The Legal Extranet
When we talk extranet, we typically mean any TCP/IP network between two or more companies with secure communications.When we talk extranet, we typically mean any TCP/IP network between two or more companies with secure communications. Law firms start there and typically narrow it down to knowledge-based extranets with a database at its heart. In its most basic form, legal extranets are made up of a legal document collection. That is maintained on either the firms servers or at a data center. Historically, those documents were kept in the TIFF graphics format. Because TIFF is essentially useless for searching, the materials were made available by using OCRed Word or WordPerfect documents and/or keywords. And because legal documents can expand quickly into the tens of thousands, a database management system is an essential part of any legal extranet.
An advanced law firms extranet goes far beyond those basics. Steve Agnoli, CIO of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart (K&L), a national corporate law firm, describes K&Ls legal extranet as a modular architecture with a Web-based front end, with server-based middle tiers handling business logic, data access, and data repository functions.