Cover photo of Successful Innovation Outcomes in LawThis post is part of a series of sample chapters from my my book, Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations.

Three Innovation Efforts Corporate Counsel Want

This chapter contains some of my best insights from work on the customer side as an in-house counsel. It also contains some of my best practical advice on actual innovation projects. It’s up to you to choose whether you want to follow this advice or not, but I urge you to consider it, especially as you get started and if you are considering only innovation megaprojects.

A few years ago, a survey of general counsels showed that the most common answer to the question “What innovation has your outside counsel brought you in the last year?” was “None.” None. Note that I said most common because saying “most popular” answer would be wrong.

What’s been striking in my career is how I often I hear about in-house counsel telling their outside firms exactly what they need and the outside firms either ignoring that or returning with something completely different.

The current fashion in innovation proposals is heavy on artificial intelligence, contract life cycle management, and the like. They propose big, expensive projects with lots of moving parts and many permissions and much coordination required in a corporate setting. More important, the benefits tend to be more theoretical than practical, and, truth be told, could often be achieved by using existing legal tech tools already on the market.

The current fashion in innovation proposals is heavy on artificial intelligence, contract life cycle management, and the like. They propose big, expensive projects with lots of moving parts and many permissions and much coordination required in a corporate setting. More important, the benefits tend to be more theoretical than practical, and, truth be told, could often be achieved by using existing legal tech tools already on the market.

PRO TIP: Three places to find early wins if you are struggling to find a starting point: simple dashboards, expert locators, and lightweight knowledge management tools.

What do I think clients want and where you should consider focusing your efforts?

1. Simple Dashboards. Far too often, basic information needed by a general counsel or in-house counsel is simply not readily at hand in an easy-to-find and easy-to-consume way. Talk to any general counsel and you are likely to hear a story about them being asked by a CEO or CFO simple business questions like year-to-date legal spend, spend compared to budget, total legal exposure, law firms with highest spend, and other standard metrics (let alone key performance indicators), and not having any answer other than, at best, that they needed to have some reports run to get this basic information.

Similarly, in-house counsel too often don’t have metrics at hand that are useful to them: caseload, success rates, numbers of contracts signed, average times for projects, and the like.

I often use the Thomson Reuters Legal Tracker (formerly known as Serengeti) as an example. It is probably the standard tool for managing outside counsel (and has been so for many years). However, I often point people to the simple and targeted dashboard tools designed around metrics they’ve learned that in-house counsel care about and want.

Dashboards are a simple and powerful concept and the discussion around what should go into them will give you and your client tremendous insights into their needs, their approaches, and what is most important to them.

Law departments are increasingly looking to outside counsel to recommend legal technology tools. You get at least as much credit for suggesting an existing tool (which the client might already own) to accomplish something valuable for the client as you will by creating a custom tool. If the only innovation offering you were bringing to corporate clients was to help create effective Legal Tracker dashboards, you would go to the top of the class and open the doors to other innovation opportunities.

2. Expert Locators. People have been working on full-scale knowledge management platforms for many years. A big lesson is that they are very hard to do successfully and have them fully adopted by users.

However, there is one aspect of knowledge management tools that can be broken out and used to create customer value. I use the term “expert locator.” In any organization, we know that there are usually one or two people who are either the “right person” to answer a question or can point you to that person.

Getting to that person is a hard-enough problem, but it becomes exponentially more difficult when you want to find experts within your organization and in your outside law firms.

For example, if I need help on a blockchain legal question, I don’t really want to go through the client representatives of my outside firms to find a lawyer with that expertise and experience. I’d like to find them quickly and talk to them directly.

A tool that allows me to do that would be highly useful and appreciated, especially if it eliminates hype and puffery and can get me to the real experts. If that’s an associate, that’s fine with me. I have work to be done, and ego-feeding of law firm partners is not part of that work.

Expert locators are a highly fertile area for innovation efforts. You probably already are realizing that, if you create a tool, it can be repeated for other clients and even become a product.

3. Lightweight KM Tools. They are lots of skeletons on the road to the land of successful comprehensive knowledge management projects. They are hard work and, in some legal settings, impossible.

In many law departments (and law firms), there are many ideas about desired, target knowledge tools: news and development mini-sites, clause repositories, negotiation playbooks, best practices, and even tips and after-action learnings.

