Ch: 5 Management and Personnel Technology Considerations

Engineering and Re-engineering Technology in the Law office

The effective engineering of technology in a firm is a dynamic and ongoing process. To engineer or re-engineer requires a commitment from all levels of your organization. This commitment must be from an organizational and technical perspective. It is imperative that the leadership of your firm addresses the radical technology changes that are occurring. This is critical to the competitive health your firm.

This section applies to a solo practitioner as well as to a larger firm. It is vitally important that a legal practitioner has a plan for the integration of technology. If you fail to plan, then your practice or firm will always be trying to stay competitive and plan for the future without any objectives. The section is partially entitled Re-engineering Technology because after numerous discussions with firms, it is apparent that original technology plans have lost support or the plan was not broad enough to incorporate some of the new technology breakthroughs and applications. With the rapid change in technology, it is essential that the re-engineering process occur on a constant basis.

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be…. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking. - Isaac Asimov

Legal practitioners must adopt a new science fictional way of thinking. We are living through a major transitional period where information is literally at our fingertips. Whether it is legislative materials, judicial decisions or data from agencies, information is being accessed and exchanged at revolutionary rates. Many standalone and group computing applications are gaining a valuable foothold in law firms across the country. Case management systems, the Internet, document assembly, full text retrieval, imaging and trial presentation systems are but a few of the applications for which a legal practitioner needs to plan. To ensure a better practice, you must have synergy between technology, processes, and people. The implementation of these systems does not occur by happenstance, but requires leadership and a commitment from management.