Technology


Wilson Sonsini Expects ‘Millions’ from New App at $7,500 a Doc

WSGR

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati made more than $100,000 in sales during its first week offering subscriptions to an app that helps companies comply with California’s new privacy law, and the leader of the firm’s tech subsidiary said he expects the tool will generate “millions.”

The cloud-based app, sold by a Wilson Sonsini software development subsidiary launched in February, is an example of law firms’ nascent interest in selling subscription-style legal services via online platforms.

Delivering documents and legal advice straight to clients without a lawyer directly involved remains rare in Big Law. The new app from Wilson Sonsini tech subsidiary SixFifty allows legal departments to, among other tasks, generate documents showing compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act with a few clicks of a mouse—at a flat price starting at $7,500.

“We very much adapted to the speed of a tech company, which is what law firms need to do,” said Douglas Clark, Wilson Sonsini’s managing partner. “And that’s what clients expect. They expect us to deploy innovation in practice.”

Kimball Parker, president of SixFifty, said he expects the app will generate millions in revenue as companies scramble to comply with the CCPA by a January 2020 deadline. The firm’s lawyers, on average, generated $1.1 million in revenue last year, according to the latest AmLaw rankings.

“This is its own business. It’s owned by Wilson Sonsini, but we’re not running it like it’s a law firm,” Parker said. “It’s not a law firm. Our biggest department will be our sales team.”

A Large Potential Market

Wilson Sonsini is best known for representing Silicon Valley startups and venture capital funds, and it took a page out of its clients’ playbook with its new CCPA offering.

The app was spurred by a huge demand from companies for compliance advice on the new law, which gives consumers more control over how companies collect and use their personal information.

The International Association of Privacy Professionals estimates that more than 500,000 companies will be required to comply. Based on Kimball’s estimates that companies would be willing to pay about $10,000 for those services, the market for CCPA-related legal services could be around $5 billion.

The firm’s lawyers likely would not be able to assist that many clients through traditional service models, Parker said.

Clark declined to provide an estimate of projected revenue but said he knows the app “is going to be successful.” The product is priced for smaller companies that would typically struggle to pay Big Law billing rates, he said.

Moves Toward Automated Advice

Large law firms have been slowly increasing their use of automated advice through technology.

Last year, Chicago-based law firm Chapman & Cutler sold to NetDocuments a software program it developed to automate the creation of final document sets for financial transactions. A catalog of law firm innovation compiled by Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor Dan Linna says there are 19 products marketed on Big Law websites that handle document generation.

Still, many Big Law partners resist these types of new models. Nearly 70 percent of law firm leaders say that partners resisting change efforts is the reason firms don’t do more to alter the way they deliver legal services, according to an Altman Weil survey from last month.

Linna said that most law firms struggle with investing in products like the SixFifty app in part because of a “myth” that lawyers provide higher quality advice through “bespoke” services rather than through systematized processes.

“One of the challenges is to get people to see that tools like this not only offer greater efficiency and cost certainty for clients, but they also improve the quality of the services delivered,” Linna said. “All law firms are going to need to understand how to make use of these tools.”

A La Carte Pricing

It’s also atypical that Wilson Sonsini has priced the SixFifty app on a flat-fee and a-la-carte basis. Generating basic documents required to show compliance with the privacy law starts at $7,500. A $2,000 annual fee will keep the documents up-to-date as the law around CCPA develops.

For another $5,000 a year, subscribers get access to a SixFifty-built website that furnishes requests from consumers to delete or modify their personal data. The app, hosted on Amazon’s AWS cloud service, provides training modules starting at $50 to $100 an individual. And starting at $7,500, SixFifty can build a CCPA-required “data map” that shows where and how consumers’ data is stored and shared.

Parker said those prices represent one-fifth to one-tenth of what it would cost Wilson Sonsini’s lawyers to provide the advice through traditional methods.

“We want to make it a big value proposition,” he said. “We want to say, ‘Hey listen, don’t go to another law firm to do this. You can get top law firm quality documents for a fifth of the cost.”



Malaysia to share tunnel technology at world congress

Malaysia will offer its tunnelling knowledge and innovation gained through its mega dam projects and road systems when it plays host to the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) 2020.

The congress is held annually in conjunction with the general assembly of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES).

It is to promote the use of tunnels and underground space through knowledge sharing and application of technology.

Malaysia will be hosting WTC 2020 under the aegis of the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM).ADVERTISINGi

The congress’ organising chairman, Ooi Teik Aun, said it will be themed “Innovation and Sustainable Underground Serving Global Connectivity” to reflect the need to innovate towards sustainable development.

Ooi said the event would be inspired by the tunnelling progress and successes that Malaysia had achieved in the past decades.

“From our mega dam projects to road systems, Malaysia has a lot to offer in terms of tunnelling knowledge and innovation.” he said in a statement.

The congress will focus on the presentation of technical papers and e-posters, tunnelling training courses and exhibitions from organisations worldwide displaying the latest tunnelling technology.

There will be about 200 exhibition booths.

The delegates, numbering some 2,000, will also go on technical visits to completed and ongoing tunnelling projects in the country.

Founded in 1974, the 78-member International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association is the leading world organisation promoting the use of tunnels and underground space through knowledge sharing and application of technology.



Huawei gains support in Malaysia

Sales increased in flagship product among local consumers and recognition by Prime Minister. 

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the continued use of Huawei technology as much as possible during the 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia, held in Tokyo. 

Dr Mahathir said Huawei had access to research “far bigger than the whole of Malaysia’s research equivalent”. 

