find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
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
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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'...
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...
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 & ...