A couple of weeks ago I attended a technology conference ( I can hear Ron Friedmann laughing all the way from Arlington VA) hosted by InPlace Solutions of which my friend and colleague Patrick Ng is Principal Consultant.
I employed Patrick over 20 years ago as our first IT Manager at Maddocks when I knew even less about IT than I do now. Patrick long ago gave up trying to teach me anything serious about technology (after all isn’t that why law firms have IT Directors & HelpDesks for people like me?), but given nearly every law firm on the planet now boasts “innovation in technology” (if not always innovation in their business & pricing models!) and I have been an Apple convert for nearly 10 years now (my wife Karen tells me she thinks I love my Apple family more than my own at times), I figured I ought to see what some of the fuss is about.
The title of the conference was Taking IT to the Cloud 2017.I more than vaguely knew about the Cloud. In addition to Patrick himself there was a pretty impressive array of speakers, some of whom I know and admire greatly ( e.g. Jodie Baker founder of Hive Legal now running Xakia and Andrew Price from Inspire Management) and others I wanted to listen to (e.g.Gary Adler CIO of Minters and Berys Amor CIO Corrs) to hear first hand what some of the bigger law firms were doing in the Cloud tech space.
I didn’t get to hear Andrew Price in Melbourne unfortunately but I have heard him speak before on the need for a systematic approach to continually developing, managing and ingraining change and improvements in law firms generally. From all reports those who heard Andrew present on change techniques for implementing technology in their firms were blown away.
As an admirer of Jodie and the Hive Legal model from way back, while I had read about Xakia it was great to hear and see how the cost effective & scaleable cloud based Xakia platform can, and is, making the life of GC’s more palatable.Terrific to also hear Simone Zerial senior lawyer/legal manager at Toyota talk about how Xakia Matters has been used by Toyota now for over 12 months for more effective measurement and legal reporting.
Berys spoke about Corrs journey to the Cloud generally and their digital offerings to clients, especially CorrsEdge another innovative package for entrepreneurs and start ups in Australasia.
Gary Adler also talked about Minters investment in the Cloud, some of the challenges along the way (security, convincing partners, etc) and the benefits the Cloud now provides to Minters and their clients.
Many of InPlace Solutions Cloud partners, including reps from Hotdocs automated document assembly,NetDocuments, Introhive’s CRM platform, Nikec, ESP Solutions Group, Ethan Group and TeleApps, also spoke and showcased their impressive array of cloud based solutions for the legal profession.
Unsurprisingly the results reveal an increasing preference toward Cloud based solutions with law firms naming increasing productivity, online client collaboration platforms and more mobile working environments as their top IT priorities for 2017. Patrick expands more about the Cloud survey and cloud computing generally in the legal profession in a very informative and entertaining podcast available here.
As a recovering lawyer with a passion for value based pricing, I am of course very interested in how many of the law firms that are investing in technology that is designed to make them more effective in their services offerings and to speed up the delivery of their services, are going to price for this? Investing heavily in such technology yet continuing to bill by time makes no business sense at all as it must follow under the billable hour model the quicker they turn around delivery the less the firms will be paid!?
An example of yet another pressure point being exerted on the Oldlaw business model which leverages people x time x hourly rate.
How much more evidence does the profession really need before the penny finally drops that time based billing is as redundant as the 19th & 20th century “buggy whip” technology 21st century Cloud solutions are now replacing?
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