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It is a truth universally acknowledged by commentators and consultants to the legal sector that law firms need to change in order to compete effectively with “alternative” business and charging models.
We continually read about technology disrupting the legal services marketplace. Of course advances in technology transform how firms are run and how lawyers and others work, but genuinely disruptive technology such as mobile connectivity on a range of devices has changed working practices across all industries and sectors. Everyone expects to access their work online and on the move, and lawyers are no exception, so legal IT faces the same issues around mobility as other industries and professions.
Client expectations have shifted too, from looking for “more for less”, and again this is not just about law firms. As the corporate procurement function has become increasingly involved in law firm panels and pitches, it is not just about pricing. Nowadays clients are looking for “value”.
How does legal IT add value?
Legal IT adds value in various ways. Effective practice management supports compliance and efficiency and highly integrated systems supported by comprehensive data sets and sophisticated search capability leverage legal content, knowledge and expertise, combining proprietary and online resources to enhance the quality and speed of advice. But however good a firm’s IT resources, they can be leveraged effectively only if people know what is available and how to use it.
Legal IT training
Kia Motors corporate counsel D Casey Flaherty’s technology audit is evidence that some corporates are looking for IT competency from their panel firms – not real tech expertise, but the sort of thing that is expected of people working in any other organisation these days. IT is a basic workplace skill – like being able to answer the phone, or send an email. However, my unofficial straw poll of law firm IT directors revealed that user skills vary considerab
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