Aug 28 2010

ILTA 2010 – The last days


ILTA 2010

Well we reach the final day of ILTA 2010 (Thursday 26th August) and for me it was just a morning of sessions before I had to  get ready to leave Las Vegas.

The first morning session was a look at Law Firm economics, “Next Generation Law Firm Economics” (#ORG15). A really interesting look at the economics of a law firm over the last few years and what this means for the future. A couple of snippets that stood out were:

  • The analysis that the shrinking of law firms revenue was accelerated by and not caused by the economic downturn, showing that there is an unsustainability of the traditional economic model of a law firm.
  • Analysis showing that the profitability of law firms of the last few years has been driven only by the rising of costs charged (6-8% per year in the good times, way above inflation) and the pressure on these means we’re in a period of very slow growth. Other variables (such as cost cutting, process improvements have had a marginal affect).

The Vendors Hall

After this I took a quick trip to the vendors hall again (photo above) before attending a second session titled “Training Strategies for Higher Attorney-to-Secretary Ratios” (#USER2). This was an excellent session looking at how to address the problems we have now of training lawyers in the IT systems.

Looking at ways to move from Push training (traditional class room based, quick reference guide booklets etc) to Pull training (giving them responsibility for their own training). Encouraging training teams to get out on the floor amongst the lawyers. Also ensuring that the service desk and local support teams understand their role in training, not fixing the problems for the users but showing them how to do it (the old “teach them to fish”!). Overall creating a culture of learning, understanding it’s not a one off exercise at intake, but an ongoing process.

In session #USER2

One thing  that was set up in every session at ILTA was a whiteboard (to the left of the podium in the picture above of the #USER2 session). On it was written the hashtag for the session. This ensured that the twitter stream for the conference could be viewed per session, an excellent idea. In fact the buzz at the end of the conference was whether one of the screens next year could be used to provide a live twitter stream for that session!

And with the end of that session the conference was wrapped up for me, the next hour was spent packing for the trip home.

Lunch and Annual Meeting/Volunteer Recognition

Before we left we did catch the end of the final days lunch (picture above) before we jumped in a taxi and headed off for the journey home. An hour extra in Las Vegas was provided as our flight was delayed but after about 14 hours of travelling I got to meet my wife and kids at the train station and a short journey home!

An excellent conference! I can’t pick out any one thing from the conference, as many of the sessions were excellent and there were lots of little things I’ve picked up. It was also great to catch up with vendors new products, some really interesting developments out there.

I got to meet up with some of the folks I follow on twitter and finally put a real face to the twitter feed. So it was great to meet @jeffrey_brandt @KMHobbie @newroccindy @backofthenapkin @seanabrady @antneyb @loripagehall @sapreston and @ChristyBurkePR

Also some folks I unfortunately didn’t manage to say hi to, but saw either presenting or from afar! @lawyerkm @sherryk

On one of three conference floors

There were almost certainly others too that I met and didn’t realise or have just forgotten to mention, so if I haven’t name checked you I apologise! One company though I should name check is Workshare, a big thank you to them for providing this trip for me as the winner of their scholarship competition!

Finally to finish my ILTA 2010 blog posts, here are a few more pictures from the conference.

Aria conference centre

A view of Vegas at night from the hotel room

In room HD TV

Bedside touchscreen "room control" for TV, lights, aircon etc

Virgin Atlantic 747 - transport to and from Vegas!


Aug 26 2010

ILTA 2010 – Wednesday 25th August, day three


Today was going to be “Autonomy day” and for the morning that was the case. The first session I attended was “The Search Is Over with iManage IDOL: Frontend and Backend Perspectives” (#AUT1). Initial feeling about the session was that it was going to be a bit of a sales push for IDOL search, but some of the presenters actually gave a real good “war stories” type run through of implementations.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was how sessions at ILTA can just come together. I met with @newroccindy on Monday who mentioned she was looking to set up a get together to talk and share stories on WorkSite 8.5 IDOL. By Tuesday evening there was a session in place with not just 10-20 firms attending, but also Neil Araujo and Kevin Hicks from Autonomy. A great demonstration how ILTA can pull together people with similar problems/queries to discuss them with the people that can fix them.

