In his book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers, attorney and advisor Richard Susskind asks, “Are you comforted by other firms’ lack of progress?”

“…most law firms, even the finest, tend to be driven more by a fear of lagging behind their competition than by a hunger for forging ahead of their rivals.  Law firms, in other words, are motivated more by the need to avoid competitive disadvantage rather than a thirst for the attainment of competitive advantage.”

This could hardly be more opposite most other industries and with the current state of Big Law, I might take this further and suggest that it is now beyond a “thirst for attainment of competitive advantage.”  Technology is in everything we do, and as clients become increasingly discerning, seeking technology that “makes a difference” should be part of every firm’s survival reflex.

In a summary of the state of BigLaw, Thomson Reuters recently wrote, “Now is a time of cautious optimism for the legal marketplace compared to early recession years. However, a return to “business as usual” is an ill-advised strategy for firms amidst this resurgence of growth.”

As growth is revived, we need to continue to scrutinize how we operate and examine new ways to improve, both with respect to our business model and our supportive – and yes, technology can be leading – technology model.  The IT methods of a decade ago are not what we need to survive and thrive in our new competitive environment.  We need to simplify where we can and focus on gaining greater value from our IT investment, while effectively protecting ourselves in an increasingly regulated data environment, and using technology to help define and deliver future-state innovative legal services.

As we delve into these topics in future articles and columns on Adam Smith, Esq. please share with us your thoughts, areas of concern, and technology related topics of interest.  Please join our conversation via the comments box or directly to me:

In the very near future, we’ll be publishing a short online survey to help gather additional input and thoughts from you.

– Doug Caddell, Senior Advisor, Adam Smith Esq.


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