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The Year in Review: 'LTN' Stories From 2012
Law Technology News
Welcome to late December: the time of year when the legal technology industry takes a breather, people are merry, and journalists make lists. A year ago, Law Technology News compiled a similar story 11 for '11 so now it's time for the 2012 edition. This was the year that technology research company Gartner Inc. said e-discovery is a billion-dollar market! However, rather than starting from scratch, this story focuses on what changed from last year. The 2012 topics are presented below in alphabetical order.
Big Data The buzzword isn't new, but "Big Data" is starting to take hold in law firms and among corporate counsel. So we at Law Technology News tried our best to explain it. David Cowan gave his opinion on video; Monica Bay wrote a cover story citing the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of digital information. Sean Doherty sought opinions from the technology vendors, and Compliance Governance & Oversight Council officials put in their two cents about data hoarders. IBM hinted of a big data play and then put its money into action by acquiring StoredIQ to help customers reduce their information overload.
BlackBerry Just like the Black Knight (cue Monty Python jokes), BlackBerry maker Research In Motion refuses to admit defeat. RIM says its new operating system, BlackBerry 10, will launch in the early part of 2013 and will turn around the Canadian company's once-lofty but now lowly market share. There are still plenty of CrackBerry addicts at mega-firms and BlackBerry remains the most secure mobile device. When an LTN reporter went to buy one recently, his colleagues and friends cocked their heads at a funny angle: "You're buying that!?"
BYOD Last year we wrote, "Consumerization of business technology is a trend that isn't going away." Now, the devil's in the details. You bring your personal electronics to work, but then what? How will they fit into business processes, are there legal issues, who'll make the IT policies, and what are the security concerns? In many companies it's like the lawless wild west and it's not unlike 30 years ago when Harvard Law School banned suitcase-sized portable computers. Among lawyers, BYOD champion Doug Caddell left his CIO job and joined HBR Consulting, where he can mentor new leaders. He asks: Is the PC dead?
HP/Autonomy It was a dramatic way to close the 2012 year in e-discovery. Leaders of technology stalwart Hewlett-Packard Co. said their former peers at Autonomy Corp., which HP acquired in 2011 for $11.1 billion, had engaged in accounting fraud. Autonomy, according to HP CEO Meg Whitman, exploited "a willful effort … to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company in order to mislead investors and potential buyers." Whitman said HP would take an $8.8 billion write-down and would refer its Autonomy findings, which emerged from a whistleblower, to U.S. and U.K. white-collar crime authorities. Then, Autonomy founder Michael Lynch not only denied the allegations, he went so far as to take his defense public, creating a web page with his side of the story. It boiled down, he said, to counter-claims that HP mismanaged Autonomy by firing key players and not grasping how to sell its data management software. Now there are lawsuits flying.
Hurricane Sandy This natural disaster can't touch the manmade tragedy of 9/11, but it was just as shocking to those of us in the northeastern continential U.S. real hurricanes just don't go this far north, we thought, even though Hurricane Irene did a year ago. Irene caused an unusual amount of inland flooding, yet Sandy was much worse, effectively knocking out the lower half of Manhattan and all of New Jersey for a full week. Some locations are still shut down and will be for months. We published preparation tips from Katrina veterans and urged readers to be ready. We looked at ethical lessons and announced that our corporation, ALM, would offer assistance. The New York City and northern New Jersey chapters of ARMA International (formerly the Associations of Records Managers and Administrators) held a lessons-learned panel from which we live-Tweeted (the hashtag expired after a month, but Topsy.com archived it here). One lesson: it's vital to have multiple backup communication methods. Another: how can you think about work when you must focus on feeding your family and protecting your home? For some in our world, the situation post-Sandy was that dire.
Information governance The meta-topic of how to manage corporate data became red hot this year. Law firm leaders gathered in Chicago to discuss data wranging methods, resulting in a proposed framework. LEDES, an organization that makes law firm billing codes, contributed activity and expense codes for its part of the pie. There were ARMA conference panels about best practices and information analytics, the anniversary of Sarbanes-Oxley regulation to keep everyone on their toes, and Gartner opened a governance practice area.
LexisNexis The legal research company is almost as well known for its Concordance document review software, and this year Lexis put a lot of effort into rejuvenating that business. Lexis sold its Applied Discovery division, acquired Sanction Solutions, revealed a plan to combine and cloudify its various e-discovery puzzle pieces, and began talking about Concordance 11.
Microsoft Is the software giant from Seattle starting to lose focus? Early indicators about Windows 8 point to a repeat of the lackluster Windows Vista Microsoft desktop operating systems tend to perform well with every other version, such as XP and Windows 7. The new Surface laptop/tablet hybrid computers are sleek, and here at LTN headquarters in New York we frequently see Surface advertised in the subway. But seeing hearing anyone rave about a Windows 8 upgrade or spotting a Surface in the wild is rare. What lawyers really want is just an iPad-friendly version of the e-discovery-friendly Microsoft Office suite, yet there are only hints of that happening anytime soon.
Patents last year we talked about intellectual property battles among computer companies; now, the fight's been brought to e-discovery. Lone Star Document Management is a non-practicing entity a "patent troll" which in 2012 sued a wide sampling of e-discovery companies. Most of the companies settled, including Cap Digisoft Inc.; CloudNine Discovery; Digital Reef Inc.; Gallivan, Gallivan & O'Melia; and Guidance Software Inc.'s CaseCentral unit, all in e-discovery, along with Lexbe in case management. Business Intelligence Associates Inc. convinced Lone Star to drop charges, although suits remain open against e-discovery player Catalyst Repository Systems Inc. and content management specialist Compulink Management Center Inc., the latter known for its Laserfiche product.
Predictive coding Or is it computer-assisted review, or technology-assisted review, or some other term? By any name, there were several interesting developments in 2012. How we train such systems and how we defend their results are still up for debate. Equivio continued to rack up its list of resellers, Recommind got its first reseller (Hudson Legal), and the U.S. government's text retrieval conference (TREC) announced that it will take the year off. Several lawsuits are now using predictive coding by judicial order, and Judge Andrew Peck of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in the now-famous Da Silva Moore case, survived an attempt by the plaintiffs to make him recuse himself. Should we all switch to imagining the evidence?
Security This year we saw an e-discovery security issue in Concordance, legal topics arise at the HOPE and Black Hat conferences, and a new security committee emerge from the International Legal Technology Association. One expert advised that lawyers and their employers get their heads out of the sand, which resulted in a standing-room-only ILTA conference panel on security. Also new in 2012: the first dedicated security blawg.
Tablets Last year we had Steve Jobs on the list, but now the story is about the tablet market and the apps that love them. According to the American Bar Association, about one-third of lawyers use tablets, and nearly all of those use the Apple iPad. But as the general tablet market expands with options from Amazon, Gooogle, and Samsung, along with the iPad Mini, we wonder what'll become of the traditional iPad's monopoly in the legal field.
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