By reducing the scope of the project, your odds of achieving completion, results, and customer value increase greatly. The term for this is “addition by subtraction.” I’ll discuss in Chapter 46 something we did at Mastercard called the New Technologies Center of Excellence (the acronym was ”NeTCoE”) that illustrates this approach.

The key takeaway from this chapter is that you can focus on certain types or families of innovation efforts that are easy to explain, much simpler and faster to execute than big projects, and show value quickly. And, as I’m sure you have noticed, each generates the opportunity to learn about a client’s business, needs, and problems in a deep way, bring value to the client, and cement your role as an innovative, helpful, trusted advisor, while giving you an opportunity to create something repeatable for other clients or potentially even a new product line.

That’s a lot of wins.

PRO TIP: Three places to find early wins if you are struggling to find a starting point: simple dashboards, expert locators, and lightweight knowledge management tools.

Buy the book on Amazon here.


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

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Poster with speakers and other details of April 7 Supply Chain and Law SeminarSupply chains have certainly gotten our attention in the last few years. You might be surprised to learn that there is a growing area of practice in supply chain law to address the many complex issues that arise out today’s lengthy and surprisingly-fragile supply chains.

I’m pleased to be the moderator for a panel discussion on supply chain law at Michigan State University College of Law (and on Zoom) on April 7, 2022 at noon Eastern. And it’s free!

It’s the first of what we expect will be many similar events in in this growing field. We are excited to collaborate with industry leading experts in electric vehicle manufacturing, retail, maritime, and consumer product manufacturing.

Panelists will be Lauren Beagan at Squall Strategies, LLC, Michael Kaiser at May Mobility, Brittain Ladd at Kuecker Pulse Integration, and Evelyn Sullen Smith at Dell Technologies. All are MSU alum.

The panel is brought to you by the MSU Law Alumni Association’s Student Outreach Committee, the MSU Career Services Office, Spartans in Business and Law Association, the Elliot Spoon Business & Securities Law Institute, and the MSU Center for Law, Technology & Innovation.

There is a LinkedIn Event at https://www.linkedin.com/events/supplychainandthelaw6914346700283207680/about/ so you can get more info, register, and invite anyone who you think would benefit from the panel.

I hope to see you there.


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

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Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast logoIn the new episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast called “Life During Cyberwartime,” Tom and I combined our sense of unease over world events and some worrisome warnings from CISA.gov and decided to discuss recent major cyberattacks and what we should do to prepare ourselves for the possibility of cyberwar.

Timely? I think so.

From the podcast description:

News stories of late have been riddled with concerns over international infrastructure attacks that indicate a growing potential for cyberwar. Should you be worried? Dennis and Tom discuss some of the most recent events in this arena and bring their conversation around to what legal professionals should do to prepare for this eventuality.

Are we trying to scare you? Nope. Plenty of other people are already doing that.

We wanted to take a sober approach to prudent preparation, share some helpful resources, and help you work on a strategy and game plan. We think you’ll like our approach.

Where to start? The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Shields-Up website.

Listen to the podcast here.

It is bizarre and unacceptable, even with the current warnings and situation, that law firms don’t step up to cybersecurity. Their lack of effort makes the rest of us less secure.

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco,
This ain’t no fooling around
– Talking Heads, Life During Wartime

Subscribe to The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast in your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss any episodes.


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

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The annual list of Women in Legal Technology from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center is a big deal. There are now well over a hundred women on the cumulative list. It’s a fantastic resource to find women speakers on legal technology, for consulting, and more.

We are rapidly approaching the February 15 deadline for nominations for the 2022 additions to the list. I’ve made my nominations. Have you?

You will want to go to the nominations page and submit your favorite nominees before the 15th.

The Women of Legal Technology Summit will be held at the ABA Law Practice Division Spring Meeting in Nashville in May. Watch for more details, along with the opportunity to submit speaking proposals here.

I’ve made my nominations. Have you?

The Summit also strikes me as a great opportunity for sponsorships for brands who want to connect with this audience.


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

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Excerpt from Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations, by Dennis Kennedy.

