The Legal IntelligencerApril 12, 2000
Tech Show Showcase for New Offerings
Barry D. Bayer
We're told to expect more snow yet this season, but last week brought us the two most reliable harbingers of spring: Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs, albeit in Japan, and the American Bar Association TechShow. Despite the opening-day win, we're almost ready to suggest that Cubs fans will once again be wise to "Wait Til Next Year." But lawyers interested in what technology can do to help them do a better and more efficient job for their clients lost an opportunity if they didn't come to this year's TechShow.
To recreate at least some of the show, material related to the lectures an seminars can be purchased from the ABA on CD-ROM. Call 800-285-2221, and ask for the ABA TechShow 2000 disc, Product No. 5110436, at a cost of $ 95, with a $ 20 discount for members of the ABA's law practice management section. The disc may also be available on the Web at www.abanet.org/ lpm/ catalog. And then there was our main focus: the exhibits. The following is a random list of products and services that we hadn't seen before.
The Technology Group, longtime purveyor of the Wealth Transfer Program and other document assembly technology, is now putting its vast estate planning material as a Web-based subscription service known as the Law on the Web program. The Baltimore-based company will be adding other practice areas elder law, environmental law, employee benefits and intellectual property are currently in the works. The concept makes a lot of sense; we'll be interested to see how it works on the Web. You'll find it at www.lawontheweb.com.WestGroup always has something new at one of these shows; this time, the buzz word was WestNews, billed as "The Other Side of Westlaw." WestNews is not, as we first thought, a resurrection of the company's late, lamented West Legal News (WLN), an Internet site that for too short a time provided a lot of interesting current information and was on the cutting edge using the Web to bring current information to the lawyer. WestNews, we are told, is to WestLaw as Nexis is to Lexis and consists of news material from Dow Jones Interactive and other sources. It doesn't, as far as we can tell, include archives of major non-Dow Jones newspapers and similar material that is available on the Nexis part of Lexis, but flat-fee Westlaw subscribers, at least, will undoubtedly find it of great value at www.westlaw.com.Loislaw.com (formerly LOIS or Law Office Information Systems) was showing GlobalCite, "a new citation research service which Loislaw.com believes to be competitive with ...Shepard's...and...KeyCite." The lack of a citator system has been a gaping hole in Loislaw.com's legal research offerings.GlobalCite, clearly not the equal of Shepard's or KeyCite, does a search in all of the Loislaws with one click. The researcher is left to analyze the resulting hit list and the current validity of case, and GlobalCite does not offer a pre- and post-history, per se. Clearly not the equal of the established systems, but we will have to test the system before determining whether GlobalCite may be good enough. Find it at www.loislaw.com.
Coincident to our recent discussions of tiny hand-held two-way e-mail devices were the presences of Research in Motion, creators of the RIM 950 and Blackberry devices that coordinate with addresses and schedules with the law firm's Microsoft Exchange server, and BellSouth, the communications company that powers some of the GoAmerica and other two way companies with Mobitex.It seems that prices are coming down, at least slightly, and there may be special deals such as a rumored $ 20 per month unlimited e-mail deal that doesn't include paging or Web surfing and maybe not even Lexis. All the more reason, we think, that it is time for Lexis, Westlaw, Loislaw, Quicklaw and everyone else interested in selling legal research to lawyers toturn their programmers from dealing with fancy Web-based portal software to parsing POEMS (Plain Old E-Mail Service) so that lawyers with only minimal e-mail service from time to time can do effective legal research wherever they happen to be. Find RIM at www.blackberry.com and BellSouth at www.bellsouthwd.com/ip25. Although we think it's a big issue, every official ethics opinion that we've seen has claimed it is neither malpractice nor a violation of attorney-client confidentiality or privilege to send unencrypted e-mail. Nonetheless, companies that facilitate encrypted e-mail seem to pop up at each new law technology computer show. New to us was CertifiedMail.com, a company that accepts an SSL-encrypted e-mail upload and e-mails notification to the recipient. The recipient clicks on the URL specified in the notification e-mail and downloads the e-mail, again using SSL. (The recipient requires nothing more than POEMS and a modern Web browser.)CertifiedMail.com costs $ 100 per year and down for volume, per lawyer wishing to send using the service for any firm that wishes to send e-mail, and nothing for the recipient. Check it out at www.certifiedmail.com.
1stlegal.com was showing GlobalSuite, a group of Web-based "rent-an-app" software products including GlobalCMS, a case and matter management system, GlobalRepository, for storage and retrieval of documents and transcripts; GlobalOffice, for calendar, addressbook, secure e-mail and such; and GlobalSend (similar to certifiedmail.com) for secured delivery of electronic documents. The Web-site, of course, is www.1stlegal.com.Writing about online offices, we have to mention JDUSA JD stands not for what you think, but for JurisDiction which not only rents case management, time and billing, group document sharing with accounting and secured client e-mail to come but also includes legal research through the Versuslaw library (a $ 6.95 per month per attorney value, in itself). We're told that current pricing (through May 1 at least) is $ 50 per month per attorney til the end of the year and $ 100 thereafter. The URL is www.jdusa.net.If you're nervous about Web-based data servers and prefer to keep your data on your own Lotus Notes server, check out Law 2.0, from Chicago-based Corrigan Consulting. Address book, calendar, case and client information, and such are instantly available from your office or, through the Notes Replication feature on your laptop when away from the office. Find it at www.corriganinc.com.
Tools and Services
Montreal-based Ixia was showing its XML-based Interactive (Document)
(IRT) solution for bring document management and group-based
document creation to the firm
Intranet or, by extension, to private versions of a site on the
World Wide Web. The company is
currently giving away via Internet download, TEXML SERVER Lite,
a "time bomb free" evaluation
version of its software at www.ixiasoft.com (XML presumably is
a play on XML, Extensible
Markup Language, a next generation, define-it-yourself HTML (HyperText
Markup Language, the
lingua franca of the World Wide Web.).Although we didn't remember
hearing about it before,
something seemed familiar about NextPage, "the leading provider
of Web-based content delivery
solutions . . . [through] Internet and Intranet content from
corporate portals." The software is the
successor to Folio, a company that had not prospered through
a succession of corporate owners,
but many of the same people still work out of Provo, Utah. At
one time Folio was a preferred
platform for putting unstructured content onto hard disks and
CD-ROMs.NextPage is a platform
for putting it onto the Web. The URL is www.nextpage.com.
Ontario-based Iconect was showing its software that enables a Concordance database to be accessed through a Web browser, on the firm IntraNet or ExtraNet. At $ 3,500 for the server and $ 500 per user, the product is not inexpensive, but it does eliminate the need for additional Concordance licenses for multiple access of a Concordance database and permits access to lawyers in court (through a wireless modem), out of town, at home or in another office of a multiple office firm. The developer indicated that the same technology can be adapted to perform similar functions with other litigation databases, so look for new product announcements in coming months. Whether you use Concordance or some other database, you can find them on the Web at www.iconect.net.There was lots more that we don't have space to get to here, and we assume that most of our readers have access to the World Wide Web. But if you'd like a list of these and other TechShow exhibitors that caught our interest, including address and phone numbers, send a note to lawtech * lawtechreview.com or a self addressed stamped envelope to Law Office Technology Review, P.O. Box 2577, Homewood, Ill. 60430.
Barry D. Bayer practices law and writes about computers from his office in Homewood, Ill. You may send comments or questions to his new e-mail address bayer * lawtechreview.com or write c/o Law Office Technology Review, P.O. Box 2577, Homewood, Ill. 60430.