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February 29, 2008

Dennis Kennedy's 8 Technology Trends for 2008

From Dennis Kennedy's recent article on Technology Trends for 2008:

I have written recently about how to make prudent technology choices in a negative economy. The key idea is not simply to cut spending, although you might, but to think clearly about the economic justification for each technology decision that you make. You should be doing that anyway, but the importance of good decision-making gets highlighted when times are tough.

It's not rocket science. You look for technology that either helps you cut costs or enhances your opportunity to earn revenues. Better said, you want technology that makes it easier for fee-earners (and, increasingly, other revenue generators) to generate more revenue and makes it possible to reduce costs without making it more difficult to generate revenue. It takes some analysis, some thinking, and often some tough decisions.

In recessionary times, technology decision-makers must focus on good planning and on even better execution. Costly technology mistakes can have a direct impact on a firm's bottom line and its ability to retain staffing levels. Since technology budgets have crept up in recent years to become one of the larger line item expenses at many firms, we'll definitely see a movement toward getting tighter control of those budgets.

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As a general rule, I expect that we'll continue to see solos and small firms driving innovation in the practice of law. Firms that are good at technology will take advantage of opportunities to widen their technology advantage over their competitors and position themselves well for the time when economic recovery comes.

Take a look at this popular technology soothsayer's list of 8 here and join the conversation.  True?  Not True?

A quick overview:

1. Making Better Use of What You Already Own.

2. Lawyers Win Round 1 in the E-discovery Battle . . . by a Wide Margin.

3. Security Begins to Matter . . . Really.

4. The Death Throes for Email?

5. Going Mobile.

6. Opening Audio and Video Channels.

7. Dancing with a Recession.

8. Smart Ways to Work Together – Collaboration Tools.

The Greatest American Lawyer said a year ago, "by the end of 2007 we will see a great digital divide between law firms".  Those who are technology forward will take the lead in all manner of law practice.  I happen to agree.  The technology-forward solo has the opportunity to capitalize on many trends, even the playing field and provide wonderful service for their clients while unshackling themselves from the office.  When unshackled, the elusive work/life balance can either become more balanced or it can encourage a greater form of shackling creating a 24/7 work week.  It's your personality and time management style which will dictate this but either way, advanced technology in the solo' s law office is here to stay.

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