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Stretching your tech dollars lawyers circa 1994


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Chaim Yudkowsky, CPA, CITP, CGMA - Byte of Success

Delivered to legal professional association group in 1994. Reflective of nearly 20 years ago technology trends.

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Stretching your tech dollars lawyers circa 1994

  1. 1. Your Technology Dollar Presented by Chaim Yudkowsky, CPA Grabush, Newman & Co., P.A. November 29, 1994 Maryland State Bar Association Caroline County Bar Association Talbot County Bar Association 515 Fairmount Avenue Suite 400 Baltimore, MD 21286 (410) 296-6300
  2. 2. Objectives To provide you with a framework for maximizing your technology dollar for your law firm. To give you at least two new ideas, concepts, or ways to look at issues effecting your technology investment.
  3. 3. Trend Fundamental societal shift to being “Knowledge based.” The Post Capitalist Society by Peter Drucker
  4. 4. Why (continue to) automate? Improve productivity Increase accessibility Improve accuracy Improve efficiency Improve clarity and neatness Increase timeliness Reduce costs
  5. 5. “In the 1980s, a trillion dollars were expended on software technology, but white-collar productivity declined. There is a lot more [to it] than just automating your production.” Jim Manzi, President & CEO Lotus Development Corp. Reality “An Anderson Consulting survey... found surprisingly low satisfaction with returns on corporate investments... Overall a staggering 81% of those polled ranked their organization’s payback on technology spending as ‘minimal’ or ‘average’.” Joseph Maglitta Computerworld October 18,1993
  6. 6. What can I do to maximize my investment? Questions to answer today
  7. 7. Efficiency ≠ Productivity
  8. 8. Defining productivity Should the work be done? Who should do it? How should it be done? When should it be done? How do you measure improvements? Goal: Response to increased competitive pressures in legal profession.
  9. 9. Productivity statistics Improved productivity – Yes: 71% – No: 2% – Unclear: 23% Reduced cost – Yes: 50% – No: 6% – Unclear: 35% Source: Economic Analysis Group, 1994 study For firms with 1 to 9 attorneys
  10. 10. Statistics Number of PCs shipped worldwide in 1994: 45 million Number of PCs retired in 1994: 20 million Percentage of law firms that are solo practitioners: 59% Number of attorneys using PCs in their practice: 83% Number of attorneys using LANs: 55% Percentage using computers away from office: 77% DOS vs. Windows: 52% to 40% Novell for LANs in small law offices:  in 1994 - 55%  in 1990 - 25% Source: ABA 1994 Survey Report of Automation in Smaller Law Firms and Business Week
  11. 11. Spending statistics Past 12 months – None: 7% – Less than $5,000: 45% – Between $5,000 and 10,000: 22% – Between $10,000 and 25,000: 19% – Over $25,000: 8% Next 12 months – None: 14% – Less than $5,000: 49% – Between $5,000 and 10,000: 24% – Between $10,000 and 25,000: 10% – Over $25,000: 4%
  12. 12. 10 commandments of automation (Part I) Ignore the media hype Never be first to buy a technology – Remember you are running a business Let needs determine innovations to adopt – Automation is a means not an ends – Management issues take precedence Software dictates hardware – Talk to the vendor Know your organizational culture – Talk to support staff
  13. 13. 10 commandments of automation (Part II) Spend time on automation strategy Establish rules for equipment and software usage Invest in training! Training is not discretionary! Invest in training!
  14. 14. Technology - Issues Confusion / choices Standardization Promises, promises Speed Frequency of innovation Support Obsolescence User fear Indirect costs Complexity Paperless Commodity vs. tool
  15. 15. Purchase cycle Feasibility study Requirements definition Vendor selection / negotiation Installation and training Testing Implementation / Procedures Post-implementation
  16. 16. Common user experience Satisfaction Time %
  17. 17. What to look for Ease of use Quality user interface Ability to customize Networkability Quality printer support Quality documentation Availability of training Availability of technical support Other user experiences
  18. 18. Technology plan Define needs and goals – Reduce cost – Improve quality of product or information – Increase marketshare Define requirements to meet objectives Quantify the value of meeting the goal Create a plan budget & implementation plan Perform cost-benefit analysis of project Ratify plan Monitor progress
  19. 19. Technology - Existing technologies Personal computers CD-ROM services (only 35% of responding firms) Laser printers Cellular phones Color printing E-mail Fax Voice messaging Graphical User Interface Wireless Scanning - OCR
  20. 20. Technology - Emerging technologies Scanning- Imaging Groupware Animation (P.I.) Direct access to court / governmental records Virtual reality Video conferencing Personal digital assistants Voice synthesis & recognition Chips -- Pentium and beyond
