New Year’s predictions, like resolutions, are easy to make but hard to keep. So instead, a look at what could be in legal technology. 

In keeping with strategic legal technology theme, the list below outlines ways that large law firms can use technology to enhance client service. Some ideas rely on established technology, some on emerging software; some are in wide use, others are not.

  • Substantive legal updates
    • “Push” via Webinar, e-mail, podcast, video, or instant messaging
    • “Pull” via blog, RSS, extranet, or automated IM
  • Work product repository, organized by taxonomy (topics)
    • Client-specific repository
    • Collection of prior legal updates
  • Collaborative tools
    • Wikis for discussion groups or joint drafting
    • Deal rooms
    • Instant messaging
  • Matter management and tracking via extranets
    • Client access to billing
    • Shared project plans
    • Case budgets driven by templates (plus analyses of variances)
    • Deadline tracking (esp. for patents)
  • Interactive systems
    • To advise on “commoditized” work (or triage for custom advice)
    • For compliance with specific statutes or rules
    • To draft documents (document assembly and/or clause libraries)
    • For preventive law or risk assessments
    • Checklists and workflows for common legal tasks
    • E-learning and e-compliance
  • Contract and deal management system
  • Networking for business opportunities with other firm clients

I will hazard one prediction: only if clients aggressively demand more from their outside counsel will firms begin to adopt these ideas more widely.