Big Law

The Technology Gap

So Catch This…

An article from the Legal Technology News caught my eye. The article argued that Law School today ignores the day-to-day of lawyers, i.e. technology and the legal process, and focuses solely on the concepts of law, causing technological inefficiencies in the legal world. The article, and idea, struck a chord with me, though, not because I agreed. Quite the opposite in fact.  So I asked a longtime friend, and former Bolt Law School graduate, his thoughts on the issue. I explained what I believed to be the case, and his response sealed the deal for me. He could not “recall any class [he] took in law school regarding how to be more technologically efficient; in fact, [He] believe[s] it has come to be expected that younger attorneys are familiar with such issues.”

So Yes… Law schools do ignore technology and efficiency, however they need not change. Today’s educational process includes the widespread use of technology. And the importance of such technology in creating efficiencies is evident to students. You can take the parallel of Law School, and the Law firm. Yes different in type of work, but work needing to be done nonetheless. Today’s students have access to multitudes of technology that can help with being efficient. And have been taught, or learned along the way that it is always good to be on the lookout for the new and better technology, be it software or hardware. It is said that it is not just what one learns from textbooks in school that is important, and this holds very true to today’s students. Let’s be honest. In the world of education today, if you haven’t become proficient with technology, you probably aren’t making it to Law School. Extrapolating to the workplace, this type of behavior will continue. And the adoption of tech to create efficiencies, would be not only more easily accepted, but actually become the norm.

I would argue that many inefficiencies that law firms face, do not come from the lack of time spent on tech education in law school today, but rather come from a generation gap, or more accurately a Technology Gap. This seemingly unbridgeable void is between the generations graduating today, and those who have had long tenured careers in the legal field. The Rolodex using, email illiterate, handicap pass owning lawyer, although a rain maker, is not going to change the way he has done business for the last 40 years. Adoption of new tech meets a barrier here, and it’s made of steel covered in barbed wire. The success that has brought these tenured partners to power, is also the cause of tech inefficiencies today. Not the Law schools. Technological Purchases for a law firm are decided upon by whom? The Partners, right? Who are the Partners? A majority are 55+, on the back end of the career, having graduated college when Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates were not household names; after all, you are a product of your environment. The pattern of tech purchases in recent years exemplifies this ‘tech gap’. Partners are only purchasing for maintenance. Unintentionally being damned by their own successes; successes had in a much different landscape.

Now what does this say about the future? By no means am I a soothsayer, but from my point of view it seems a pretty straight-forward prediction. With those who grew up in the 3 piece suit, Rolodex, pocket watch days, on the way out, and the twitter tweeting, smartphone donning, fresh meat on the way in, like cassette tapes and 8-tracks, these technological inefficiencies will be a thing of the past. It is almost as if the Legal world were a second world country, slowly lagging behind the ever progressive first world countries of Tech World, Entertainment World, et al. Not to say there aren’t progressives in the legal world, or even that this lag has caused detriment to the industry. Rather, just that there soon will be a change, as those brought up on technology are slowly creeping toward decision maker roles. This is why Law schools need not change; correlation doesn’t always mean causation. Yes, law schools do lack in teaching the areas of technology and the legal process. And yes, there are technological inefficiencies, some being the direct cause of legal process inefficiencies. But the first is not the cause of the second. Merely a matter of circumstance. Caused simply by the sum of the essential and environmental factors that brought current leadership to power. The Technology Gap shall slowly begin to narrow though, more and more, as new, younger, more tech savvy, leadership takes reign. The tech gap: What once was the British channel, turning into a dried creek? It is all in the course of nature; nature sometimes can, however, take a while. In the few progressive firms, there is an attempt to bridge the gap. Using IT as that bridge, creating committees focused on technology decisions, and attempting to blaze the path towards efficiency. So hey… the gap could be closing sooner rather than later.

See the Original Article Here

Catch Ya Later…


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