Gabe Acevedo

Posts by Gabe Acevedo

Most people who follow my blog know that I almost never post press releases. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about giving free publicity to companies when I can, especially the ones that I find scrappy and innovative. I just think press releases have become antiquated in their use as a marketing tool. Any company, especially one in technology, should be more focused on social media. Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter–even Second Life–are more likely to result in new clients than old-style press releases.
All press releases say pretty much the same thing. Take, for example, one that I found floating around the interwebs yesterday from a legal process outsourcing company. As outdated as this release may seem, you would be surprised how much you can learn about what’s happening in the legal technology industry, if you just read between the lines. After the jump, I will break down its jargon paragraph by paragraph. Since, it’s not my intention to promote or criticize this particular company , the names of the company and its product will be changed to protect the innocent, and the not so innocent.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How to Sound Like a Legal Technology Guru in 10 Minutes, a Press Release Deconstructed”

Patricia Gillette of Orrick.jpgOver the weekend, I read an interesting article by Orrick partner Patricia Gillette about how law firms should rethink how and who they layoff in an economic downturn. Normally, when firms find themselves in a financial pinch, they immediately slash those that they consider most dispensable: the contract lawyers, part-time lawyers, and support staff that may very well be crucial to the firm running smoothly.

While it’s always attention-grabbing to hear critical rumblings out of the belly of the beast that is “Biglaw,” one paragraph from the article struck me. I read it again to make certain I had understood it correctly. Gillette says that not all of the best and brightest lawyers wind up as Biglaw associates. Craziness…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw’s Status Issue”

Back to the Future 2 DeLorean time machine.jpgAlthough the “Cravath System” has been declared dead for over a year now, this model of leadership has been on the rocks for much, much longer.
Over a century ago, millionaire lawyer Paul Drennan Cravath went out in search of the best and brightest young lawyers from the top law schools, paid them salaries, and mentored them in how to become great litigators. As an associate, you could stay at the firm as long as you were “promotable,” meaning that you had roughly eight years to make partner or you were out. The “Cravath System,” as it would eventually be called, was adopted by almost every major American law firm.
One could argue that part of the Cravath model’s destruction was due to the rise of legal technology. Yet one might also argue that legal technology will begin its rebirth.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Could Legal Technology Take the Cravath System ‘Back To The Future’?”

outsourcing biglaw aba tsunami.gifEd. note: Gabe Acevedo, who covered LegalTech for Above the Law earlier this month, will be writing for these pages about legal technology.

Recently, Steven C. Bennett, the chair of Jones Day’s E-Discovery Committee, published an article [PDF] in the Northern Kentucky Law Review entitled “The Ethics of Legal Outsourcing.” In his article, Bennett relied heavily on a six page ethics opinion [PDF] issued by the ABA in August of 2008. When the ABA Formal Opinion 08-451 was released, many legal process outsourcing companies (LPOs) — the companies that hire overseas attorneys to do the work of American attorneys at a fraction of the cost — lauded it as an “endorsement” of their work. As Bennett noted in his article, the opinion even referred to outsourcing as something that was “salutary,” in that it would reduce costs for clients.

Those LPOs had a right to be celebratory about ABA 08-451. After all, never in the history of the United States was there ever an ethics opinion of any Bar Association that had done more to undermine the standing of both American attorneys and our practice of law.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Olympics Update: Outsourcing E-Discovery Sliding Down Slippery Slope, at Record Speed”

Just a quick note, over at Gabe’s Guide, I’ve posted a bunch of links on LegalTech – New York, as well as a few of the snowpocolapse here in D.C. Still trying to dig my way out over here.
Lazy Sunday Links 2.7.10: The LegalTech Aftermath/Superbowl Sunday/Snowmageddon, Edition [Gabe's Guide]

