Software Technology

A Message To Legal Tech: 4 Signs Winter Is Coming
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After a couple of record breaking months during the Hottest Summer in Legal Tech,  I believe winter is upon us and here’s why.

#1 Lots of Legal, Little Tech

While Legal Startup numbers look spectacular, the reality is that the quality of startups is more of the same. Some geographies are doing better than others (see #4). However, the majority of registering startups are marketplaces, solo’s or niche practices that use simple & little tech. As the chart below illustrates, this year started very encouragingly. In January and February, Tech was winning. Yet in the heat of summer, the lead started to melt away. Clever company names will not disguise the fact, it is not tech you’re selling, it is just legal. This September we passed 40 again but don’t rejoice: since legal tech life should begin at 40.

#2 Lacking Creativity

There is only so much spin and juice one can put on “Uber for legal” before you start smelling the rot. So I like to give a nod to Paper, who aims to automate the legal workflow associated with creating your business. By putting the legal flow in a UI instead of documents and making lawyers an “In-App” purchase. They also launched their site with an SSL Certificate or more commonly known as HTTPS. I’m not a security expert but I do feel more confident when sites have https. This makes Paper very rare on Angellist and I’m hoping to see more of them.

#3 Startup Winter

Angellist is preparing for winter because of a decelerating startup scene. They are not alone as Y Combinator, the world largest incubator, is also changing strategies. Both CB Insights (image below) and Mattermark are warning of a slowdown.  So I’m a bit bemused by the fact Legal is jumping on the accelerator. It takes, at best, 4 years for a business to find traction and 5 to flourish or exit. Moreover, if your startup is selling to the legal professionals market beware. Law firms have notoriously long sales cycles and this will only become more fickle as market pressures mount on them.

winter-cbinsightsSo when the Pro’s pause, Legal steps on the gas. And that approach may work but I do see the benefits of breaking so bear with me..

***Mr. Robot Spoiler Alert***

While my head is still reeling from Mr. Robot season 2 finale, I captured an important message dubbed “Python Approach“. One of the characters explains that a python’s primary attacking tactic is to wait for its prey to come. Patiently tracking it over long periods of time and snapping it up when the time is right. As Dom states, Pythons can go up to a year without food.

******

In short, startups should not expect Capital to be heading their way, so it’s time to bootstrap and focus on the other C: Customers. Choose them well.

#4 A Bright Spot

There are bright spots, as seen in this video: Where do Legal Startups come from? In October, I’ll publish more stats so here’s a preview: it seems the rest of the world is picking up the slack and I see quality legal startups emerging from Asia and Africa. Diversity & necessity may be better drivers for quality startups than venture capital or accelerators.

Meet Bondrew: Our Future ‘Freestyle’ Lawyer
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Freestyle Chess is a competition between humans, who are allowed, like in correspondence chess, to make use of any technical support for selecting their moves. Basically it’s an interplay between human intuition and computer calculating power to arrive at the best course of action. What if we had such advance algorithms similar to the chess paradigm, how would these system assist lawyers in picking legal strategies? And who would likely use them?

Freestyle
I’ve always been intrigued by the question how lawyers would use technology in the future. This interesting view of the future which mentioned the freestyle chess analogy reminded me once again: the future is already here, it’s just in camouflage. But to really understand the future of the legal profession I’d first needed a profile of a human (Who) using this advance technology and then look at the technology (What). I’ll will restrain myself predicting When this might happen.

Bondrew
Bondrew grew up somewhere in South America and has traveled the world. He is still always on the go and has never touched a desktop computer or worked in a traditional office. He received his law degree while attending an Technology & Law e-Curriculumof two years by following courses via MOOC* on his smartphone. He has never met his professors in person, yet managed to graduated “top of his class”. He majored in Advance Legal Networking which teaches the ability to leverage technology, peers, digital and tangible sources for legal solutions. He also passed the Litigation Predictions Bar** which automatically makes him eligible to litigate in all online jurisdictions***.

Future
He is not a lawyer in the traditional sense by any stretch but a trader and trafficker of legal information, in short a law information broker in a modern sense. He is adept at leveraging sources for information with technology and thus adds value to his legal practice. He’s able to scan the legal needs, deficiencies and risks of his clients and propose solutions in a matter of milliseconds. By continuously running simulations andquantitative analysis on different legal scenarios, he is able to adapt, predict and communicate his legal support in real time to clients.

