Survey suggests in-house lawyers are from Mars, IT staff from Venus, but what on earth does it mean?

Am. Legal Tech. Insider (#24) July 2010 passed on some research commissioned by Recommind. They found that the disconnect between legal and IT departments has deteriorated over the past 12 months. Last year, 67 percent of respondents described the relationship between the two departments as “good” but in 2010 that number fell to 54 percent. In 2009, 37 percent of respondents said IT and legal were working more closely together than the year before but that number dropped to 27 percent in 2010.

Third, the two staff functions don’t meet together much. Some 72 percent of respondents said their IT and legal teams met once a quarter or less; 52 percent once a year or less, and 23 percent never met at all.

I can’t make much sense out of this data or the conclusion about a widening gap between lawyers and technologists. Maybe the tumultuous strains of e-discovery have caused conflict. Maybe tight budgets on both sides have chilled dealings. Maybe the pace of technology for legal departments has slowed so there is less need for closeness with IT. Perhaps higher priorities in companies have shunted legal departments even further off the main line of IT concern and support. Perhaps the wording or methodology of the Recommind survey created factoids without foundation. I welcome clarification from readers (See my post of June 16, 2009: Information Technology staff group with 23 references and 1 metapost.).

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