Bleeding Edge


New Publication From ILTA!

Beginning early in the third quarter of 2019, ILTA is thrilled to unveil its new, multi-channel publication, Bleeding Edge! As a bimonthly serial, Bleeding Edge will tackle new, timely, and interesting topics in legal technology.

Each episode will consist of two parts: a podcast, conducted in an interview style, with opening and engaging dialogue, and a short column, associated with the topic covered in the podcast. These short interviews will cover a wide array of legal IT and will have, as interviewers and interviewees, a rotating cast of ILTAns and ILTA-family guests.


Joe Davis
Director of Product Strategy at Litify

Beth Anne Stuebe
Senior Content Manager, Publications and Surveys at ILTA

Episode 4:

Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs)

Meg McEvoy
Legal Analyst at Bloomberg Law

Welcome to another episode of Bleeding Edge as we continue to look at the hot topics in legal technology! In this new episode, Joe Davis sits down with Meg McEvoy to discuss Alternative Fee Arrangements or AFAs. Meg is a Legal Analyst at Bloomberg Law who helped put together the Bloomberg Law 2019 Legal Operations and Technology Survey. She is also a co-host of Bloomberg Law’s new podcast Law X.0. In this Bleeding Edge episode, Joe and Meg talk about AFAs, how technology is involved, and whether the billable hour will go away anytime soon.

Joe begins the discussion by remarking that AFAs were supposed to revolutionize the legal world - or at least the billing part of the legal world. Meg believes that there is still the “potential for [AFAs] to revolutionize the legal world,” but notes that adoption levels are still relatively low. “I think that we're just at the beginning of the adoption curve,” she says. “I think that it's going to take quite a bit of time for firms to get their heads around really being effective with alternative fee arrangements. And I think there are some significant barriers to them doing so.” She goes on to explain that not only are most law firm business models built around the billable hour, but so are their systems of evaluating associates and their methods for scoping work. Even their software systems, such as timekeeping and accounting packages, are designed around the billable hour.

Going deeper, Joe asks “What's really behind the AFAs? Or maybe a better question is ‘who?’ Is it the law firms themselves or is it purely client driven?”

“Corporate legal departments are absolutely the main driver of the adoption of AFAs,” she says. “They are looking for cost certainty, and they’re looking for better pricing from their law firms.”

Meg also notes that “74 of the AmLaw 100 websites mention alternative fee arrangements in some manner. It’s either that they have a whole page dedicated to the way they’re crafting AFAs and how they can do different pricing models for clients, or they’ve got some thought leadership material out there on behalf of their partners about AFAs. Most of the AmLaw 100 are engaging on the topic of AFAs, and I think it’s because they know they need to. I would say that firms that are the most ‘out front’ with it are even going so far as to advertise how they’re using AFAs.”

In closing, Joe asks if Meg thinks we will see the death of the billable hour. “No, not anytime soon,” she replies.

Tune in to hear the whole podcast and learn more! they’re using AFAs.

Episode 3:

Analytics: Judgement Still Out

Richard Tromans
Publisher and Editor of Artificial Lawyer

Thanks for joining us for another installment of Bleeding Edge! For episode three, we sit down with Richard Tromans, Publisher and Editor of Artificial Lawyer, who is also a subject matter expert on law firm strategy and innovation. As we dive right in, Joe Davis, leads this interview into the recent French Justice Reform Act that prohibits modern analytics techniques.

For this podcast, we attempt to get a handle on this new law, which some US scholars believe could be considered unconstitutional in the United States. We also talk about how we use data analytic and data collection, and how we, as legal technologists and legal strategists could be more efficient, as we move ever closer to the Bleeding Edge

Opening quickly, Richard jumps into a conversation he recently had: “So a few weeks ago I was talking to,a contact in France who has a legal tech company...and he mentioned, ‘Have you seen this thing that the judges are doing?’ ... And he explained it to me...So I contacted some other people, including some companies that were directly affected by this [law], who have been previously collecting data on French court cases. And they said, yeah, this is, this is for real, they have actually done it. It is law.”

So now we’re no longer talking in hypotheticals about what a ban on analytics for parts of the judiciary... “They felt that an individual judge shouldn't really be named in a statistical analysis of what happened in that courtroom or relation to certain types of cases ...and hence it is now technically illegal to pour over data, produce statistical models about what a particular judge says about certain types of case and then publish it.”

Joe then asks about the legality of publishing this data or if the simple act of collecting the data itself is illegal; that is where Richard believes we enter a hazy area. Ultimately, the question of gathering this data is in how it will be reused. And, as this is a relatively new, untested law, and Richard believes that the French Justice Reform Act “must be trying to say [that] we don't want you to be producing a kind of scorecard and sharing it around the public, amongst the legal market about Judge X always says this. That is their fundamental problem with the whole thing that they, I think, feel that they're being sort of trapped by the data.”

We move the discussion along to the law’s legal technology angle and ask, what are the kinds of analytics or the companies that are affected by this ban? Richard makes the simple point that a person could do statistical research on judges simply with a pencil and pad. However, as Joe states, it comes down to that this Act is not really a ban on technology per se. “It's really, it should be perhaps taken more at face value that they [French Judges] just don't want to be identified individually.”

