Thursday, September 23, 2004

Address book collaboration

This week's Information Week publication contains an interesting article about an organization that is implementing, on a trial basis, software to allow employees to search each other's contact lists in an effort to provide all employees with additional mechanisms to generate business contacts and sales leads. This is an interesting concepts -- taking the concept of collaboration beyond simply a working team (like that using a legal extranet) and moving it across an entire enterprise.

It is only a trial -- and clearly there could be some (or a lot of) organizational resistance -- but it certainly is an interesting use of collaboration technologies.

To read the article click here.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Working remotely

As the United States is struck by many storms forcing evacuations and power outages throughout much of the southeastern part of the country, this should serve as a reminder about the important of remote access plans as well as disaster recovery / hot site plans.

Clearly, many organizations have these internally, but they are often untested or underfunded.

Placing some of the most critical, time sensitive litigation data and information on a hosted application (even if it is placed there for redundancy) can be a cost-effective and timely strategy for supporting business continuity during times of localized emergencies. Legal extranets, providing the ability to host case management information, calendars, contact lists, documents, and other types of data, are an excellent choice for providing remote access and/or redundant access to litigation data.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Intranet/Extranet Information Site

This posting relates to an informational site made available by Darwin.

This site and information relates to extranets and intranets in general (not to legal extranets), but it is so rich in content and information (definitions, return on investment, case studies, strategies, etc..) we thought it would be helpful both to attorneys and litigation support professionals interested in learning more about collaboration systems in general and how entities can work together using common internet sites to share documents and data.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Tracking case information by jurisdiction

Legal extranet systems are excellent ways to outsource the maintenance of case management information to local counsel who are actually working on the individual cases. The legal extranet is configured to allow each law firm to view only their cases, and to update the case management fields associated with their cases. This input is then instantly available to national counsel and to the client.

The local law firms also use the content on these systems -- documents, calendar items, bulletin board posts, etc.. -- which is typically made available by national counsel to work in a more productive and effective manner. The dual flow of information on legal extranets during the course of managing a complex litigation helps to build more cohesive and successful legal teams.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Observe and comment on the major decision points and analysis leading up to key decisions

Legal extranets can be used to solicit client input when and as major decision points are approaching. One common strategy is to add an upcoming event or task to a system and generate an email based on the addition of that item requesting client feedback.

With this feedback, law firms can be sure client wishes and needs are properly understood prior to taking actions towards the resolution of a particular issue of importance.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

E-Discovery Conference

For those interested in the topic, this upcoming conference on Tuesday October 5, 2004 might be worth attending. Here is the the conference agenda

Monday, September 06, 2004

Implementation Considerations

The legal extranet implementation article published on the intranet focus blog contains some useful items to consider if you are considering law firm extranet technology.

Consolidating Links

Legal extranets can be used to consolidate a set of internet links pertaining to a case (or set of legal cases).

For example, if there are many court websites, plaintiff firm websites, and websites containing defense materials related to a case, a legal extranet can present a collection of these links on a clear and consider manner to all member of the legal workteams.

The same can be done to present articles in periodicals and publications which are related to a case or to the subject manner the case to which the case pertains.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Attorney Outsourcing

Recently, the Recorder reported that in-house legal departments are using more attorneys from countries with lower professional salaries, and that this trend could shift up to 8% of work overseas in the next decade.

Should this forecast be accurate, this will require more interaction during off-hours (due to time zone differences) and make it potentially more difficult and certainly most costly at times to exchange documents (due to higher faxing and overnight mail expenses when sending materials to other countries).

This scenario could make legal extranet systems even more valuable in the future. The ability to share information electronically, as well as the ability to make data available 24 x 7, is even more useful when workteams are dispersed across oceans and borders.

Litigation increases in large companies

A recent corporate counsel study by Fulbright & Jaworski indicates that although nationwide U.S. Company litigation is decreasing slightly, there is an increase in litigation among large firms (those with over $1 billion in annual sales).

This trend could mean there is additional opportunities for legal extranet systems to deliver value to law firms and their clients. Large companies and organizations, with multiple offices, tend to have greater needs for collaboration technologies such as legal extranets to help them work in a more efficient and productive manner.