One thing struck me though from the first session on Wednesday, there was a real different viewpoint on IDOL from the presenters (one from legal, one from IT). The legal side showed a real enthusiasm for IDOL, the later not so much. But I hope the view I got from both sessions, that Autonomy are really looking to help, will be the case and IT departments struggle will just be teething problems of a new indexer.

Next up was the general iManage corporate update session (#AUT2). It’s probably just worth bullet pointing some of the key points from this session.

  • Autonomy Express Search – not the iManage Express Search that comes with 8.5, this is another product that hooks into IUS to enable searches across a number of repositories (incl. WorkSite). Also includes a desktop IDOL install to index your PC data! Very nice, but why another product?
  • WorkSite 8.5 SP2 – the Office 2010 compatibility service pack. Gives functionality as per previous versions of Office. Doesn’t exploit new functionality yet (that’ll be in 9), also doesn’t support 64bit Office.
  • WorkSite 9.0
    • Full Unicode – yes! finally you can file those Chinese and Cyrillic language document descriptions (email subject lines)!
    • Encryption support.
    • Access anywhere – similar protocol to how Outlook client can communicate over https.
  • WorkSite indexer patch – update 2 which is due soon.

Then a quick lunch in order to get to a Workshare demo. They were showing three new products at ILTA.

  • PDF product – aims to bring a lot of the functionality of Adobe Writer at a fraction of the cost.
  • Protect Server 2 – taking the meta data stripping off the PC. Allows different stripping profiles that can be triggered by an email address. For example, would trigger a different stripping profile that would remove track changes.
  • Workshare Point (working title) – the bolt on the SharePoint to provide matter centric functionality to SharePoint 2010.

Also was the indication that Workshare Professional 7 was on the horizon. Focus for this is on improvements in the installation and deployment and also additions to make it able to integrate more with the above products.

Mid afternoon I met up with fellow Legal IT Professionals columnist, Christy Burke. Where I spent some time being interviewed for a podcast which will be on the site by the time you read this (not exactly sure how it went, but I think it was OK. Although I’m sure I ended up using the word “predominantly” more in 5 mins than I have in the last 4 months!!)

Final session of the day was “The CIO in 2020: The Business-Savvy Strategist” (#ORG10). This was a discussion session on where the role of the CIO is going in law firms and what this role will look like in 10 years time. There are some good quotes on the twitter hashtag that will give you a feel of the session. There was also a good article mentioned “Why CIOs Are Last Among Equals” which is worth a read. I did thing though that a lot of what was mentioned (communicate with the business etc) should be being done by most legal IT professionals.

In the evening there was another vendor event to attend, this time by Workshare. And then it was off for a meal with colleagues from the UK and US.

End of the last full day at ILTA 2010 in Las Vegas!


Aug 25 2010

ILTA 2010 – Tuesday 24th August, day two


OK this is an update on Tuesday, the conference is so busy that I’m losing track of what sessions came when and when I spoke to various people. But lots on good information gained both from the sessions, the vendors and the people at the conference.

The first session on Tuesday was on email management (#INFO5). The satisfying part was that all the presenters’ firms were having the same difficulties with email as we’re having. A few key points stuck out:

First the firms had success when they had engaged with the business and got commitment to filing emails, in fact mandating the filing of email to the electronic file (one firm had put in place a 30day file it or lose it rule on the inbox!).

Second, and this was one of those moments where the value of a conference can be pinpointed to one discovery, was about email management being a “long haul” process. The need to see this as a long change that will happen long after the technology has been put in place. One firm had a good idea of “Email Fitness Program” akin to fitness in health whereby it is a long battle to get rid of the fat and then stay lean and healthy!