Tools
Now if this is a possible future, which tools would he need? I’m hoping he would use the following:

  1. Zepp to network and connect legal sources to legal needs,
  2. Desh to update his legal practice and documents,
  3. Monocle for researching purposes,
  4. im·merse to assist with scanning and intake of new clients and predicting outcomes.

I’m wondering what Bondrew does in his spare time because he spends just 28 hours a week managing and growing his practice…

*A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MIT, Stanford among many other esteem universities around world deliver them. read more here: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

**Litigation Predictions Bar: by running digital simulations on actual and anticipated opposing counsel arguments one can predict in a non-jury civil law system, possible outcomes. It is a technique of preventing litigation and refining agreements. However, similar to chess, you’re also able to run actual litigation proceedings and be judged or settle them.

***I admit, it’s easy to fantasize about ODR but as a recovering lawyer it’s still hard to imagine a border less legal market.

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CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex
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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has taken root. In 2012, 38% of CIO’s expected to support personal devices. Now 82% of companies allow it and it’s posing new challenges for IT because along with these devices come a lot of new services in apps. All beguile you into accepting a new habit and immerse you. This has giving rise to the ‘Connect Your Own Service’ (CYOS) trend and its unintended consequences: a world more complex and disconnected which threatens to submerge you. Here’s why:

A Fog of Apps 
A glimpse into my computer life 2007-2013 :

  • I have downloaded over 900 apps in 6 years, a trend likely to accelerate due to the lowering prices of apps. Imagine doing this on a PC without running into a nasty virus and a tremendous bill.
  • I have journeyed through multiple operating systems and migrated from desktop to mobile.
  • I have moved most of my information into the cloud and choose software based on their cloud support and mobile clone.
  • I took approximately 7800 pictures and videos. The only category my wife beats me hands down.
  • Privately I’ve stop emailing anyone under the age of 70 and
  • I have shared more with my inner circle between the ages 14 and 70 than at any moment in our lives.

I have undoubtedly generated more data personally and professionally and…it’s liberating yet suffocating.

Say my name!
Each app or service I use will most likely ask me who I am. I will either have to remember my name(?!) from a previous encounter or make up a new and even sillier name. And then comes the dreaded password requirement which needs to be so strong its impossible to remember. I know there’s an app for that but my parents already gave me a name at birth and happily counted 10 little passwords. One company has smartly recognized this fact and hopefully I’ll try it this Christmas. Even though it isn’t infallible and can be hacked by my 4 year old, it’s far better than remembering 900 passcodes which are unbreakable with brute force attacks by global distributed networks. As beautifully presented in this dynamic visualization I suspect no company will ever be entirely safe from breaches.

A Forest of Data
Now the above doesn’t bother me as much as the disconnect between these services by creating silos. In previous posts I’ve mentioned losing information much to my chagrin. I’m already working on solving the bridge of cut, copy and paste and integrating tasks in a single workflow. But ultimately my aim is to dwindle the number of 900 apps. The disparate manner and ambition each service exhibit to solve my problem while struggling to incorporate my larger environment concerns me. Because I find they mostly ignore the context and intent I might have in harvesting and handling all my data and associated analytics.

If This Then What?
This problem has not gone unnoticed nor unexploited by others as even legal professionals have wandered into the cloud with Dropbox (58%), Google Docs (43%) and Evernote (23%). This is also reflected in their use of popular productivity mobile apps. However, these services only store my information but do not connect to my workflow. Moreover, they most likely ignore the intent of legal professionals. Now in order to get a handle on this divergence I starting mapping out my own information network and how it all connects based on how I use it. And then visualized my intent as a legal professional.

 

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Nowadays most services support some connections while some purposely block each other. I used RSS trickery or just simply emailing the service to connect my information. Lately I’m able to use smarter services that ‘cook up’ better connections. IFTTT is such a service which use “recipes” to help me reconnect. Even notable publishers like the NY Times have been getting in on the action. Its getting better but its less than ideal so my search continues.

 

cyos2As featured in DESH I would imagine creating rules such as: IF I receive news on Copyright Transfers I would

  • THEN save it to Monocle OR
  • THEN add a reminder in Zepp to email my client. OR
  • THEN update documents.

