Shortly after ILTACon (the International Legal Technology Association annual meeting, August 2016), the editors of Legal IT Today asked a deceptively simple question:

“Going into ILTACON 2016, or while in an ILTACON session, or now that you’re starting to process everything coming out of ILTACON, what’s the single biggest question you want answered?”

My question was published in Legal IT Today, Issue 15. (Page 37 of in pdf.) My answer, with some framing comments, appears below..

You will also find questions by D. Casey Flaherty (Founder and Principal / Procertas), John Alber (Futurist / ILTA), and Joy Heath Rush (Vice President of Client Development (Law Firms) / Litéra).

As usual, Legal IT Today has a series of great articles.

The question seems simple but it forced me to think about the legal market. To set the stage for my question, let’s stipulate that:
1. Law firms face increasing pressure to deliver more value to clients; and
2. A key component of delivering more value is improving lawyer efficiency with technology.

Reflecting on ILTACON 2016, I was struck by the recent rise of legal tech startups and new classes of software. The formerly semi-arid legal tech landscape has become verdant with AI and many other new technologies. Some are broad in application, some narrow; some hyped, some understated. I see huge value in many.

But abundance raises its own issues. I worry that lawyers and law firms will turn to tech to solve process and culture problems (“magic button syndrome”). And I worry that a focus on the new can divert management attention from training lawyers to use legacy software effectively.

So, finally, my question…

“If a firm wants to maximize efficiency and really take advantage of what the market has to offer, what software would it license and what training and adoption planning would it put in place for both new and legacy software? And do we need a reference model, by practice, for software selection and for training and adoption planning?

We should not let a new product flood distract us from defining real requirements, selecting software and services that meet those requirements, and planning the change management to ensure adoption.