Networking thoughts after LegalTech

The LegalTech cud is still being chewed. The graph below show page views on this blog down to today, with an encouraging upward trend. The actual visits are not huge in absolute terms – 163 page views on one day last week is the record – but interest seems to be growing in what has been a minority activity in the UK.

That, incidentally, is the point of publishing the graph – we do not have many pointers as to how many people want to know about the subject. We know that many suppliers seem busy enough, but there is no composite figure for that. The readership of a single-issue web site gives us some feel for the level of interest.

Chris Dale Blog hits to February 2008

The aim, of course, is to make this a mainstream activity for anyone who litigates here with any volume of electronic data, and the blog is only one of the initiatives which are in hand. There are a number of conferences planned in which I am involved in various capacities – as co-chair, facilitator, speaker or writer. There is bigger emphasis on the UK perspective in this year’s London-based international programmes, quite apart from those which focus exclusively on the CPR. I am happy to field any interest in these conferences and to point you in the right direction for whatever your interests are.

Most interesting, perhaps, will be getting out of London – no, not just to New York again (though one of my tentative invitations is for there) but to the regions. There is a lot of expensive, document-heavy litigation out there beyond the Strand, London WC2, but the delegate lists at the conferences rarely include non-London lawyers or their clients. That is perhaps not surprising – a two-day conference is a major commitment if you add travel and accomodation to the course fee. So let’s take the conferences to where the audience is. More on this in due course.

To revert to LegalTech, Andrew Haslam has a good article on it in Charles Christian’s Orange Rag. I particularly liked his report of an observer’s comment that “The UK concepts of proportionality and reasonableness seem to be making a welcome appearance in the US courts”. We do not think we have yet evolved the perfect formula (from the clients’ perspective) for handling e-disclosure in the courts, but we are pretty clear that the Americans haven’t, however likeable they are and whatever they may have to offer in terms of the technology.

Nigel Murray of Trilantic hosted a working lunch yesterday at which a number of us pooled our observations from the week. Concept searching and foreign language support stood out in most minds as the growing trends.

One of the non-legal, non-technical subjects which arose was the importance of networking between the various players in the e-Disclosure market. This ties in with what both I and Andrew Haslam say in our respective articles about LegalTech (mine is here) and with what I have said above about the world outside London. There is much to gained from pooling non-competitive views and information.

No doubt it all looks a bit cliquey from the outside, but there is a willingness to welcome others in – litigation support managers find it easier to co-operate with people they know, which matters when the lawyers are being made to co-operate at Case Management Conferences; suppliers avoid the hard sell on such occasions but you get the opportunity to find out what they do in a more relaxed context. And I get the chance not just to talk about what I think is important, but to find out what matters to others.

An engaging, and useful, American practice is the e-mail addressed to two people by someone who knows them both and who spots a common interest. I have had two or three of those in the last few days and got the opportunity today to do the same to two people whom I came across in quick succession whose interests seemed to me to be pretty much the same. If it proves otherwise, not much is lost. If it helps to open out the interest group a little, something is gained.

That is one of my aims at the moment, to introduce people to people as well as to rules and technology. That does not mean I am setting up as an e-disclosure dating bureau, but I am happy to suggest names for you to contact, whether suppliers or others in the same position as you (whatever that may be), where that will move things along.

If any of this interests you, please contact me.

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About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Court Rules, Courts, CPR, Discovery, E-Discovery Suppliers, eDisclosure, eDisclosure Conferences, eDiscovery, FRCP, Litigation Support, Trilantic. Bookmark the permalink.

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