find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Firms repeat past IT mistakes

Firms repeat past IT mistakes

Law firms, despite appearances, are really nothing but giant paper factories who have learned little from their past mistakes, according to UK legal technology evangelist and writer Charles…

Law firms, despite appearances, are really nothing but giant paper factories who have learned little from their past mistakes, according to UK legal technology evangelist and writer Charles Christian.

Speaking at a DocsCorp technology seminar for inhouse lawyers and legal technology experts in Sydney on Tuesday, the editor of the UK-based Legal Technology Insider said the old cliché that the tragedy of history is that nobody ever really learns the lessons of it, is something he is all too familiar with when it comes to the state of large global law firms.

Christian said that with law firms in the UK experiencing the brunt of a long recession, he can't help but note how similar their suggestions on what they will do to avoid winding up in a similar situation again are to what they said almost two decades ago, when the last big recession to hurt the global legal services industry hit.

"One of the common things I hear them saying is 'In future, we're not going to have so much reliance on people, we are going to invest in processes, and technology that's scalable, we'll invest in our workflows, our automation and all these things'," said Christian "That was exactly the same thing they told me then [in the late 1980s and early 1990s]."

The problem especially rings true, he said, when it comes to the paper processes of law firms which, despite vast improvements in technology, have for the most part not been eliminated.

Christian noted that the current difficulties law firms are facing might come down to their lack of corporate memory. "The partners who are dealing with this today may not have been partners or even in the same firm when the last recession hit," he said.

"There's no memory of it. It's like it's the first time it's ever happened.

"The fact is, when things get going and the market picks up again, they won't invest in technology," adds Christian. "They will simply hire more lawyers - and there are always masses and masses of law students out there."

Christian said he believes, however, that while the current economic climate is halting the plans of most lawfirms when it comes to technology, there are certain trends that can still be spotted in the global legal space - especially from his home in the UK.

One key trend is the introduction of the Legal Services Act. Christian said the act could spark a brave new world of UK firms listing - as with Slater & Gordon in Australia - a change that would heavily impact on the management of law firms, and how they use technology to improve workflow, processes and, ultimately, their bottom line. Perhaps, noted Christian, it could even facilitate the introduction of the franchise approach, where the Richard Bransons of the world tag their renowned brands onto existing legal products.

Other trends Christian cited were some key developments in the vendor technology space - such as the 2010 release of Microsoft Office, the increasing use of Microsoft SharePoint for workflow processes and the amalgamation of the increasing use of legal technology outsourcing.

- Angela Priestley

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Firms repeat past IT mistakes
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 18 2017
Summer in the city
Across Australia, a number of law students have kicked off their commercial law aspirations with the...
microscope
Dec 18 2017
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
Dec 18 2017
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...