A greatly-underused resource for innovation programs is the advisory board. Advisory boards are a group of experts who provide advice, industry and customer knowledge, market awareness, subject matter expertise, and the like. They can work as sounding boards, a second pair of eyes, or get even more involved in strategic planning. They can also use their channels to publicize what you are doing. Most important, they open up their own personal networks to you and make key introductions.

Advisory boards can be made up of internal experts, external experts, or a combination of both. I favor the combination approach, ideally with a majority of external experts covering a wide range of key areas. Do not forget the voice of the customer.

You might meet monthly or quarterly by conference call (audio or video) and have at least one in-person meeting per year. Advisory board members are generally compensated, but there are many different ways in which this is done.

You are likely to consider advisory boards if you have a large or well-established program. However, an advisory board might provide even more value at the start of a new program or if you are contemplating a major change in direction or strategy.

For many people, just being asked to be on an advisory board is flattering. They will be receptive or let you know if they have conflicts and recommend others to serve in their places. In some cases, strategically adding an expert to your advisory board first might keep a competitor from adding that expert to their advisory board.

Advisory boards are under-utilized at this point, but offer the potential of first-mover and other advantages, especially from their industry knowledge and connections.

PRO TIP: Consider the creation of a small advisory board of internal and external experts as part of your pitch for your program or as part of your request for what you will need to take on the program.

Dan Packel has written a great new article about recent developments in law firms using external advisory boards called “Are Law Firms Catching On To Value of Outside Perspectives?” (might be behind a subscription wall). I recommend it highly (and it has some quotes from me).

Contact me if you want to learn more about the benefits of advisory boards or my availability to serve on an advisory board for your law department or law firm.


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

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I’ve started a new feature in the Kennedy Idea Propulsion Laboratory Community Premium Group. I’m calling it, simply, enough, Tuesday Tips. Every Tuesday, I post 4 – 6 (and sometimes a few bonus tips) of cool stuff I’ve found that will be of interest to the legal innovation community (and others, frankly).

Premium group members get all the tips. Members of the free community receive one representative tip each week.

Here’s what I posted today to give you an idea about what I’m doing:

Tuesday Tips

1. 8 Cybersecurity Tips to Stay Protected in 2022https://www.howtogeek.com/778547/cybersecurity-tips-to-stay-protected/ – We can never revisit the basics of cybersecurity too often, Security is a process. Good, practical, and current overview of core steps to protect yourself and those who interact with you. An assigned reading in my University of Michigan Law School Legal technology Literacy and Leadership class.

2. Patrick McKenna’s ebook on Industry specializationhttps://f3cca18a-0d7b-426b-9404-86b930d9e63a.filesusr.com/ugd/b30d31_d329f6e9f5e541e59fa0eefe3ce1d5f0.pdf – When Patrick releases a new article, I read it immediately. Here’s a whole new ebook on the important topic of industry specialization – If you are looking for thematic approaches to innovation, here’s one to consider.

3. Pipelines to platforms to protocols: Reconfiguring value and redesigning markets, Sangeet Choudaryhttps://medium.com/bosonprotocol/pipelines-to-platforms-to-protocols-reconfiguring-value-and-redesigning-markets-548b1fffc84 – “The intersection of the platform economy and the token economy will bring about the next shift in value creation.”

4. An 8-Minute Animated Flight Over Ancient Romehttps://www.openculture.com/2022/01/an-8-minute-animated-flight-over-ancient-rome.html – Very cool. River views are fabulous, I love how visual technologies are helping us understand archaeology and history. Open Culture is a website that curates many great things.

5. Legal Productivity Slammed By Toxic Work Culturehttps://www.inhouseblog.com/legal-productivity/ – Culture eats, well, everything for breakfast. Toxic culture eats its breakfast, your breakfast, and then turns over the table, and leaves a big mess. Great insights in this blog post.

It’d be great to see you join the community. Lots of new things in store in 2022. Are you in?


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

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Tom Mighell and I wrote a 3-part article on personal productivy tips based on a podcast episode we did last fall. It’s been published on the American Bar Association’s “Law Technology Today.”

The end of the year can seem like the “Time of the Overwhelm.”

