A quick check of Google and Yahoo today showed me that no one has used the term “Fourth Generation Legal Technology” or “4G Legal Technology.” I want to lay claim to the phrase to describe a collections of ideas I have.
Here’s what I’m thinking.
I’ve been speaking and writing for a while about the third age of legal technology (the allusion to Babylon 5 is intentional). The first age is secretary or staff focused. The second age is IT department focused. The third age is lawyer focused – when the goal is to get the tools lawyers need into the hands of lawyers.
I was stopping there. When I recently spoke about this in a presentation I gave, I noticed that I was trying to crowbar the idea of “client-driven” or “client-focused” technologies into my description of the third age and it really didn’t quite fit.
It struck me today (it takes time for ideas to percolate for me these days) that the age when legal technology has as it primary focus clients, clients’ wishes and clients’ needs was in fact a fourth age, at least in my way of thinking.
For the last few months, I’ve been reading John Robb, William Lind and their work on Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). It’s given me a lot to think about.
It strikes me that “generation” is a better word to describe what I see happening in legal technology than “age” or “stage.”
It also strikes me that some of the ideas of 4GW analysis – Open Source principles, decentralization, fast innovation, non-traditional fluid forms of organization – also apply in my ideas of client-driven technology (see the other posts in the Client Driven Technologies category of this blog).
This subject, this phrase and this combination of ideas really intrigues me and gives me, I believe, a framework to pull together some ideas and concepts that I’ve been working with for a number of years. Expect to hear/see much more from me about this (Fourth Generation Legal Technology, 4G Legal Technology, 4GLT) in the coming months.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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