To what degree has technology improved law department productivity?

What do you think of the opening proclamation of Bob Kirtley, a technology consultant to law departments, in a profile by the Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 14, May 2006 at 22? “Technology has dramatically improved efficiency in legal departments during the last 20 years.” He goes on to describe the “first wave” as matter management software, the “second wave” as electronic invoicing systems, and predicts that the third wave will be “legal business intelligence.” By that term he encompasses fancy capabilities such as benchmarking, real-time exception reporting, “multidimensional databases and on-line analytic process (OLAP) technology.”

I disagree that law department-specific technology has since 1985 dramatically improved in-house efficiency. Personal computers, a profusion of PC software, e-mail, voicemail and PDAs have unequivocally boosted in-house productivity, but software customized for law departments is not in their league.

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