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One day this past spring, Marty Metz, the CEO of San Francisco-based SV Technology Inc., received a phone call from Adam Bendell, the chief technology strategist at Los Angeles-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. According to Metz, Bendell said that he thought SV had the first group of legal technologists who truly understood what big firm lawyers were looking for. Then came the zinger. “He said he wanted to work for us,” recalls Metz. “I was floored. And very flattered.” Glad to oblige, SV named Bendell its president earlier this month. The new arrangement gives Bendell an opportunity to help spread SV’s leading product, LawPort, to the nation’s biggest law firms. The deal also brings SV someone experienced in the legal technology world. Bendell spent four years at Gibson Dunn practicing law and eight years working full time on technology strategies for the firm. “This is a huge coup for Marty and SV,” says Jeff Rovner, the director of knowledge management at San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. “Adam’s a bright guy and a keen observer of what goes on in the legal technology world. He’ll add quite a bit to Marty’s team.” Metz has been building SV’s team since founding the company in May 1999. Before that, he spent three years as Brobeck’s chief technology officer. Metz’s goal with LawPort is to create a singular desktop-based portal that links a lawyer to everything contained in a firm’s intranet and extranets. That is, LawPort enables a user to, say, view time-and-billing information; access litigation support documents; locate centrally stored research materials; and send documents to clients, all through one centralized place on the desktop. In Metz’s words, “LawPort can integrate all of a firm’s existing products onto one screen, which becomes an attorney’s primary interface.” If it sounds, well, not exactly earth-shattering, that’s because it’s not. After all, other products (like ELF Technologies’ Serengeti platform) purport to offer lawyers the same thing — an easy-to-use, integrated one-stop access center. But many firms are going with LawPort, largely because Marty Metz’s name is attached to it. “Marty’s background gave us a lot of confidence and was a big part of the reason we went with LawPort,” says Dina Pavlis, a project manager at Seattle’s Perkins Coie, which, in January, became the first firm to pilot the platform. According to Pavlis, LawPort has made the firm’s intranet something that most lawyers check regularly. “It hasn’t happened overnight, but it’s certainly enabled us to rely more and more on our intranet,” she says. “Marty Metz knows this world as well as anyone,” adds the information technology director at a large West Coast firm. “I’d look at anything that Marty Metz produced.” Others apparently agree. In just over seven months, SV has amassed an impressive list of subscribing firms. The list includes Gibson Dunn; Los Angeles-based Munger, Tolles & Olsen; Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward; New York’s Brown & Wood; and Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. And it will largely be Bendell’s job to ensure that these firms stay happy with LawPort. At the outset, he’ll handle “front end” issues for the company, which means he’ll spend a lot of time walking clients through their implementations and showing them how to use the product most efficiently. The “back end” work, which largely involves making the product compatible with existing platforms, will continue to be overseen by Mr. Metz and his 15 employees in San Francisco. “The first thing LawPort does is open a window into a firm’s data,” explains Mr. Bendell, “but very quickly that firm needs to know how to organize that data. Showing them how will be a big part of my job.” Which won’t be a huge departure from how he spent the past eight years at Gibson Dunn. There, he focused his time on selecting technology platforms for the firm and on helping the firm’s lawyers integrate technology into their practices. He maintains he wasn’t dying to leave Gibson Dunn, although he acknowledges the firm didn’t always know how to treat him. “It can be difficult for a lawyer- technologist to find a comfortable home in a law firm,” he concedes. “By design, these positions straddle the fence between lawyers and technologists.” Bendell says that an effective legal technologist manages to stay fairly centered between the two camps. “Truth be told, over the years I’ve probably veered from side to side too much.” Still, he maintains that the opportunity at SV, not any discontent at Gibson Dunn, led him to make the jump. “I made the move because LawPort seemed very compelling,” he says. “I felt I had to be a part of it.” For more information on SV Technology’s employees and its platforms, visit the company’s Web site, which is located at www.svtechnology.com.

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