Tom Mighell and I have recorded another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast and it’s now available on the Legal Talk Network and on iTunes, with an RSS feed here. The episode is called “Does Poor Technology Equal Poor Morale?” (show notes here), and it’s sponsored by Clio. A special thank you to readers of this blog who listen to the podcast – consider trying out an episode or becoming a regular subscriber through iTunes or our RSS feed.

Here’s the episode (#38) description:

The word on the street is that associates and young partners are very unhappy with the state of technology in their law firms. The results of a new survey of associate satisfaction tells us just how unhappy associates might be. Or might not be. In this episode, co-hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell dive into the results of the 2010 American Lawyer Associates Survey, what the answers reveal about how associates view technology and technology spending at their firms, and the ramifications for firms delaying technology upgrades.

In this episode, we focus on what conclusions we might be able to draw from the recently-released 2010 American Lawyer Associates Tech Survey, especially the results on associate satisfaction with technology.

Not surprisingly, the survey indicated that associates aren’t very happy with the state of technology in large firms. One notable exception is my former law firm, Thompson Coburn, which has topped the survey for several years. I mention some of the things I like about the approach their IT Director, Phil Rightler, has on addressing the technology needs of lawyers.

We note some of our observations about the impact of this dissatisfaction (retention issues) and some of the simple efforts that produce big results in dealing with technology dissatisfaction.

My big point: you have to LISTEN to what associates are saying and understand what motivates most of the complaints – the desire to have tools to help them do their work better.

If you unpack what is being said, you will see that in many, many cases, it boils down to having inadequate collaboration tools.

Charlie Mead’s article on the survey also gives you a strong sense of two trains heading in different directions – compare the concerns of associates with the comments from management. It’s no secret that lawyers do leave big firms to start their own firms in no small part due to frustration with technology. I see technology issues becoming a serious lawyer retention issue, especially if the economy improves.

In our Q&A session, Tom and I answer a couple of questions from our audience. Thanks to those of you sending us questions, espcialy those who responded to my call forquestions on Twitter. Send them to us at any time. First, Mike McBride asks if we see a connection between the survey finding we talked about in the main segment and the growth of “Shadow IT” tools like Google Docs in firms where there is dissatisfaction with technology. Yes, we do. Second, Matt Buchanan asks about the current thinking on using an online form of client engagement letter.

We end the podcast with our Parting Shots – practical tips you can use right away. Tom goes all Google, and raves about Gmail’s new priority inbox and the new instant search form of Google’s search engine. I note that Google Instant freaked me out so much that I turned it off immediately, and I pointed people to a couple of article about the “balkanization of the Internet” from the Economist (A virtual counter-revolution (the balkanisation of the internet)) and Wired (The Web is Dead – Long Live the Internet)

Give our new episode a listen and let me know what you think. Show notes for the podcast are here. And try some of the back episodes as well. You can also now follow the podcast on Twitter at @tkmreport.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at Twitter: @collabtools