New Paper: A Look at Small Firms’ “Cautious Embrace of Technology”

Technology continues to impact both the practice, and the business, of law. In August of 2012, the American Bar Association updates its ethics guidelines, notably Rule 1.1, which requires attorneys to provide “competent representation.” It is now the ethical responsibility of lawyers to keep up with “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology,” like using Box or Dropbox to store and share files, electronic billing options and mobile applications.

The rapid pace of technological innovation makes keeping up with “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology” sound like a Sisyphean task. One day it’s Facebook and Twitter, the next it’s Snapchat and Secret. Understanding them in the context of discovery and potential liability is challenging. Factor in how, or if, to use them to market your practice or engage with clients, and that brief you’ve been putting off now looks easy. In ABA Guidelines Spurred Cautious Embrace of Technology, a new article from Thomson Reuters Independent Thinking series, lawyers have already been keeping up on technology.

Small firms have been looking for better, more unconventional ways to efficiently manage their practices and better serve clients. Citing areas of the ABA’s annual Legal Technology Survey Report, the article provides a roadmap of trends in legal technology, and shows how some lawyers and law firms are already using available technology to simplify common tasks and better serve their clients.

Phrases like “efficiently manage” and “better serve clients” are easily seen as catch phrases. The article lays out some examples, however, that demonstrate how lawyers are able to employ technology tools to streamline tasks such as time and billing, as well as legal research and drafting documents. Such applications free up lawyers to focus more on client needs, and growing their practice as it is also easier to get up to speed on an unfamiliar area of law.

Technology will continue to reshape the legal landscape, inside and out.

Learn more with a free download of ABA Guidelines Spurred Cautious Embrace of Technology.

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