 

cyos3I have spend the first 26 years of my life learning, I’ve noticed spending the rest struggling to keep up with all I have learned. The internet serves to be an engine of convenience by connecting not diverging and we should continue to support that goal.

When Does A Legal Service Add Value? [Infographic]
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 Last week the esteemed Washington Post was sold for a fraction of what Facebook paidfor Instagram, and also a fraction of what Yahoo paid for Tumblr. A reminder that the value of this prestigious 135 year old institution of journalistic expertise is in stark contrast to current internet-first content aggregators. That content served up by an extensive community is worth more than when it is provided by a set of hand-picked experts.

When numbers do not add up

As one legal blogger stated: “The logic of economic value has changed forever”. So my question is: what is the value of traditional legal services? When does a product provide value to customers? And how to measure it?

To help answer these questions I delved into the meaning of value and specifically what value is for a consumer of legal services. One simple answer I heard during a lively discussion on the subject of new versus old legal business models: Does the product generate more value for the consumer that it cost to acquire it? To find out I took two low-end and two high-end legal service examples which many see as a disruption to the establishment and analyzed their value.

Apples & Oranges

For this exercise I looked at four services which by the very nature of their a product make them different:

Legalzoom & Rocket Lawyer

It’s reported that Legalzoom would be #163 on the AmLaw 200 based on its generated revenue. Similar to Rocket Lawyer, its end product is legal documents, which are supplied by a community of legal professionals. Both provide a platform for the legal community to interact with consumers to provide legal services. You may read more here on both their effects as branded networks.

Axiom Law & Legal Force

Axiom has been characterized as a project , a mysterious animal in the legal market which is pondering its own IPO. With a complex set of services it accommodates both small and large deals. Based on its revenue I assume its ranking would be similar to Legalzoom. LegalForce also seems a fairy tale that doesn’t fit the legal market reality. They claim to have filed more trademarks than any other entity in the world and add clients at a blistering pace. Besides their two impressive legal search engines LegalForce recently designed a unique kind of retail stores to augment their online service.

The Quadrant of Value

Based on the services above I distilled 4 elements which seemed essential to their success and looked at the amount available in each:

  • expertise: the amount of legal knowledge capital captured within the service;

  • discovery: the way the knowledge capital is made available in analog (e.g. books) or digital (search portals, workflow etc) format;

  • technology: dependence of these services on technology such as cloud, algorithms etc to augment the knowledge capital;

  • community: the size of the community engaged to increase the knowledge capital.

Specific numbers would in any case still make it arbitrary exploration so I used my honest judgement weighing each element per service based on reviews, comments and articles I could gather.

For example a book on a specific legal subject would be heavy on expertise but light on discovery due to lack of more advance discovery mechanisms that go beyond the table of contents or index. While a workflow tool might hide the expertise with technology and hamper simple browsing of it. In exchange, a workflow or automation tool would deliver a more consistent but maybe less personalized end result.

So the goal of this exercise is to visualize how traditional legal services stack up against technology first legal services (and give me an excuse to dabble with infographics).

My lesson from this exercise is that a lot of expertise without technology (e.g. book) might have less value than a technology first service (workflow tool). Then again, a workflow or automation tool may have too much technology going for it to expose the expertise which is still valuable in solving unique cases. I also suspect that services like Axiom Law use technology to continuously calibrate their elements based on what’s needed to help their clients. Thus making it more valuable. Finally, the size of the engaged community will boost value of a service exponentially as opposed to a limited set of experts (Washington Post effect).

Adrift

Many lawyers find themselves adrift in this market, in search of a purpose: What value do we provide? Legal services shift from lawyer to non-lawyer providers supported by the changing mindsets about the value of legal products. In turn these new legal service providers invest heavily in technology. Their organizational structure is also very different from traditional law firms. Although under regulation these parties are not allowed to dispense formal legal counsel, they seem to grasp a large portion of the work.

Traditional services would benefit greatly by boosting their technology expertise. Not only because it is required by the industry and clients demand it*. Not even because workflow tools and other software aids increase efficiency. Simply because an expertise in technology will boost value for their clients more than the legal expertise. In addition the sale of the Washington Post demonstrated: the value is not always derived from the number of experts on staff or the legacy of the institution but also by leveraging of the crowds with technology.

I believe more models will arise because the industry is still in transition but now is the time to hack instead of attack.

