Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Beginning

Actually, this is more like twenty years into the experiment. Law and technology have been intertwined for me since I started law school with those radical new technologies -- word processing and CD-Rom legal research.

My first "paper-less" experiments were in the mid-1990s and by 2002 my office had become essentially paper-less. I've filed documents with the Utah bankruptcy court from downtown San Francisco, a block from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, on a moving train in England and on a plane over the mid-west.

After all those radical changes, I again feel like I'm sitting on the cusp of the next revolution in the legal practice. Information is much more available to the public at large and specialized knowledge alone will not be enough to sustain a law practice. Yesterday, I was in my office working and I sensed the shift. I've had that feeling before and each time it has revolutionized my legal practice. I felt it with the word processor and its ability to quickly generate form documents. I felt it with the early case management software. I felt it with scanned documents and the ability to manage files that was light years ahead of the old paper filing system.

I don't think it has quite been Moore's Law type growth, partly because the legal community is naturally resistant to change. Yet the speed of the change has been rapid and the current changes feel even more rapid.

I wanted/needed to work out my ideas and a public forum seems best suited to this, partly because of the nature of the changes I'm sensing. So I'll conclude the beginning with a list of some of the trends I see that are converging to yet again revolutionize my own legal practice.

1. Collaborative Software, i.e. GoogleWave, BaseCamp, etc.
2. The Merging of Computers and Phones
3. Search capabilities dramatically increased
4. The prolonged death of the Yellow Pages
5. Social Networking

Of course, it is more complicated than this, but it is a good beginning.

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