Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 24 of 135

ask the vendor Slow SharePoint Adoption name................... Doug Horton company ........ Handshake Software website Two things have surprised me in the last two years: • The slow adoption rate of SharePoint as a document management and content management system • The rapid rate with which mobile devices such as iPads and Android tablets have made their way into law firms Heading toward the year 2020, adoption of SharePoint as a DMS/content management system will accelerate exponentially as more firms realize the benefits of the deep integration between Office and SharePoint. A SharePoint approach can also significantly reduce the overall costs of content management. However, native SharePoint does not provide all the functionality required by most law firms. In addition, the way native SharePoint requires content to be structured may not work for mid-sized and larger law firms, particularly those with international offices. These problems and more have been addressed by Microsoft Partners' software packages, and these packages and SharePoint will see additional improvements by the year 2020. I also see mobile devices replacing laptops for lawyers, and lawyers will demand access to client-/matter- centric information, not just email from their devices. The IT department faces a control and security issue with the new environment of bring your own device (BYOD). In the past, law firm-supplied laptops could be "locked down" so that nonapproved programs could not be loaded. Mobile devices bought by the lawyers are not under this type of control. Who doesn't have Angry Birds, Words with Friends or some other third-party app on their iPad or Android tablet? IT's challenge is to find a method of allowing access to, but also securing, sensitive client information so that third-party apps cannot "mine" the data being displayed. This will allow lawyers to use their own iPads and other mobile devices for both work and play while not endangering the firm's and clients' information. The products that exist today to solve these mobile issues will continue to improve as we move toward 2020. Economic Challenges name............................... Andrea Foot company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Caseflow website .............. "Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times." — Niccolo Machiavelli Genuine technological surprises are a rare animal in the universe of the legal profession. Vendors have long embraced the challenge of designing and delivering IT solutions to a consumer base whose stated goals are conservatism, prudence and avoidance of risk. Yet into this landscape a series of seismic shocks have come that, as ever, create opportunities for the adventurous … just as they create challenges for the more timorous. The biggest shock has to have been the dramatic challenges to the U.S. economy, creating issues both for commercial operations and individuals. These have promptly communicated into the legal profession in the form of demands for new ways of charging fees, resistance to paying for attorneys to reinvent the wheel and a clear knowledge that there will always be a law firm who will bend to a client's particular paradigm. A natural reaction around technology has been a clampdown on expenditures and a resistance to do new things at a time of such financial risk. Europe and Australia faced similar recessions in the '80s and '90s. This forced legal businesses to become very clear about their offerings and how to align their people, processes and technology around them. In particular, the adoption of legal workflow and project management, initially a defense mechanism against falling profit margins and rising staff costs, has become part of the strategic armor of law firms in these markets. These are the areas of biggest change coming to the North American market. Talking with thought-leaders in law firms within ILTA, we've found a new appetite for specialized legal workflow. It's the magic bullet that puts control into the hands of the attorneys and lets them work with their clients to mold the right approach to meet the client's needs — whether that's price, speed or accessibility, or a combination of all three. As we head toward 2020, law firms will be directed down a path where technology offers more than just "business as usual" services. Technology will become a key part of a firm's strategic offerings, wherein they will combine unique legal know-how with process-based technology. This will give firms the agility to differentiate themselves from hungry competitors. Sometimes we have the luxury of changing because we choose to. At other times, change comes to us. Legal workflow on a broad scale is the next big thing that will move from being seen as a specialized product for commoditized work to becoming the framework for virtually every piece of work conducted by a lawyer. 26 Peer to Peer

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