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March 2002
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Tech Circuit

Shuttling Along the Eastern Seaboard

By Monica Bay

LIKE the proverbial fish out of water, I certainly was not in familiar territory when I decided to take the train rather than fly to Philadelphia, for the American Bar Association's midyear meeting last month.


Howard Baker at
Lord & Taylor.
I opted for Amtrack's Acela Express business class rather than United, banking on the convenience of downtown-to-downtown service. It was great, if just a bit intimidating to the uninitiated. And is it ever fast -- in just over an hour I was in the city of brotherly love. Best feature: power for your laptop and "quiet cars" where cell phones are forbidden.

Going home, I hoped to get an earlier train than my reservation. But unlike airports, I had no idea what to do. And it was a complete zoo at the Philadelphia station at 5 p.m. on a Friday.


Philadelphia's convention center, in a converted railway terminal.
Then I noticed a ClubAcela lounge and figured it had to be something like the Red Carpet Club. I figured that the worst thing that could happen would be that I would be politely escorted out as a non-member, so I headed up to the club and confessed my ignorance. The gracious hostess immediately rebooked my ticket, walked me to a special elevator that took me right to the train, and within literally three minutes I was enroute home. That's service!

Fork Restaurant


John Starkey, Stephanie Pfeiffer, and Jim Hammond.
First on the agenda: lunch at Fork Rest-aurant and Bar, with the gang from RainMaker Software Inc., the company that resulted from the recent merger of ASA Legal Systems Inc. and CompuTrac Inc. The charming bistro is located at 305 Market Street, in the "Old City."

John Starkey, vice president of marketing, Stephanie Pfeiffer, of the M.O.I. Agency, and new Rainmaker president Jim Hammond (former general manager of ASA) briefed me on developments at the company, which offers financial and practice management software.

Reading Terminal


Goodies at the Reading Terminal Market.
Then LTN edit board member Howard Baker, now Philly's chief information officer for public safety, took over tour duties, and showed me more of downtown Philadelphia, including the Liberty Bell, perhaps the city's best known icon. We walked (or should I say, drooled our way) through the vibrant Reading Terminal Market, a huge fresh open market, with everything from succulent turkey to vegetarian delights, and way too many sweets! Temptation lurked everywhere.

Respond and Recover

Stewart Levine, with panelists in background.
Stewart Levine, of ResolutionWorks, organized the ABA Law Practice Management section panel, 911 Respond and Recover, which addressed how the profession is coping with the aftermath of this fall's events.

Joy Heath-Porter, director of applications at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, stole the show with her astounding tale of how her firm tackled tremendous I.T. problems when its 600-staff office at the World Trade Center was demolished.


LegalTech New York panelists Greta Ostrovitz, left, Gretta Rusanow and R.W. Ziegler Jr.
I spoke about the reaction of lawyers and legal professionals at Ground Zero, where I was reporting with colleague David Horrigan.

Evan Davis (see Snap Shot, page 14) described the reaction of the local and state bar associations; Arabella Teal, principal deputy corporation counsel for the District of Columbia, discussed the tasks that fell upon the District of Columbia. (She got the best line, to the effect that "We learned that people who behave badly in general behave even more badly in a crisis.")

Finally, John Cooke, director of judicial education at the Federal Judicial Center, and Esther Lardent, chair of the ABA Coordinating Committee on Immigration and member of its Task Force on Terrorism, debated some of the civil rights issues now being confronted post-trauma.

LegalTech New York


LTN edit board member Storm Evans, left, and Barbara Brown, Alumni Computer, at LTNY.
We'll tackle LTNY in other pages, but I want to take a quick moment to thank the panelists on the "Gret(t)a" panel, about how to upgrade technology without driving lawyers off the ledge. Kudos to Greta Ostrovitz, of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Gretta Rusanow of Curve Consulting, and R.W. "Hap" Ziegler Jr., of Ziegler Ross Inc. Also of special note: Thomas O'Neill III, MCI group general counsel, gave a fascinating keynote, exploring the tensions of privacy and technology development. Very thought-provoking!

Inside
Editor's Note
Publisher's Report
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