The 2012 LTN Innovation Award winners reflect a diversity of creative projects and leadership, from legal education to e-discovery. The innovators among us are creating new tools to meet new challenges, using the cloud for virtual firms and IT management, and making information more accessible.
2012 Champion of Techology: John Mayer
John Mayer is executive director of the nonprofit Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (www.cali.org). Mayer's leadership in technology extends far beyond CALI's well-known tutorials. During his 18-year tenure, CALI has developed course management software for law schools and the open content eLangdell legal text e-book series. CALI sponsors an annual law school technology conference and develops tools for law school professors to author new online courses. The program encourages experimentation and partnerships that have impact beyond legal education.
CALI co-developed, with the Illinois Institute of Technology's Chicago-Kent College of Law, Access to Justice Author software that helps litigators create self-help forms. Another CALI offering is The Free Law Reporter website, which blends CALI technology and public.resource.org's reports of current court opinions to assist researchers, who can even create e-books on the fly.
Mayer's personal energy in evangelizing the use of technology in legal education and beyond blazes trails for others to follow.
CIO of the Year: Neeraj Rajpal
Neeraj Rajpal's team at Morrison Foerster (www.MoFo.com) used a software-as-a-service IT management tool to migrate 2,500 users to Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010. The complex project demanded strong teamwork as well as regular communication with the firm's lawyers and other professionals.
Under Rajpal's direction, the IT team identified the cloud service, ServiceNow (www.servicenow.com), and created custom Powershell scripts to automate the migration workflow. Lawyers and staff across three continents received customized emails on the progress of their information, which included an upgrade of the format of Microsoft Exchange email files.
The team's enhancements cut more than 9,800 hours from the project, and kept those impacted up to date with the latest status of the migration. Rajpal's leadership ensured that the IT team stayed focused and recognized each small win as they worked toward ultimate success.
Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Corporation: Cisco Systems Compliance Department
Many successful projects and leaders in 2012 incorporated better access to information and that was the case with this year's corporate winner, Cisco Systems Inc.'s Compliance Department, (www.cisco.com) led by Jeremy Wilson, its controller for ethics.
Cisco's "Code of Business Conduct" document was expensive to reproduce in print, and unwieldy when converted to PDF. Taking inspiration from an automotive e-book, the team reworked the information into an e-book, to effectively communicate with the company's personnel.
The more concise e-book uses HTML5 for increased device compatibility and has interactive features that help users navigate business conduct issues.
Cisco's e-book includes a decision tree that walks staff through a question-and-answer process, and offers clear examples of when and when not to use business resources such as computers. Links to other policies, such as the company's social media policy, keep the book easy to read.
Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Large Law Firm: Squire Sanders
Squire Sanders' (www.squiresanders.com) win represents the culmination of many years' work. The firm's e-discovery and data management practice developed a proprietary "Intelligent Discovery Process" to better handle document review projects. Every review involving more than 50,000 documents now uses this process and it has improved the firm's ability to create budget certainty for clients.
The system relies on a suite of technologies that involve predictive coding, message threading, and linguistic analysis. The firm involves senior lawyers in the e-discovery workflow to accelerate acquisition of case knowledge by both lawyers and client decision makers.
Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Small Law Firm: Burton Law
The law firm is a virtual practice based in Dayton, Ohio, that uses business centers to meet with clients. Its lawyers are otherwise mobile, using Apple Inc.'s iPads; Themis Solution Inc.'s Clio SaaS case management (www.goclio.com); and Box Inc.'s cloud-based file storage, Box.com, to share information across the two states in which the firm operates. This flexibility helps clients access information from the firm's cloud resources and lowers barriers for their lawyers to handle pro bono matters.
The Most Innovative Use of Technology in a Pro Bono Project: Seyfarth Shaw
Seyfarth Shaw (www.seyfarth.com) is honored for its innovative use of business management and technology to support unaccompanied children with immigration issues. The Kids in Need of Defense project, started in 2008, experienced both success and rapid growth. These challenges led to the firm working pro bono for a year.
First, Seyfarth examined KIND's workflow and operations, with an eye to making them more efficient and consistent. The firm used its SeyfarthLean (a variation of Six Sigma process improvement strategies) to first hold a "voice of the client" meeting to understand goals, scope, and pain points. Then, the team mapped operational processes and identified opportunities to make efficiencies which included creation of standardized templates for its field offices. Finally, Seyfarth developed a custom KIND extranet. This partnership has enhanced KIND's ability to meet critical needs of unaccompanied children.
David Whelan (Law Society of Upper Canada), Andrew Adkins III (CIO, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC), and Fredric Lederer (Center for Legal and Court Technology, William & Mary Law School) have served as judges for the LTN Innovation Awards for 10 years.