*Note: I read somewhere that a General Counsel requires lawyers to take a technology aptitude test as part of the procurement process. Unfortunately, I lost the article. The fact that I’m losing stuff I will tackle with Monocle.

Value-of-a-Legal-Service

DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense
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Lately, I’ve been intrigue by the sudden urgency from developers to solve the “big” problem of email. A rush to be your personal assistant and to make your lives easier. Moreover to anticipate your every move and predict your need. I thought I might as well take a stab at it and create my own rendition with a legal twist. In the process I learned a couple of things.

 

desh1

First Search, Then Filters, Now Sense
I’ve already delved into the philosophy of filters as opposed to just search. Since then I noticed a shift. First, we started using computers in different environments and under more natural conditions. We no longer are in a seated position behind a desk in a building…and our computers know that. We also interact differently with computers by using less peripherals like a mouse or stylus and more gestures and touch. In some cases the software we use personally is more advanced that what we use professionally. All this has generated an explosion of data about us as human beings being at work or at play. And our computer can sense this also. This presentation illustrate this transition in the devices we use.

Who Am I
I have always wondered: was the information I needed in the places I was looking for it? However, in this new reality I can reverse the question and ask: why hasn’t the information come looking for me? My smartphone changes time automatically when I cross time zones. It can tell me where and what to eat (based on ratings) wherever I am. I figured that if my phone is that smart, surely it can tell me whenever I’m providing sufficient legal counsel for my clients. At the very least it can anticipate if I would commit a legal error. We are not there yet but a small step in that direction is the concept below.

DESH
This concept explores the question what services we can provide with all the data a user has generated. How can we honestly and transparently transform this data into a benefit for the user. Going back to my lawyering days I remembered this: whenever there was a law change or new jurisprudence, I needed to track down each contract or brief I had ever written for each client and update it. Moreover, it was paramount I did not miss the announcement in the first place. Nothing is more embarrassing to a legal professional than when they are being updated by their clients on legal changes.

Basically DESH is a dashboard for keeping you abreast and updating you on any developments that matter to you based on your data. It senses if changes needed to be made on any of your documents and will make intelligent suggestions – not based on ratings but based on legal premises and personal preferences. The simple UI is simulating 4 basic workflows: messaging, tasks, current awareness, and drafting. The aim is to be straightforward and the goal is to be convenient. Can it be done? Yes, and we are going to do it.

 

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Age of Immersion
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We are at the dawn of an age of immersion. We can no longer ignore the fact that our reality will be perpetually augmented with data and information. Computing devices that can beam information directly into your retina are reality. Lets face it, the number of people who drive around without GPS navigation or leave the house without an internet connected smartphone are increasingly dwindling. So let us embrace and prepare to seize the opportunity to power ‘Commander Data‘.

 

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The Focus on Experience

There are two major drivers in this new world to augment our reality. The insistence todesign for experience as opposed to just complete a task and the pervasiveness of computing in every aspect of our lives. Wearable computers loaded with sensors connected to the network and our lives are just a start. The way in which services will model our behaviors and reprogram our habits will be the net effect. Example, for me it has become cognitively impossible to forget my smartphone. This is an inevitable result of meticulously engineered software aimed to immerse us. So after the initial backlash andawkwardness we will adapt and then thrive (or be enslaved ) by this “new reality” of augmentation.

The Blur of Reality
So how will we experience this new reality? We will wander our physical world and see every object and instantly know its properties. Every sound we hear can be traced to itsorigines or we can search the meaning of speech right away. We will become smarter on every subject because we can be fed every aspect in real-time, up close, in context and personalized. You could walk into a forest and “know” the latin names of the vegetation. You will never wander aimlessly in a store looking for an item because you will be ‘navigated’ by advertisements. And you will always be just a single click away from purchasing anything maybe influenced by ‘friends’ that also bought it. You can not lose your keys because you probably wouldn’t need them. You will not pay in cash and it will be harder to get lost or tell a lie. So, while we still can go hungry, the distance between you and the nearest restaurant is always in view.

The Future of Legal
While some already see implications in jury selection with the ability to pull up profiles and do background checks in real-time. You may also be able to access stress levels of witnesses during cross-examination by monitoring their heart rate with a camera. I see a world whereby any word or sentence can be instantly parsed and dissected for meaning and context, based on who speaks them, when and where. So while hearing the opposing counsel making their plea, you will be able to capture their arguments and choose rebuttals immediately. Better yet, you will be able to predict your opponent more accurately.

