August 31, 2000

Positive Feedback
Positive feedback to share: in the last issue I reflected on the realbenefits of document management and litigation support systems. I have nowreceived some helpful comments from Chris Dale of Oxford Law and Computing. Heagrees with me that we should be very suspicious of any system that purports todeliver ‘qualitative analysis’. He makes the valid point that theSorcerer’s Apprentice got into trouble by expecting his broom to do the workrather than merely help him with it. These systems help us organise and extractinformation, they do not solve legal problems. Litigation support systems havereal virtues and there must be a better way of promoting the virtues they haverather than emphasising their shortcomings.

Product Placement Prize
It may be that this column gives me a bit of a jester’s licence. Isometimes find the marketing aspect of C&L articles amusing and sometimesthink there should be an award for the best bit of subtle (or blatant) productplacement. Eduardo Ustaran’s article in issue 2 ‘A Step into the Future ofLaw’ about Paisner & Co’s ‘complytoday’ data protection package wasvery informative and, as Eduardo readily accepts, shows considerable imaginationand innovation. A great product, well advertised! But it doesn’t win theprize. Laurence Eastham’s interview with the MD of Axxia Systems was bothinteresting and timely in its call for common case management standards. It wasalso a great plug for Axxia’s value added services in ‘business processre-engineering’. And, as one closes the magazine, there is the full back pageglossy ad for Axxia.

Richard Harrison is a solicitor and partner in Laytons.