtLink uses its own generic codes for filtering.

Docket pages are also cleaner and better organized in the new CourtLink. Key information about the case, litigants and attorneys is presented at the top, followed by a chart of docket entries with hyperlinks to PDF documents.

From a docket page, it takes just one click to set up tracking. A dialog box lets the user give the tracked docket a number and description and set delivery and sharing options. The same is true for tracking litigants — from the search page, it takes just a click to set up alerts regarding a litigant, with custom options for frequency and delivery of alerts.

Once tracking or alerts are set up, they appear on the same page as other alerts the user has set up elsewhere in the Lexis Advance platform.

CourtLink now integrates with the docket-analytics product Lex Machina. Any CourtLink subscriber will be able to click into a basic analytics overview of a judge, law firm or attorney. Subscribers who also have Lex Machina subscriptions will be able to drill down from those overviews into deeper levels of analytics.

LexisNexis, which acquired CourtLink in 2001, says that it is the largest collection of dockets and documents in the legal industry, covering not only federal dockets, but also more than 1,250 state court dockets. CourtLink updates its docket data every hour.

In conjunction with this launch, LexisNexis is offering a free trial of CourtLink to corporations, law firms, government agencies and law schools that do not already have a CourtLink subscription. Details about the trial are available at

Preorder Our Book: ‘Law Librarianship in the Age of AI’

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 20:46

I had the privilege of contributing to the forthcoming book, Law Librarianship in the Age of AI, published by the American Library Association. The book will be out in the fall, but is now available for preorder, so get it while you can, because this one is sure to fly off the shelves.

The book was edited by Ellyssa Kroski, director of information technology at the New York Law Institute and the editor and author of 37 books, including Law Librarianship in the Digital Age, for which she won the AALL’s 2014 Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award.

My contribution to the book was its final chapter, “The Future of AI in Law Libraries.” As I noted at the outset of my chapter, it was a challenging assignment, given that I am neither a futurist nor a law librarian. But I enjoyed writing it and I hope it will provoke some thoughts and conversation. Once the book is out, I may be able to post an excerpt here.

I’d tell you who the other authors are, but for the fact that I do not know. But the summary on the ALA website says that topics the book covers include:

  • The benefits of AI to law librarianship, including areas like legal research, contract review, compliance, and administration, and their associated risks.
  • Four professional ethics rules that apply to the use or (non-use) of AI.
  • How lawyers and staff work side by side with AI, utilizing intelligence like RAVN ACE or FastCase to attack the drudgery of due diligence and document review.
  • Surprising machine-learning insights from tokenizing, stemming, and lemmatizing the text of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • The potential for chatbots and new natural language processing products to improve access to justice.
  • Ways to develop sought-after skills through new technology departments, practice management groups, and legal innovation labs.

All that for the bargain price of $69. So what are you waiting for? Order now.

(Full disclosure: I get not a penny of the proceeds.)

Casemaker Partners with Tracers to Provide Public Records Searching

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 14:42

The legal research service Casemaker has entered into a partnership with the public records search service Tracers to offer its users access to public records at a discounted price.

Casemaker subscribers who wish to search public records will not do so within Casemaker. Rather, they are now able to sign up for Tracers using a registration form within the Casemaker4 platform. They will then be redirected to Tracers to complete the company’s credentialing process, and where they will receive special pricing.

Both companies say they are exploring the development of a deeper integration for the future.

Last month, as I reported here, the legal research company Casetext likewise announced a partnership with Tracers to provide access to public records. Its partnership similarly redirected users to the Tracers site.

Tracers is a provider of public records data to law firms, software integrators, technology partners and others.


The Most Effective Tech Tools for Lawyers? New Survey Says they Ain’t What You Think

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 14:00

What technology tools rank most important to lawyers in driving efficiency? Given all the hype these days around artificial intelligence, it must be at or near the top of the list, right?

