“To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.”
Hesitancy also includes the perceived enormity of the problem. The Elephant and the Rider.Computer technology is IT’s area- You don’t have time to consider what you need or how you will use itBut everybody is buying something We buy without knowing what we want or what we are getting, usually on the advice of someone else.You wouldn’t farm or cook this way.And end up with things you don’t need (bad), or things you need but don’t use (worse).We rarely slow down or step back to become aware of what makes the law practice “car” move.Focus on the urgent to the exclusion of the important (trial, argument, closing).Ubiquitous Computer Technology Doesn’t Help ThisYou are not too busy, important, or set in your ways to use appropriate computer technology
If you think technology will solve your problems, then you don’t understand your problems, and you don’t understand technology.Computer technologyalone will not solve any problems. Computer technology, like any technology, is just one of several tools you use to get things done. Technology is a verb- not a noun. Something you need to get to the real work.Technology is a process, not a purchaseAsking what computer device or software program you need is like starting to farm by buying a tractor or beginning to cook by buying a mixer.
Definition: IBM defines a process as “a series of definable, repeatable and measurable tasks leading to a useful result for an external or internal customer.” Getting a document into evidence is a process, opening a file is a process, responding to a FOIA is a process, qualifying an expert is a process, probating a will is a process."Attorneys and firms should create file retention policies and clearly communicate these policies to clients."
Putting your trial notes in a locked file cabinet, or bury your oral argument tips in a field.Doing your real work.Sully SullenbergerGets buy-in
Every problem is a people problem. can be implemented without people who understand the “what,” “why,” and “how” involved with it.
email might be better than an in-person meeting or a telephone call;(file management and search might be more efficient and effective than a human being tracking down and rifling through a paper file).(you may prefer a computer server for your files as opposed to a warehouse or one of your “unoccupied” offices.But email is not terribly collaborative. And Powerpoint may not be the best tool for a jury, judge, or tribunal.
(give the print out emails and scan them example)Computer programs won’t help your client intake if you haven’t considered what information you want to take in.
Consider notebooks with processes and procedures. Track information flow. Identify the mavens and what they are doing wellClient Retention policies. Pareto principle: 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Scheindlin and NYC.
Practice management: project management, process improvement, practice innovation
You only get a certain number of clicks
Bit by Bit: A Framework for Building Technological Competence as a Lawyer
Bit by Bit:
in a Changing Landscape
• Technology a Part of Rule 1.1’s “Maintaining
• Client demands
• Business model disruption
• It is not going away
• Makes You a Better Lawyer
Why? Lawyers are Information and
• Manage information
– Collect, organize, store
• keep it confidential (Rule 1.6, RPC)
• keep it safe (Rule 1.15, RPC)
• Apply knowledge to information to provide solutions
Why Are Computer Tools So Useful?
• External Memory (Storage and Organization)
• More Connections (Marketing, Information
• Communication and Publishing (Automation,
Computer Technology is Just One of Your
Essential Tools (And You Need Them All)
• Computer Technology
Why Do Lawyers Resist Technology and
It is very difficult to change the wheels on a moving
car. – Richard Susskind
Why Do Lawyers Resist Technology and
“Technology is Someone Else’s Problem”
Resistance to Change- One View
Why do lawyers resist change? Because we are successful.
Why are we successful? Because we hold on to practices that make us successful until
they become habitual.
• Why don’t we try new things? Because it takes energy to learn a new habit
• Why do we need habits? Because to compete successfully, we must able to instantly
respond to the environment; we cannot take the time to think every time before acting.
The faster we can react, the more likely we are to survive when confronted with danger.
• When do we create new habits? When we confront a situation where existing habits
don’t work, we conclude a new habit is needed, and we have enough time to create one.
• Why does it take a long time to change habits? Because if we change immediately
every time we encounter a new environment, we will constantly spend energy on
changing — energy that we need to survive. And whenever we encounter a new
environment, our first reaction is fear. It has to be fear because before we take any
action, we must ensure that we can survive. We use this fear to keep us safe.
From “Understanding Fear of Process Improvement”, Brad Power, HBR Blog Network,
September 27, 2012, http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/09/understanding-fear-of-processimprovement/
Deal With the Hesitancy and the Haste:
Drive Out the Fear (and Awe) of
• “Drive out fear. No one can put in his best performance unless
he feels secure.” – W. Edwards Deming
• Computer Technology Not Your Problem or Your Solution
• Technology is a verb.
• Computer Technology is just one tool (processes, people,
• Pause and Plan, Don’t React
Paradox: You Have to Ignore Technology
to Plan How to Use It
• Technology is a Distraction
• Lawyers Require Sustained Attention– Minimize Your Beeps and Notifications (and your Interruptions
– Guard Your Attention Jealously
• It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore
Make a Plan to Improve The Way You
Manage Information and Knowledge Assets
• What information and knowledge is important to
• What Are Your Tools?
– What Are Your Current Practices and Processes?
– How Do You Use Computer Technology?
– Who Are Your Key Knowledge Workers?
• What Can Help You Get Better?
Take Stock of Where You Are
• What information and knowledge do you use
• How does information flow in your office?
• How are information and knowledge organized
• Identify barriers to sharing information and
Identify Your Current Tools
• Computer Technology
None of These Tools Works In Isolation
• No computer technology cures a bad process
• Computer technology is useless (or worse) if you
don’t know how to use it.
• An unused process has no value
• An investment in “technology” is not necessarily
what you think.
