Image: Mr. T in DC
A half-dozen companies in court technology and legal research are among first-time exhibitors at LegalTech New York this month.
New exhibitors are typically young companies, but not always. One company, BEC Legal Systems, formed as Business Equipment Co. in 1943 to refurbish adding machines and entered the legal field in the late 1960s with dictation equipment. The Cincinnati-based company is debuting new versions of its Docket Enterprise (calendaring and docketing) and LegalBar (document formatting) applications, said John Brookbank, vice president of sales and grandson of the company's founder. Brookbank added that the company is now offering software plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and Word.
Thadd Hale, a veteran from Advanced Discovery, is co-founder and chief operating officer of a new company called eDepoze. Advanced is an investor. "eDepoze is basically deposition software that works through an iPad interface. There's a back-end cloud component where all of the exhibits and transcripts sit," Hale said. "This is only used in the physical deposition. It enables you to replicate the paper process." Hale's other co-founder is attorney Shawn Kennedy, formerly of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Another veteran of the Irvine, Calif.-based eDepoze is engineer Rick Russell, previously of AccessData Group.
Leopard Solutions started in 2002 to sell its list of New York-area attorneys to legal recruiters. The company grew and, at LegalTech, is launching its law firm intelligence product called Firmscape. Laura Leopard said her staff evaluates each attorney's profile for accuracy and lets customers perform complex queries, such as which attorneys who joined a particular firm in 2008 have since become partners.
Officials at AppearByPhone and Conexiones could not be reached by press time. The following information is from their websites.
AppearByPhone sells "a service that enables court appearances by phone for attorneys and judges alike." Opened in 1991 for one court, "Our service allows attorneys to appear in court without being physically there for routine, non-evidentiary, pre-trial appearances without disrupting the business of the court. There is no cost to the court, but for a small fee we save you the trouble of traveling to the court for a single appearance, while saving thousands of dollars for your clients," the website states. AppearByPhone's reservations center is in Rushville, Ill.
Conexiones' website reports that "Most of the Latin American case records are not published on court websites. Conexiones.com is [an] on-line judicial information company that allows clients to access Latin-Americans' court records, in digital form, the history and news of their trials. This … can simplify case management and streamline your litigation workflow." Conexiones is based in the Miami area.
Duane Lites, director of litigation support at Jackson Walker, and founder of the popular Litigation Support email discussion list, said eDepoze sounds most appealing to him. "Mainly because most attorneys either have an iPad or are getting an iPad," he said, in Dallas. "They're wanting to do more with it, they're looking for applications they can use with it. Obviously depositions are something they've been doing since the start," he noted. Also, many firms are gradually moving toward hosted services, he added.
Lites said that, at LegalTech, he hopes to narrow his list of hosted e-discovery companies. Jackson Walker's e-discovery data is growing too rapidly to manage in-house, he said. "When we first started doing [e-discovery] four years ago, it was manageable. Now it's unmanageable. It's too big," he said. "When our systems start to be bigger than the firm's IT systems, it becomes a problem."