An excellent review of the past five years in legal technology, in LegalIT (Oct. 11, 2005), applauds the law departments of Virgin, DuPont, Barclays, BAT (British American Tobacco) and BP (British Petroleum). Most law departments plod through the “box-ticking stage” of acquiring technology (See my post of 14, 2005 about the meaning in law departments of “technology.”) without integrating it and demote IT investment to a low priority. See, for instance, that “Using new technologies to drive efficiency” ranked 11th out of 12 “tasks or issues” in a survey of 150 European law departments, reported in Counsel to Counsel (July 2005 at pg. 12).
The praised law departments have gone much farther. Virgin “is already running systems that would rival those of a comparably sized law firm, in terms of complexity and sophistication.” Other than Virgin having an extranet, the piece did not give more specifics.
I also liked the references to four British law departments. We in American think we set the pace for all things law departmental. Not true, and we should learn from our trans-Atlantic peers.