Actually no. In a survey being released today, AI and another much-ballyhooed technology, blockchain, rank at the bottom of the list.

Out today is the 2019 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey, published by Aderant, a global provider of business management software for law firms.

As with last year’s survey, which I wrote about here, the 2019 survey covers a range of business and technology topics, including the business health of firms, their challenges and competition, billing processes, and change management.

But I, predictably, went right to the section on technology tools and cloud adoption, where the survey asked lawyers about the technology tools that have the greatest impact on their ability to work efficiently and manage their work effectively.

And here is what stood out there: Out of 18 categories of tools, the two lowest ranked were AI and blockchain.

So which tools did lawyers rank as having the greatest impact on their efficiency? Turns out they are the tools lawyers use day in and day out, the bread-and-butter tools of a modern law practice:

  1. Document management.
  2. Time and billing.
  3. Case management.
  4. Financial management.
  5. E-discovery.
  6. Docketing.
  7. Knowledge management.
  8. Mobility and mobile applications.
  9. Business intelligence.
  10. Matter pricing and planning.

The survey also asked law firms about their adoption of cloud technologies. Three-quarters say their firm is “somewhat” or “slightly” in the cloud. But only 2% say their firm is completely cloud based and just 12% are mostly cloud based. Another 12% do not use the cloud at all. These numbers were generally consistent across firms of all sizes, the survey reported.

When asked the follow-up question about their plans to move to the cloud in the future:

  • 7% said 6-12 months.
  • 4% said 12-18 months.
  • 14% said 18-24 months.
  • 37% said not in the foreseeable future.
  • 1% said never.
  • 28% said they were unsure.

On the topic of ebilling, the survey found that 29% of law firms process half or more of their invoices through client spend-management or ebilling systems. That is up 9 percent from the prior year.

Another area of inquiry in the survey involved the challenges and benefits of change management. One question asked whether it is a challenge to obtain leadership support or partner buy-in for new business initiatives or technology projects. Here is how they answer:

  • Yes, 32%.
  • No, 18%.
  • Sometimes, 43%.
  • Unsure, 7%.

Interestingly, the firms that answered no to that question were also 24% more likely to say that their business this year was better than last.

Other topics covered in the survey included:

  • Business compared to last year. More than 90% of respondents said this year is at least as good
    as last year.
  • Top challenges facing firms. Operational efficiency (31%) and pricing (29%) are the top challenges facing law firms in 2019. Cybersecurity dropped to seventh place with 18%. Other top challenges were technology adoption (26%), change management (22%), and growing business from existing client accounts (19%).
  • Where firms see competition. Law firms see other firms as the top source of competition (53%), followed by clients taking work in-house (22%) and alternative service providers (15%).
  • Time to publish an invoice. Including prebills, about 38% of law firms say they publish client invoices within a week or less.

The survey questioned 147 business-of-law and legal professionals from law firms all over the world, with 87% of responses from North America. Most respondents (87%) were from larger firms in the U.S.

Deadline Friday for Startups to Apply for LexisNexis Legal Tech Accelerator

Wed, 08/07/2019 - 01:05

Friday, Aug. 9, is the deadline for startups to apply for the fourth cohort of the LexisNexis Legal Tech Accelerator, a program designed to give start-ups a leg-up in the legal tech industry.

The accelerator runs September to December and is co-located in the Menlo Park, Calif., offices of Lex Machina and the LexisNexis Raleigh Technology Center in Raleigh, N.C.

The program is led by Lex Machina Chairman Josh Becker and Chief Evangelist Owen Byrd and LexisNexis Vice President of Product Management Jeff Pfeifer. Additional support is provided by LexisNexis Chief Technology Officer Jeff Riehl and Chief Product Officer Jamie Buckley.

