Yankee Stadium, Ringstrasse, Disney World, Dallas
By Monica Bay
DONNA PAYNE has discovered the power of a front-page mention in The Wall Street Journal.
On Oct. 20, Payne Consulting
Group was featured in a story about how Democrat Mike Ciresi, an unsuccessful Minnesota candidate for the U.S. Senate, was plagued by a lot of strange e-mail. The messages challenged his ethics, and those of his Minneapolis law firm, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.
It wasn't until an aide checked the metadata (the code hidden when a document is sent or printed) that the Ciresi camp uncovered the sender: a member of the campaign staff of the Republican incumbent.
The WSJ story goes on to offer other examples of how metadata can cause, at a minimum, embarrassment to an unwary sender. It then details how Payne's company, after experiencing problems with a law firm-generated file, developed a free program, called Metadata Assistant, which purges unseen and unwanted information from your documents.
Payne says she was overwhelmed by the response to the WSJ story. "We've received almost 50,000 Web hits today alone," she said, at 8:50 p.m. on the day of publication. "And hundreds of telephone calls and e-mails. Apparently there is tremendous interest in this issue."
I.T. Staffing Survey
LawNet Inc. has announced the release of its I.T. Staffing Survey 2000. We'll bring more details in the next issue of LTN, but LawNet's Randi Mayes offered us a sneak peak at highlights. The survey covers staffing ratios, salaries, benefits, etc.
It probably won't surprise you to read that Northern and Southern Calif. have the highest rates of pay for I.T. staff. At a large firm, a "desktop support manager" contractor averages $125/hour.
Bonuses? For salaried staff who were happy with their amount, an average of $10,500 at big firms and $3,500 at small firms. LawNet members will receive the copy for free. Non-member price will be approximately $100. To order a copy, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Beyland, the president and CFO of Loislaw.com Inc., has resigned. Kyle Parker, founder, chair and CEO, has assumed presidential reponsibilities; Randell Sisemore, vice-president of finance, will perform CFO functions, both on an interim basis.
Loislaw officials say they plan to "aggressively pursue" hiring a new president and a new CEO, and say the resignation shouldn't have an "adverse impact" on the company's financial condition or operation.
Quarterly results were expected to be announced Nov. 1, they say.
LegalTech New York, held Sept. 28-29, was jam-packed as always. It kicked off with a keynote from Brian Reynard, manager of Information technology legal and government affairs for Cisco Systems, Inc., that created a lot of buzz (as did the keynote presented by his colleague, Dan Scheinman, at August's LawNet 2000).
So good, in fact, that Reynard's been scheduled for an encore, and will deliver the second day opening session speech, at the upcoming January LegalTech N.Y., (Jan. 29-31), reports Susan McKittrick, of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Also announced: The keynote for the January meeting will be Richard Susskind, who drew accolades for his presentation at the ABA London sessions in July, she reports.
Back to the September meeting: I must confess that as moderator of the closing session of the Sept. N.Y. LegalTech, we panelists were a bit anxious about attendance, because our session was scheduled at 3:30 p.m.-- on not just any Friday, but Rosh Hashana. But we worried for naught -- we got a great crowd and great questions from the audience. The panel, Implementing Extranets -- Three Case Studies, featured Judith Flournoy of Kelley Drye & Warren L.L.P.; Fritz Sassine of McGuire Woods; and Stanley Wasylyk of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius L.L.P. Thanks to all for a very dynamic and educational panel.
And special thanks to my colleague Susan Hecox, as well as Hewlett-Packard's Dan Ferley and Consumer Development Group's Liz Bishop, for giving me a wonderful excuse to finally see The Lion King. What a delightful evening!
Dulles to Disney Blues
Don't get me started about how United Airlines lost my luggage, somewhere between customs at Washington, D.C.'s Dulles airport and Orlando, Florida.
I should have known better. I did know better. But after a long transatlantic flight, I spontaneously checked a heavy carry-on before continuing to Elite Information Systems Inc.'s Connections 2000 conference at the Hyatt Grand Cypress.
So what did I learn? Always carry at least one change of clothing if you are wearing jeans. More important: Never, ever, ever put your computer power pack into checked luggage. Especially if you plan to play Solitaire (I mean work) on the plane. Never.
