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Pilot programs, and one that has taken months for full rollout

Before a law department unveils a new initiative for everyone, it may conduct a limited pilot test (See Brad Blickstein’s post of Feb. 20, 2007.). As described in the Nat’l L.J., Vol. 29, July 9, 2007 at 69, General Electric’s law department wanted to collect diversity information through its e-billing system. Jay Brudz, the law department’s senior counsel overseeing legal technology, “began test-piloting a new diversity tracking system last fall … and the full rollout, which will cover 170 at GE’s law firms, is still underway.”

That the pilot test and rollout have taken the better part of the year is not surprising for a department as large as General Electric’s. To accomplish anything significant in a law department of much size means to bump into unexpected problems, endure endless internal meetings, create new policies and practices, impinge on someone’s prerogatives, and cope with intervening crises. A trial run, a practice test, helps smoke out such problems and douse the fires.

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