Over the course of the three-month program, LexisNexis says, startups will participate in a rigorous curriculum designed for early-stage companies in the legal market. It includes:

  • Access to cutting-edge tools and technologies from LexisNexis and Lex Machina.
  • Mentorship through weekly hands-on sessions with LexisNexis executives on growing legal tech companies, and ad hoc discussions with other LexisNexis executives about technology, user experience and design, product development, product marketing and other topics.
  • Education through one-hour strategy sessions on topics such as marketing and selling to legal departments; running an agile product development organization; leveraging legal data; and best practices in customer service, employee management, marketing and funding.
  • Connections through leveraging relationships with Stanford University and other Bay-Area universities, businesses, VCs and influencers.
  • Workspace for up to four people inside the Silicon Valley offices of Lex Machina or the LexisNexis Raleigh Technology Center on the North Carolina State University Centennial Campus.

For more information or to apply to the LexisNexis Legal Tech Accelerator program, interested parties can find more at

Finalists Named for ‘Changing Lawyer’ Awards; Winners to be Named at #ILTACON19

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 19:01

Finalists have been named for The Changing Lawyer Awards, paving the way for the announcement of the winners during ILTACON 2019, the annual convention of the International Legal Technology Association later this month.

This is the second year of the award, which recognizes individuals, firms and companies in the legal industry for their role in embracing and driving change, whether through new technology, service models or behavior. The awards are sponsored by Litera Microsystems.

A panel of judges — of which I was one — reviewed the nominations and narrowed the field to the following:

Legal Innovator of the Year, recognizing the individual who has driven the most significant change within their firm or legal department.

  • David A. Rueff Jr., chief client solutions officer for Baker Donelson.
  • Farrah Pepper, chief legal innovation counsel for Marsh & McLennan Companies.
  • Matt Basile, partner with Kelley Drye & Warren.
  • Michael Caplan, COO of Goodwin.
  • Monica Zent, founder and managing counsel of ZentLaw.

Law Firm of the Year, recognizing the law firm that has most successfully reimagined the way it serves its clients.

  • Cassels Brock & Blackwell.
  • Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
  • Dechert.
  • Husch Blackwell.
  • Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.

Disruptor of the Year, recognizing the alternative legal service provider or legal tech supplier that has most successfully disrupted the broader legal profession.

  • DealMaker.
  • Gravity Stack.
  • Hello Divorce.
  • LegalSifter.
  • Lex Machina.

A fourth award will recognize an individual for lifetime achievement.

Winners will be announced during ILTACON at the Litera Microsystems briefing on Monday, Aug. 19, at Disney’s Boardwalk Atlantic Dance Hall at 5:30 p.m.

More information about the awards can be found at the event page.

Utah State Bar Will Move to Fastcase Sept. 1

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 16:30

The Utah State Bar, which currently offers its members free access to legal research through an affinity deal with the research company Casemaker, will switch to Fastcase as of Sept. 1, Fastcase announced today.

That brings to 33 the number of state bar associations that offer their members free access to legal research via the Fastcase platform. Through these state partnerships, Fastcase says, it is now available for free to more than 900,000 lawyers, or nearly three-quarters of all lawyers in the United States.

Beginning Sept. 1, the 11,000 Utah State Bar members will get access to Fastcase by way of the bar’s Practice Portal, where they will be able to log in using their bar username and password, according to Joe Patz, director of alliances at Fastcase.

“We are excited about providing members with access to one of the world’s largest online legal research libraries,” Herm Olsen, president of the Utah State Bar, said in a statement provided by Fastcase. “By adding Fastcase to our collection of member benefits, Bar members have a valuable option to conduct high-quality legal research anytime, anywhere.”

Based on information on the companies’ websites, as of Sept. 1, Fastcase will be available through 50 state and local bar associations and law libraries, including 31 statewide bars, the District of Columbia bar, and the U.S. Virgin Islands bar.

Casemaker will be available through 27 state and local bars, including 20 statewide bars. (Texas offers its members both Casemaker and Fastcase.)



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