LegalTech.JPGAt LegalTech, I had a chance to attend a panel with some very interesting speakers on the “future” of law.
During this panel, a question was posed to a person — we’ll call him “David L.” — on whether law students are feeling better about the market now as opposed to six or twelve months ago. His answer: yes, but perhaps not in the way you might imagine. Students are feeling better because they’ve become resigned to their fates, which has actually been quite liberating. After all, “Why stress about your career when you’ll be just lucky to have one?”
Another resignation to fate was taking place right before my eyes, one that went almost completely unnoticed among those in attendance: the end of the current BigLaw Partner-Associate (Cravath) Model.
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Audacity of Hopelessness: When Resigning to Your Fate May Be A Good Thing”

LegalTech.JPGAt LegalTech, Thomson Reuters celebrated Tuesday night’s announcement of acquiring the Minneapolis based SuperLawyers with all kinds of bells and whistles. Unfortunately the ringers on the bells were defective and the whistles were meant for dogs. No one from Thomson at LegalTech was prepared to really discuss anything regarding the SuperLawyers pick-up.
“Oh, that’s a Westlaw thing, you should go talk to Westlaw,” one Thomson rep told me. Unfortunately the Westlaw folks were giving me the same blank stares.
Not to say that LegalTech wasn’t an overall success. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “We Acquired SuperLawyers? For Real? (An Update)”

After taking a a shot to the chin on news of Lexis Nexis’ new partnership with Microsoft, Thomson Reuters (the parent company of Westlaw), has announced that they are acquiring SuperLawyers.
This literally just broke tonight, and like most things in my life I am a bit perplexed on this. I would assume this would be a feature of their Westlaw component, but it very well could be it’s own separate entity. Also, there are some potential conflicts. Would a firm that is a heavy subscriber to Westlaw or Thomson services tend to be more “super” than firms that don’t.
More details should come out tomorrow, so I will try to keep you updated.

It’s almost as if Westlaw (Thomson Reuters) had a crystal ball before this year’s LegalTech. From the get-go, they brought out the razzle dazzle in announcing their new WestlawNext. Before you could even enter the exhibit hall, they had music, giant television screens, and people running around with MacBook Airs showing off their new product. Hello smoke, meet mirrors.
However, all the fanfare failed to temper LexisNexis’s big announcement: a legal research partnership with Microsoft. From the ABA Journal

The competition for your legal research dollars just got a little more intense today as LexisNexis unveiled at LegalTech in New York its newest offering: a partnership with Microsoft.
Lexis will now be integrated into Microsoft Office products, allowing users to do legal and general research directly while working in Microsoft Word, Outlook and SharePoint. Users, who must have a Lexis subscription, need only click on a Lexis tab in the ribbon of utilities available in Microsoft Office 2007 and the forthcoming 2010 version to start researching, Shepardizing cases or even gathering information from Bing or Google search engines. There is no need to navigate separately to the Web and log on to Lexis or a search engine.

So the salvos here at LegalTech have been launched. Will Westlaw have to “Google-ize” themselves as well, or (dare I say) “Twitterize”? Let’s not forget about Bloomberg’s entry into the fray with BLAW. Who knows, maybe they will attempt legal research on Foursquare. Kidding, kidding.
One thing is for certain, the battle continues…

LegalTech.JPGIt has been a whirlwind of a day here at LegalTech, and I still have a few meetings to go. I was going to live blog the panel where David Lat was speaking, but couldn’t get a signal, even with a Verizon internet cartridge. The irony is not lost on me being at a legal technology conference.
Lots to blog about, but the one thing I will say right now, this event is much bigger than last year. There is also a different vibe. People seem to have much more enthusiasm. Last year the mood was much more mundane, probably because everyone knew the economy was in the tank. The higher level of activity is a positive sign for anyone working in the legal industry.
I will try to write up a summary of the day’s events tonight or early, early in the morning. Right now I am off to two more meetings and then “B-Discovery,” which is a happy hour for e-discovery professionals. The “B” in B-Discovery stands for “Bar,” go figure. However this is the largest B-Discovery of the year and likely to draw over a thousand people. It will be held at Touch Night Club.
More later…

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