Just try to find a Mac power pack at a conference for software that only runs on Windows.
Don't bother trying to call the local Best Buy or CompUSA outlet. They don't answer. They don't deliver. They aren't nearby. You get the picture.
I did, however, learn how to use our Web-based version of Exchange to get my e-mail.
And I did get to buy a Mickey Mouse T-shirt with "Orlando" on it. Whoopee!
Hats, Hats, Hats
The Elite event drew about 900 folks to the aforementioned Hyatt, which offered
the added attraction of being a stone's throw away from Disney World, et al. But those distractions will have to wait for another day. There was too much to do at the conference.
Robert Mnookin, director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project, presented the keynote, on negotiation, and attendees received a copy of his book, Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes.
Among the many panels, Don Murray, of ELF Technologies, discussed "Using Internet tools to Enhance the Attorney-Client Relationship;" Stanley Wasylyk addressed "Collaborative Tools for Case Management;" and Michael Kraft, of Kraft, Kenney & Lesser Inc., offered "Information Portals: Enabling Knowledge Management in Law Firms."
But there also was a bit of time to enjoy the warm Florida outdoors. Elite's traditional black-tie gala dinner was replaced this year by a BBQ, with entertainment by six-time Grammy-winning Asleep at the Wheel. (I won't try to define its genre, but it included everything from square dancing numbers, Western swing, and country).
To put everybody in the mood, we were all handed a bandana and a hat; and offered plenty of libations served in Mason jars. (See page 92 for more pictures.)
As a parting gift we all got a copy of the band's CD, Asleep at the Wheel Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.
Speaking of Texas, it's on to Dallas!
Those Texans sure do things big. The Wyndham Anatole hotel lobby is so huge you could play a game of football and not break anything.
The hotel is loaded with tapestries, sculptures, antiques and even a piece of the Berlin Wall. But the my favorite area: the Rathskeller Sports Bar.
I'm a Yankees fan (by the time this hits print, I suspect they will have won their 9,999th consecutive World Series), but we sure had a great time rooting on the Mets as they blasted into a Subway World Series.
Speaking of the Subway series, did you notice all those www.mlb.com signs all over Yankee Stadium?
The new moniker was made possible by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius L.L.P., which transferred its domain name to Major League Baseball earlier this fall. (The firm now uses www.morganlewis.com.)
If you scroll down the left-hand navigation bar on the baseball site, you can, at least for a while, (they have yet to decide exactly how long) click to the law firm site. Not surprisingly, Major League Baseball is a Morgan Lewis client. (Domain transfer details were kept confidential.)
But back to LegalTech Dallas: Special thanks to panelists of our closing session, on Application Service Providers in the Legal Profession. Neil Aresty, a principal of Legal Computer Solutions Inc.; Roy Plattel, president of 1stlegal.com, and Chris Kruse, chair of casecentral.com, were all thought-provoking, as always.
Looking for a refreshing mini- vacation? Try Vienna. Best tip: The "Heuringer" wine taverns that dot the Grinzig neighborhood, where you can find phenomenal food and local brews. And is the dollar strong! My family of five had a huge dinner, with drinks and cream-topped apple streusel, for about $60.
Another tip: Call American Express and request a personal car tour. My sisters and I had a wonderful, four-hour exploration of the city, with a delightful guide, for about $150.
Of course, we required an interlude at a local coffeehouse in search of the perfect piece of Sacher torte, between touring the Imperial and Belvedere palaces; driving along the Ringstrasse; and visiting the gravesites of Mozart (St. Marx Cemetery), and Beethoven, Brahms, Strauss and Shubert, who are buried together at the city's Central Cemetery.
Austrian Air, a United Airlines Star Alliance partner (translation: miles count toward Premier status) was efficient and remarkably comfortable, even in coach.
Check out info.wien.at and www.aua.com. During the flights, I caught up with two California lawyers' latest courtroom thrillers.
Gus Lee, formerly an executive with the Calif. State Bar, and a supervising district attorney, has an authentic, gripping read with his No Physical Evidence (Ivy Books). John Martel, of Farella, Braun & Martel in San Francisco, is deliciously melodramatic in The Alternate. (Signet). Fun reads, both!