  21. 21. Functions to automate Document preparation Financial recordkeeping / practice management Research Case management Docket control Conflict checking Litigation support Electronic mail Database management Contact management Calendaring Other
  22. 22. Document preparation Word processing Document management Desktop publishing Electronic forms processing Document comparison Document assembly Automated citation checking software
  23. 23. Financial recordkeeping (Part I) General ledger – Double entry bookkeeping Time & billing – Expense recapture – Management reporting Trust accounting Accounts payable Cash receipts and disbursements Trust accounting Payroll
  24. 24. Financial recordkeeping (Part II) Cash flow projections Tax return preparation and planning Tax forms on CD Specialized reporting Spreadsheet Other
  25. 25. “The practicing lawyer who is not on-line may soon be out of business.”
  26. 26. Research - On-line Dialog Lexis/Nexis Westlaw CompuServe- Lawsig Dow Jones Internet Law Journal Extra (212) 545-6199 LRP Publications ABA/Net PTO/BBS The Federal Bulletin
  27. 27. Research - CD-ROM U.S. and state Code CCH Services: Federal Tax, Blue Sky Laws & Regs, etc. Matthew Bender Libraries West Publishing services Specialized law on CD-ROM – Disability – NAFTA – Insurance – Tax – Patent – Bankruptcy – U.S. Supreme Court decisions
  28. 28. Electronic mail Accessibility to local colleagues Accessibility to remote colleagues Accessibility to colleagues already on the phone Documentation of messages and conversations No more trips to their desks Attaching or routing files Available for future reference Vs. voice mail
  29. 29. Hardware What kind of computer? – Capacity – Reliability – Compatibility What type of printer? Which operating system / environment?
  30. 30. The Marketplace Source: PC Week, October 3, 1994 PC System Price Q4 '94 Q4 '95 $3,000 100 MHz Pentium 120 MHZ Pentium $2,500 90 MHz Pentium 100 MHZ Pentium $2,000 60 MHz Pentium 90 MHz Pentium $1,500 66 MHz 486DX2 75 MHz Pentium $1,200 33 MHz 486SX 100 MHz DX4
  31. 31. Hardware maintenance Self maintain Time and materials Fixed fee Combination
  32. 32. Why a LAN? Coordinating resources Data exchange Sharing resources Centralizing backup Sharing of workload Data and equipment security Better communication
  33. 33. LAN costs Installation Support Operating system and hardware Network administrator Training Other
  34. 34. System administrator Requirements – knowledge of system – able to organize time and prioritize projects – excellent communication and training skills – teamworker Responsibilities – write and maintain system-related procedures – perform regular backups and maintain log – answer user questions – help resolve user questions – perform system file maintenance – help decide on hardware maintenance strategy
  35. 35. LAN vendors Novell - Netware – One on staff CNE or CNI – Gold or Platinum level certification Artisoft - Lantastic – Five Star Gold Certified or – Five Star Connectivity Certified Microsoft Windows for Workgroups
  36. 36. Resources MD and local Bar Associations MICPEL A CPA and/or consultant PC-related User Groups Periodicals – Law Office Computing Library / books
  37. 37. Why a Consultant? Knowledge Experience Objectivity Short term employment
  38. 38. What consultant? Experience References Objectivity Team-worker Similar values as yours
  39. 39. Unanswered question How do you bill for services made quicker by automation?
  40. 40. “Expecting a consultant to come in and apply preset solutions is asking for trouble. A good consultant should teach an organization how to fish, not provide fish for it.” Lester a. Picker, Columnist in The Sun Remember...
  41. 41. Good news An MIT study found a 64% return on investment in information technology over four years among 380 large companies. That was measured in terms of real benefits Quality Customer service Time to produce
  42. 42. Point 1 “The solution to improved productivity is not better software but rather a better understanding of business and its objectives.” Milt Bryce A reader writing in Business Week
  43. 43. “There is a huge difference between ‘the best money can buy’ and ‘the best for the dollar.’” Anonymous Point 2
  44. 44. Point 3 “There is a tendency in schools to look at technology for technology’s sake... Technology is a tool not an end objective. It lets you do something --once you have set out what you want to accomplish. Information technology makes it possible for people to become true knowledge workers, to increase their output and change the nature of their job...” Lou Gerstner, CEO of IBM The future of technology in education Business Week Insert - November 15, 1993
  45. 45. Point 4 “Senior managers (attorneys) who do not make information technology an integral part of their business strategy will find their future seriously threatened by competitors who do.” Jack Juison, Asst. Professor of IS Fordham University Reader of Business Week
  46. 46. Questions ?
  47. 47. Drawing The highest % in the survey used Timeslips: 27%
  48. 48. THE END