I spent most of this week at Legal Tech New York. E-discovery dominated and is amply covered elsewhere. I’ll report here on a few products that caught my eye. Plus the most important legal news of the week had little to do with LTNY. 

Contract Management. Corporations continue to have an opportunity to improve how they manage contracts. I looked at two contracts software companies exhibiting at LTNY. Upside Software is a long-established and leading contract management system provider. Its software helps companies manage “contract creation and negotiation, performance, compliance and risk management, amendment and renewal processing, and event management.” Seal Software discovers (finds) contracts by spidering corporate storage locations. It also automatically extracts key terms and fields from any contract it finds. Its affiliated Dolphin Contract Manager then helps manage the full contract lifecycle. Contract management software companies typically target corporations but I’ve long suggested that forward-thinking law firms have an opportunity to create value for clients by taking a more active role in helping clients manage contracts.

Project Management. Legal project management is hot. So I was pleased to spend time with ERM Legal Solutions, whose software offers a very systematic approach to managing complex projects. The company has pilots with some large law firms. Stay tuned for a deeper dive on this product.

Process Improvement and Control. Managing projects is one thing, improving and automating a process another. Onit helps “business and legal teams become more efficient at what they do so they can streamline operations, control costs, gain visibility into projects and reduce company risk. Solving everyday problems with simple solutions is what we do.” Their software makes it easy to automate commons processes.

News Beyond LTNY. In the US, on Tuesday, a press release announced that Nixon Peabody Establishes Preferred Vendor Relationship with Pangea3. Arguably, this is bigger news than anything announced at Legal Tech. To my knowledge, this is the first large US law firm to announce publicly it is working with a legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider for document review. Across the pond, UK legal reform, which just went live, yielded a noteworthy transaction: publicly-traded Australian law firm Slater & Gordon will acquire UK law firm Russell Jones & Walker. Both firms focus on the consumer market; nonetheless, this deal bears watching for its broader implications on the global legal market. For an excellent analysis of the deal, see Slater & Gordon and Russell Jones & Walker tie up confirms law firms as business-savvy innovators, not ‘merge or die’ desperadoes by Edge International consultants Sean Larken and Chris Bull.