Identify Processes and Better Practices
• Your “know-how”
• What works and what you use repeatedly
• Technology processes are no different from
Manage Processes and Better Practices
• Why Use Your Head as a Storage Device?
• Document a Process Well One Time, Never Have to Document it
• The Checklist Manifesto
– Reduces Mistakes
– Promotes and standardizes best practices
– Stays with the organization
– Encourages revision and improvement (Productivity)
– Capable of application in other areas (Innovation)
– Rewards input and collaboration
Don’t Forget Your People
• People implement, follow, and improve
• Computers only do the things people tell
them to do.
• Untapped potential in all your programs
Train and Learn
Enable your Bright Lights
Train your Hot Spots
Use Resources At Your Fingertips
Repeat, repurpose, re-post
Helpful Tech Tools
Flow Charts and Mindmaps
Forms and Templates
Keys for Your Plan
• Own, Encourage, and Follow Through
• Provide adequate resources for the long
• Get Buy-In (involvement, training, rewards)
• Recruit (from within and without)
• You Have to Know What You Don’t Know
Practical Tips To Get You Started
Any office task you do repeatedly will improve with computer technology.
Any “How do I do this?” question can be answered by you. Not by IT, not by
Before seeking (human) assistance, put your question/issue/problem in
quotations and paste it into The Google.
If you asked it, someone else wants to know the answer, too.
When in doubt, right click and undo.
Study and Practice the Art of Finding (Be Your Own Librarian)
– Use the search and find functions in all programs.
– Name and organize documents according to a plan (so you can find them)
• Tag and Label
• Sort and filter
– Before closing a matter, “harvest” all information and knowledge that you
may use again, and store where you can find them.
Practical Tips For Popular Programs
– Use Styles for numbering any multilevel list.
– Use Templates, and Automatic Tables of Contents and Authorities in Briefs
– Hyperlink and cross-reference in contracts.
– Use QuickParts and AutoText
– Use Folders
– Create Rules
– Sort, Search, and Flag
– Create using a print driver and make them searchable.
– Extract Pages
– Reduce File Size
– Batch Operations/Actions to Multiple Files
– Bate stamp electronically.
Cause for Optimism –
These Tools Enable Some Amazing Things
Increased Networking and Mentorship
• More Choices Than Ever
From “5 Things 21 Century Lawyers Should Be Thankful For in 2013, by
Nicole Black, MyCase Blog, www.mycase.com/blog/2013/11/5-things21st-century-lawyers-thankful-2013/
Adams and Reese LLP
1501 Main Street, 5th Floor
Columbia, SC 29201
Resources - Books
Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, by Richard Susskind
Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers, Sharon D. Nelson, David G. Ries, John W. Simek
LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, Dennis Kennedy, Allison C. Shields
Adobe Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers, Ernie Swenson
Cloud Computing for Lawyers, Nicole Black
The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, Mark Herrmann
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande
Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, by Clive Thompson
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D
Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results, by Morten
Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter F. Drucker
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Resources- Articles and Posts
“It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore,” Scott Hanselman, available at
“13 Tech Tips for 2013,” ABA Law Practice Management Section, Volume Number 2, March/April 2013, available at
“How Much Time You Should Spend Automating a Task,” Lifehacker, http://lifehacker.com/how-much-time-you-shouldspend-automating-a-routine-tas-486199387
“Overcoming Lawyers’ Resistance to Change (Part 1): Find the Feeling,” the Legal Business Development Blog, August 4,
2010, available at http://adverselling.typepad.com/how_law_firms_sell/2010/08/overcoming-lawyers-resistance-to-changepart-1-find-the-feeling.html
“Let’s Stop Focusing on Shiny Gadgets and Start Using Tech to Empower People,” by Margaret Stewart, Wired Online,
September 7, 2013, available at http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/09/focus-on-people-not-tech-and-other-impt-lessonsfor-interaction-design-and-life/
“Systematize to Optimize Your Legal Practice – Part One: Why?”, Debra L. Bruce, Lawyer-Coach, LLC, available at
Resources- More Articles and Posts
“Breaking the Barriers to Knowledge Sharing”, by V. Mary Abraham, Law Technology Today, ABA Law Practice
Management Section, July 8, 2013. Available at http://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2013/07/breaking-the-barriers-toknowledge-sharing/.
"Raising the Bar on Technological Competence — the Outside Counsel Tech Audit.” D. Casey Flaherty, LegalTech West
Coast, available at http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/ltn/LegalTech_West_Flaherty_Keynote.pdf
“Troubleshooting: It’s Not Always the Technology”, by Andrew Z. Adkins, III, Attorney at Work, September 13, 2012,
available at http://www.attorneyatwork.com/troubleshooting-its-not-always-the-technology/
“8 New Apps That Have Transformed My Productivity (and given me 4+ hours more a day), Maneesh Sethi, Hack The
System, September 9, 2013, available at http://hackthesystem.com/blog/new-apps-that-have-transformed-my-productivity/
“Managing your Time and Office with System and Tech Tools: Getting More Done With Less”, Carolyn Elefant, available
“The Arrogance of Lawyers: Will it be Their Undoing?”, Greg Lambert, Three Geeks and a Law Blog, January 2, 2013,
available at http://www.geeklawblog.com/2013/01/the-arrogance-of-lawyers-will-it-be.html
ABA Law Technology Resource
At the Intersection
Attorney at Work
Law Office Guru
Law Practice Matters
SC Bar PMAP
Resources - Podcasts
Kennedy-Mighell Report http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/kennedy-mighell-report/
Lawyer 2 Lawyer
The Digital Edge
The Unbillable Hour
Law Technology Now