Dennis Kennedy Looks Into the Future of Legal Technology
At the beginning of each year, I eagerly anticipate legal technology guru Dennis Kennedy's
legal technology trends, but this year, he's really outdone himself.
Kennedy has so many thoughts about seven technology trends for 2007,
that he's thus far devoted two posts to the topic, here and here, with still more to come. In any event, here's what Kennedy has to say about Trends 1-4.
For Trend 1, Kennedy sees a reaction to Microsoft; not
necessarily a backlash but definitely at least a re-evaluation of
implementation of Microsoft products. In that regard, he notes these
subtrends, where firms will focus on:
deciding whether and when to upgrade to new Microsoft versions, (b)
investigating whether to move away from Microsoft environments, and (c)
the growing role of free, Open Source and Web 2.0 services.
particular, Kennedy anticipates that alternatives to Microsoft like
Linux and Macs will actually start to penetrate the legal profession in
2007, albeit slow. Says Kennedy:
legal practice is a Microsoft world, and I don't expect to see that
change dramatically in 2007, but given the complexity and potential
costs of moving to new Microsoft versions, we will see greater
attention on non-windows options. By the end of 2007, I would expect to
see a noticeable increase in the number of lawyers using Mac notebooks.
And open source applications and Web 2.0 will also provide viable
options to Microsoft and other more costly applications -- even Adobe
Acrobat, the gold standard for lawyers for electronic documents.
Trend 2 concerns electronic discovery, and here, Kennedy thinks that we've underestimated the long term impacts. He writes:
let me be clear that, as has been said before about the Internet, we
overestimate the short-term impact of electronic discovery, but we
greatly underestimate the long-term impact of electronic discovery.
I’ve read recently complaints of attendees at the LegalTech New York
show that 90% of the vendors called themselves e-discovery vendors,
with the implication that EDD was being over-sold and over-hyped. There
is a clear resistance from lawyers to electronic discovery and
sometimes this attitude is manifested by referring to EDD as a fad or
While, as I’ve said many times before, the concepts in
electronic discovery are straight-forward and EDD should be seen as
evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the details, the tools, the
practical questions, and the application of law and rules to specific
facts can be confusing, complicated and challenging. However, we are
not going back to a world of paper-based discovery. The e-discovery
ship has set sail, and the wishful thinking of resistant lawyers will
not turn it back around.
Other issues for firms to consider with electronic discovery are:
(a) basic EDD tools for small cases, (b) the growing role of
litigation support managers, and (c) the availability of "big iron"
tools for e-discovery.
In Trend 3, Kennedy expects that firms will start to bring
technology decisions to the executive committees or to managing
partners for decision. As for subtrends, which will pick up momentum
on technology decision-making, these include:
(a) audits and efforts to find cost savings, (b) applying traditional business principles, and (c) refocusing on outsourcing.
Finally, Trend 4
describes Kennedy's predictions about security and disaster recovery,
which Kennedy says that firms will finally start taking seriously:
2007, there is a growing realization that security and disaster
recovery must be top priorities that require continuing attention, and
that the two areas are inextricably related. While we cannot predict
the future with certainly, there's little doubt that we will see some
unexpected security and other disasters that will cause serious
problems and be largely unexpected.
You need to read
Kennedy's posts in their entirety, because they provide a great roadmap
for what smart firms should be looking at with respect to technology in
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 9, 2007 at 06:05 PM | Permalink
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