ILTA released this month its 2008 Law Department Survey. I find the results shocking. 

Click here fr the ILTA 2008 Law Department Survey. 45 law departments responded. More than 95% are companies with at least $1bil in annual revenue. ILTA law department members probably embrace tech more than average so there is probably “reporting bias” here that selects for law departments more advanced in tech use than a randomly selected sample.

And that is frightening. As I read the survey and wrote this post with selected findings, my ire increased and I could not help myself. I got catty, I think justifiably so. So, selected findings + catty comments:

  • 66% of respondents have specialized legal IT staff. Comment: this is critical to ensure lawyer productivity because corporate IT staff are often clueless about lawyer needs.
  • 82% have document management software. Comment: makes you wonder what the rest do.
  • 57% have no document assembly software. Comment: if arguably tech-savvy departments don’t use D/A, that suggests a rather low total market penetration; no surprise I suppose.
  • 16% have no matter management software. Of those that have, 5% report no use and 30% report use by power users only. Comment: let’s see… that means that in effect, 1/2 of law departments appear not to have effective matter management tools. The GCs at these companies need to re-allocate whine time about outside counsel. Invest that time instead on managing matters. Acting saves more than whining.
  • 64% do not have a contract management system. Comment: Hello, is anyone home? My head smashes low hanging fruit as I step through the front door.
  • 89% have no knowledge management (KM) tool and 73% have no KM initiative underway. 52% have no enterprise search tool. Comment: re-inventing the wheel is definitely a good use of corporate resources and certainly keeps shareholders happy.
  • 41% do not use a “litigation support” tool inhouse and 45% do not use an e-Discovery product or service. 68% have not “deployed tools with your organization (outside of legal) to prepare for discovery requests”. Comment: Have these folks read the 2006 amendments to the FRCP? Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like a significant percent of big companies are totally unprepared for litigation.

I’d hate to see the results of a truly representative sample!

[For another take on inhouse tech, you can also read The Path to Tech Nirvana (Corporate Counsel, March 2009), a report on the annual Corporate Counsel Inhouse Tech Survey. It’s more anecdote than data as I read it and not very enlightening at that. Also, as I complained about prior Incisive / ALM surveys, the editors/reporters make year-over-year comparisons even though the respondent set appears markedly different. The comparisons may make good copy but are, in my view, meaningless.)