It’s called “12 Personal Productivity Tips for Your Year-End Push” and can be found at:

  • Part 1 – Waiting, Frog Eating, Kanban Boards, and Routines
  • Part 2 – Triage, Prioritizing, Chunking, and Time Blocking
  • Part 3 – Personal Quarterly Offsites, Weekly Reviews, Out of Your Head, and Managing Meetings

As we say in the conclusion to the article:

These 12 powerful personal productivity tips can help guide you through what we sometimes call the “Time of Overwhelm” and keep you out of the pit of personal productivity despair. Using some or all of the 12 tips in this three-part series puts you on a good path and allows you to do what you do best in an easier, more manageable, and more satisfying way. Try them out and let us know what works best for you.


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

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Tom Mighell and I, with help from Debbie Foster, continued our annual tradition of looking backward and forward at #legaltech at the end/beginning of each year on our podcast. Of course, we do that in our own way.

Here are the two episodes of The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast:

  1. Pardon the Interruption: 2021 Edition
  2. Dennis & Tom’s 2022 Tech Resolutions

In the first episode, as the description says, “Debbie Foster joins Dennis and Tom once again for their yearly “Pardon the Interruption”-esque recap. The trio examine oodles of issues and advancements (or lack thereof) in both legal tech and the profession in general.”

We covered a bunch of developments from all sides. You’ll hear my interest in innovation at the edges (especially productization), the continuing money flow into legal tech, cybersecurity, and a general sense of stasis, if not moving backward, in legal tech in 2021.

Debbie and Tom have great insights and we deliver it all in a fast-paced, game show style. Fun and informative.

In the second episode, Tom and I share our annual technology resolutions. We’re not fans of annual predictions, so we’ve moved to the actual concrete things we plan to do to improve our own use of technology. And, unlike all the predictions you see and hear, we go back and report on how well we did on our resolutions for last year.

My three 2022 tech resolutions are:

  1. Increasing my Notion expertise and continuing to build out the next generation of my Second Brain project.
  2. Focusing my tech learning on two topics: #web3 and document automation (for productization).
  3. Developing short video (see my TikTok efforts at @FairlyCreative and @dkenntt) and other creative outlets.

I also have some small resolutions of (a) tracking down and eliminating small tech annoyances and (b) upping my game with reminders and alerts.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in these episodes and given you a lot to think about, but, more importantly, we hope we’ve challenged you to take some actions.

Would love to hear your comments and hear about your own tech resolutions after you listen to the shows.


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

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For many years, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts of several bloggers who are trying to read 52 books in 52 weeks. I’ve also wanted to find a good way for me to keep track of the books I’ve read. And it gives me a good reading target to shoot for.

Last year, I read 68 books, exceeding my goal by quite a bit. Or, more accurately, I listed 68 books that I read. I don’t list books that might reveal certain things I might (or might not) be working on.

In the previous year, the total number was 67.

I again found that I was starting and abandoning quite a few books. And I’m reading more audiobooks than ever before

You will also notice that I’ve been attempting to read the entire catalog of books of certain authors of detective stories. If you forced me to pick my top books for 2021 (in alphabetical order) that I’d recommend, I’d probably list:

1491, Charles C. Mann

A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander/strong>

Becoming a Writer Saying a Writer, J. Michael Straczynski

Brain-centric Design, Rich Carr and Kieran O’Mahoney

Four Lost Cities, Annalee Newitz

I Came as a Shadow, John Thompson

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler

The Model Thinker, Scott Page

The Secret World of Weather, Tristan Gooley

This is How They Tell Me the World Ends, Nicole Perloth

Together We Will Go, J. Michael Straczynski

I’m doing the same thing in 2021. My approach is the same in previous years – I’ll simply update this post from time to time from time to time throughout the year as I finish books.

I’ve enjoyed doing this challenge every year and hope you find the list useful. And I encourage you to take the challenge yourself.

I welcome your recommendations of good books I might read this year.

As Bill Taylor says, “Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?” Challenging yourself to read 52 books is probably a good way to start to answer that question.

