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5 Reasons eDiscovery Budgets Break

At Nextpoint we talk to thousands of attorneys with all types of cases. It’s fair to say every case is unique, attorneys’ clients are all difficult in their own way, and that traditional litigation technology fails legal teams for different reasons.

That said, law firms tend to come to us when they are facing a severe technology pain point or an explosion in their costs. As I see it, there are some very common circumstances that are leading them to the breaking point:

1. Limited data storage space or outdated IT infrastructure.
It’s always eye-opening to chat with a lawyer who knows the actual price of a server. This is something no lawyer should need to know. Lawyers should be counseling clients, not wrestling with a budget to allow for a new file server. If the poor state of technology is forcing lawyers to become IT experts and spend thousands on hardware, something is definitely wrong.

ediscovery budgets break

2. Limited access to client/case data outside of the office.
Remember the last time you were in an airport logging into the free Boingo wifi? Yeah, it’s lousy. The problem gets even worse when your litigation technology still requires an ancient, clunky Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access. Modern litigation technology is mobile enabled and secure so that you can work wherever, whenever you need. That saves time and money.

3. Complexity and inefficiencies of current eDiscovery tools.
If you visited Google.com over a decade ago, you would have found pretty much the same basic search functionality you see today. Amazingly, Google still offers the same mind-blowing search speeds today despite the explosion of content on the Internet. That’s because Google knows it’s core functionality and does it exceedingly well. Sure, they have added a lot of new features under the hood, but the search function is still the best available.

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Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Discovery

Social media is discoverable, it’s important to your case, and it’s only getting more complicated. The good news is, the existing rules of Evidence apply to social media. You just have to know how to apply them.

Law Technology News has a brand new, in-depth article by Nextpoint CEO Rakesh Madhava on this important subject. Check out the piece, called “Don’t be Afraid of Social Media in Litigation.” Read the article here. Don’t miss the related article, Five Steps to Authentication.

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Moneylaw: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Yes, we ripped off that title. Michael Lewis’ classic sports book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, has helped popularize the idea that small, feisty organizations can identify inefficiencies in their market in order to compete with better funded competitors.

In Moneyball, it was the underfunded Oakland A’s using advanced metrics that other teams ignored to field a competitive team year after year. We’ve been telling lawyers for years that cloud technology is a game-changing litigation technology that could give any sized firm a huge competitive advantage in litigation.

It seems that idea is finally gaining momentum. In fact, the ABA Journal recently ran at least three articles with the same theme. For example, one story was titled, “Can small firms compete with BigLaw for a fraction of the cost? Yes, if you save on tech, solos say.” Another recent article, Cloud based-eDiscovery Can Mean Big Savings for Small Law Firms included a number of benefits associated with going to the cloud for eDiscovery:

No need for software updating
Best practices are continually updated
No need for yearlong rollouts
The return on investment can be very attractive

In the practice of law, lawyers are looking for similar kinds of asymmetrical information and tactics that will help them outfox better funded opponents. Cloud software in eDiscovery is one way to outrun better funded opponents. But it is only part of the story.

Technology & Strategy in eDiscovery

Technology is Not the Answer

So after that windup, you’re probably surprised to hear us say it, but technology is not the answer. Well, it is the answer, but only part of it. As a legal technology company we obviously believe technology is going to help law firms become more efficient. But it’s still just a part of the equation. Let me illustrate.

Identify the Inefficiencies

The ABA Journal’s current cover story is, “Women are squarely in the picture where law and technology combine.” The article tells the story of several female lawyers who are using technology in innovative ways in their practices. One, law student Nicole Shanahan is the founder of ClearAccessIP. She says of ClearAccessIP, “I am essentially trying to build and democratize a marketplace platform because not all patent holders and sellers can afford the large transaction firms,” she says. “I’m also solving a very old problem and putting docket management in the cloud. We’re … also the first automated platform, so instead of people manually entering things, we’ve created the first way to automate government data directly to users.”

Shanahan could simply use her Internet-age software to lower transactions costs within a law firm. But rather than just changing billing rates, she is looking to use technology to revolutionize existing business models and find better ways to manage client’s information. It may not generate the same revenue up front that a traditional IP firm can command, but in the long run, Shanahan could see huge returns.

Shanahan has attacked the challenges facing IP attorneys on two fronts. On one hand, she is using technology to give patent holders more information so they can track, manage and monetize their assets. Second, Shanahan’s company is upsetting the established order by charging a monthly subscription fee rather than the typical multiyear contracts used by many legal services providers.

