Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2010-08-27 08:27:47  Now that ILTA 2010 has wound down, I have been reflecting on the striking differences between this educational networking event and the ‘big’ tradeshow , Legal Tech New York (LTNY). ILTA is volunteer-governed industry organization, although it is managed by a full time paid staff. It describes itself as a peer networking organization and that was certainly a large focus of the event including a heavy emphasis on social technology to forge new connections. This creates a curious blend of grass-roots community organizing within a tightly structured event agenda, somewhat like a national Scout Jamboree. The core value to “maintain vendor independence” includes an admirable “No Sales Pitch” rule for sessions and social events.  I was handed a ‘No BS’ button to go with my speaker’s ribbon as a clear reminder.The level of market cynicism and ‘sales fatigue’ has been a constant consulting topic in our eDJ product briefings. It is clear when talking with corporate clients that they are skeptical of provider claims on accuracy, processing completeness, performance metrics and more.  This backlash against the early aggressive or even predatory marketing and pricing tactics is understandable. Stories of vendors taking advantage of unsophisticated parties are part of our ‘social memory’ even if they are far less common now.Our industry suffers from an odd form of self-censorship in which it seems to be politically incorrect to publically name specific products, pricing or other commercial aspects of eDiscovery. I get the ITLA ban on ‘sales pitch’ in their sessions, but I found that this extended to even mentioning specific products or the costs associated with discovery efforts. How do we expect the new generation of legal technologists to become savvy consumers if we do not talk openly? I am not endorsing the practice of placing product messaging in webinars, conference sessions, whitepapers and other ‘eDiscovery educational resources’. Instead, I am proposing that open discussion of features, experience and pricing is the only way to level the playing field and empower service and software buyers.An audience member asked the panelist to name our ‘favorite’ or ‘best’ ECA tools. I was the first person to reply, “Will never happen.” The other panelists also declined. Although I did not and will not call out or endorse any specific product, I missed the chance to turn the discussion to specific features valuable in the ECA process and name at least two or three products that provide that functionality. I felt that the audience was let down because we did not get specific enough in how we realized the benefits of our ECA scenarios. ILTA provides a wonderful community forum for frank and practical discussion, but how can we get real without being specific about the technology that we have utilized?As much as I enjoyed the camaraderie and the contrast to the commercial hustle of LTNY, I hope that next year’s conference will be more inclusive of the providers and open discourse. We all must respect our client’s privacy, privilege and the confidentiality clauses that lurk in contracts. That does not mean that we should condemn every new litigation support manager to a slow, painful education by RFP, innuendo and gossip.

0 0 votes
Article Rating