December

November

October

September

52. The Pioneers, David McCullough
51. Forensics, Val McDermid
50. Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Daniel Silva

August

49. Begin Again, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
48. The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan
47. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan
46. The Body, Bill Bryson
45. Troy, Stephen Fry

July

44. Butler to the World, Oliver Bullough
43. The Earth is All That Lasts, Mark Lee Gardner
42. The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman
41. Traitor King, Andrew Lownie
40. Born to Be Hanged, Keith Thomson
39. Work Clean, Dan Charnas
38. Advice for Future Corpses , Sallie Tisdale
37. River of Gods, Candice Millard

June

36. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, Anthony Iannarino
35. The Power of Crisis, Ian Bremmer
34. Democracy in Chains, Nancy McLean
33. Overboard, Sarah Paretsky
32. Hiding in Plain Sight, Sarah Kendzior

May

31. The Shame Machine, Cathy O’Neil
30. Mindset, Carol Dweck
29. Game Change, John Heilemann
28. Age of Cage, Keith Phipps
27. A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty
26. The Palace Papers, Tina Brown

April

25. Lies My Mother Told Me, Melissa Rivers
24. The War that Made the Roman Empire, Barry S. Strauss
23. Satisfaction Guaranteed, Micheline Maynard
22. The Wizard and the Prophet, Charles C. Mann
21. You Need a Budget, Jesse Meacham
20. The Genesis Machine, Amy Webb
19. The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande
18. Origin, Jennifer Raff
17. From Strength to Strength, Arthur C. Brooks
16. Love in Amsterdam, Nicolas Freeling

March

15. The Proud Tower, Barbara Tuchman
14. The Art of War, Sun-Tzu

February

13. The Revolution That Wasn’t, Spencer Jakab
12. Surviving Autocracy, Masha Gessen
11. Cabin Porn, Zach Klein
10. The New Rules of Aging Well, Heryan Arkson
9. Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, Robert Massie
8. Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson
7. Arriving Today, Christopher Mims

January

6. The Whole Art of Detection, Lyndsay Faye
5. The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly
4. The Devotion of Suspect X, Keigo Higashino
3. Miss Moriarty, I Presume?, Sherry Thomas
2. Silent Parade, Keigo Higashino
1. A Midsummer’s Equation, Keigo Higashino


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

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Part of my #blogfirst project.

School of fish. Photo by Thiago Casst from PexelsWe have moved from a world where the big fish eat the little fish, says Tom Peters, the famous management consulting guru, to a world where the “fast fish eat the slow fish.”

I’ve noticed lately that many of the most innovative developments in legal technology have come from smaller firms and solo practitioners. Small firms and solos have developed some of the most successful legal website, pioneered the use of legal applications, and taken the lead in productizing legal services with technology. They have become the fast fish.

While small firms and solos can have difficulty finding good technological assistance, the flip side of the story is that small firms and solos have some advantages over big firms that help them leverage new technology and the growing availability of cloud-based Internet tools to level the playing field against larger firms.

Here are ten advantages that small firms and solos have over large firms when it comes to innovation and technology.

1. The People Most Affected by the Technology Decisions Actually Make the Decisions. Large firms generally have an IS department that manages and controls technology matters. Technology decisions are generally announced to lawyers rather than discussed or voted on. As a result, decisions tend to be based on what is best for the organization as a whole (or the IT department, not the firm) rather than what is best for individual lawyers.

In a small firm, the people most affected by the decision actually make the decision. There is an opportunity to tailor technology to individual needs. More importantly, the decision-makers will directly experience the impact of their decisions. A critical factor in the success of the adoption of any technology is the amount of “buy-in” from the people who will be using the technology. Better participation leads to better attitudes about changes, greater success with training, and more effective use of new technology.

2. Decisions Can Be Made Quickly. Some large firms have spent countless hours debating what shade of blue to use on a website, let alone try a technology tool requested by actual clients. Some small firms have gone from decision to implementation over a weekend.

Any process that involves a long series of committee meetings will foster an atmosphere of cynicism and frustration. In a small firm, decisions often can be made over lunch or a short series of focused conversations. For solos, important decisions can be made in the shower or on the drive to work.

3. The Need to Find Cost Savings Drives Innovation. In a small firm, every little bit of cost savings can have a direct impact on an attorney’s earnings. In larger firms, cost savings have more indirect results. Cost savings can be an important motivation for adopting new technologies.

