"Mobile phone operator O2 has instituted a radical new initiative in its legal department, which will include slashing its current panel of 38 law firms by two-thirds. ... The litigation and mediation group of O2 is studying previous O2 disputes to assess whether they were resolved effectively and economically. The group will study when outside counsel were engaged and whether the case could have been settled earlier than it was."
The story is just another brick in the wall that is being built, perhaps slowly, but surely. Companies that hire law firms are going to look for efficiency. And it will be interesting to see who is around after the shakeout.
Here's one account that is pretty interesting. Here's an excerpt regarding how the Directorate of Intelligence analysts do their job:
"an important part of a DI analyst’s tradecraft is building an informal source network. A good analyst either knows someone, or “knows someone who knows someone,” at another office or organization who can get the information they need. A good analyst will use these contacts to develop more leads in the process. This, of course, is exactly what the World Wide Web does in an automated fashion when it is combined with a search engine like Google or Alta Vista. Unfortunately, DI analysts lack this capability for most classified information, and their own information environment is so segmented that it would be cumbersome to perform such searches in any case."
And then we've got the natural obsession with security, which is a good thing for the CIA. But it can also have drawbacks:
"Until recently, for example, Palm Pilots (along with handguns and explosives) were forbidden in CIA facilities. The CIA only slowly brought the Internet into Headquarters, and took even longer to put it at the desk of each analyst. Analysts cannot develop skills in using these technologies unless they can use them in their day-to-day work. By delaying or excluding the technologies, the Agency is allowing DI analysts to fall behind their outside counterparts in knowing how to use IT in their work, and is preventing DI analysts from integrating these technologies into DI tradecraft."
Weblogs for Analysts? The author recommends, essentially, just that:
"If analysts had personal websites on the CIA classified network, they could post links to all of their products as they are written. New analysts assigned to the account could then simply go to the website to get 'read in.'”
Go read the whole article, especially the part about "procurement protocols." Then you won't feel so bad about the headaches of upgrading your IT system. More proof that bureacracy and IT don't mix well.
"Howard Dean says at least two important and true things here: (1) "The way to deal with a leader is to be another leader, and to be strong in your views and present the American people with a choice"; (2) "For me, when the Cumulus Corporation, which owns a lot of radio stations, kicked the Dixie Chicks off their networks – a couple hundred radio stations – I realized that media corporations have too much power." [via Lessig Blog]
When I can get Larry Lessig pointing out what's admirable in what a presidential candidate says then I know I'm getting something that is worth listening to. This, my friends, is the power of weblogs.
This post in particular captures what I love most about Professor Lessig. He's totally open to criticism and willing to discuss his views in a public space. If you are even the slightest bit interested in the Internet you should be reading his blog on a regular basis. Me? I just have my news aggregator fetch his posts from his RSS feed.
Dennis Kennedy nabs this one: "Legal marketing maven, Larry Bodine, has joined the blogging world (with XML feed)." Dennis says his "Law Marketing Portal is a fabulous resource on legal marketing." Adjust your browser bookmarks and RSS aggregators accordingly.
I was wondering when someone was going to come up with this. Now that I've become used to TiVo for television, I'm constantly trying to rewind my radio in my car. It's a nice radio, but it doesn't have a rewind function. Yet.
The much beloved operator of a legal blog site that features that catch phrase "blog and the world blogs with you, spam and you spam alone" reveals that she has been blogging for two lately. Congratulations to Denise!
The page may take a bit longer than usual to load because she has posted a couple of pictures (obviously not of the little blawger).
"UBS Warburg was ordered this week to pay for the search and recovery of e-mail messages requested by a plaintiff, giving aggrieved investors a new legal tool to support their cases against investment banks.
Shira A. Scheindlin, a judge in the southern district of New York, said that UBS had to dig into its archives and pay for the restoration of a limited batch of e-mail messages sought by a former employee who is suing the firm for sexual discrimination and retaliatory dismissal.
Judge Scheindlin's opinion, delivered on Tuesday, is already being referred to by lawyers representing investors and investment banks as a definitive piece of jurisprudence. It suggests that investment banks will have to take responsibility and pay for the recovery of e-mail messages as long as plaintiffs can demonstrate that the evidence sought is relevant to their cases. "
How far "into its archives" will it have to dig? Are judges aware of backup tapes? Are attorneys aware of them?
I think that a new aresenal in discovery is going to be the 30(b)(6) deposition of the IT person at an organization, who can be used to ferret out the information is electronically archived and who can be asked how burdensome it would be to retrieve it.
One of the "speakers" at PopTech last year that I enjoyed most was Noel Paul Stookey. He is the "Paul" of Peter, Paul & Mary fame. He spoke a little, but he mostly played his guitar and thereby totally charmed the audience. One of the songs that he performed was Virtual Party, which I was reminded of the other day so I looked for it online, but couldn't find it.
I found his website and emailed the webmaster, asking about the song, which I knew only by the fact that it was about the Internet (I couldn't remember the title). So I got a reply today pointing me to the lyrics, and giving me the album information. Amazon has the album, and you can even listen to some clips of songs from the album, but unfortunately you can't listen to a clip of Virtual Party.
I don't care. I went ahead and ordered the album just now, even though I really only want that one song. I like Noel Paul Stookey and I'll bet I'll like a couple of the other songs on the CD; and if I don't, so what?
I guess one way of looking at this is it's another example of a CD sale that wouldn't have occurred if not for the Internet. Well, actually, the sale wouldn't have occurred if Noel Paul Stookey had not been such an engaging and down-to-earth- fellow. The Internet just faciliated the transaction. But a live performance triggered it.