Ringing in the new year is a great article by a Cisco law department member on how technology can change and dramatically improve the ways lawyers practice and the business relationship between lawyer and client. 

Laura Owen, a lawyer who is director, worldwide legal services, at Cisco Systems Inc, suggests in The Tech Evolution: Change or Die ((Law Technology News, 1/4/05) multiple ways that lawyers can work more effectively. Her advice is directed at both law departments and firms. Many of her suggestions relate to appropriate use of technology.

She enumerates nine specific measures, including commoditizing routine work by deploying document assembly, e-signatures, and contract management systems. (On contract management, see my recent prediction on this topic and how Cisco uses contract management.)

Evans also suggests consortia to share needed work and using technology to perform routine work. As an example of the latter, she cites McGuireWoods ContractBuilder. (I maintain a list of online legal services and will add this one soon.)

She concludes that “Just like the industrial revolution, technology has revolutionized the way businesses work. But it’s not enough to have BlackBerrys and knowledge management systems. We all need to embrace these advances to change the way legal services are delivered.” I could not agree more; in fact, much of this blog is directed at that very idea.