If you are starting up or maintaining a small practice, the cost of a library can be prohibitive. Purchasing library material strategically in electronic form or as a cloud-based service can result in both space and cost savings. Wise choices made while attempting to cut costs, especially in current times,  can result in an innovative use of technology that leads to a more productive practice.

4. The Size of the Project is Less Daunting. It is easier and cheaper to make changes on a network of three or thirty computers than it is on a network of three hundred or three thousand computers in different geographies. Small firms can try pilot projects with one or two people who will also be primary decision-makers.

5. Technology Improvement Can Be an Important Use of Downtime. Smaller firms and solos sometimes have alternating cycles of busy periods followed by slow periods. In a large firm, the constant push to bill hours does not allow for that type of cycle and puts pressure on attorneys to focus exclusively on generating billable hours and not on developing systems or improving technology.

In a small firm, a slow period in the practice may be a perfect time to implement new software, to use document assembly to automate forms, to try a new calendaring or case management program, or simply to plan for future technology requirements. Taking more time to think about technology and explore options will result in more successful applications of technology.

6. Small Firms Are More Willing to Adapt Their Practices to Cloud Solutions. In a large firm, different departments often do things in very different ways. In addition, there may be a “Firm” way of doing things that has not been modified for many years. These firms will often spend enormous amounts of money to customize legacy installed programs to match existing practices.

Small firms, on the other hand, are likely to use cloud-based services, such as one of the case management tools, or even services for home users, and adapt their practice to these platforms. What matters is that job gets done, not that you are using “legal-specific” or customized software to do it.

7. The Payoff From Technology Investment is More Easily Seen. A larger monitor may give you an immediate impact by reducing the need to squint to see details. A premium LinkedIn account might start producing clients that can be readily traceable to your efforts. A small firm’s return on investment can be easily seen and measured. In a larger firm, return on investment can be harder to identify and may take place over a longer time frame because of the scope of projects and the time it takes to implement them and measure results.

8. Small Firms Are Willing to Experiment. Small firm lawyers are usually the lawyers speaking at seminars about innovative technologies. As a general rule, lawyers are not known as “early adopters” and many large firms are extremely conservative and unwilling to take risks when it comes to technology.

In small firms, there tends to be more of an attitude of experimentation and a willingness to try new things. There is also a willingness to admit that an experiment has not worked and to try something new. This attitude allows smaller firms the opportunity to match technology to their needs and to keep them in some cases closer to the leading edge of technology than many larger firms. Smaller firms seem more willing to try new options like document automation, case management, and collaboration tools, especially client-facing ones.

9. The Need to Level the Playing Field Drives Technological Change. Some of the more innovative uses of technology by small firms came in response to the practice of larger firms of trying to bury smaller firms in paperwork during discovery. Today’s cloud-based ediscovery and litigation management tools can give a small firm control over mountains of evidence in a way that can be superior to what can be achieved by a team of big firm lawyers not using the same technologies.

Because it is all but impossible for a small firm to compete with a large firm in a war of attrition using human resources, small firms have tremendous motivation to leverage technology to level the playing field against big firms. Competitive factors often drive excellent decisions about technology.

10. Small Firms Focus on the Practical. Often big firms seem to be preoccupied with theories, definitions, and philosophies of technological improvement and with thinking about how technology might work rather than actually getting started on using the technology. In the meantime, small firms are adopting new technologies that streamline their practices, putting up productized services and apps that draw in clients, and producing charts and visuals that help them to win cases.

An important example that is still relevant is law firm websites. Large firms seemto have websites that look like the websites of other large firms because it is seen as a requirement for a firm of stature, with no real expectation of getting clients, often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Small firms put up websites that work and get clients and client portals that keep clients.

Here are five final points to remember about technology and the small firm:

1. Be flexible and willing to experiment.

2. Build on your successes. Constantly try to extend the efficiencies you have already gained through other technology and systems you’ve developed.

3. Try to identify areas where cost savings will also result in innovation and increased productivity in your practice.

4. Focus on practical and measurable results that positively impact your clients.

5. Look at what’s happening in other professions (e.g., patient portals in health care) and with new collaboration and community-building technologies.

Be a fast fish. By being flexible, practical, and innovative, small firms and solos can use technology to increase their effectiveness and productivity and level the playing field against slower-reacting large firms.

Photo by Thiago Casst from Pexels


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

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