At Nextpoint, we support all business models. We have built a technology platform that allows you to charge a lower hourly rate if you choose, but is also flexible enough to let you completely rethink your law practice. Your data is 100 percent hosted in the cloud, so you can do things that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Produce evidence to opposing counsel instantly, with the click of a button. Do document treatments on an iPad, right in the courtroom. Upload and process documents from your smartphone. It’s up to you to figure out how to that flexibility helps you do more for clients with less overhead. 

What You Need to Know About the Heartbleed Bug

The Heartbleed bug is a flaw in OpenSSL, the encryption software used by an estimated two-thirds of the Internet’s Web servers. OpenSSL is designed to protect passwords and other sensitive data from eavesdropping. But if compromised, names, passwords and even the content of messages could be stolen from a web server.

OpenSSL issued a public advisory early this week and accordingly, Nextpoint has implemented the necessary patches and upgrades actions to address this vulnerability. These actions include updating our servers’ encryption keys and replacing security certificates. We have found no evidence that the bug was used to exploit any Nextpoint server. 

As an added precaution, we will be requiring password resets to ensure the integrity of our users’ credentials.  All Nextpoint users will be prompted to change passwords the next time they log into our application. This is a precaution we would also recommend regarding your passwords for other secure sites (webmail, banking, etc) which may or may not have been subject to the same potential vulnerability.

For more information about this vulnerability, this blog post is one of many with a good explanation of the threat. For further details, below is a link to the official advisory from Open SSL.

https://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt

 

Do You Know What Your Data is Doing? Introducing Nextpoint’s New Account Dashboard

Your data is busy. We know that most of you are not just uploading a set amount of data to the Nextpoint platform and letting it sit there month after month. You’re collecting it, reviewing it, adding new data, and moving it around to different databases. The amount of data you start with each month is rarely the same figure you have at the end of the month. For that reason, we have added even more information and ways to track your usage, so that you and your clients will understand exactly what your charges are.

Nextpoint Billing Dashboard

As you can see in the screenshot above, you now have detailed columns breaking out all of your ongoing data storage into useful categories. We’re not changing the way your data is tracked, but making it more transparent and easy to follow. In addition, you can now view all of your data usage by the month. That means you and your clients now have a snapshot of how much data is in their account and how it has been used during any month. You see all of the same numbers, but it is now organized to make it even easier for clients to understand all of the work you have done with their data each month.

The Names Change, the Data Stays the Same

In addition, we have changed the names for each category of data usage. In the past, Cloud Preservation, Discovery Cloud, or Trial Cloud users could look up data in use under a different tab for each application. Now, data is tracked under the tabs  Collect, Review, and Prepare. We think these tabs are much more descriptive and accurately describe the actions our users are performing. This way you can easily track your data as it is being used in a particular phase of litigation. Read More >

Social Media Law Creeps Into Everything: Nextpoint’s Social Media Case Law Sampler

Think social media case law is only for special cases? Are you still wondering if it applies to your practice? In the past couple of years, social media evidence has become central to more and more matters, including all kinds of civil and criminal cases. We’ve seen more clients using our products to collect social media evidence as a way to investigate potential infringement as well as to find the smoking gun evidence they need to finalize their case.

Here are some of the most commonly cited and influential cases in a number of areas.

Trademark Infringement

AvePoint, Inc. and AvePoint Public Sector, Inc. v. Power Tools, Inc.  (U.S. Dist. Ct., Virginia, Nov.  7 2013) In this Federal District Court case, software maker AvePoint, Inc., brought a trademark infringement and defamation action against competitor, Axceler, based upon allegedly false and deceptive statements that Axceler and its agents made about Avepoint through Twitter and LinkedIn, including setting up a fake LinkedIn account.

Social Media Sanctions

Gatto v. United Air Lines, Inc., (D.N.J. Mar. 25, 2013) the court sanctioned a plaintiff for deactivating and deleting his Facebook account.

EEOC v. The Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia, Inc., the judge has hammered a federal agency for failure to produce social media in a timely manner. Or as the opinion has it, for engaging in “inappropriate and obstreperous” and “contumacious behavior.”

Public Disobedience

In People v. Harris, a criminal prosecution of an Occupy Wall Street protestor, the court found defendant had to produce tweets and that by submitting tweets he had no expectation of privacy.

Wrongful Termination

Gulliver Schools v. Patrick Snay, February 14, 2014 a Florida appeals court threw out an $80,000 settlement between a Miami prep school and a former headmaster after former headmaster’s daughter boasted about confidential settlement to her friends on Facebook.

Disability Claims

In Lineberry v. Richards (E.D. Mich. Feb. 5, 2013), employees brought Facebook photos to their employer showing that employee out on FMLA leave based on an on-the-job back injury, was riding in a motorboat while on vacation in Mexico and holding two grandchildren at once.

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