In this Roundup: a report on success at working virtually, more on the rise of e-discovery practices at large firms, a comment on why software companies consolidate but service companies do not, a new directory of legal blogs, and a legal tech pioneer moves to government service. 

Working Virtually
Change of venue: Law profession is beginning to adjust to a diverse work force (Wichita Business Journal, 28 Dec 07) describes the success of a couple of lawyers from smaller firms that are succeeding in working virtually. My sense though is that resistance continues to run high. Over the holidays, I talked to a partner from a large, DC-based firm. She reports that her 500+ lawyer firm frowns on working virtually though one big rainmaker works from a mountain retreat. Rainmakers frequently bend rules; firms should institutionalize practices for a flexible workplace, including working virtually.

My mid-2007 article 4 Ways an eDiscovery Attorney Can Make Your Firm More Successful discusses the rise of specialized EDD lawyers. The trend appears to continue. Litigation Technology: An Emerging Discipline And An Invaluable Service To The Firm And Its Clients (Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Dec 2007) interviews Mollie C. Nichols of Goodwin Procter LLP, who is a lawyer and Director of Litigation Technology. She supervises 30 technology specialists.

The Difference Between Software and Services
Aaref A. Hilaly, the President and CEO of Clearwell Systems, Inc. wrote two good posts at the company’s blog. In Top E-Discovery Software Vendors, he compares two recent surveys of top EDD vendors (Socha-Gelbman and Gartner). I disagree with his conclusions (as does George Socha) but the lists are a helpful resource and side-by-side comparison. More interesting, however, is his follow-up post on software versus services, in which he argues that, over time, a handful of software vendors come to dominate any given market. The biggest reason: “in software there are increasing returns to scale which do not exist for service providers. The more companies that use a particular software product, the better that product becomes.” Anyone care to bet on the e-discovery software vendors? How about enterprise content life cycle management software?

The ABA Journal now offers a directory of legal blogs organized by category, author type, region, and law school. I could not find inclusion or exclusion criteria. The Journal also nominated its top 100 blawgs in the December issue in ABA Journal Blawg 100.

The ABA has no monopoly on awards. Long time blogger and legal technology consultant Dennis Kennedy lists his annual top blawg awards in The 2007 Blawggies: Dennis Kennedy’s Best Law-related Blogging Awards

Australian Legal Tech Star Has a New Role

Many legal technology professionals have probably met Liz Broderick, formerly a partner at Blake Dawson, one of the top Australian law firms. Liz pioneered developing a practice group around legal technology, creating several ground-breaking legal tech products, including CD-ROM-based content (pre-Internet), a web-based interactive advisory system, and online compliance training. She attended the ILTA annual conference in Orlando last August; this was not the first time she came to the US for ILTA or the Legal Tech show in NYC. Liz has also tirelessly pursued work-life balance; this work was recognized in the Australian government naming her as the the Sex Discrimination Secretary. Her move to this position has received coverage in Australia: Gender Agenda for Broderick (Lawyers Weekly, 6 Dec 07) and Profile: Liz Broderick (Sydney Morning Herald, 7 Nov 07).