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(Not) using technology to cut legal costs?

By contributing author Brad Blickstein, Blickstein Group, on legal service providers:

In the National Law Journal article on Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler (April 19, 2007), “Using Technology to Cut Legal Costs,” he tells a story of saving $250,000 per year with one of Cisco’s primary firms, Fenwick & West by helping them understand that they were using lawyers billing “$400 to $500 an hour doing fairly routine work filling out forms…” The innovation: Cisco is adding a paralegal to fill out the forms and will save $400,000. But it is reducing its payments to Fenwick by only $250,000 because “There [are] enough savings for everybody.”

This is a great way to save money while keeping a strong relationship with a primary law firm. But I wonder if a technological solution wouldn’t have been better here. Most routine forms can be filled out automatically in a fraction of the time. Both firm and client may have been better off by adding new technology rather than headcount. After all, that is what the article is all about.

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