Published on:

Technology giveth unto and taketh away from law departments

For law departments, everyone sees and forecasts technology as sunshine. Technology increases productivity (See my post of May 17, 2006 on technology.), reduces drudgery (See my post of Nov. 18, 2005 about mind mapping software.), improves quality (See my post of Jan. 16, 2006 about McDonalds and document assembly.), and enables more work to be done by clients (See my post of July 21, 2005 about routine answers available to clients online.). Law departments bask in technology’s rays for the reason that it giveth them more capabilities.

Even so, clouds darken the sunlight and software taketh away law department dollars. Software causes law departments to spend more because it increases the workload. Isn’t it true that word processing expedites the filing of ponderous lawsuits and the ready addition of multiple defendants? Don’t the unceasing gushes of e-mail jack up discovery costs?

Aren’t more cases and legal material online and don’t fancy search engines pile on costs in litigation? Doesn’t the Internet allow plaintiffs who share a common grievance to find each other and mobilize, not the mention the plaintiff’s bar to share strategies and material? Doesn’t PowerPoint soak up costly time? All of these consequences of software’s availability, which is hardly exhaustive, stand at times on the neck of law department budgets.