BigLaw has become more business-like but much still sets them apart from corporations. One differentiator is the role of information technology (IT) in innovation. 

Innovation expert Eric Mankin‘s IT & Innovation: Out Of Sync? in Optimize magazine (Oct 2006) explains that IT professionals were a force for innovation in the 1990s but are now a barrier. In many companies, IT sets barriers to innovation such as prohibiting outside groupware, forbidding user-installed software, and limiting system access. Security concerns are behind this; plus security sops up a lot of dollars that might otherwise be spent on support and applications.

I don’t think that IT hinders innovation in most large law firms. In fact, lawyers often stymie IT professionals’ innovative ideas. Fortunately, as I pointed out in my prior post commenting on the AmLaw Tech Survey, some firms adopt innovative ideas from or involving IT.