As the discussion turns to technology, data, and public decisions are being created and used. Richard believes “If it is in the public realm, why shouldn't you do some statistical analysis on it?” Tune in to the podcast for more on this emerging and interesting topic, as Richard and Joe delve into the Bleeding Edge, discussing even more, that “legal technology, fundamentally, is about efficiency.”

Episode 2:

CCPA, GDPR, and what’s up in California?

Mark Diamond
President & CEO at Contoural, Inc.

Welcome back to another episode of Bleeding Edge! For episode two, we sit down with Mark Diamond CEO and Founder of Contoural, to talk about the California privacy law (CCPA), personal data, who has to comply, GDPR similarities, and more, as we move ever-toward the Bleeding Edge…

The group discussion begins with an overview of the CCPA law, which was enacted a little over a year ago, but doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2020. Essentially, CCPA is a bill that enhances privacy rights and consumer protection for residents (and businesses that have clients) in California, by giving very specific rights around their private data. The posed question, “What qualifies as personal data?” is at the heart of this bleeding edge topic, along with “Who has to comply?” Mark states “But there’s no require that says this is for ...a California-based company. The company could be in Yugoslavia that has information about California consumers and to that end, they need to comply with the law.”

This clearly draws a parallel then to GDPR. Diving further, the discussion moves on to whether or not CCPA] “is GDPR 2.0?” Mark believes “This law was inspired by GDPR … that, and quite frankly, the Cambridge Analytica issue around the Presidential election.” Both laws do allow for deletions, erasure; but there are some major differences, like disclosure under CCPA. “GDPR requires an opt-in and CCPA requires an opt-out.” He goes on to further say that “Probably the biggest difference… both laws are enforced by regulators… but CCPA has one extra got-cha...and that got-cha is that organizations that have a breach today… can face a right-of-private action.” The door is then open for litigation; the law is then possibly more onerous.

Moving the discussion along, Joe asks what has been the reaction to CCPA and how it applies to law firms? Clearly this new bill has massive, possible outreach and Mark believe that not only will this bill effect change and “I think a lot of law firms are saying ‘This doesn’t apply to me!’ and I think they’re wrong.” Joe asks about the “deep-pockets of the Facebooks and Googles” as we discuss the other businesses, including a real-estate mogul, that all have stakes in this CCPA bill. Mark mentions voter ‘buy-in’ and ground-swell support of bills like this; these types of privacy concerns aren’t going away and the businesses may not only have to face regulators, but consumers and their concerns. And further, other states (like Nevada, and another 15! states) are looking at legislation like CCPA.

Knowing that the bill hasn’t even taken effect yet, we ask Mark for his prediction on how CCPA, GDPR, etc., this will play out and if we will still be talking about it in a year or two? Both he and Joe believe that this is a definite yes, as post-CCPA regulations continue to take shape. And, as always, we end with the topic: “What’s a bleeding edge topic on your radar” Tune to the podcast to hear more!

Episode 1:

Windows is new again? Bleeding Edge Explores

Jay Parekh
Partner and Director of Legal Vertical Practice at Netrix

In this inaugural episode of Bleeding Edge, hosts Joe Davis and Beth Anne Stuebe sit down with Jay Parekh, Partner and Director of Legal Vertical Practice at Netrix. Jay, who is based out of Chicago, specializes in IT solutions and strategies and has a keen interest in Windows and Windows 10.

Over the course of 15 minutes, the first Bleeding Edge discusses how legal technology continues to innovate, compared to other flourishing IT arenas, like healthcare. Joe poses the question “Assuming legal is behind in innovation, what do we do to catch up? Jay suggests that legal “Start cloud adoption, even with budget and resource restraints…. Law firms don’t want to move that fast, they worry about third party partners.”

With innovation on their minds, the center of the conversation switches and the main legal tech player steps up to Bleeding Edge: Microsoft. As a player in the arena for decades, Microsoft is not only a familiar household name, but one that evokes images of swirling mouse icons while downloads and updates process. None of this seems Bleeding Edge, and yet, after decades of said updates and improvements, Windows 10 is the platform which many legal solutions work off. So how does such a firm continue to work in the innovation space? Simply, what makes it Bleeding Edge? And with the upcoming September launch of the new updates, 19H2 update for Windows 10, there’s a lot on the horizon. Jay goes in quickly, stating that “99.99% of law firms are Microsoft shops. Windows has been a very static operating system: once it was released, the features didn’t change for years. Windows XP was out for 9, 10 years. Now they have to add features… make it more feature-full. This [new release] is going to be a fast-moving train.” In the end, it seems that “Microsoft does innovate; it’s how fast the law firms will adopt this technology.”

As he will with all guests for Bleeding Edge, Joe asks, as his final question, ‘What’s the Bleeding Edge topic that’s on your radar that many of us may not know?” As Jay is on the BP side of the ILTA-family, we have to wonder what he’s seeing that our member-side of the constituency is not seeing. And it’s all about “Collaboration: how do I collaborate while reducing costs and tools? Budgets are lean: we automate as much as possible… like using options from Microsoft, Intapp, and others out there. There’s always a budget for security.”