Law Technology News
February 2000
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Lawtech News

Apple Announces Push for Small Firm Lawyers

by Monica Bay

ANYBODY who thinks Apple Corp. isn't a player in the legal market had better think again. At last month's MacWorld in San Francisco, Fritz Ogden held a briefing session to outline Apple's plans to refocus on the small firm legal market.

Ogden, who is Apple's small business sales manager, told the standing-room-only conference that Apple is targeting small law firms.

He cited American Bar Association figures that show that 74 percent of the nation's lawyers in private practice are in firms of 20 or less; and that 59 percent of attorneys are solos.

You might be surprised to learn that Apple already claims it has 8.9 percent of the small firm market -- a figure it wants to double. Apple currently holds fifth place in the small law firm market for hardware, behind Gateway, Compaq, IBM and Dell, he said.

Apple plans to participate in upcoming LegalTechshows in Los Angeles (June) and New York (Sept.), and possibly the ABA annual meeting in New York (if it doesn't conflict with N.Y. MacWorld.) The company, Ogden said, is eyeing several key markets for initial forays, including Calif.; N.Y.; Mass.; Washing-ton, D.C.; Ill.; and Texas.

Also in the works: a new legal Web site, which should be launching just about now.

Apple also has been working with MacSpeech Inc., (which, with Philips Speech Processing, is developing voice recognition software); as well as with vendors of other software that is near-and-dear to the hearts of lawyers, including Timeslips; Amicus Attorney; West Group's Premise; Open Market Folio, and PubNetics'e-transcript, said Ogden.

Among those at the briefing were LegalVoice's Martha Sullivan; LTN board member Ed Siebel, (a solo practitioner and Apple consultant, who is helping build the Web site); CourtLink's Tom O'Connor; Randy Singer(who runs the MacAttorney User Group newsletter); a contingent of West folks; and Ted Lindberg, who is both chair of the Berkeley Mac User Group'sLaw Special Internet Group, and the official liaison from the MacLaw's User Groupto Apple. (Special thanks to Lindberg and George Richardsonfor organizing a wonderful dinner at the charming and tasty Ristorante Umbria, 198 Second St., S.F.).

Jobs' New Job

Meanwhile, on the main stage, Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobsmesmerized an adoring, overflow crowd at Moscone Center with his two-hour keynote address, during which he previewed the upcoming operating system, OS X, which includes a stunning new interface, dubbed "Aqua."

Watching Jobs in action was truly an experience. There was a fervor that, I suspect, may be rivaled only by Star Trek conventions. (You're talking devoted when an audience goes nuts over improvements to the "save as" feature.)

I'll let you go to the mainstream press (or the Apple site) for highlights of the Jobs lovefest, other than to tell you that OS X is absolutely gorgeous and due out in July. And to note that Jobs got a standing ovation when he announced that he's staying on the job, and taking a title change: dropping the "interim CEO" moniker in favor of "iCEO."

Oh yes -- One last bit of news: Apple has formed a partnership with Earthlink(which recently merged with Mindspring); is investing $200 million into the popular ISP and will get a seat on its board of directors.

(And here's a tip for those of you who have seen Earthlink's hysterical new advertisement).

ABA Task Force

American Bar Association President William G. Paul has convened a President's Task Force on Use of Technology for Improving Access to the Justice System, to coordinate programs to enhance legal services through technology, he reports in the ABA Journal. It will include representatives of the Law Practice Management section; the Standing Committee on Technology and Information Services; the Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services, and other experts. Paul also announced that the LPM section will spearhead a major effort to design Web-based support for practicing lawyers, and will host a technology symposium in March on e-lawyering. It will especially focus on how lawyers can use the 'Net as an avenue for developing clients; maintaining an office; and practicing law.

Dueling for Top Job

Beltway lawyers are placing bets as to who may emerge as general counsel, now that Time Warner Inc. and America Online Inc.have announced a merger, reports our sister paper, Legal Times.

The incumbents: AOL's General Counsel, Paul Capuccio, 38, joined AOL in late July. A former Supreme Court clerk and partner in the D.C. office of Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis, he was once a protege of former Independent Counsel Kevin Starr.

Time Warner's GC, 34-year old Christopher Bogart, is a former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate. He took his post on Jan. 1, following the retirement of his predecessor, Peter Haje. But Bogart's no stranger to TW; he was brought in as a litigator and represented the company in its acquisition of Turner Broadcasting in 1995.

Related factoid: Time Warner employs about 300 in-house attorneys; AOL's legal department is about 50.

White Hot Linux

IBM is "placing a big bet on Linux" as "the operating system of the future for the Internet" reports The New York Times.

IBM has launched an aggressive marketing campaign, reorganized, made a "substantial financial investment," and has named Irving Wladawsky-Berger to lead Linux software development. (He's a former chief of Big Blue's Internet division.)

Meanwhile, Intel Corp. is now designing Web applications that will run a version of Linux, reports Computerworld.

Oooooooops

Microsoft Corp. has suspended a program in which it gave $400 rebates to consumers as an incentive to use its Microsoft Network Internet service, reports Computerworld magazine.

Turns out, some states, including Calif., have laws that allow customers to cancel the service and keep the rebates. Boy did the word get out. At one Best Buy outlet, near Danville, Calif., lines were verrrrrry long until the store posted signs notifying customers that the promo was nixed.

Junker Heaven

Wonder what to do with your old computer after you upgrade? PC Computing magazine reports that 40 million computers are slated for "retirement" this year, as Americans blaze through hardware. (A 1997 U.S. Census survey found that 49 percent of polled households had purchased a computer within the past two years.)

The obsolete units are creating a problem at landfills, and some traditional outlets, such as the Salvation Army, won't even accept high-tech hand-me-downs because they've found that fewer than one-in-three work, says the magazine.

Alternatives? Share the Technology is a nonprofit that distributes used computers to charities, and can provide info on how to donate a PC in your area. The American Bar Association also has a program to recycle still-usable units to legal services providers. (312-988-5000).

Lotus CEO Resigns

Lotus Development Corp. President and CEO Jeffrey P. Papows, resigned, effective Feb. 1. "He denied that published allegations of impropriety and pending sexual harassment charges factored into this decision," reports Computerworld.

IBM named 23-year veteran Al Zollar to the Lotus CEO slot.

Chris Rocks, Again

The indefatigable Chris Santella, who recently relocated to the Portland area from the San Francisco Bay Area, is up to musical mischief again. "Put on your dreadlocks, send your browser to www.legalanywhere.com, and click on "About Us," and then on "Collaborate & Conquer," he teases. "After a quick download, you'll find yourself whisked away to Jamaica."

Pet Project

OK, this has nothing to do with law, but it is a hoot: The Solo Pet Dooris a motorized door that opens only when a pet waring a special collar tab comes near it, reports PC Computing. Certainly a tad bit more secure than the traditional rubber flap pet door, and perhaps well worth the $359+ price tag to keep out those hungry neighborhood pets, pesky skunks or very skinny thieves.

Photo of William Paul courtesy of the ABA Journal; Jobs and OS X screen shot courtesy of Apple Corp.

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