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A day at the LegalTech Show in New York is a little bit like a day at a county fair. A lot of booths, a lot of free food and that feeling of exhaustion at the end. Now, ASPs are hardly as cool as win-the-goldfish games, but the geeked-out vendors are just about as zealous to get you to visit. This year’s show — which is owned by American Lawyer Media, the parent company of the National Law Journal — was cluttered with product-happy vendors, and even if the slump in the Web market has claimed a few victims, the big names in legal technology are still around. [Editor's note: American Lawyer Media is affiliated with law.com.] Although many of these companies don’t have the dot-com suffix in their name, they are sliding into Internet-based applications. Web-based document repositories were the talk of last year’s show. It’s unclear how many are lucrative businesses. So this year I took a look at a more unlikely field for Internet invasion: transcript management. LiveNote Technologies and LegalSpan are showing off real-time trial collaboration via the Internet. Their programs, complete with real-time everything, can be helpful tools for winning in court. Basically, the idea is that a lawyer at a desk in New York can help out a lawyer in a deposition in California, so long as the court reporter is also wired. (This is only permissible in some jurisdictions.) With LiveNote, the lawyer in New York gets a live transcript from her peers in a deposition room in California. Meanwhile, she searches previous testimony or evidence in search of contradictions. She highlights a passage, and sends it via instant messenger to the courtroom attorney. Pretty cool. LegalSpan’s suite also has Internet capabilities. It works with Attend, a Web-based program. It will let you see a live-video version of a deposition and a real-time transcript. Parties in different places then can chat and send markups of the transcript. Attend had been a traditional software product but is now also available as a Web application. Alex Goth, operations manager at inData Corp., an affiliate company, says that the service works best with Summation. Don’t forget about realLegal.com Inc., which has been in the transcript ballgame longer than just about anyone else. It has just unveiled a Web-based transcript manager, called depoStream. [Editor's Note: realLegal is owned by law.com.] Another company hoping to pick up law firms is Plumtree Software Inc., which creates My Yahoo-like personalized portals. It will keep a basic page that links to your favorite Web sites, calendar, billing information and document management system. It is easy to use and will look familiar to anyone who has surfed the Web twice. You can fine-tune the graphics and content according to your own wants and whims. Plumtree has picked up six legal customers, including San Francisco’s Morrison & Foerster, in the past year. Now it is joining hands with Lexis-Nexis Group, West Group, Elite Information Group Inc. and Interface Software Inc. to resell its product. Expert Ease Software announced the release of Deal Proof 3.0 (yes, there was no 2.0, but who’s counting?). Calling the product a proofreading tool is a little like calling the gourmet heaven Zabar’s a grocery store. It’s a way cool tool that now works for litigators too, not just deal lawyers. [Editor's Note: American Lawyer Media, an affiliate of law.com, has a small equity stake in Expert Ease.] Also at the show, Cole Valley Software, a San Francisco-based contact software company, announced that it had bought former competitor Metz Phones. Together, the firms made up 4 percent of the contact software market of the top 100 firms, according to Am Law Tech’s annual survey. That’s perhaps why Cole Valley Chief Executive Jeff Reade called his ContactMe and MarketEase programs the “best kept secret in the legal market.” He’s probably hoping not to keep it that way. Someone else who is just about to spill a secret is Chris Kruse of Case Central. The giant document repository company says that it is just about to announce a tool for the transactional market. He won’t let on what it is. Stay tuned.

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