The legal profession will have to lean on creativity of crafting arguments rather than ability to find them. If all information is distributed evenly your only differentiator will be the ability to conceptualize and articulate alternate versions to benefit your client. You will be able to create your own algorithms, run simulations and predict outcomes.

Heads Up!
Now back to the present. If we rewind from the future depicted above, what are the actions we should take today to ensure we are ready. One may assume that challenges with creating, compiling and retrieving legal information will be solved comprehensively. As a matter of fact, we will be engulfed by it. The actual challenge will lie in the interaction between data and the brain. How can we interact with matter to craft information into a winning case. I belief it will depend on the filters we develop, the focus we can provide and the convenient tools we will deliver to assist our users to conceive something new.

Now this gave me an excuse to doodle a Heads-up display inspired by Mark VIIHUD specifically aimed at legal information. We might not have this in stores tomorrow but aim to make any legal professional feel like Tony Stark. Back to you, Jordi.

 

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Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter?
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Recently Apple has been awarded a patent for the virtual book page turn. Now imagine such an event in the age of the printing press. How would we navigate books or other printed materials? The tools and the methods we used in the physical world are slowly coming to live in the digital world. Skeuomorph design has blazed the path to copy from the physical to the virtual world. Yet, without a better understanding of the real world, will it help or hurt?

Not Flipping
I do not despair the page flip patent. To the contrary, I salute the fact that we will one day seize to use remnants from an inexpedient paper past and replace it with more convenient digital methods. Although we measure the power of a vehicle by horses we do not use their techniques to advance engine technology. So while we slowly transition from tangible to digital with clever tricks that ease our reluctance and broaden our acceptance, we will also surely break with tradition at some stage.

Epiphany
This has triggered my venture to seek out those methods that will likely make us smarter in the future. I’ve looked at the techniques we’ve been using to capture, preserve and reuse information, the things that help us remember, navigate and connect the dots. Not only prepackaged tools such as table of contents or book indexes. But also whatever we create ourselves like highlights, annotations, linking and citing to help us (re)organize information and easily consume it. I’ve sought the deeper meaning of why we need to have these techniques and then…I completely abandon them.

Red Highlight or Blue Highlight?
I could not find a viable way to translate the paper methods we are accustom to using in an efficient manner to a digital screen. I will not substitute the hardship of thumbing through indexes references, going back and forth in pages with the ease of simple search boxes or hyperlinks. Or digitally flipping pages and waiting for each page flip animation while a simple swipe with a continuous scroll that ‘rubber-bands‘ naturally seems a lot more appealing. Even the fundamental purpose of highlights seems a bit archaic if your primary goal is to filter out the contextual noise and focus on a phrase. In my humble opinion, the truth does not lie in any particularly fancy visual design but rather designing the animation of the interaction. In short: the presentation of the animation.

Awards and Rewards
I’ve now embarked on a crazy quest to seek out and find or create the perfect animations and interaction designs for seemingly mundane tasks such as highlighting. I’m not aiming for any awards just for real life applications and usefulness. I belief the secret of our intelligence lies not in the amount of information we can access but rather in the manner we interact with it. What makes us smarter is not what we read but how we understand it and remember it.

Now if you follow the logic of D670,713, see if you can spot the concealed patent in the video below. First correct answer in the comments will be rewarded.


The video is an announcement of a future of digital research and the departure of paper.LegalComplex’s mission to explore different options and challenge the status quo through a belief that digital tools are here to enhance not facsimile our intelligence…everywhere.The path to profit was never a straight line yet it was a well marked road. Now, it’s more a adventurous journey towards an elusive place I call Convenience, where profit resides in a hi-res glass house.

Phantom Menace: 4 Signs of Disruptions in Legal Technology
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I recently discovered HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In it he explains the theory behind disruptions and why they are particularly menacing if you are not prepared. There are companies like IBM that have managed to survive numerous disruptions by shifting models early or like Apple orAmazon by creating disruptions themselves. Nevertheless, timing is crucial to either shift or create but the real challenge lies in where to shift to or how to disrupt. What are the signs?
Phantom Menace

Here is a illustration of how inconspicuously disruptions occur and their menacing effect if you don’t anticipate:

A 17 year old IT student in Suriname explained to me why he likes Twitter more than Facebook. I asked why he stills uses Facebook and his response was: homework assignments. Contrary to Twitter, all his classmates where on Facebook which enabled him to connect and collaborate on their homework. Google – the organizer of the world’s information – wasn’t mentioned during our conversation.

