Ernie the Attorney : searching for truth & justice (in an unjust world)
Updated: 6/5/2003; 11:07:59 PM.


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Friday, January 31, 2003

The Russian move towards Political Correctness - has apparently hit a snag with the remarks offered by a high-level Russian politician.  Alice has the scoop

10:04:32 PM    

Legal Tech & West KM - Bob Ambrogi has some preliminary thoughts on the LegalTech show at New York.  Basically, he says, nothing exciting happened.  He refers to West's KM effort, which sounds interesting but not tempting.  Maybe I'm missing something, but why would I want to use West's system to categorize my documents?  Our firm uses West as our primary online research tool, but I have to admit that when it came time to pick between Lexis and Westlaw there was a pitched battle.  Westlaw won out because it gave us a slightly better deal.  But there would have been a big push for Weslaw, even if they hadn't made a better offer.

In our firm, as in many firms I'm sure, there are a few hard-core Westlaw zealots.  By this I mean people who believe it is an a priori truth that Westlaw is an inherently superior online research tool.  Mostly, they swear by the Key Number system.  I agree that the Key Number system is very useful in certain instances, but the raw horsepower of online legal research is good old Boolean searching.  People who claim that one search system is inherently superior make a claim that proves too much.  That is, it proves they are zealots

Perhaps the West KM initiative will appeal quickly to the zealots who believe that the Key Number system is the de facto Dewey Decimal system of legal taxonomy.  Me?  I tend to not want my highly prized law firm data locked into a proprietary search system developed by a company that once claimed that it had a copyright on the page numbers of judicial opinions that it published.  But if the KM product is really useful then, as Ross Perot used to say, I'm all ears.  Maybe Bob will provide us with some more thoughts that explain the benefits in a way that makes it enticing.

9:38:40 PM    

Cordless Keyboards a bad idea for lawyers? - perhaps so according to this report which was flagged by Bob Ambrogi.  I have a cordless keyboard in my house and I can tell you the range at which it operates is pretty amazing.  But that can be a bad thing in a law office.

9:09:31 PM    

The War on Drugs - John Kane is a federal judge and he has some interesting thoughts about the war on drugs, such as we should "terminate the symbiotic business relationship that law enforcement has with the illegal-drug industry."  [via TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime].

8:52:14 PM    

Rally cry for lawyers who want to help starving artists - I'm working with a very nice woman who represents a group that helps artists.  One of the problems that artists are having is people appropriating their artwork and using it on the Internet without permission.  That is what lawyers might refer to as a clear-cut copyright violation.  I've agreed to help out, which means drafting and sending cease-and-desist letters to the scofflaws, and then possibly filing suit.  This is work that will not make the attorney much money (although copyright law does provide for attorneys' fees in certain cases), but it is, as I see it, a good thing to do.  So, if any of you blogging attorneys want to join in let me know by E-mail (esvenson-at-gamde-dot-com).  I think if we consolidate resources this could be a not-terribly-burdensome thing for the lawyers which is very helpful to the artists.
4:02:53 PM    

Taking the pulse in Georgia - I've told you to visit this site.  This post analyzes the mind of the average person in Georgia.

2:51:33 PM    

Advice to judicial law clerks - don't call your judge a "corrupt son of a bitch" or you might get fired.  And apparently the First Amendment won't stand in the wayAmazing, isn't it?
2:43:36 PM    

Bye, Bye, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison - "Rick Klau has interesting comments on the demise of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. More from a NY Times story. A sad end for one of the leading lights of the Internet bubble." [via Internet Tools for Lawyers].

Yep.  Rick has been on this story for awhile, and his recent analysis is dead on.  Another example of blog-information outpacing the traditional dead-trees stuff.  The main point I would underscore is that you can look at this failure as a pure dot-com problem, or you can view it as a small indicator of larger forces coming to bear on the legal profession.  At least Brobeck tried to reorient itself to use technology better.  I'm sure many firms will say "well, that proves that if you spend too much on technology you are going to fail; it's about the traditional things like client relations and hard work."  Yep.  That's true, but technology combined with those values is where you can create leverage. 

In the end people believe what they want to believe.  Maybe people who want to see more technology in the law practice are naive.  But, here's why I think that's not true.  The world evolves toward efficiency and protects it, because it's in our mutual interest as a society to handle social transactions (which includes legal disputes) efficiently.  The reason we no longer live in a feudal society isn't because people are more altruistic now.  It's because the overall social benefits are greater in the economic system that we have now.  I'll bet my house that the legal system is going to become more efficient.  Not because it wants to.  But because society, in small, but pervasive and collectively powerful ways, will demand it.  Those who laugh at Brobeck's failed effort, and who point to the excesses, are laughing at themselves.  They just don't know it.

1:28:49 PM    

© Copyright 2003 Ernest Svenson.

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