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An explanation for why legal departments get little technology support from corporate

MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 49, Winter 2007 at 5, has an article about how a company should prudently allocate its IT resources. Law departments do not fare well as recipients of those scarce resources. The author, a Unisys executive, proposes that companies should segment their technology support customers, and that two factors should dominate in that segmentation: “how close the function is to daily revenue and its need for real-time information.” Law departments fall low on both counts. Many regard them as a profit center (See my post of Dec. 17, 2007.) and law departments do not need data provided instantaneously.

A second reason is that a law department is small. Programming time and other technology assistance doesn’t make much sense for a relatively modest group of people. Exacerbating its small size, several law department applications are useful only to a subset of those small groups (See my post of March 31, 2007 on law-department specific software.). A few law departments might even rebuff IT assistance if the lawyers are worried about attorney-client privilege or breaches of confidentiality.

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