Google is still the omnipresent phantom competitor for all publishers and does that without a single piece of curated content. This was achieved purely on the basis of superior technology. Yet they are now driven into a tough spot by something they were lacking by their own admission and now they are hitting back to overcome this lack of understanding how technology benefits people.

Google understood that the Internet needed a filter, Facebook understands that people just want to connect and Apple bets they will want to do conveniently on stylish devices.

 

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Traits
Here are some traits to identify disruptions:

1. Empathy: Disruptions fly in the face of convention and sometime turn a proven and time-tested business model on its head. But even more precariously, they demonstrate a keen sense of empathy towards users and a knack to invert the value of goods. Example:Wikipedia or Skype

2. Visibility: They are notoriously hard to spot because they sometime hide in plain sight (Flipboard) or slowly grow to prominence through the internet grapevines. Example:Summify

3. Loyalty: Although it might look highly unconventional e.g. typing on a touchscreen, users are converts that adamantly and genuinely buy into the idea and want to change their existing habits.

4. Experience: Most disruptions share the same challenges in debunking the status quo. They sometimes lose these battles despite being superior in some cases. Most often they lose because people base their verdict on similar but not identical past events. Example:Open Source.

Signs
Now how to spot potential disruptions in legal technology:

Mobile: mobile is not a device, app or technology per se. I rather see it as an environment. It is about doing legal research behind a desk or during a meeting, in a court room but also your living room and even your car. One should be able to switch between these environments seamlessly. Key is adjusting a service to recognize, adapt and be simple enough to use in each settings. Example: Yahoo Axis

Social: In no others industry is ‘Partnering’ such a fundamental part of the business as in the legal market. Although the ‘Partners’ concept works a bit different in practice, the principle remains: to connect, exchange and collaborate to achieve a mutual goals more efficiently. Any service that leverages this principle exponentially will be disruptive.

Consumers: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Consumerization are current trends that actually reveal an underlining movement: Companies are forced to think and act more like regular consumers. Especially while pondering IT decisions. This also mimics the cultural shift in work-life division where the job moves outside the office and beyond the business days.

Value: While value was generally ruled by scarcity in the physical world it is now a moving target in the digital space. Business models based on physical rules have gradually made way for another models based on different rules. Now services are able to invert the value of commodities and when that happens they will most likely succeed to disrupt.

Future
Imagining a future disruption in the legal technology space could be as simple as looking at current disruptions in the consumer market. A legal technology disruption might not originate from a existing legal technology player. It may not be based on superior technology or better curated content. It just might be that the very basic problem legal tech is trying to solve is (inadvertently) solved in a different more efficient fashion by someone else.

In hindsight all evolutions seem self evident yet they are notoriously difficult to predict…or it may be just a matter of looking at it from another angle. So let’s stop looking for disruptions and create them by starting at the end and work our way to the beginning.

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Desktop Optional: 6 Tips To Go Completely Mobile
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I rarely use my laptop at home. All the major tasks I used to do on my laptop, I now do on either my iPhone or iPad. Yet, I’m still tied to my desktop at the office. However, I’m now slowly migrating these office PC tasks over to my iPad or iPhone and i’ll reveal my secrets. Here is a guide to help you do regular office tasks with apps on your iOS device.
Apple recently launch their push in to offices with their “iPhone in Business” site. Thereby signaling they are serious about business. Here are a few tips they haven’t mentioned:
1. Communication
The standard iOS Mail app can be setup to work with multiple accounts including Microsoft Exchange server. The trick to make it useful is to ask your IT to limit your email storage capacity to e.g. 2 GB. Most servers also limit attachments to 10 mb so 2 GB would roughly translate to 1 year’s worth of emails for a regular user. This will allow you to safely sync all your emails and not max out storage on your device.
2. Search
I also prefer the email search tool in iOS over MS Outlook because it’s just faster in showing results. I do not use an external keyboard on my iPad because I like to travel light and keep things simple and short. The ‘suggest’ and ‘define’ options available by long-pressing on a word anywhere within iOS are sufficient but I do miss using ‘synonyms’ from the context menu in MS Word on my desktop.
3. Scheduling
If your corporate exchange mail is synced you’ll also have the option to add calendar, tasks (called Reminders on iOS) and contacts. I’ve opted for the first two and I’m pleased how the calendar app lets you easily manage and schedule appointments based on Outlook’s Meeting request. When iOS recognizes a date in your email its provides you with the option to quickly schedule it in your Calendar.
I use the “show in calendar” option frequently and it works far better than on a desktop. Proposing a new time is a hidden gem or just bad design by Apple: if you want to propose a new time you can add a comment and decline. Your meeting organizer will receive a notification with your note. See the pink arrows in the Skitch image below.

