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This past spring, Marty Metz took a call from Adam Bendell. The two men are members of the close-knit community of legal technologists, so the call was not surprising, but the content was. Bendell told Metz that he wanted to leave a prominent post at Los Angeles’s Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to join Metz’s fledgling, San Francisco-based SV Technology Inc. Recalls Metz: “I was floored. And very flattered.” Metz, SV’s chief executive, appointed Bendell president in July. Bendell will try to help spread SV’s leading product, LawPort, to the nation’s biggest law firms, a market he knows well. Bendell spent four years at Gibson Dunn practicing law and eight years as a legal technologist. “I made the move because LawPort seemed very compelling,” Bendell says. “I felt I had to be a part of it.” “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.” Metz himself left Brobeck as chief technology officer in May 1999 to found SV. His goal was to create a portal that links a lawyer to everything contained in a firm’s intranet and extranets: time-and-billing information; litigation support documents; centrally stored research materials; and working documents. “LawPort can integrate all of a firm’s existing products onto one screen, which becomes an attorney’s primary interface,” Metz says. There are other vendors offering competing products, notably Hummingbird Communications Ltd. and Plumtree Software. But there is only one Marty Metz to go around. “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. In January, Perkins Coie became the first firm to put LawPort in place. Others have followed: Gibson Dunn; Los Angeles’s Munger, Tolles & Olsen; Palo Alto, Calif.’s Cooley Godward; New York’s Brown & Wood; and Winston-Salem, N.C.’s Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. “The first thing LawPort does is open a window into a firm’s data,” explains 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.” Bendell says that he wasn’t dying to leave Gibson Dunn, but that staying put presented its own problems. “It can be difficult for a lawyer-technologist to find a comfortable home in a law firm,” he says. “By design, these positions straddle the fence between lawyers and technologists.” SV has 15 employees. But it hopes to double that number by year’s end. Most will continue to toil in San Francisco, but Bendell’s team will barnstorm the country, teaching firms how to make good use of his favorite product.

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