ILTA 2012: Legal IT Information Management and Security Trends

We’ll review some overall trends and announcements from ILTA 2012 in the ilta-2012-e-discovery-trends/index.html">next few posts. Check our earlier ilta-2012-pre-game-e-discovery-year-in-review/index.html" target="_blank">pre-game for some more recent events and announcements in the space.

Overview

Legal technology (in the case of ILTA, primarily for law firms) is a strange beast. Lawyers tend not to be early adopters. And there’s some business logic behind this:

  • Productivity gains from technology can reduce billable hours
  • Technology adoption (arguably) threatens or devalues the sanctity of legal expertise, a key value-add of the trade
  • IT is not a billable expense.

Lawyers deal in (and are gate-keepers of) specialized knowledge – a role they are loathe to surrender to technology without solid business justification. As one panelist in an enterprise search session noted, even those in administrative functions may resist giving up their internal “point person” status to allow technology upgrades offering better self-service for users. Is this unique to the legal sector? No. Most companies are taking a hard look at the business justification for IT expenditures. Perhaps lawyers are simply some of the most successful hold-outs.

Yet due to the nature of legal work and the large volumes of confidential data involved, law firms are nonetheless great consumers of technology, with particular needs. Under increasing pricing pressure from their corporate clients, many are being forced to innovate – as evidenced by a number of sessions on coping with Alternate Fee Arrangements.

We’ll look at the role e-discovery plays in this in the ilta-2012-e-discovery-trends/index.html">next post, but first: some conference themes and announcements from more horizontal Legal IT in information management and security. To see more of ESG's recent e-discovery coverage and data from our corporate counsel survey, visit our ILTA microsite.

Information Management

For business reasons, law firms are dedicated to information management, especially to find and reuse data, conduct research, and find internal experts:

  • Law firms have long relied on expertise search to resource subject matter experts on in-depth projects . We see this trend becoming more widespread and consumerized now in horizontal IT, for finding “the leader, not the louder” as my colleague Tom Petrocelli says in our social enterprise coverage.
  • Likewise, “knowledge management” is vital to legal users and prompted several sessions, despite KM sometimes becoming a victim of its own early hype in more horizontal applications.
  • Law firms are also power-users of archiving and content management, and lawyers remain some of the most diligent “filers” out there, even with fewer legal secretaries around today. They create and traffic in large amounts of crucial electronic evidence, which is “owned” by clients and requires special management – even migration or deletion if the client takes their business elsewhere.
  • I’ll briefly mention the intersection of information management with IT security, storage, and mobility, particularly with the growing adoption of the cloud – my colleague Terri McClure takes a close look at these in her online file sharing coverage. Cloud and BYOD are major issues for law firms, given the sensitivity of evidence handling in an increasingly remote (and third-party outsourced) business. In this year’s show, security was a major focus as well – some would argue overdue. But given that IT admins sometimes tell me their firms’ partners’ passwords are still “password,” this is much-needed progress.

Announcements:

  • Autonomy introduced a more “social” search for iManage through Compass, an optional visual navigation UI to locate people, documents, and designate “communities” identified with certain subjects. New file share and sync integrated mobility with secure collaboration. HP also announced the installation of Autonomy software on HP printers post-acquisition for instant document delivery, maintaining law firms want “one throat to choke.” There’s certainly plenty of Autonomy already in law firms. The question, given HP’s recent disclosures on the state of Autonomy, is whether they want more. The search session I attended in which every panelist (coincidentally) chose Recommind would seem to show that there’s still more than enough room for best-of-breed.
  • C2C appeared behind PST Enterprise 2.2 and 6.5 release of its main ArchiveOne platform, for advanced discovery and retention, with capabilities to audit and delete data before moving it into the archive – also an asset for corporate counsel data-mapping prior to meet-and-confer.
  • Cloud e-mail management player Mimecast reported strong legal industry traction for its cloud-based e-mail archiving, continuity, security, and mobile solution.
  • Meanwhile, we learned Kroll is quetly phasing out its hosted archiving business, perhaps to focus on its strengths with the recent SaaS review offering Verve?

Next up: more details on ilta-2012-e-discovery-trends/index.html">ILTA e-discovery trends and announcements. Stay tuned.

Topics: Cybersecurity Data Protection Enterprise Mobility