For several years I regularly wrote “Roundup” posts where I briefly covered several unrelated topics. Until now, Twitter has substituted for those original posts – my Roundups now are selected Tweets. I now see that – perish the thought – 140 characters does not always suffice. So I revert to my original format and cover here working virtually, a new contract drafting service, the digital v. analog, and the iPad. 

Working Virtually

Trends: The Death of the Office (as we know it) in Contract Magazine (May 2010, targets professional designers and architects), offers a concise overview of the trends and impacts of professionals being able to work from any locations. “Virtual work enables mobility within and outside the office ‘box.’.. the rise of computer networks means that computers are no longer just facilitating individual virtual work, they are facilitating virtual collaboration… enabling people to meaningfully connect across geographies and time zones in ways that actually enhance individual and group productivity.”

The short article is worth reading and then considering why BigLaw seems immune to these trends. I often wonder what law firms would be like if the burden of proof were on the advocates of the status quo.

New Contract Drafting Service

Ken Adams of Adams Drafting has partnered with “Business Integrity, developer of ContractExpress document-assembly software, to develop Koncision Contract Automation, an online subscription-based service that will make available to lawyers document-assembly templates for business contracts.” Ken is the leading thinker about drafting clear contracts; Business Integreiy is a leading document assembly developer. The results should be interesting and very useful.

Read Ken’s Koncision Contract Automation blog post for details. In a post about features, he notes he will use KIIAC software “to help make sense of the precedent contracts that we’ll be reviewing.” Richard Susskind discusses standardizing law practice in his book, The End of Lawyers?. This is a concrete step in that direction.

Lessons from ILTA: The Digital v. The Analog

I was at the Aria Resort in Vegas last week for the annual International Legal Technology Association conference. I live blogged a couple of sessions and you can find many other blogs and Tweets about it. My focus here is the venue itself and the lessons I learned about digital versus analog.

I had looked forward to the Aria’s high tech rooms – you can see a video of the touch screen control. Pleasant anticipation turned to frustration as I used the room. Monica Bay, editor of Law Technology News, describes the problem at her blog the Commonscold: Fiat Lux. In sum, give us back regular old light switches.

Several lessons come to mind: Just because you can automate something, doesn’t mean you should. If you are a touch typist, think about switching from a QWERTY keyboard to a different lay-out. Now you have an idea of the adjustment required. Sometimes it pays to stick with the installed base; maybe light switches are as outmoded as QWERTY but we all know how they work. We need to think carefully about the choosing between electronic and mechanical and between digital and analog. Just because you can convert doesn’t mean you should.

Thoughts on the iPad

I had a personal mission at ILTA – talk to my friends (fanatics?) who have iPads to see if I should get one. After several conversations, I decided I am not ready for one. I create a lot of content at a keyboard using Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and MS Word – this requires the full-powered apps and a normal size keyboard. My iPad-using friends consume content more than they create it. Yes, I know screen typing works; indeed, one friend reports typing almost as fast on the virtual keyboard as on a real keyboard. But she mainly types to take notes and does not need a fat app. I realized that even if I got an iPad, I’d bring my PC with me for almost all travel. I suppose you could say this is sticking with the mechanical / analog over the electronic / digital. Hold the hate mail and leave a constructive comment if you disagree with where I come out.