Sometimes I despair that the legal market never changes. Then I remind myself of the many past changes and signs of more to come. 

Lawyers may object to change but the sweep of events proves that resistance is futile. Eventually, lawyers assimilate to the new thing. The ones who don’t become such a small minority as to be irrelevant. Consider some initially-resisted ideas that no one questions today:

– Internal e-mail
– External e-mail
– Voice mail (now on the decline?)
– Law firm marketing, advertising, and doing PR
– Social media (see, e.g., How in-house lawyers are using social media in the current issue of Inside Counsel)

– Practice group management
– Practice group profitability analysis
– Two lawyers will always share one secretary
– Why do we need to do business research?

– We’re a law firm, why would we ever need a website?
– Web access for lawyers

– Scanning and OCR instead of or in addition to bibliographic coding (on the wane by now only because paper is on the wane)
– Requesting or reviewing digital files [reminder: 10 years ago, most consider e-discovery exotic]

This list simply reflects what readily came to mind. I’m sure there are many other examples. Though the pace of change today is still too slow for my taste, good signs abound. Two examples illustrate the direction we are heading. The lead story in August issue of Law Technology News , The Eureka Moment – How six Big Law firms stopped dithering and learned to love legal project management is a good sign that LPM will eventually be near universal in BigLaw. And the Ark Law Firm Pricing and Profitability conference (at which I am speaking on Sept 27 in Chicago) suggests the same for alternative fee arrangements (AFA) and pricing analysis.