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4. File Management.
My make-shift corporate file manager is also my Mail app. Most documents have at some point been emailed so I can retrieve them with search from my inbox and view them in Mail or a wide variety of apps. I still haven’t tested Fileboard which claims to let you browse files across corporate and personal email and also supports cloud storage likeDropbox and MS Sharepoint in a single UI. But from what I have seen it looks very promising.
5. Email Attachments
Now the biggest draw back to using email on iOS is attachments. I still haven’t found a way to attached documents to an existing email thread but I do have a few workarounds. You do have the ability to paste several images from the Pictures app in an email so here’s what I do: Evernote Skitch let’s you annotate images so I grab a screenshot of any attachment I receive and annotate the snapshot. Copy and paste the annotated snapshot back in the email thread.
Goodreader is a great PDF annotator and file manager which also works with iCloud and Dropbox. However its often overlooked feature is the various ways it allows you to send attachments. You’re able to zip and unzip files or add multiple files to an email but – again- not to an existing mail thread.
6. Document processing
I’ve resisted doing content creation on mobile except for email, notes and image / video editing. I was waiting for the right apps to come along that actually make it moreconvenient. One such app is Keynote yet its biggest drawback is lack of support for other then iCloud services like Dropbox.
So I sometimes use Cloudon. It does an amazing job of bringing the MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) experience to the iPad. They unfortunately also highlight the shortcomings of non-touch enabled design of MS Office. Nonetheless, you now have a way of viewing and managing track changes in MS Word or adding those SmartArt objects into your deck with PowerPoint right on your iPad.
We are heading mobile and it’s just a matter of developers, designers and publishers catching up with the needs of mobile users. Wolters Kluwer is leading the way with one of the best apps in publishing: Wolters Kluwer Health UpToDate
A Dynamic and Intuitive Legal Research Experience in a Automobile
1021 643 Raymond Blijd
 Location: A5 en route to Wolters Kluwer Corporate Office.

Driver: summary!
Car voice: you have a 58 unread messages and 18 alerts.
Driver: please tag and provide urgency?
Car voice: tagging complete and the most urgent are 4 messages from your client “LegalComplex” which match with 2 alerts. Is this urgency correct?
Driver: yes. Please proceed with research?
Car voice: research indicates that 2 briefs and 1 IntelliConnect document match messages tagged “LegalComplex” and “Urgent”, would you like these to be linked?
Driver: no, just save to client folder and schedule in calendar…

Ok, I may have gone off the deep end here but bear with me. I’m in no way proposing to try this in your own car. The ‘car’ is a metaphor which personifies an ultimate goal: to build a research system that needs as little physical interaction as possible e.g. no typing or clicking. While voice recognition still seems tricky at times, Apple’s Siri comes eerily close to its ability to decipher the human voice. The key, in my opinion, lies in the understanding and relaying general tasks such as: calculation go to Wolfram Alpha and restaurants go to Yelp.

Loup.002

Therein lies the opportunity. With domain-specific information in hand, vertical search engines can work better at providing immediate answers whereas universal search just provides lots of hits. As previously discussed, filtering and narrowing down sources for us to search through is essential for our professional market.

In the example above, the alerts (based on the personal agents) combined with customers messages may provide a sort of ranking by urgency not much different than creating rules in Outlook. The messages can be grouped similar to Gmail priority inbox and then matched with previous search alerts and predefined tags.

Now a client has sent me a couple of questions on a certain topic which coincides with news alerts on that same topic. Based on client history and configured tags, the system can suggest a ‘urgency’ of the matter. Subsequent search of personal and proprietary documents provide a most likely match for the information you may need to answer the questions. But the system lets me be the judge of that.

Here’s how it might look like in a 2012 Mercedes-Benz:

Here’s my dream…