In my prior post I noted that in celebration of Law Technology News’ 10th anniversary edition (October 2003), former managing editor Robert J. Ambrogi posed two questions to a dozen plus people, including me, who are deeply involved with legal technology. In The Future, The Past, Ambrogi asks one question about the future and one about the past. Excerpted here is the second question about the past and my answer. [Note that answers were intended be very short.]

What is legal technology’s greatest shortcoming so far?

Ten years ago, technology was a limitation: hardware was expensive and software was underpowered. A look at corporate America is instructive. Many economists argue that the recent productivity surge is a direct result of corporations learning, over the course of a decade, how to deploy technology systems to full effect. During the many years it took to achieve gains, massive changes in how work is performed were required.

As for the legal market, technology has room to improve but is no longer the limit. There is no “magic technology bullet” that will make lawyers more productive and effective. Today, the shortcoming is in the ability of lawyers individually and firms/departments collectively to adopt new ways of working that take full advantage of technology.

Putative shortcomings in technology can no longer be an excuse for avoiding difficult process, culture and business changes that will be required to achieve lower cost and higher value legal service.