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Posts Tagged ‘Mac lawyers’

As the “The Collapse of the Microsoft-Intel Monopoly” continues to accelerate, the response from the both the broader legal technology profession as well as the eDiscovery chattering classes has been what I can only describe as a collective yawn.

But that’s not completely surprising – after all, the the legal profession is characterized by it’s insistence on staying mired in the same technology swamp. And as such, it’s only today these organizations are getting around to examining their ongoing investment to find a replacement for Windows-reliant applications like Summation or Concordance. These warhorses have not been working for quite a while and are requiring ever increasing expenditures to keep running.

But this analysis is not coming easily. What is an easy call – supporting multiple operating systems and mobile – is being met in many instances by a deep state of denial that extends deeply into the purchasing decisions of large organizations. While we are seeing our users are moving rapidly away from WinTel based laptops and toward a variety of mobile and tablet devices, including Apple products, most of these organizations express little enthusiasm for supporting them.

This, by the way, is the opposite of the trend we see occurring in the small to midsize organizations, who are more nimble and adapting to their users preferences more readily.

So as we talk to law firms looking for a replacement for Concordance or Summation, future-proofing the emerging platforms should be of paramount interest, right?

These should be first questions in a RFP for a replacement Summation or Concordance. “Does your software support users in non-Windows environments? Do you plan on supporting iPads, Android devices, mobile computing platforms and Apple products generally? Can you support any browser besides Internet Explorer, which now controls less than a third of the overall marketshare?”

Legal IT needs to recognize the dislocation, and match it’s buying strategy to the way its users work. It’s not too late to match the needs and motivations of internal litigation support and IT departments with the needs of their users.

It’s time to ditch, in Silicon Valley speak, concerns orthagonal to the needs of their users. Based on this graph, is there any rational response from a law firm IT department other than to immediately cease any further capital or operational investment in technology not designed to support emerging platforms?

It isn’t rational to justify a purchasing decision that ignores 50 percent of the computing devices in the marketplace? It is not possible to develop a business case for spending capital expenditures on software that only works on a WinTel laptop. Yet it continues to happen today – is this state of denial sustainable?

Of course not. It never is. But now is the time to make the change, before falling off this Window/Intel cliff.

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The iPad is now the primary computer for many people, and is rapidly growing up as a business tool. According to the new 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey, over 28 percent of all litigators now use a tablet device in the courtroom, mostly for checking email, although roughly 10 percent use it for presentation and litigation support in court.

Trial with iPad and Mac

The flexibility, portability, and accessibility the iPad delivers is a great tool for litigators, but it’s really not that powerful if your applications aren’t built for the Mac environment. Unfortunately, Trial Director, Sanction and Summation are not supported on a Mac. Nextpoint, however is a native, cloud-based technology provider, meaning it works on your iPad, iPhone, Windows or Mac desktop, or whatever platform you use. Additionally, in 2011 Nextpoint optimized all of its trial, discovery, and preservation applications for the iPad, meaning it will always look and run great on the iPad or any Mac device.

Native Matters

Optimization for the Mac and iPad matters most in the courtroom, where litigators need to know that their presentations and files look exactly right and they can access files quickly and easily. Most litigators know that many court reporters deliver deposition transcripts in the PTX format, which is a proprietary, encrypted file, only readable with RealLegal software. RealLegal is, of course, not well-suited for the Mac. As you can see in this tutorial on viewing transcripts stored in the PTX format, the format is a real headache for lawyers, especially if they need to quickly review a transcript in court.

One of the great benefits of web-based applications is the ability to be (largely) hardware/operating system independent. That’s why Nextpoint’s Trial Cloud is the only platform that supports PTX files for Macs, iPads, or any other platform you can think of. The Mac and the iPad are quickly becoming powerful tools for litigators. Unfortunately, it will be a long time before the rest of the litigation support industry catches up.

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Nextpoint "Expert Witness" Post

Nextpoint’s Expert Witness is a new feature here on the Frank blog, offering insights from lawyers, technologists, law enforcement, entrepreneurs, and other interesting people influencing our industry and world. Check back regularly for thought-provoking and in-depth conversations.

Lawyer Tom Mighell is probably best known for his blog inter-alia, which he describes as a collection of his “favorite technology topics, as well as the latest in law practice management tips, tricks and resources – among other things.” More recently, the iPad has become the focus of his technology obsession, which has spawned the site iPad 4 Lawyers, and his books iPad in One Hour for Lawyers and  iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers, published by the American Bar Association. Readers may also be familiar with the Mighell Marker Newsletter, which he helped publish for 10 years, or the The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a legal technology podcast from the Legal Talk Network. Tom’s current day job is Senior Consultant with Contoural, Inc., where he deals with records management, electronic discovery, and litigation readiness issues.

