Fall 2001, pg. 204. Something about Technology.

Maine Bar Journal


Fall 2001, pg. 204.

Something about Technology

Maine Bar Journal Fall 2001 Something about Technology Collaboration software: Groove lets you convene secure online conferences with colleagues or clients.

My friend John Lovell has asked me to write a regular column for the Bar Journal examining technology as it pertains to the practice of law. In coming issues, we'll try to cover the territory as broadly as possible. Since my scope, knowledge, and imagination are limited, I welcome suggestions, submissions for inclusion in the column, and even guest columns. If you know something about technology you'd like to submit, send it to John at jlovell@mainebar.org or to me at hcalkins@ptla.org.

In this inaugural column we review a piece of collaboration software: Groove 1.2 (Cost: $96 first year; $48 annual renewal, or, if you prefer, free. Where to get it: http://www.groove.net.)

Groove is a peer-to-peer communication platform, in many respects like Napster (although legal). It creates a secure shared workspace in which the files and collaboration tools remain on the local computers of group participants, rather than on a central network computer. If you are familiar with instant messaging software such as Yahoo or AOL Instant Messenger, Groove, although still in its own infancy, is IM grown up.

Although I've used Groove mostly for work groups around technology issues, to me it seems a natural for use by the legal profession, both for working with clients, and for working with colleagues and co-counsel.

The Workspace: The principal working environment for Groove is the "shared space." You can invite any number of people into that space so long as they have the Groove software on their computers. In that workspace, any participant can use whatever tools the space was created with, or which were added later. This is a private space. Only people invited into the space have access.

The Tools: You can include any of a variety of tools in any workspace you create. The tools you use will generally depend on the reason for which the space is being created. There are a number of predefined workspaces for browsing, meeting, event planning, conversation, discussion forums, sharing files, and project development.

The specific tools that can be put in any workspace include a whiteboard, shared files or documents...

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