Open standards in legal software


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The world is going the way of open standards. Even Microsoft, long a proponent of closed, proprietary standards, just got finished pushing and shoving its flawed OOXML document standard (hint: what you use if you use Office 2007) through ISO certification.

What about the legal industry? Nope, nary an open standard to be seen in use. There is an open standard, however. LEDES is an XML-based standard for client, matter, and billing information. It does not seem to be certified by the ISO just yet, however.

Why open standards? Well, right now, if you start using Time Matters, you are more or less stuck with it. Even though I have not used Time Matters in two years, I need to keep it on my system for another five years or so, because I have important data from closed cases stored in Time Matters, with no way to read that data except by using Time Matters. This is a big pain.

If Time Matters used an open standard, I could migrate that data to any software using the open standard (see why some companies don’t want it?). They operate on a “trap the customer” model, not a “please the customer” model.

[via Rocket Matter blog]


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