The next session was on universal search (not specifically Autonomy Universal Search but the general concept) (#INFO6). Interesting that a lot of the firms (and in particular Cassels Brock) kept the interface very simple to ensure the lawyers concentrate on learning search. They also had a neat customisation to highlight “good documents” or precedents that they had encouraged their lawyers to identify (by asking lawyers to pick out a Top 5 of their documents).

After lunch was a session on one of the hot topics of the conference, whether SharePoint can be used as a legal DMS? “SharePoint as a DMS: From Heresy to Orthodoxy” (#MIC5). The real interesting part of this was a talk for me was from Clifford Chance on their move to SharePoint to be their DMS.

I managed to fit in some demos and a trip to the vendor hall. Got a demo from Prosperoware on their Milan product. Particularly looking at the help desk functions for iManage WorkSite, one cool new feature is remote check in. So if a user has gone home you can check in the document from their PC!

Also of interest was DocAuto’s new tool for WorkSite. Their “Distributed System Connector” where you can create shortcuts to files in another iManage DMS without having that DMS permanently attached to FileSite. Perfect for firms with multiple global databases!

Then in the evening I caught up with a couple of suppliers over a few beers at their evening events, BigHand and Tikit. End of another day at ILTA suitably exhausted!


Aug 24 2010

ILTA 2010 – Monday 23rd August, day one


The first full day at ILTA started with a keynote speech from Jason Jennings who shared his “5 Secrets to Put Strategic Unity on the Fast Track”, you can search for soundbites from the keynote as well as the "5 secrets on twitter as the #ilta10 hashtag has been in full use this week (I expect on Tuesday the hashtag will be busier as the WiFi problems that dogged most on Monday seem to be sorted!). But to save you searching the 5 were:

  1. Everyone in the company shares a common noble purpose – this is not a mission statement or a vision.
  2. Letting go – don’t hold onto things that once served you well.
  3. Everybody (inside the company and out) knows the strategy – if people don’t know the strategy they won’t know why they work.
  4. Everybody thinks and acts like an owner.
  5. Leaders are not leaders at all. They are stewards of the organization.

After the keynote it was off to the many sessions. The first two I attended were run by the Payne Group and were hands on sessions with Office 2010 (#iltau1 and #iltau2 on twitter). In it we ran through a number of the new features in Office 2010, which was less a structured run through and more a quick dip in to each application and focus on a few features.

I’m not going to go into all the features that were highlighted, but what did stick out though is that this is a big shift (especially if you’re on 2003), it’s akin to the shift from WordPerfect to Word rather than Word 2000 to 2003! Throw in the challenge of one stat I heard, that in the former shift from WP a firm had their secretaries for 4 days training and yet now they are only allowed to be freed for 2 hours, and you can see the difficulties firms will have this time round.

Then it was onto a virtual desktop session. The one thing that stuck for me working in a large law firm was the stat from the firm with just 100 employees. There requirements were a 4 server setup to serve virtual desktops to their employees. Big firms are going to need one big server farm for full virtualisation and thin clients!

Then finally finished the day with another Office 2010 session. “Alignment Is Your Strategy for a Successful Office 2010 Implementation”. There was some real good information from firms who had gone Windows7 with Office 2007 an Windows XP and Office 2010. But I noted some interesting bullets:

  • Out of 469 respondees of a survey to law firms 349 said they’d be moving to Office 2010
  • Top influencers for driving a shift – 1. DMS upgrades, 2.Windows 7 testing, 3. Integration challenges
  • One of the most important drivers for success : Building Support Competency

Later in the evening I went to a dinner with Microsystems where I spoke to the Nixon Peabody employee who had been a presenter at the earlier session and chatted a bit more about their Office 2010 implementation. In particular about their use of comparison and meta data cleaning.

Before that meal there was a regional ILTA meeting for Europe. And discussions on the challenges of getting more people to attend ILTA. I’ve only been here one day and the benefits are easily apparent. The sessions that are run and the people you can talk to are invaluable (take for example an adhoc session that has cropped up tomorrow to discuss iManage 8.5). The difficulty though for most people is the cost and the travel time.


Aug 24 2010

ILTA 2010 – the days before


Well finally here for ILTA 2010 at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas!


The conference location

The journey from the UK had a bit of a John Candy “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” feel to it and started at just before 5:00am on Saturday. Taxi, Train, Tube, Train and Flight! We touched down in Las Vegas on Saturday at 2:15pm local time.

So the rest of Saturday was spent experiencing the extreme Nevada heat and the Las Vegas sights. Whilst at the same time trying to stay awake after being on the go for over 24 hours in an attempt to switch to the correct time zone.


view from the hotel room

On Sunday the plan was to try and attend the ILTA “tweetup”. Well it didn’t quite happen, in fact I’m learning to set my ambitions for the week a little lower. There is so much you could cram in, but I want to leave myself enough time to switch things around as I go along.

Anyway I did get registered and then tonight it was off to the opening reception. Bumped into a few old faces from UK Legal, a few twitter friends (good to meet up in the real world and put faces to names) and also chatted to a few new people.


the ILTA pack

Update: you’ll end up getting this post on Monday though as the WiFi at the Aria wasn’t authenticating the ILTA account at the weekend and my HD2 wifi router (MiFi) was playing up!


Aug 20 2010

ILTA 2010 – first time visit


Well tomorrow I’m leaving the family at home in the UK and heading off to ILTA 2010 (International Legal Technology Association) in Las Vegas. I was one of the 5 winners of the Workshare ILTA conference scholarship competition and thus was lucky enough to have my conference costs paid for.

This is my first ever visit to ILTA and so I have decided to try and blog about the experience. I have been warned though that the conference can be exhausting, so don’t be totally surprised it this fails completely!

For the “day before post” I’ve highlighted some of the sessions that I’m looking forward to:


There is the ILTA tweetup at 4:00pm, which I aim to attend. There are a number of Legal IT twitter folk I follow from the US (and elsewhere) that I’ve never met in person, so this is a good opportunity to meet in the real world.

Monday – aka “the Office day”

First up, for me, after the keynotes are the “Features and Functionality of Office 2010” sessions. Two sessions at 10:30am and 2:30pm (ILTAU1 and ILTAU2).

Then at 4:00pm I intend to get to the “Alignment is your strategy for a successful Office 2010 implementation” session (MIC2).


Dreams can come true – email management success stories”. A session at 10:30am that is well aligned with my current work projects! One of this sessions speakers is someone I follow on twitter @KMHobbie. (INFO5).

At 11:00pm “Successful Universal Search Implementations” (INFO6). Again another speaker I follow on twitter @lawyerkm.

And then looking at a session with a very apt title “Sharepoint as a DMS: From heresy to orthodoxy” (MIC5). I’m wondering though whether there should be a ‘!’ or a ‘?’ at the end of that title?

Also on Tuesday I intend to meet up with Keith Lipman of Prosperoware to see how there Milan product is getting on.

Wednesday – aka “the Autonomy day”

On Wednesday it’ll be pretty much following the Autonomy iManage Peer Group track.

The Search is Over with iManage IDOL: Frontend and Backend Perspectives (AUT1)

Autonomy iManage Corporate Update (AUT2)

Taming the E-Mail Filing Monster with iManage WorkSite 8.5 (AUT3)

The Reinvention of Matter Centricity Through Autonomy (AUT4)


The only session I’ve really go pencilled in for Thursday is “Next Generation Law Firm Economics” (ORG15).

I’m sure things will change and there are a number of other vendors that I’ve lined up to meet with, but details of those I’m sure will come out in subsequent days posts.

So if you’re heading to ILTA then maybe I will see you there.