Law Technology News
January 2001
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Snap Shot: Mark Tamminga

Snap Shot: Mark Tamminga VITALS: B.A., 1981, Philosophy and French, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich. M.B.A. and L.L.B., 1986, Osgoode Hall Law School and York University, Toronto, Ontario.

CURRENT POST: Partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson L.L.P., ("Gowlings"). We have 550 lawyers in six Canadian cities and in Moscow. I work with five other lawyers and 25 clerks in mortgage remedies, a role I fell into because I designed the software that runs the operation. A year ago, I transferred from Toronto to our small Hamilton office, a move made possible by the realization that clients don't care where you work as long as it gets done the way they want.

AUTHOR: Columnist for the A.B.A.'s Law Practice Management magazine. I'm also contributing to a book on the use of databases in legal practice.

BAR ACTIVITIES: A.B.A. TECHSHOW, 1998 - 2001, and "Advanced/I.T." track leader. I'm also one of the organizers of LegalTech Toronto.

OFFICE TECHNOLOGY: Our minimum desktop is a Pentium II 400, with NT4 off of Novell servers. We will be bringing in more Microsoft Office 2000 licenses in 2001. (There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth as we diminish the role of WordPerfect, but so it goes.) Our I.T. group strives mightily to impose some consistency on all offices, but we keep messing with their plans by merging a lot.

FAVORITE GADGET: My digital camera with a 1 GB IBM microdrive on board. It holds up to 600 high resolution photographs. Amazing.

LAPTOP: IBM Thinkpad 390X with a 400 MHz Pentium processor and 128 MB of RAM.

HOME SYSTEM: A Dell 166 running Windows 98 bought almost five years ago.

ISP: Cogeco Cable. Cable access to the 'Net makes up for the antiquated Dell.

PAGER/PDA: Nope. Although the pressure is on to make me get a pager. A PDA is an inevitable acquisition, but I'm trying to hold out until they stuff the Palm OS, 'Net access, voice recognition, a camera, MP3 playback capability, a GPS and biometric security into my cell phone.

FAVORITE GAME: Frisbee with my dog, Strider.

CELL PHONE: Nokia 6185.

FAVORITE NON-TECH MAGAZINES: Scientific American, Outside, Harpers, Bicycling.

FAVORITE T.V. SHOW: Frasier, until we killed cable after the Olympics. No T.V. The end.

VEHICLES: 2000 Nissan Xterra, bright yellow. 1985 BMW R80 RT motorcycle.

LAST BOOK READ: How to be Your Dog's Best Friend, by The Monks of New Skeet. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell.

WATCH: Acumen TZ Max 50. It's a heart rate monitor and stop watch with a PC interface that can graph workouts. It also tells time.

WHERE WOULD WE FIND YOU ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON? Learning how to ride a horse well enough to spend two weeks on horseback in Morocco next spring.

APPOINTMENTS I NEVER MISS: Thursday night brick workouts with the local triathlon club.

IMPORTANT LEGAL TECH TREND: Realizing that technological change is a process, not an event -- that legal practice requires a constant investment in technology and will never be finished. Understanding that there is a big payoff in converting paper file information into records in a database: far better reporting and performance.

TECH ACCOMPLISHMENT: Converting the back end of our practice software from Access 97 to MS SQL Server 7.0. I certainly had a lot of help, but I did plenty of the implementation myself.

FAVORITE URL: Right now, I'm looking for a used Volkswagen Beetle TDI, so

SEARCH ENGINE: Google. It's so fast, uncluttered, and accurate.

LAST VACATION: A three week Earthwatch expedition to the Pantanal in south central Brazil.

QUOTE: "All theories, dear friend, are gray."


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