Web 2.0 in Law Firms (from ILTA) | Knowledge Management

ILTA – August 26, 2008 9:00 am

These are my notes from the program.  [Since I am taking paper-free notes and because there is free Wi-Fi here, I thought that I’d add the notes to the blog.  Disclaimer: my notes are rough, so forgive the typos.]

From ILTA:

Title: Recap of G100 CIO Event – Web 2.0 Focus

Description: Join the G100 CIO Advisory Board as they provide a recap of the G100 CIO event held on Monday, August 25 in conjunction with ILTA ’08.  The focus is “Web 2.0 – What It Means to Law Firms,” including a summary of what Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager for Google Apps shared with the group around the phenomenon of Web 2.0 in general.
Date/Time: 8/26/2008 9:00 a.m.
Location: Fort Worth 5,6,7
Speaker(s): Peter Lesser – Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP
David Rigali – Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP
Karen Levy – Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Peter Attwood – Simmons & Simmons

LawyerKM’s notes:

  • The panel recapped the G100 CIO Advisory Board meeting from 8/25/08
  • What is Web 2.0?
  • an aspect of collaboration rather than just web consuption.
  • structured vs. unstructured data – it may be ok to have multiple collaborators.
  • Is it different the Enterprise 2.0? – trying to take the concepts of web 2.0 and incorporate them in organizations.
  • At Mallesons wikis started with IT staff and now it is among the practice groups – someof the most prolific users are the more senior attorneys.  average age of partner there is 39 (is this a factor?)
    • Firm culture is important – some use DMS as a confidential repository, some have them open.  The latter may find wikis more acceptable. 
    • They has a client facing wiki.
    • They allow people to even restructure the wiki page.
    • Firms are not looking to IT to set it up.  It is very low cost. 
    • Use: from a practice group perspective, the wiki content was not a part of the record (i.e., the matter records) – the content is more practice-group related rather than matter related. 
    • Some fear contributions to wikis becuase they don’t want to be seen as having written something stupid.
    • The wikis are getting 1000 hits per day. 
    • Best adoption was in IP practice group.
    • In technology department they have a wiki page for their meeting agendas.
  • The panel was asked if they will use wikis.
    • Lesser said not now, but didn’t rule it out for the future.  It is a cultural thing.
    • Levy – there are ways to introduce it (admin first, perhaps) – find out where it fits.  It’s a tool and it may fit some problems, not others.
    • Attwood – has tried it in IT, some have worked, others not, agrees with Levy
    • Brandt – thought was – if it is “cheap to fail” why not try it. 
  • Question: what about blogging?
    • Lesser’s firm has a policy against it – presumably refering to external blogs (but there is one internal blog).
  • What about the fear of discovery (from a litigation perspective)?
    • Brandt – the stuff is still there (now it’s just in email and other electronic places) [great point – people need to understnad this!!].  Levy agreed. 
  • Google Apps (some of the notes below are beyond Google specifically)
    • idea is cloud computing and using Offie-style apps (like Word, email, spreadsheets, presentations) on Google’s servers. 
    • the price is fixed, the upgrades in functionality are frequent. 
    • Docs has full doc version control.
    • there is real time collaboration on documents.
    • Attwood was surprised how far forward Google is.
    • Lesser thought this was the most interesting topic.  Many in the room thought they might see this in the next 1-1.5 years.  It may be client driven (if a client adopts it, law firms may have to adopt it as well). 
    • The thought was to sit with Google to adjust it to make it legal specific.
    • The functionality is very far from the feature set that we are used to from Microsoft. 
    • Security seems to be there.  It is encrypted. 
    • Google allows you to tie in your own authentication methods
    • There was debate about whether firms are ready to give up all they have done in the last 10-15 years. 
    • Many firms are looking at getting away from a specialiszed approach and going for a more corporate approach.  Stop making and using customized applications and use more standardized applications.
    • The cost issue (often 1/10 of what the existing systems might cost) may be the thing that convinces partners to move away from the customized apps and go for more standardized apps.
    • The panel agreed that communicating with Google early on may convince them to focus on what they might be able to do to make it work for law firms.
    • A benefit to focusing on more out-of-the-box approach is that you can upgrade quickly. 
    • The panel plans to reach out to Google and others, like Microsoft, etc. to see how firms can move in this direction.
  • One take away
  • Levy – the dramatic gap in cost between the traditional approach and the new Google approach.
  • Attwood – this is moving much faster than he thought. 
  • Lesser – thinks that the whole cloud computing could work.
  • Brandt – There seems to be no real road map to the development of the products – it is based on user feedback, which is good.

It was refreshing to hear such forward-looking ideas on the panel. 

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms

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2 thoughts on “Web 2.0 in Law Firms (from ILTA) | Knowledge Management

  • August 26, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I am surprised, and happy, to see so much enthusiasm for concept of cloud computing. What I find most interesting though is that people are actually talking about changing the Word addin model. I would love to develop the idea further. With our discussions turning to Office 2007, I have been asking people here again if we “have” to create documents like we do, or if we do it because we always have. there has got to be a better way.

    Thanks for all the write ups.

  • Pingback: Collaboration Tools and Technologies for Lawyers (at ILTA) Knowledge Management « LawyerKM

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