Published on:

New technology, technology new to you, or better uses of installed software

One of the questions Major, Lindsey & Africa, the executive search firm, asked in-house respondents in a survey was to check which of eight topics interested them. The third-most checked topic was “New technology for legal departments.” Let me riff on that.

Three variations on the central idea of technology could be in play, and only one of them do I wholeheartedly encourage.

(1) Some general counsel might like to know about software and hardware capabilities that have not been used in law departments but that have promise (“New technology for legal departments.”) I doubt that truly novel offerings hold much promise because so many of them disappoint and the learning curve is high.

(2) More general counsel might like to know about technology that their law department doesn’t use, regardless whether the technology is novel (“Technology that is new for my legal department.” Productive software or equipment, tested and debugged by other law departments, gives more assurance of a good return on investment.

(3) Most general counsel, in my opinion, should wish to know about new and better uses of the technology they already have in their department (“New and better uses of my existing technology.”) The cost is much lower, familiarity much higher, and the return on investment of squeezing lots more juice from current systems much greater. Make the most of what you have before you experiment with new software.

Posted in:
Published on:

2 responses to “New technology, technology new to you, or better uses of installed software”

  1. There are still huge gains to be had in the basic software tools that aren’t even legal-specific: Word, Outlook, and Excel to start; the browser and better use of the Internet; OneNote (free with Office and super-useful when the penny finally drops); and simple stuff in SharePoint if you have it.
    The issue isn’t just how to use their features better, but how to use the tools themselves in ways that make jobs easier or expand your capabilities. Most (though not all) legal professionals are leaving a lot on the table here that they could pick up with very little time investment.

  2. Except for the obvious satisfaction metrics, the article does not explain one other used metric..if he does’nt use time recording, how does his strategic focus metric works?
    Other question: is a law department scoring 90% on client satisfaction always a good law department? Or can it be a law department that never says no, putting the company in danger?