IT front-runners in the Olympic city

THE LEGAL Tech conference is regarded as the definitive show for legal technology in the US. But I was deeply disappointed to find only a handful of products on show in the Olympic city of Atlanta last month that were truly deserving of a gold medal.

There were even a number of products still running under Dos. Any self-respecting developer should have offered a Windows option long ago.

But there were some winners, including a product called Depo/Sync. This allowed a video of a witness to be displayed alongside the text of the transcript. The text was fully searchable, which meant that users were able to jump directly to the relevant video clips. Being a completely digital-based package, this could be linked directly to a litigation-support system.

More than half the systems on offer at the exhibition involved time recording of some kind. This is one area where the American developers seemed to shine. I can only assume that the development has been driven by the firms themselves, either that or too many programmers have been reading The Firm.

At one of the sessions, however, a speaker from Coca-Cola said he expected his lawyers to provide him with access to their systems via the Intranet. He seemed to be implying that US lawyers were more keen on recording how much time they were spending on cases than on the progress they were making.

Interestingly, there were no Intranet systems on offer from US suppliers. The only system on display was the Ymijs one, which was demonstrated by our US associates, Valid Information Systems. It received a great deal of interest, so the UK received at least one gold.

There was also an excellent Internet monitoring product from Equitrac, which should overcome worries about unnecessary or unauthorised use of the Internet.

There were two further products that intrigued me. One was Worldox 96 and the other was Juris. Worldox is a direct competitor to the document management system PCDocs and as far as I can see it has all of the features of that product, and some more, at around half the price. The office management system Juris provides the same functions as the popular Elite system, but its prices appear to stop where Elite's prices begin.