Sheepless Nights, Scooters & Jeopardy
By Monica Bay
TRAVELING in the United Kingdom this Spring, it was impossible to escape the somber undercurrent caused by the sad conditions facing the nation. The usually-bucolic train rides through the countryside were quietly depressing: rolling green fields nearly barren of their usual lush carpet of sheep and cows. Every newscast and paper was dominated by reports on the hoof and mouth crisis. My heart just goes out to the farmers. Let's hope that the technology and tools of 2001 can bring this terrible situation to an end, quickly.
At Victoria Square, in downtown Birmingham, this statue, "The River," by Dhruva Mistry, is better known by its nickname, "The Floosy in the Jacuzzi."
Linklaters in London
But on to much more upbeat news: In addition to attending the Birmingham Solicitors show (See page 42), I had the opportunity to visit London's Linklaters & Alliance.
Anybody who questions the viability or future of the Internet as a legal services delivery tool need only take a look at what's going on at this firm to change mindset.Linklaters is already using Web-based programs to develop what U.K. professor Richard Susskind calls "latent business" opportunities.
Rupert Winlaw, of the firm's public relation's staff, arranged for a demonstration of two of the firm's products: Clients@ Linklaters and Blue Flag. Tim Hanson, information systems consultant; Mark Boggis, commercial manager for Blue Flag; and Sarah Woodhams, BF marketing advisor, were my guides.
Clients@Linklaters, launched last September, is a secure Extranet site that enables collaboration, and well as access to a range of contact, deal and related financial information. The service includes a "deal area," contact information, as well as links into other Link-laters services (including BF).
Clients can access documents, monitor costs and billing, get online advice, and more. It can be tailored to meet client security and access requirements.
Blue Flag is targeted primarily at financial and regulatory clients, allowing users to find detailed information, quickly. For example, Boggis demonstrated how a client could conduct a fast search to find "cold calling" regulations in four European countries, generating an answer in seconds, not hours.
Modules are focused on specific practice areas, including "Regulatory" (compliance advice, for those conducting financial services in, into and out of the U.K., Europe and Asia); "Funds" (to help fund managers run funds and develop marketing); "Shareholding Disclosure," "Derivatives," "Employee Share Plans, and "Confirms" (developed with Documentum, it automates ISDA compliant confirms.)
Scooting to Chicago
Don't die of shock: United actually left on time both going to and coming back from London. Travel secret #2,456: take UA 976, its JFK morning flight if you want to minimize jet lag. Beats a red-eye any day.
Anyway, I dashed to Chicago for the final 24 hours of ABA TECHSHOW, just in time to catch the annual dinner organized by Sheryn Bruehl and Ross Kodner. It was a blast. Kevin Reifler, of LegalVoice, stole the show with "publicity" for some "new" products. It was one of those you hadda be there moments, but his promotions for Testimony Helper and Class Action Figures were a hoot.
Craig Brown (NextPage) with Techshow's most popular toy.
Many thanks to Warren Jones of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro L.L.P.; Todd Miller, of Holland & Hart; and Steve Sebastian, of Bradley Arant Rose & White L.L.P. for offering terrific advice on our Large Firm Case Study Roundtable.
And thanks (I think) to Andy Adkins for the invitation to be a "contestant" on TECHSHOW Jeopardy, the closing panel of the ABA sessions. To give you a sense of this little adventure, all I need tell you is that my co-contestants were the irrepressible Daniel Coolidge and Gayle O'Connor. Suffice it to say, I didn't win. But it sure was fun. :)
P.S. Congratulations to West's Gretchen DeSutter and her family on the birth of Evan Patrick!