“So we try to make use of their technology as much as possible,” he told a media conference. 

“We have to accept that the US cannot forever be the supreme nation in the world that can have the best technology.” 

Malaysian consumers have also remained largely confident with Huawei products despite the US trade ban.  

In fact, after the ban announcement, many Malaysian netizens showed their support for Huawei via social media with recent shots of the brand’s smartphones purchases.  

Restaurant owners also jumped on the bandwagon, by offering promotions and special discounts to Huawei users who dine in. 

The Huawei P30 series flagship model has garnered increasing popularity among the Malaysian market through its sales, as can be seen in various social media posts from local supporters. 

Wide recognition for 5G 

Huawei has become immensely popular in the global news with its leading 5G technology innovations.  

During the Putrajaya 5G showcase on April 18, the Prime Minister received the first 5G video call using a Huawei Mate 20X 5G.  

To date, Huawei has signed up to 40 business contracts with a number of operators across the world in relation to the 5G development.  

Dr Mahathir receiving the first 5G video call using a Huawei Mate 20X 5G during the Putrajaya 5G launch.

The leading standard in tech industry 

At the recent MCW Conference 2019, Huawei introduced its first foldable 5G smartphone, the Huawei Mate X, and innovative products, such as its Matebook series

These products showcase the new improvements and special features that are authentic innovations designed and created by Huawei. 

They include a recessed camera on the Huawei MateBook X Pro and the “One Hop To Share” on the laptop series. 

What inspires confidence among Huawei users  

1) Product excellence 

Huawei’s P30 series offers 50x zoom, low-light shooting and other interesting features, such as the dual-view video.  

In terms of aesthetics, the flagship model has an outstanding design and a series of attractive colours, such as a bright Amber Sunrise and the new Breathing Crystal.  

At first glance, the benefits and advantages are more than attractive to local consumers. Click on this link to know more about the P30 series.  

2) Huawei’s preparedness inspires consumer confidence 

The suspended Google cooperation for Huawei products has no effect on the existing smartphone models that are currently in the market.  

Also, Huawei has shown to be ready and prepared against the current tension as it aims to release its own operating system by fall this year.  

Google has recently again issued a statement in regards to Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s return onto the Android Q test list. 

3) Continuous attention on customer service  

Companies or brands that care for their customers will not stop at only coming out with good products but will also provide top after-sales services.  

As tensions arose from the US trade ban, Huawei remains unaffected and continues to launch activities and campaigns that bring benefits to local consumers.  

To date, the Huawei team has brought its Huawei Service Day to consumers through 11 selected authorised service centres.  

So, despite the US trade ban, Huawei has indeed shown resilience to weather the storm, as well as having the open support from Dr Mahathir and consumers in Malaysia and even overseas.



Google, Facebook and Apple fall amid antitrust scrutiny

Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. tumbled as the companies appear set to undergo US antitrust probes after the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission agreed to split up oversight of technology giants.

The DOJ’s preparations to investigate Google, first reported late Friday, mark the Trump administration’s first concrete step to scrutinise the potentially anti-competitive conduct of a large technology firm. On Monday, a person familiar with the matter said the FTC will oversee antitrust scrutiny into whether Facebook’s practices harm competition in the digital market. Reuters reported that the DOJ has been given jurisdiction over a potential probe of Apple.

Alphabet fell as much as 7.2% to US$1,027.03 in New York, its lowest since January. Facebook tumbled as much as 9.3% to US$161.01, the most since July. The news also sent shares of Amazon.com Inc. down as much as 5.4% and Apple as much as 2.7%.

“If the DOJ moves ahead, an investigation would likely embolden critics of Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants as well, causing rhetoric to heat up during the 2020 election year,” analysts led by Justin Post at Merrill Lynch wrote in a note to investors.

Amazon could also be scrutinised as a result of a new agreement between regulators that puts it under the jurisdiction of the FTC, the Washington Post reported over the weekend.

American antitrust officials are under increasing pressure from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to step up scrutiny of technology giants, and several presidential candidates have already weighed in. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren laid out a detailed plan for breaking up the tech giants in March.

European officials have already been aggressively pursuing antitrust cases against American tech firms, including Google, while so far the US has been mostly hands-off.

That may be changing amid continuing criticism that lax enforcement in the US has allowed tech platforms to dominate their markets. The FTC earlier this year set up a task force to examine the conduct of tech companies and their past mergers. President Donald Trump and many Republicans have complained that Facebook, Google and Twitter Inc. suppress conservative views.

Google, with a sprawling empire of businesses that could feasibly be targets, is in the dark about the focus of the investigation and hopes to learn more this week, according to another person familiar with the situation. A Google spokesman declined to comment.

An investigation of Google will likely drag on for five years or more, causing a distraction for management, Bank of America’s Post said, though long-term a breakup could have a positive effect on the company’s valuation.

“Potential implications for Google could include new regulations on business practices, or an antitrust probe leading to a breakup,” Post said. “It is very rare to break up a company but not unheard of.” Post has a buy rating on the stock.

At stake is the internet giant’s position as one of the most profitable companies in history. Despite the opacity surrounding the US focus, Google already has a well-defined set of arguments for pushing back against antitrust challenges, honed over years of doing battle with regulators, especially the EU.

Kevin Rippey, an analyst at Evercore ISI, said an investigation would add “to the near-term challenges” facing Google, but said it’s unlikely an investigation would result in radical changes. In order for investors to become “substantially more concerned” about potential violations, “the basic framework of US antitrust laws would need to be overhauled,” he said.