Nextpoint is clearly on board with the iPad, since all of our applications are optimized for the device. But we wanted to talk to Tom about why tech-savvy lawyers are falling in love with the iPad. He’s also picked up a few tips to help lawyers and others get the most out of their devices.

iPad in One Hour

Nextpoint: Why did you write your books iPad in One Hour for Lawyers and iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers?

Tom Mighell: Two reasons. I wanted to provide lawyers with a way to get up to speed quick on using an iPad. iPad in One Hour for Lawyers provides the basics that lawyers need to know to be able to get their iPad set up and start using it, all in a little more than an hour. The second book I wrote as a response to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of apps available in Apple’s App Store. There are somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 apps made especially for the iPad, and busy lawyers don’t have time to sort through all of them and figure out which apps are best. iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers provides a curated collection of the best apps for lawyers in different categories – Productivity, Legal-Specific, News and Reading, Reference and Research, Travel, and Utilities.

The iPad is commonly thought of as device for casual users. Why are you excited about it is a tool to make lawyers more productive in practicing the law?

I’ll challenge the first sentence of your question, and modify it to, “the iPad was once thought of as a device for casual users.”  There are probably some out there who still look on the iPad only for playing Angry Birds, surfing the web, or reading a book, but many lawyers are now recognizing the value of the iPad as a productivity tool. In fact, I myself was skeptical at first that the iPad could help me in my work – but the apps that are currently available for iPad users can help lawyers do a lot of the things they already do with laptop or desktop computers: take notes, draft and revise documents, and review caselaw or other documents they deal with in cases or transactional matters. (more…)

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The Case of PC v. Mac

At Nextpoint, we’ve historically been fanatic Thinkpad fans. I felt about my Thinkpad I would imagine the same way Derek Jeter felt about his glove. But then something changed. Like when someone stole Jeter’s gamer and tried to sell it. Actually, a lot of individual things changed.

First, we started developing applications for the web instead of local installs because of the overwhelming business case to be made for SaaS products. Then, Thinkpad was sold and the build quality of the computers went down. I started using Firefox so I had a non-IE browser. Finally, an impending Vista upgrade and an “upgrade” to Office 2007 killed my T60 and put the final nail in the coffin. I migrated to a 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro and absolutely love it. It’s been so successful we’re planning on migrating most of the company to Macs as part of our overall strategy. Why?

It’s the Web, stupid. Web developers know Macs work better with the web. Nextpoint is web-based. We built it to maximize our performance in a number of core trial processes – exhibit stamping, document presentation, deposition management, file sharing – for which no existing software worked. Because its web-based, we are no longer tethered to a Windows environnment in order to use of host of outdated applications that didn’t work very well in the first place.

We are seeing new customers and lots of interest from lawyers who run Macs. They simply had no option for litigation-focused software. Neither did we until now, making the Mac a completely feasible option.

It’s less expensive. With Nextpoint, we don’t need local installs of Summation, Concordance, TrialDirector, Sanction or LiveNote. No Citrix configuration, no mapping of databases to networked drives. And one of the major advantages for us is that we can have a gradual transition as our equipment goes out of date versus needing to convert the entire company immediately. Macs and PCs can work on the same data with no problem. Forget about the effect on our bottom line of a forced upgrade to Vista, followed by forced upgrades by all of the supporting applications. Just contemplating the amount of support hours to install, patch, upgrade, and reset our entire network was enough to force us to another option. And I’m glad it did.

It runs Office seamlessly. Office 2008 for the Mac works almost seamlessly with Office 2007 and to a lesser extent 2003 – even with graphic and data intensive PowerPoint and Excel files. This means we can open files without using Parallels, which frankly was not a pleasant experience. Migration to Entourage has been almost painless, and my BlackBerry didn’t even need to be updated. That said, we’re actively looking at enterprise web-based e-mail solutions so we can stop spending time on managing our internal network, and more time on our customers.

It works super fast and looks great. My PC took forever to boot and shut down. My new MacBook flies through applications. Double finger scrolling through screens is great. The video drivers are vastly superior to PCs. VPN and wireless configuratios are a snap. The 16:9 screen means our document callouts are wider and easier to read. And the photos of the kids look better when I’m on the plane wondering when a gate at O’Hare is going to open up.

All in all, I had a great run with Thinkpads. I loved them dearly and will always have a soft spot for them. But in a way, its seems very 90s now, the stylish black case with the red mouse point I still occasionally grope around for, a memory of something that feels like it’s missing. For so long, it was the sign of competence, of gravitas, of business computing might. But alas, times change and so must we. And today, at least in my world, its time for a Mac.

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