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November 1999
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Lawtech News

Tech Section Regroups as California Bar Recovers

by Monica Bay

THE State Bar of California has survived near-mortal wounds from a hostile Legislature, furious state Governor and frustrated members.

California's high court recently reversed rulings that declared the Bar's MCLE program unconstitutional, and Gov. Gray Davis and Sacramento lawmakers approved its fees bill, ending two years of limbo. (Davis' predecessor nuked the prior fee bill, throwing the Bar into chaos.)

But it's not back to business as usual for the nation's largest mandatory bar (133,812 active members). The court put the Bar on a short leash. Among other restrictions, it has banned the use of dues for special interest sections.

So it's grow or perish, even for the popular Law Practice Management & Technology section, which has more than 2,000 members. New chair Albert Barsocchini, a Marin county solo practitioner, and outgoing chair Judd S. Kessler (president of Abacus Data Systems Inc.) have been brainstorming about how to expand section membership and offerings.

Ditto for the Bar's Solo & Small Firm section, says membership chair Thomas Wooten.

Mac Attack

Not surprisingly, the California Bar's annual meeting, held at Long Beach last month, was a muted version of past sessions. (At least it didn't have to compete with an incoming hurricane, as did the Miami Legal Tech show).

But the revived mandatory MCLE did prompt many attorneys to attend the meeting, reports Ed Siebel, a Balboa Island solo and active member of the MacLaw listserv/user group, which boasts about 300 lawyers.

MacLaw members, including Siebel, Paul Samarin of Long Beach, and Susan Salisbury of Los Angeles, organized two courses that were instant sell-outs: "Law Office Automation Exactly the Way You Want It," and "Free Legal Research Resources on the Internet."

Both were pitched as "hands-on" sessions, but participants were in for a little surprise: No Windows. "We assiduously avoided any mention of Macintosh in the materials or advertising," says Siebel. "People had no idea that we'd be working on iMacs before they showed up at the door. If they had, I suspect that many fewer would have signed up," says Siebel. Apple provided 10 iMacs and other hardware, GTE set up a DSL hookup, Ramp Networks provided routers for the event, he said. "It was clearly a Mac Attack!" he joked.

Chiefs Change

Robert McLean has been named president of Solution 6, North America, and will be in charge of CMS/Data Corp. Cynthia Sessions, formerly CMS/Data's vice president of client support and services, has been tapped as acting general manager of CMS/Data.

McLean replaces Gary Rogers, CMS/Data's president and chief operating officer, who resigned with the completion of the company's recent acquisition, for $46 million, by Solution 6 Holdings of Australia.

"Solution 6 management tried repeatedly to persuade Gary to stay on," reports spokesman Jobst Elster.Instead, Rogers quit, and told LTN he took a whopping 48 hours off before joining start-up U.S. Internetwork Inc. on Oct. 4. He's now senior vice president of worldwide sales for the application service provider, based in Annapolis, Md.

CaseMap To Upgrade

CaseSoft, of Ponte Verra Beach, Fla., has scheduled a January 2000 launch for the CaseMap 3 upgrade of its litigation support software. Expected enhancements include replication and synchronization features, instant filtering and tagging, and enhanced linking, says the company.

Tech-Topicshifts

Alan Rothman has launched (and is moderating) a new online discussion forum, Tech-Topicshifts.

It offers news, commentary, and advice concerning a wide range of information technologies. Major subject areas include the Net, substantive systems and applications, information processin and more, reports New York City's Rothman.

ABA Tech Survey '99

The American Bar Association reports that its annual technology survey of small and large firms will be released later this month. Details: abasvcctr@abanet.org.

Lost to Linux

Judith O'Brien, communications manager for Corel Corp.'s legal suite of products, has been so busy with Linux duties that she's been assigned to cover Linux full-time. So Ainsley Marcinyk steps into the legal spot, bringing five years of Corel experience. Curious about Corel's plans for Linux, (the fast growing operating system that some say will be a viable alternative to Windows or Mac)? Visit linux.corel.com.

FindLaw Goes Oval

FindLaw Inc. has expanded its Entertainment Law Center by adding reviews from TV critics with rather unusual resumes. The roster of critics includes "Anonymous," a former White House staffer who is assigned to NBC's hit, "West Wing." Mary Anne Wirth, tackling Law & Order, spent seven years as a Manhattan prosecutor and served in the Office of Independent Counsel with Kenneth Starr.

Julie Hilden, who covers Ally McBeal, brings litigation experience at Washington, D.C.'s Williams & Connolly (the firm that represented President Bill Clinton in the Starr investigation). Dahlia Lithwick, a former family law attorney, is taking on CBS' Family Law.

Techno MBAs

You may be surprised by which schools made the grade in Computerworld magazine's Top 25 list of "Techno-MBA" schools. It decidedly does not include the "usual suspects" that grace most "best of" campus lists.

The magazine polled 1,000 campus recruiters for their favorites. It also took a look at how each school stacked up on several key factors, including GMAT scores; ratio of faculty to students; percent of classes with fewer than 25 students; average salary of Spring '98 graduates; and more.

The Top 10: 1. Northeastern University (Boston); 2. University of Texas, Austin; 3. University of Maryland, College Park; 4. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; 5. University of California, Irvine; 6. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; 7. Purdue University, West Lafayette; 8. Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield; 9. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; and 10. University of Florida, Gainesville.

You've Got Appointments

America Online is previewing the Windows version of its pending 5.0 release, and we're impressed by the new "My Calendar." It's simple,and best of all, it stays on the AOL server, so there are no synching headaches: you can access it from anywhere and any platform. (Caveat: The Mac version of 5.0 is not available yet).

The upgrade also allows users to create up to seven screennames (with up to 16 characters); and adds a new "undelete mail" tool. AOL also has partnered with Kodak for the new "You've Got Pictures," feature which allows delivery of processed film to AOL e-mail boxes.

Now if only they can get rid of all the porn and Trojan horses! (Watch out for fake greeting cards and never, ever, ever, download anything that appears to come from AOL customer service or billing departments. Been there, done that!)

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