In this roundup: cost savings in e-disccovery, an argument against using decision trees for litigation risk analysis; how White & Case promotes working virtually; the first legal market “mashup”; and more bad proposed bar rules. 

E-Discovery (EED)
E-Mail Analytics Eases Burden of Discovery in (10/3/06) discusses the value of software to review e-mail in discovery. A comment toward the end indicates the cost savings possible: “Using e-mail analytics can pay off in spades for companies that deal with lots of litigation. For example, ‘Year to date, Lehman Brothers’ legal spend is down 21 percent, and they’re averaging a 69 percent savings using (our software) versus a traditional law-firm managed review’ says Michael Korch, product marketing manager of Attenex.” Numbers like that should get the attention of GC. The article lists some but not all available products; for example, I noticed that Cataphora was not mentioned.

Decision Trees
Quantitative Techniques for Case Evaluation and Their Limitations by Louis M. Solomon in Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (Oct 2006) suggests that litigation risk analysis using decision trees is not always appropriate because it sometimes is impossible to quantify all of the variables. Perhaps true, but given how infrequently decision trees are used, I’d rather see articles extolling their virtues!

Working Virtually
At least one law firm seems to get the message that working virtually benefits both the firm and lawyers. Creating Win-Win Flexible Work Arrangements in (10/4/06) describes White & Case’s approach to fostering a flexible work environment: “Employers recognize that giving employees the flexibility to balance work and personal obligations can help increase the retention of experienced and valuable staff, assist in recruiting and diversity efforts, boost employee loyalty, productivity and collegiality, and enhance overall corporate image.” Telecommuting regularly is an option at W&C. The article describes organizational and cultural steps required to support flexible work environments.

Legal Tech Mashup
Web 2.0 has been in the news a lot. Mashups a bit less so. A Mashup combines data and services from multiple sources. Mashups to Re-Map the Legal Tech Market? in (Oct 10, 2006) describes what is likely the first legal tech Google mashup: combining matter management data with Google maps to show the geographic distribution of cases. The article notes that other potentially useful legal apps of map mashups include claims tracking and fraud detection. I think that there is potential for law firm marketers to mashup their contact data with Google maps to better understand the actual geographic distribution of their key clients.

Will Law Firm Blogs Be Regulated as Advertising? reports that “New York is reviewing its lawyer advertising rules, and some of the proposed changes are making bloggers nervous. In trying to formulate rules to encompass everything from print ads to Internet pop-ups, a group of presiding justices last spring broadened its rules on lawyer advertising. The state has delayed implementation of any changes until after a comment period, which was extended last month. The changes would pertain not only to New York firms but, significantly, to out-of-state attorneys advertising in New York.” My personal editorial opinion: this is another example of ill-advised “consumer protection.” Isn’t the right question: “Do lawyer blogs help or harm consumers on balance.” My guess is that far more are helped than are hurt. Regulators ought to have empirical data to support proposed new regs and then a transparent method by which they weigh benefits, harms, and risks.