3/23/16

Four REAL Ways that Law Firms Are Using Technology For Exposure and Efficiency


I know I write my fair share of crap that is of minimal value to anyone, but that's why we invite Casey Flaherty to post his epic legal tone poems on 3 Geeks.  His insight and valuable contributions balance my own questionable efforts.  After today, the ABAs Law Technology Today is in desperate need of a Casey Flaherty-type ringer.

As much as I hate to call anyone out for writing nonsense - pot/kettle - this turd of a puff piece got my hackles way up.
Four Ways Law Firms Are Using Technology For Exposure and Efficiency 
Helpfully subtitled: A shortlist of ways to leverage technology in your favor.
I know, I know. You're saying, "Ryan, why would you bother to click on that link? We know that you know all about click bait titles. What pearls of wisdom were you expecting on the other side?"

I don't know! Call it a moment of weakness at the end of a long day.  For the second and a half it took the page to load, I thought maybe one of the 'four ways' would be novel or new.  Something thrilling that I had never imagined. Something to spark my imagination and lead to my next great legal technology insight.

I'll save you the brain cells.  The 'four ways' that law firms are using tech for exposure and efficiency, are:
  1. Becoming a Resource on Social Networks
  2. Blogging About Important Topics 
  3. Launching Law Firm Apps
  4. Digitizing Documents and Using Online Libraries
When I finished reading, I was sad.  5 minutes later, I was angry.  As any blogger can tell you, the stage that comes after anger is Blog Post.

This rant is not about the author, his credentials, his ideas, or his writing.  Mad props and hats off to anyone who can make a living writing anything at all. And I know this was a paid post because I dropped the text into word and confirmed that if you include the title, the post comes to exactly 750 words. That's not coincidental.  No, the author is a new hero of mine. My scorn is reserved for the ABA and the editors of Law Technology Today.

If this is what the ABA thinks constitutes a modern use of tech for 'exposure and efficiency', they should probably rename the site Law Technology 2003.

Here's my Four REAL Ways firms are using tech for exposure and efficiency:
  1. They are no longer spamming their clients on social networks and instead are building useful and useable tools that clients actually want/need and will pay for
  2. They automate absolutely everything they can so that some of their lawyers can focus on the cool stuff they imagined they'd be doing when they graduated from law school, and others can build the cool stuff that automates the boring stuff.
  3. They stop being so damn proprietary about every little tech idea they have. They're proud and loud and shout their genius from the rooftops. 
  4. They digitize their documents and use online libraries
Well, I guess that last one would have been the same.  

I stand corrected.


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1 comments:

Susan Hackett said...

I loved your piece, Ryan, since I'm a click-bait addict myself, unable to believe that at least one of these articles won't have something informative to say about the important topic they're advertising. I thought it might be fun to offer what my four would be, in the hopes that others might post their four, too, and the 3Geeks community would do the work that the article (and so many others like it) didn't. So here goes:

Based on your four suggestions, here are my four ways firms should use tech for exposure and efficiency:

YOURS: They are no longer spamming their clients on social networks and instead are building useful and useable tools that clients actually want/need and will pay for ...
MINE: They are building useful and useable tools that they require (as in, it's not optional) their own lawyers use in every matter to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of their services (for clients), while improving the efficiency and profitability of each iteration of the service they provide (for the firm). They don't need to wait for their clients to articulate this need (that should be the firm's business imperative), and they don't need clients to pay for them if they're already paying market (or higher) prices for these services. Tech should be built into the cost of good service, not an add-on/cost-plus.

YOURS: They automate absolutely everything they can so that some of their lawyers can focus on the cool stuff they imagined they'd be doing when they graduated from law school, and others can build the cool stuff that automates the boring stuff. ...
MINE: They automate absolutely everything they can (or outsource it to someone who automates it better than they can) so that they can reinvent their practices to focus on what clients want to buy from firms (whether or not that's what the firm's lawyers imagined they'd do when they graduated from law school). Clients are sick of paying firms to provide services that firms think are great and important but that clients think are fungible, inefficient, or irrelevant to what they need.

YOURS: They stop being so damn proprietary about every little tech idea they have. They're proud and loud and shout their genius from the rooftops.
MINE: They stop being so damn proprietary about every little idea OF ANY KIND that they have. In a collaborative work environment, firms underperform because they adhere to the incredibly pompous and stupid belief that they do everything better than anyone else and there is nothing meaningful that they can learn or that other disciplines or workers can contribute toward the outcome. You are dead on right on this point, Ryan, including the point that firms should shout about their great practices, but don't limit the "we don't share" rant to just tech: it's endemic to law firm/lawyer "culture" and needs to be stamped out.

YOURS: They digitize their documents and use online libraries. ... MINE: They digitize their documents AND their work processes AND training (lifelong) resources, AND knowledge banks AND require data to be entered for each and every matter and to measure lawyer performance AND ...

... to me, the point of all the tech, beyond improving efficiency in the instant matter, is to create the ability to understand what we're doing well, and what needs improvement and how we can advise clients predictively based on the results that were delivered in the last 20 or 200 or 2,000 iterations of the work. The tech is great on its own, but it's not "static" - its power is only truly realized when the data that it brings forward is not only available to the firm and its clients to improve results and lower costs, but to ensure our future practices and the next iterations of work are informed by what we've learned.

What do others think? I'd love to hear more ideas too ... -Susan

 

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