IT & the Lawyer

Dennis predicts for 2006

Dennis Kennedy has been predicting for years, and at the start of 2006 he continues this activity. He foresees a lull in legal technology, what with new versions of Windows and Microsoft Office on the horizon and hardware more than adequate for the needs of most lawyers. Nevertheless some firms will take giant leaps.

Big picture trends
Mobility and collaboration
Webinar tools, social networking tools and online workspace tools will continue to remove geographical barriers. Wireless internet access will become increasingly ubiquitous and law firms will use new-generation web conferencing tools.

E-discovery - evolution, not revolution
Still growing slowly but, that said, one should still see a maturing evolution of powerful electronic discovery tools - especially in the enterprise search category.

The internet becomes a platform
In 2005, the internet truly became a powerful platform for a variety of practical applications, from making phone calls (VOIP) to generating information feeds (RSS) to facilitating online collaboration.

Making better use of what you have
Despite the lull in technology projects in most law firms, 2006 will be a good year to make effective use of what one already has, and for legal software vendors to provide more training opportunities for their customers.

Improved productivity tools
Technology-savvy lawyers will demand the tools they need, purchase the tools themselves, or leave. Many lawyers wish they could have productivity aids, such as project and work flow management tools.

Client-driven technology continues to evolve and grow
Clients are frustrated by the technology and billing practices of lawyers, and one might see surprising moves by large clients to the small and mid-sized firms who cater to the technology needs of clients, especially if those firms also provide cost savings and budget certainty.

In concluding what is a most interesting article, Dennis Kennedy sees two worlds for technology and the legal profession in 2006 - one that is conservative and will relax a bit, and another which is innovative and in which its firms will try to widen their existing technological lead.

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