Technology can solve many practical problems we face as lawyers if we only will think about the problem and apply technology in innovative ways. This was recently brought home to me in a serendipitous conversation with a lawyer and an expert.

For many years, I was a mass tort lawyer, often defending cases involving a single incident with multiple injuries, property damage and fatalities.  A catastrophic fire. A deadly building collapse. A massive explosion.

In most cases, the entities who end up being defendants in the resulting litigation rarely know of their involvement or potential involvement until months or even years after the event occurs. The practical result: those entities do not have the opportunity to have their experts inspect the scene and do a critical scene evaluation while the evidence is fresh and the least disturbed.
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I recently had the opportunity to try out and use an IPEVO VZ-X Wireless, HDMI & USB 8MP Document Camera. Document cameras are the overhead projectors of today. They enable you to show on your computer screen or through a projector a real-time image of whatever on which you focus the camera. With apps, you can then generally annotate the image, draw on it, or even add text.
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The giant legal services provider, LexisNexis and Knowable, one of the leaders in enterprise contract intelligence, today announced that they have entered into an joint venture agreement. Knowable was spun off from Axiom Global Inc. in February 2019. Mark Harris and Alec Guettel, Axiom’s co-founders, will lead Knowable as CEO and CFO respectively.

Knowable provides machine-learning enabled contract data analytics and related contract intelligence solutions. Knowable’s products allow their corporate clients to peer deeply into the contract relationships and gain greater understandings of their business activities, risks, and values. Knowable essentially converts the massive amount of non-structured data in its clients’ contracts that are often in non searchable PDF format and which frequently contain arcane and non standardized prose. By converting this language into structured data, Knowable helps its clients understand the vast amount of information in their contracts, providing a global view of risks, obligations, entitlements and compliance. It can also enlighten exposures created by contracts as well as businesses opportunities, says Harris.


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Thomson Reuters and WestLaw today announced the release of an enhanced legal research platform called Quick Check as part of their WestLaw Edge suite of products. Quick Check uses sophisticated algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning to search and find better and more relevant cites and authorities to use in legal writing.

It works like this: you upload your document securely into the WestLaw Edge cloud and Quick Check then searches for and provides citations and authorities that you did not include. It arranges these by various headings and into a relevancy hierarchy. It also will tell you whether the citations you have used are troublesome or perhaps not totally on the mark, perhaps triggering some more thought about those citations. According to WestLaw, Quick Check will find highly relevant authority, secondary sources and other related briefs and memoranda to ensure that its customers find what they might have otherwise missed. It will also prepare a Table of Authorities, a pain in the ass portion of any brief no matter who does it.
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I often get asked by lawyers: what legal tech should I purchase and, relatedly, how in the hell can I know what I need to know about tech and keep up with it. It’s an ongoing source of frustration: lawyers constantly hear they need to be tech savvy but are clueless how to get there.

That’s why I really like a new book by Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke entitled Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide. I’ve known Sharon and John for several years through the ABA’s Law Practice Division and admire and respect their knowledge about legal tech and process, so I was excited to see that they put their knowledge on paper for all to access.


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Thomson Reuters today announced a new legal workflow solution that it claims will enable firms to better plan, manage and execute legal matters with enhanced data and data analytics. A cloud-based system, Thomson Reuters PanoramicTM is built on TR’s Practical Law’s legal guidance platform and its 3E financial management system to better connect the front office of a law firm—where the legal work is handled—to the back office—where law firm financials are monitored and analyzed.

TR says Panoramic is specifically directed toward large and mid sized firms although it’s primary beneficiaries in my opinion may turn out to be the more innovative mid size firms (the AmLaw firms in the 100-200 range) who lack the resources and systems of some of the very large firms. As I have previously noted, it is, in fact, these mid size firms that will be most under threat in today’s changing legal marketplace. But because of their generally reduced cost structures and overhead, some of these firms, those that choose to distinguish themselves in the market, also have a big upside potential. And tools like Panoramic, if vigorously adopted (which is an if, as discussed below), could enable this capitalization.
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So, as promised in my general post about Legalweek last week, here are my thoughts about the three most innovative and relevant products I saw at this year’s Conference (plus one).

As I said before, none of the three is groundbreaking in and of themselves. None will change the way we fundamentally practice. But taken together and added to any number of other products that are designed to address particular pain points, they collectively move the needle in various ways from efficiency to life balance. This is what good product developers do: they find a problem and try to solve it. Forget saving the world.
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One of the benefits from being a blogger and writer is opportunities to attend media events and look at products sooner than perhaps  others get to. One prime example of this is the Consumer Electronics Show that is going on this week. CES, as it likes to be called, is one of the biggest trade shows and occupies almost all of Las Vegas for the better part of a week. It boasts 4500 exhibitors and some 185,000 attendees. So it can be kind of daunting.

I’ve been coming now for several years and one reason I like it is that it’s outside the LegalTech realm. Different ways of thinking and talking about tech from legal that is refreshing and thought provoking.
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Should You Consider the Surface Go?

Earlier this year, Microsoft came out with a miniature version of its workhorse Surface Pro. The smaller version, called the Surface Go has a 10 inch display with a 1800 x 1200 display ratio and comes in various configurations and memory. Just like the Pro, you have to pay extra for the keyboard and pen that goes with it.
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Today was yet another big Apple Event to announce new products. This one was held interesting enough in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Academy of Music instead of in California which is where Apple typically holds it announcements. The show opened with a short video ironically extolling New York (“ I happen to like New York”) instead of Brooklyn; I assume Apple does know the difference. In any event, the video was pretty well made and definitely one of the cooler things Apple has done recently.

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