As you may know, since 1998 I have written an annual legal tech predictions or trends article. Although it does represent an attempt to collect some of my best insights and ideas, it’s also something I try to have fun with. In some years, I included predictions from a bunch of experts. The articles have been very popular. One year, the article was reprinted in more than fifteen publications.
Merrilyn Tarlton at Law Practice Magazine talked me into writing my 2005 predictions article for the magazine. That put me in the unusual position of writing the article in early October and knowing that it won’t appear until January.
I got to see the page proofs yesterday. I’m so pleased with the layout of the article and the way it was edited. Since I wrote the article two months ago, it was, in a way, new to me. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the article as a reader. In fact, I decided that I finally was able to write exactly the kind of article I wanted to read. That was a cool feeling.
The good news was that the predictions still looked good. The bad news is that the article won’t be out until January. Writing for print publications is like a form of slow torture for me these days. I’m even thinking about only writing for Internet publications and blog. Blogs have certainly changed the publication dynamic and I love the “instant publication” aspect of blogging. However, Merrilyn, Amanda and a few of the other editors of print publications I enjoy working with will probably still be able to talk me into writing articles for print.
Writing books and book chapters is another story. I have book chapters I wrote months ago that won’t appear in a book until next spring. That’s agonizing, especially since a few of my then novel ideas have been written about by others in the interim. There’s plenty of room and I’m trying not to keep score, but it’s hard not to do so.
I always avoid spilling the beans about the content of my articles until the date of publication, so you’ll have to wait until this article appears in January to find out my 2005 predictions.
The article is written with small law firms and solos in mind. That made the article especially fun, because I could focus more on hardware and software than I usually do. I address what individuals can do.
Of course, that leaves me an opening to write another article (or collaborate on one, as I did by being interviewed for an article on tech trends in the December issue of the ABA Journal – that’s me opining on client-driven technology, whether WiFi will kill off the Blackberry, and RSS feeds) with a different focus, such as on big firms.
I have a few notes for a big law firm technology predictions article. It’s just the start of a draft, but see if you think I have something here that might work for an article:
1. Percentage of big firm lawyers being told “NO!” by IT departments to cool new hardware and software ideas increases.
2. Percentage of big firm IT directors being told “I don’t understand what you are talking about or why we need it” by management to ideas that are commonplace in business today increases.
3. Percentage of big firm clients being told “we can’t do that” in response to requests for technology changes that actually help both clients and law firms increases.
4. Percentage of big firm lawyers seeing small firm lawyers and solos using cooler technology increases.
5. Large firms continue to pour money down the drain because of projects that will never work but they will not terminate.
6. Dennis continues to find John Tredennick to be the only lawyer to whom he can talk about the potential of using web services.
7. And the big one: more big firms dip their toes into blogging, a few even learn about RSS feeds, and we still wait for an official big firm blog to last for more than a few months.
That might be a little harsh, but I have to report what the crystal ball shows. Have fun in 2005! If I can help you, let me know and we can talk.