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Bit by Bit: A Framework for Building Technological Competence as a Lawyer

Bit by Bit: A Framework for Building Technological Competence as a Lawyer



Some thoughts, (borrowing heavily from Casey Flaherty and others) about how lawyers can adopt and employ computer technology effectively.

Some thoughts, (borrowing heavily from Casey Flaherty and others) about how lawyers can adopt and employ computer technology effectively.



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  • “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: A Framework for Building Technological Competence as a Lawyer Presentation Transcript

  • Bit by Bit: Maintaining Competence in a Changing Landscape
  • Why? • Technology a Part of Rule 1.1’s “Maintaining Competence” • Client demands • Business model disruption • It is not going away • Makes You a Better Lawyer
  • Why? Lawyers are Information and Knowledge Workers • Manage information – Collect, organize, store – Protect • keep it confidential (Rule 1.6, RPC) • keep it safe (Rule 1.15, RPC) – Review – Share/Communicate – Retain/Destroy • Apply knowledge to information to provide solutions
  • Why Are Computer Tools So Useful? • External Memory (Storage and Organization) • More Connections (Marketing, Information Sharing) • Communication and Publishing (Automation, Collaboration)
  • Is Computer Technology Always The Best Tool?
  • Computer Technology is Just One of Your Essential Tools (And You Need Them All) • People • Processes • Computer Technology
  • Why Do Lawyers Resist Technology and Change? (Haste) It is very difficult to change the wheels on a moving car. – Richard Susskind
  • Why Do Lawyers Resist Technology and Change? (Hesitancy)
  • “Technology is Someone Else’s Problem” (Hubris)
  • 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 Technology • “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, computer technology) • Pause and Plan, Don’t React
  • Address the Hubris: Adopt a Growth Mind-Set
  • 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 and Meetings) – 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 your practice? • 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 regularly? • How does information flow in your office? • How are information and knowledge organized and stored? • Identify barriers to sharing information and knowledge
  • Identify Your Current Tools • Processes • People • 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 other processes
  • Manage Processes and Better Practices • Why Use Your Head as a Storage Device? • Document a Process Well One Time, Never Have to Document it Again • The Checklist Manifesto • Benefits: – Delegates – 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 processes. • Computers only do the things people tell them to do. • Untapped potential in all your programs
  • Train and Learn • • • • • Share Processes Enable your Bright Lights Train your Hot Spots Use Resources At Your Fingertips Repeat, repurpose, re-post
  • Helpful Tech Tools • • • • • Checklist tools Flow Charts and Mindmaps Forms and Templates Collaborative Tools Knowledge Management
  • Keys for Your Plan • Own, Encourage, and Follow Through • Provide adequate resources for the long term • 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 anyone else. 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 • • • Microsoft Word – 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 Microsoft Outlook – Use Folders – Create Rules – Sort, Search, and Flag PDFs – Create using a print driver and make them searchable. – Bookmark – Extract Pages – Reduce File Size – Batch Operations/Actions to Multiple Files – Bate stamp electronically.
  • Cause for Optimism – These Tools Enable Some Amazing Things • • • • Flexibility 24/7 Access Expanded Reach Increased Networking and Mentorship Opportunities • 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/
  • Conclusion “Things that aren’t planned, don’t happen!” -- C.L. Kendall
  • Questions? Jack Pringle Adams and Reese LLP (803) 343-1270 jack.pringle@arlaw.com @jjpringlesc http://pringlepracticeblog.blogspot.com 1501 Main Street, 5th Floor Columbia, SC 29201 www.adamsandreese.com
  • Resources - Books Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, by Richard Susskind http://www.amazon.com/Tomorrows-Lawyers-Introduction-Susskind-Richard/dp/B00BXU8ECM Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers, Sharon D. Nelson, David G. Ries, John W. Simek http://www.amazon.com/Locked-Down-Information-Security-Lawyers/dp/1614383642 LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, Dennis Kennedy, Allison C. Shields http://www.amazon.com/LinkedIn-Hour-Lawyers-Dennis-Kennedy/dp/1614383480 Adobe Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers, Ernie Swenson http://pdfforlawyers.com/acrobat-for-lawyers/ Cloud Computing for Lawyers, Nicole Black https://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/index.cfm?fm=Product.AddToCart&pid=5110724 The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law, Mark Herrmann http://www.amazon.com/The-Curmudgeons-Guide-Practicing-Law/dp/1590316762
  • Resources- Books The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/dp/0312430000 Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, by Clive Thompson http://www.amazon.com/Smarter-Than-You-Think-Technology/dp/1594204454 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-Psychology-Success-Carol-Dweck/dp/0345472322 Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results, by Morten Hansen http://www.amazon.com/Collaboration-Leaders-Common-Ground-Results/dp/1422115151 Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter F. Drucker http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0887309992 Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath http://www.amazon.com/Switch-Change-Things-When-Hard/dp/0385528752
  • Resources- Articles and Posts “It’s Not What You Read, It’s What You Ignore,” Scott Hanselman, available at http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ItsNotWhatYouReadItsWhatYouIgnoreVideoOfScottHanselmansPersonalProductivityTip s.aspx “13 Tech Tips for 2013,” ABA Law Practice Management Section, Volume Number 2, March/April 2013, available at http://www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_magazine/2013/march-april/13-tech-tips-for-2013.html “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 http://www.lawyer-coach.com/index.php/2012/09/05/systematize-to-optimize-your-legal-practice-part-1-why/
  • 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 at http://www.slideshare.net/carolynelefant/michigansystemrevised “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
  • Resources - Tools Basecamp https://basecamp.com/ Camtasia http://www.camtasiastudiosoftware.com/ Evernote www.evernote.com Freedom www.macfreedom.com LeechBlock http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html Mindmeister www.mindmeister.com Ommwriter www.ommwriter.com TheForm Tool www.theformtool.com WikiSpaces www.wikispaces.com
  • Resources- Websites ABA Law Technology Resource Center http://www.americanbar.org/groups/departments_offices/legal_technology_resources.html At the Intersection http://www.pamwoldow.com/ Attorney at Work http://www.attorneyatwork.com/ Clio http://www.goclio.com/ Law Office Guru http://legalofficeguru.com/ Law Practice Matters http://www.lawpracticematters.com/ Lawyerist http://lawyerist.com/ Legal Ease http://legalease.blogs.com/ Legal Productivity http://www.legalproductivity.com/ MyCase http://www.mycase.com/blog/ MyShingle http://myshingle.com/ Paperless Chase http://www.paperlesschase.com/ SC Bar PMAP http://www.scbar.org/MemberResources/PracticeManagementPMAP.aspx Technolawyer http://www.technolawyer.com/
  • Resources - Podcasts Kennedy-Mighell Report http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/kennedy-mighell-report/ Lawyer 2 Lawyer http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/lawyer-2-lawyer/ Legal Toolkit http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/legal-toolkit/ The Digital Edge http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/digital-edge/ The Unbillable Hour http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/un-billable-hour/ Law Technology Now http://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/law-technology-now/