Categories
Legal Tech

Selling Software to Teckified Companies

Yes, I made up the word “teckified” so I suppose that I have to make up a definition as well. It means “to use technology efficiently, including having databases which talk to each other, or better yet, a single database.”

If you are in the medical profession or the legal profession, you are likely not teckified. Teck-afraid perhaps, but probably not teckified.

Whether or not you are teckified matters. Allow me to explain.

Categories
Legal Tech

What is the Left Hand Doing?

Ogilvy, Cope, Porteous, Montgomery, Renault, Clarke & Kirkpatrick was the first law firm that I worked for. It is now known as Norton Rose Fulbright.  The law firm where I spent most of my career was once called Pallett, Valo, Barsky, Kuzmarov & Keel. It is now Pallett Valo LLP.

What is with all of the name shortening? It has something to do with branding. The idea is to project to clients that the firm is a single entity, and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To a large extent it just ain’t so. Law firms are comprised of individual lawyers, often tenuously held together for the moment because their self-interests happen to align. One of the corollaries of this truth is that communication within a law firm is not always stellar. And when internal communication suffers, mistakes happen and opportunities are missed.

For example, the real estate department handles the sale of a house but does not communicate the new address to the corporate department. The house was the residence address of a director and the registered office address of a corporation. Nobody updates the filings. The director whose house was sold does not receive important correspondence. Bad things happen. The client is unamused.

The client wants to know why the law firm did not update its records when it handled the damn real estate transaction. Cue unhappy clients, negligence claims and other bad stuff.

Or perhaps poor communication results in lost opportunities to impress clients.  Let’s take the example of a firm which drafts wills. It starts each new client engagement by sending an information questionnaire. If the request is made of a long-standing client, the client might be impressed if the questionnaire is pre-populated with information from the real estate department about which properties the client owns and from the corporate department about the companies in which the client own shares.  Perhaps the client has invested in mortgages and that information can also be pre-populated. Or maybe the client is recently divorced (the firm having handled the domestic reorganization) and the questionnaire asks the appropriate questions for that situation.

But in many law firms this type of communication is not going to happen, and the client will be left with the impression that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing at their lawyer’s office.

What if the law firm’s information technology systems talked to each other? How many problems would that solve, and what types of opportunities for better client service would that present? Doesn’t it seem kind of obvious that this is the direction in which legal tech should be headed?

Appara thinks so.  Check out information about their new platform here:  https://bit.ly/3RZSs0j

Categories
Legal Tech

Somebody Hates Chat GPT

The more seditious and outrageous stuff that I write usually originates in my own tiny little brain. 

Occasionally the creative spark comes from another lawyer. This is one of those times. 

This particular lawyer sent me a rant about Chat GPT which I have edited slightly. For context, this lawyer’s firm loves Chat GPT, and this particular lawyer does not, but they have to pretend that they do so as not to anger the Partner Gods. They would rather go uncredited because they don’t want to be fired.

Categories
Legal Tech

Artificially Human?

I have a theory about life which I espouse in my less optimistic moments. My theory is that for many people, things become less and less familiar as they age. What is socially acceptable changes, people dress and act differently, friends and family move away and pass away, technology changes, and so on. Eventually everything is so unfamiliar that they do not feel that they belong in the world, and they are then ready to die of natural causes.

Categories
Legal Tech

Just Sit Home and Eat Doritos

I was telling my wife about the recent post by Frank Ramos about LinkedIn having an AI product to help us write our posts. Those of you have followed me for a while know that I think that I am kind of smart, but I know for a fact that my wife, Maureen McKay, is way smarter than me. She has a great ability to look at a fact situation and see where things are going to end up. Here is her take on the use of AI to write posts:

Categories
Legal Tech

Paralegals Jumping on the Technology Bandwagon

Many of you know that I have deluded myself into thinking that I am some sort of an ‘internet influencer’ (like the Kardashians, only better looking and not as rich).

In this exalted role, I try to stir up thought about legal tech on behalf of Appara, which sells records management and document automation software.

One of the reasons that Appara wants me to write about legal tech is to bring attention to an obstacle that their industry faces, being that lawyers fear implementing technology since doing things faster means spending less time, which means less billable hours.

Categories
Legal Tech

The Devil is in the Details

I spent some time speaking to one of the founders of Appara to better understand how using their software would have made my life easier back in the day.

You can read my thoughts on their site by clicking the link below.

Categories
Legal Tech

Field of Dreams

Bob was a brilliant lawyer. He loved technology and was a wizard at math.

Back in the day when we used fax machines and they stood alone somewhere near the photocopier, Bob became enamoured with the idea of software that would allow the assistants to send faxes from their desktop. Bob ran various scenarios to demonstrate how much money we would save if we purchased this product. He calculated the salary and benefits earned by each assistant per minute and multiplied it by the number of minutes each assistant spent walking to and from the fax machine every day. We were going to save a fortune.

Categories
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.

Categories
Legal Tech

My Summer With the Great White Sharks

In 2014, I was pretty fed up with life and I decided to do something different. Since my years practicing law had not prepared me to take any really big risks, I decided to take a small one. I rented a cottage on Cape Cod for the summer and set out to prove that I could work from anywhere.