Collaboration

Watch the latest lawtechTalk episode for free!

Posted on January 26, 2010. Filed under: Cloud computing, Collaboration, Practice Management, Web 2.0 |

This screencast features, and is sponsored by, the following legal technology products:

  • Firmexprovides secure, virtual data rooms, which
    can be used in a legal corporate environment to manage online due diligence,
    exchange closing drafts, create digital record books, share litigation
    documents and secure client access to important files.
  • Mavenlink–provides an online collaborative workspace that allows lawyers to manage a client's case from start to finish, including uploading and collaborating on documents with clients and communicating with clients about their case in a secure, easily viewable environment.

In this episode of lawtechTalk, like the last episode, I'm experimenting with a new format. During each screencast and demo, I'll be interviewing a representative
from each company. Hopefully this interactivity will make the
screencast even more interesting for you, the viewer.

There are 3 parts to this episode, which you can access by scrolling through and clicking on each segment below:

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Change is good

Posted on November 24, 2009. Filed under: Cloud computing, Collaboration, Portability, Practice Management, Social Media, The times they are a'changin', Web 2.0 |

Drlogo11This week’s Daily Record column is entitled “Is cloud computing really less secure than the status quo?”

A pdf of the article can be found here and my past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

*****

Change is good

Last week I attended on a press pass the Canadian Bar Association’s “Law Firm Leadership Conference.”

The conference’s theme was “Change Management” and, accordingly, the focus was on ways in which law firms can innovate, and thereby alter, the course of theprofession.

One of my all-time favorite legal scholars, Richard Susskind, spoke at the conference, one of the main reasons I chose to attend it. I’m very glad that I did. All in all it was an enjoyable and educational conference, and I left Toronto with a number of thought provoking issues to ponder.

First, should the leaders in our field be benevolent custodians or jealous guardians of the profession? When phrased that way, the answer seems obvious: Of course we want to be benevolent custodians with only the best intentions, carefully making choices that will improve our profession for the generations that inherit it.

The reality, however, is just the opposite. Lawyers tend to carefully guard the profession and are reluctant make changes that might alter the way things have always been done. We revere precedent and distrust change. As a result, we cling to the past, making decisions about technological changes and innovation that ultimately harm our profession in the long run.

That is a mistake since, as Susskind aptly noted, any lawyer who takes the time to research emerging technologies would wholeheartedly agree that these new platforms fundamentally change the practice of law. Attorneys who deny that fact are reacting emotionally, rather than intellectually.

New technologies have the potential to radically alter the ways in which legal services are delivered to consumers. Forward thinking attorneys are embracing virtual law offices, law practice management cloud computing platforms, social media and collaboration tools. Innovative practitioners understand the importance of using knowledge management to alter the consumer experience first, and the law firm’s systems second.

There has been much talk in recent years about pricing legal services differently, including the death of the billable hour and the increase of flat fee services. As Susskind stressed, however, the key to change is to deliver legal services effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, it boils down to delivering value to legal consumers by working differently, rather than through pricing services differently.

The key to working differently is the use of emerging technologies. To do so, the legal profession as a whole must embrace technological change. Attorneys must make it a priority to learn about and understand new technologies, then incorporate them into their practices.

As another conference speaker, Patrick Lamb, noted, law firms must change their culture. That’s not simply a matter of using one or two new technologies, but a matter of changing attitudes. He emphasized that law firms’ youngest members are the key to accomplishing the attitude makeover required.

Generation Y attorneys are less attached to the status quo. They are part of the connected generation and grew up with the Internet. For them, it’s not business as usual: They understand how to use the new technologies and are not averse to change. These attorneys are the future and the inheritors of the profession. Law firms should be generous benefactors and give their younger attorneys the opportunity to lead the charge to change.

Because, as we all must understand —change is good.

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Some new resources for lawyer collaboration…Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies

Posted on August 23, 2008. Filed under: Collaboration, New Resources | Tags: , |

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell have added two great resources to support their recently published ABA book Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, including a blogsite and a wiki. The purpose of the site is to:

[M]ake the book a living document that can be updated and expanded. We hope it will also serve as a gathering place for discussion and conversation by the community of the book’s readers and all others interested in the tools and technologies we use and might use to work together.

Blogs can be a great tool to use in conjunction with a printed book. They allow authors to carry on a conversation with their readers, updating them on important and even unimportant developments until the next time the book is printed.  The conversation can also help the author with future updating and editions of the book as comments may provide authors with guidance on readers’ interests and suggest areas that were not explored.

But wait…there’s more.  Dennis and Tom have also created another useful resource in the wiki (on DIY wiki provider PBwiki) to collect the tools that lawyers can use to collaborate with each other and their clients, and a page of resources and links to books, websites and blogs that will help you further explore how to use these tools effectively.  While they may find a few additional possibilities to add on the tabs we developed for the MCBA seminar, I’m looking forward to joining this conversation.

I’ve been going to the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s Techshow for several years and always try to catch the panels that Dennis and Tom are on (Tom was the “Grand Poobah” at the 2008 verion). Dennis and Tom are some of the earliest denizens of the blawgosphere with excellent blogs (DennisKennedy.com and Tom’s Inter Alia).

–Greg Bell

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