Today I had lunch with a friend who is in-house counsel at a large company; he was formerly an associate at a large law firm. He is tech savvy and we spoke about how lawyers use technology. My friend made an interesting observation, which I attempt to summarize here.

People who are interested in how computers work tend to be more interested in “how things work” than they are in “how relationships work.” While the two are not mutually exclusive, his observation is that personalities and skills tend toward one of these two opposite poles. And he notes that the most successful lawyers – both in law firms and departments – tend to be those who are most interested in relationships.

Perhaps this helps explain why the legal market has been slow, in many respects, to adopt technology to become more effective and efficient. To get to a leadership position requires skills that tend to diminish the importance of understanding “how things work.” Comments anyone?