London LegalTech, Londonderry, More to Come
By Monica Bay
WHAT a month! American Lawyer Media Inc. (the publisher of LTN) held its first United Kingdom technology show, London LegalTech, and it was a terrific success.
The booths at Barbican Center, reflected the energy and diversity of legal technology on a global front.
West Group and LEXIS Publishing, the giants of U.S. legal tech, both have strong operations in the U.K., in partnerships with Sweet & Maxwell, and Butterworths, respectively.
Of course, other "regulars" from the U.S. tech show circuit were aboard: including the ubiquitous Jeff Blanc of casecentral.com; Cynthia Williams of Dataflight Software Inc.; Carl Sutherland of Corprasoft; and Allison Walsh, who shepherds Microsoft Corp.'s legal industry operation.
* Sorry to disappoint Cupertino fans, but Legal MacPac is not the latest Apple release, it's a San Francisco-based company that produces custom templates, macros and styles for documents, reported Linda Sackett and Cael Weston.
* Launched at the show: law.com/uk, a sister to San Francisco-based law.com. (See Web Works, page 54).
* Special thanks to George Botchey and the energetic Call Print team, who helped me with a spontaneous printing project (now that's an effective demo!).
* One key difference between U.S. and U.K. shows: alcohol! Some of the busiest booths were those demonstrating product lines with a little wine-tasting on the side!
* For pure creativity in decor, Elite Information Systems International Inc. probably won for the most artistic display, but my favorite booth, "hands" down, was Shroders, which offers a variety of financial services.They brought along the fabulous Sue Norton, from Stress-Busters, who gave great shoulder massages to weary attendees.
Check out Business Class on page 86 for more photos!
Among the high points of my London visit was the chance to meet LTN Editorial Advisory Board member Charles Christian, who has graciously agreed to contribute a new column, called London Insider, which we inaugurate in this issue on page 15.
Christian monitors the legal technology scene from the "other side of the pond," and is the editor and publisher of several U.K. based cyber-publications, including LegalTechnologyNews.Com.
I also enjoyed visiting with Mary Heaney, both in London, and here in New York City when she stopped by while on a brief holiday from the hectic days as editorial director of Legal IT.
Other U.K. news: Brobeck Hale and Dorr has opened a new office in the U.K.'s high-tech Thames Valley, the firm has announced. The joint venture between San Francisco-based Brobeck Phleger & Harrison, and Boston-headquartered Dale and Horr says the offices are located in Oxfordshire. The firm will work with area venture capitalists and investment banks to help find funding by accessing public markets such as Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange's Aim and Techmark.
"We targeted the Thames Valley corridor because it has become an internationally recognized technology center," says Tom Kellerman, who serves as managing partner of the joint venture.
Next Stop, Belfast
After the London sessions, I boarded British Midland to hop over to Belfast. Even though it was a quick flight, there was a snack service, complete with a very clever marketing ploy from the gang in Redmond. Right on the tray was a pull-out guide, disguised as a "service call button," all about "Customer Relationship Management." It showcases Microsoft Corp.'s business technology software and partner tools (such as the new Pocket PCs from Compaq.)
Somebody deserves a raise for negotiating that marketing idea!
(BTW, British Midland, is in the process of becoming a Star Alliance partner with United Airlines, and offers reciprocal privileges for Red Carpet Club members. The facilities, and the service, were great!)
On to Londonderry
The next venue was Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. (See page 18.)
Graham Smith and Douglas McQuaid were terrific hosts.
Smith, CEO of LiveNote Inc., is the developer of LiveNote real-time transcript software. (Graham sold LiveNote, which is now based in Philadelphia, and associated with Boston-based LegaLink court reporting; he retains a consulting role with the companies, and continues to run Smith Bernal, a London-based court reporting service.)
McQuaid, an independent consultant, works closely with Smith and with LiveNote, overseeing projects.
Another highlight of the trip was a wonderful dinner at the Grianan Ailigh restaurant, the latest reincarnation of a building that formerly served as a church.
My warm thanks to both Graham and Douglas for arranging such a fascinating trip!
The American Bar Association heads over to London on July 15, for the second half of its Annual Meeting, which starts in New York the prior week. See page 76 for highlights of U.K. sessions.
We'll bring reports from London in our September issue, but first, we head to Los Angeles for LegalTech L.A. and two seminars in Mountain View, co-sponsored by the Center for Continuing Education and Microsoft Corp.
Look for reports from the West coast in our August issue.
Back in the U.S.A.
Back on the home front, and quite a switch of gears: I had an opportunity to visit the Manhattan headquarters of the New York Police Department, at 1 Police Plaza.
Mind you, I'm a new New Yorker, and my entire perception of the local law enforcement agency is based on NYPD Blue and of course, the nightly news. (We won't go there).
I wasn't sure what to expect, but Howard Baker, deputy commissioner for technological development, shattered any stereotypes I might have had about the NYPD's technology operations. He's smart, funny and irreverant, so of course, I was immediately impressed.
But what's even more impressive is the sheer size of the NYPD's technology operations: Baker oversees everything from the phones to arrest records systems.
"If a member of the New York City Police Department uses a telephone, responds to a radio call, has a pager, accesses data bases, composes a report on a computer, arrests someone, books them into central booking, or follows up on a case on a cellular phone, that member of the service is using a product or service supplied by the Office of Technology and Systems Developments," reports Baker, who oversees a multi-million budget and supervises more than 1,500 staff.
Baker gave me a tour of the computer facilities, which are nothing short of overwhelming. The systems include local area networks, data communications networks, an online booking system, booking and arraignment disposition system; automated roll-call system, and more.
You'll hear more about it in a future issue of LTN.
Howard Baker, of the New York City Police Department, is overseeing its massive technology operations.