Legal Technology

Reinventing Professionals: 'These big honking e-discovery platforms are going the way of extinction'

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Ari Kaplan

Ari Kaplan.

Ari Kaplan talks to Mac specialist and e-discovery consultant Brett Burney about where legal technology is headed as well as about Burney's blog, Apps in Law.

This Q&A has been condensed.

Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and the genesis of Burney Consultants.

Brett Burney: I was one of those nerdy guys. I went to law school really with a focus on how technology was gonna sort of change not just the world we live in, but the way that the legal profession would engage with technology. So at that time, it was just the beginning of e-commerce and how the laws will apply to the internet. And all of that stuff fascinated me. I also use a Mac wherever I go and have found myself, over the years, working with lawyers that wanted to use a Mac in their law practice, which is still a small percentage of lawyers but a growing body of lawyers. The legal software world has historically always been on the Windows side: for a good reason, there’s more Windows users. But we are seeing that change a little bit now.

Kaplan: What are the most challenging aspects of legal technology for your clients?

Burney: On the e-discovery side, I would say it’s probably still a lot of the same issues that have been around for a long time: how do we collect the information, preserve it appropriately and then get it reviewed? It’s just people still getting more comfortable with the idea that today it’s an electronic world, just like it’s been now for several years, but yet we still have lawyers that insist on staying within the four corners of an 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper. Today, a document can be a Snapchat conversation that goes away, or a Twitter feed, for example. There is a lot of social media e-discovery.

Kaplan: You recently launched a video blog called Apps in Law. Tell us about that.

Burney: Since 2010, I’ve been going around the country doing presentations for state and local bar associations on how lawyers can use the iPad in their practice. I would constantly get questions like “What are the best apps for legal research? Or, “What’s the best app for doing a trial presentation on the iPad?” I continue to get those questions, and I came up with Apps in Law. I’ve always wanted to blog, and I love the medium of video. I keep the video snappy, quick and to the point so that you are getting a lot of information quickly but it’s enjoyable. I love talking about the different apps and being able to show it on a video medium.

Kaplan: Can you tell us how you make the videos?

Burney: I use a Mac for most of it, but there’s some great software out there to capture your screens. The one that I use is from a company called TechSmith; they have a product called Camtasia. And there’s another called ScreenFlow. I am able to plug in my iPhone or my iPad into the computer and capture the screen as I record the video. I add quite bit of fun little things like clips and sound effects. The feedback has been fantastic.

Kaplan: How do you see the use of technology changing over the next few years in the legal profession?

Burney: I would say mobile. The expectation for any attorney is that you can do your work wherever you are. The iPad, for example, gives you almost complete and unfettered access, or it should, into your document management and accounting systems back at the firm. Our screens are going to continue to change, and technology will be simplified, streamlined. These big honking e-discovery platforms are going the way of extinction.

Listen to the complete interview at Reinventing Professionals.

Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change and introduce new technology.

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