Legal Tech

Danger Ahead!

Back in the day, I used to teach junior lawyers how to practice law. I had me some rules. They went something like this:

  1. Do not delegate something that you do not know how to do yourself. If you do, how are you going to know if the work product is correct?
  2. Do not include anything in a document if you do not know why it is there. I will be unimpressed if you give me a document and cannot explain why you included every single word in it.
  3. As a corollary to Rule number 2, never say to me that you included something ‘because it was in the precedent.’ If you do that, I will be apoplectic and that will not be a good thing for either of us.

These rules helped me train a number of junior lawyers to be pretty good at what they did.

So along comes document automation software, and people are told: “Just push the button. Out will come a document in no time whatsoever. You will save time, and if you are not stupid enough to keep billing by the hour for work which takes you very little time to complete, you will also be more profitable.”

They are right, of course. In many areas of practice, lawyers who do not use document automation software will simply become uncompetitive.  But that does not mean that there is no danger for new lawyers who adopt the technology. If I can draw a somewhat rudimentary analogy, imagine that a young person who is tired of taking the subway and wary of being pushed onto the track by some random stranger decides that they must buy a car.  That makes perfect sense. What would not make any sense is to jump in and start driving before they learn how to do so safely.

The same holds true for creating legal documents. Just because you can create a document using technology does not mean that you should do it without understanding what has been produced.

There are no shortcuts to being a great lawyer. It involves reading, studying, research, and asking questions. The value of technology in general and document automation software in particular is not to find a way around any of that.  It is to relieve lawyers of the mind-numbing drudgery of doing the same things over and over, to provide safeguards against making mistakes, and to help them remain competitive and make money.

The good lawyers know this. The bad lawyers don’t care. And the new lawyers who do not know better have to be wary of the tendency to think that there is an easy-peasy way to succeed without first becoming competent.

And what about the people who sell lawyers legal technology?  A good vendor cares whether your implementation is successful and understands that their legal technology is not intended to solve all of your problems. They will help you understand what you have to do to get the best value from their product.

Speak to Appara ( about their approach to helping customers implement successfully.

For some further insights from me about legal technology, click here:

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