December is always a magical month, where everything seems in sharper focus in the cold crisp air of winter. Here in New York, the city is at its finest, with bright lights and tourists pouring in to shop and see a Broadway show, while locals head upstate to enjoy bucolic rural vistas straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Wherever you are located, we hope the coming holiday weeks will be refreshing, invigorating, and memorable.
Before we take a look at potlatch ceremony wish lists, let's check out some of the latest news from our legal technology community.
>>Talk to Me: Mark Michels, who recently joined Deloitte Financial Advisory Services as a director in its discovery practice, checks in to let us know about a recent survey and webcast discussing how legal and IT units can better collaborate for e-discovery. On the program, Michels who is based in San Jose, Calif. is joined by Pamela Davis, senior discovery counsel for Google. They discussed the roles legal and IT during investigation, transaction, business events, or litigation involving electronically stored information; and common issues that arise with regulatory bodies, consultants, and other third parties that must be involved with a company's or firm's team.
As part of the webinar, Deloitte polled 990 business professionals from a range of industries, including financial services, technology, media, telecom, and others. While 35 percent of respondents said their organizations are working to "improve communication across departmental lines, a mere 8.1 percent of executives believe their company teams fully understand each other," Deloitte reported. And 19 percent said their organization's IT and legal teams do not collaborate well.
"Sometimes the first step to improving legal and IT teams' collaboration is simply to network within your organization," suggested Michels, who noted that finance, risk, and compliance teams that work with legal and IT separately can help the two groups bridge organizational gaps between them, which ultimately can result in more effective e-discovery.
>>Suite News: Bloomberg Law has debuted its Business Development Center, a suite of tools targeted for lawyers, drawn on the company's news and financial data, and integrated with legal resources, reports CEO Greg McCaffery. The suite provides a central location for resources, such as the company's monitoring services (Business & Client, and Rumors & Leads). The Company Screener leverages Bloomberg Law's financial data, and helps users search and evaluate companies across data points. Lawyers can use the tool to compare companies to competitors, and to assess the financial health of companies.
>>Game On! LexisNexis has launched an online game for law students, called "Think Like a Lawyer," reports Marc Osborn, senior director, communications. "Players are given overviews of actual cases and must identify all of the appropriate legal issues associated with the case as quickly as they can. Points are awarded for speed and accuracy." Top players are ranked according to individual scores and by law schools. Leading the pack, says Osborn, is the University of Florida's Levin College of Law (but of course, by the time you read this, the rankings may have changed).
>>It's About Time: This will surprise absolutely no one: It took only seven hours for Google Maps to become rival Apple's most popular free app Thursday. Hat tip to Jeffrey Brandt, editor of the Pinhawk Law Technology Daily Digest.
>>Wish Lists: As to those aforementioned potlatch ceremonies, we polled a few folks about what technology gift they hoped to unwrap this month. Here are a few responses:
Andrew Adkins III, CIO at Steptoe & Johnston keeps telling his wife, Becky, "that in my next life the most technology I want is a wood burning stove. Other than that, an 800mm Canon IS II under the tree." The Adkins family is headed to "hopefully warm and sunny" San Diego, "to see our new grandson, Dylan Bodhi Adkins."
"The technology gift I would love to unwrap is a digital photo frame with some pictures of the school in Nepal we are helping to build through our work with Room to Read," says Nuix CEO Eddie Sheehy. The company has already raised $75,000+ for the charity's work building schools in developing countries.
Oz Benamram, chief knowledge officer at White & Case, has already received his most coveted presents, tools from fitbit.com. The company offers the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale and other wireless tools to help manage weight and eat better. The Benamram family is staying put in New York City for the holidays. "My 9-year-old son is dancing with the New York City Ballet, in The Nutcracker, so we're grounded."
Barbara "Babs" Deacon, reports that "Santa came early and brought us iPad minis." She's also waiting for her copy of Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker to arrive. Deacon's family will travel from New Jersey to New York City on Christmas Day, for a splendid meal at the Peking Duck House.
Another early bird was Alan Numsuwan, manager at Deloitte Discovery. "My wife and I bought a DSLR camera as our wedding/Christmas gift to ourselves. Now we just need to figure out how to use it!"
Washington, D.C.'s Leigh Issacs, director of records and information governance at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, recently bought a new Samsung Galaxy phone, so she's hoping for "a pretty, blingy cover."
John Shaughnessy, vice president, communications, at Thomson Reuters, will be heading with his family to their "cabin on the top of the Eau Claire chain of lakes, in the wilds of northern Wisconsin. He's hoping for a "vintage Fender Telecaster O.K., so it's analog, it's über-cool!." And at the cabin, he can play it "as loud as I like."
Albert Barsocchini, discovery counsel and director of strategic consulting at NightOwl Discovery, would love to see a Cirrus Vision SF50 single-engine, low-wing, 4-seat, very light jet aircraft under his tree. (Hmmm, that would be a pretty big tree). He would use it to fly to Big Sky Montana, where he will be spending the holidays.
Consultant Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises Inc., is lusting after Swarovski's Crystalline USB Pen in Amethyst. "I gave one as a gift to my friend Karen Massand, president of Litéra, and immediately realized I wanted it back. I am hoping Santa (my husband John) heard me whining and took note!" She and John are staying put during the holidays to enjoy holiday time with children and grandchildren. "But afterwards, we'll enjoy the Eastern Caribbean aboard one of Celebrity's newest ships, the Celebrity Reflection. [Austin lawyer and LTN columnist] Craig Ball will have beaten us to this new ship by two weeks. It figures we're always two steps behind Craig."
Steve Fletcher, CIO at Parker Poe, in Charlotte, N.C., has a big order for Santa. He's asking for "my 2007 IT budget. Those were the days! But it IS getting better ... slowly."
Monica Bay is editor-in-chief of Law Technology News and a member of the California bar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LTNMonicaBay @lawtechnews.