Last week the good folks at LawGeex released their free 2018 Legal Tech Buyer’s Guide. Jammed full of valuable information, it’s essential to any in-house department looking to purchase legal tech. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do it now. On June 11, 2018, I’ll be speaking at the ACC Legal Operations Conference in Chicago about practical uses of Artificial Intelligence in legal departments. And, as you readers know, I am a sucker for a good gadget (watch for my 2018 “Cool Tech” blog later this summer and check out my interview with legal tech blogger Colin Levy). All of this got me thinking about the fact that I have been around for – and helped buy and implement – a lot of legal tech over the years. I was there when fax machines were cutting edge and when e-mail was new. I helped build a home-grown document management system and now I am looking at uses of artificial intelligence for my team. From typewriters to AI, yellow pads to iPads, is a pretty healthy span of technological change for any lawyer. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the process you go through when buying or implementing any type of technology. If you go about it the wrong way, you can end up with a very expensive lesson and a piece of software that no one wants or uses. Trust me, I know. So, it’s important to get it right. This edition of “Ten Things” walks through some of the lessons I have learned about buying and implementing legal tech:
When I went to law school way back when there were two topics I swore I had no interest in Tax law and Anti-Trust law. I avoided those classes like a high school third-period ballroom dancing. Ironically, as General Counsel, the two biggest pieces of litigation I have worked on were, of course, multiple tax law class actions and a mind-numbing, soul-sucking antitrust dispute. Which meant, despite my previous oaths, I got a first-class education in both. Of the two, by far the worst was the anti-trust dispute which involved multiple plaintiffs, the DOJ, and the hyper-focused attention of the CEO, President, and Board of Directors as this was truly a “bet the company” problem. Not to mention that I did not have a day off (including holidays) for almost two years.
So, why do I bring up all this pain? Because I wanted to share the most challenging part of the entire dispute – dealing with Section 2 of the Sherman Act. I’ll get into the details below but will just note here that Section 2 is vast minefield of traps for the unwary and you can easily find your company mired in a litigation quagmire where every contract, every clause, every meeting or action, and every email or PowerPoint comes under scrutiny for alleged uncompetitive behavior all because your company is highly competitive and highly successful. Sound like a nightmare? It is. Meaning, all in-house counsel should have a basic understanding of Section 2 (or the local law equivalent, e.g., EU Article 102 on abuse of a dominant position) so they can keep a sharp lookout for whether, under the right set of circumstances, company actions or plans could risk drawing anti-trust scrutiny or, far worse, an anti-trust lawsuit. This edition of “Ten Things” sets out the basics of Section 2 and what you need to watch out for: