Technology spending has grown to comprise 4 to 6% of the
average law firm’s budget. The sad story is that
many law firms, despite their best plans and intentions,
are throwing many of their technology dollars down the
I am talking about real money, not potential savings,
not speculative productivity numbers, and not “potential”
new clients from web sites or “knowledge management”
efforts. There are many ways to toss away money on technology.
How many of the following ways to waste your budget
apply to you?
1. Do not align technology projects with business
goals. The results: projects that never get
completed or produce any benefit and diversion of dollars
away from great projects to pet projects.
2. Do not quantify and measure results.
The results: projects with costs far greater than any
benefits and lingering projects on which the plug should
have been pulled long ago.
3. Buy new software when you already own software
that would perform the task you require. The
result: your losses compound as you add training costs
for the new software to the costs of the software.
4. Be unaware of all of the legal software
alternatives. The results: paying too much
for software that sort of fits your needs when better
5.Do not explore volume licensing options and,
in particular, new Microsoft licensing options. The
results: paying a higher price than necessary and, in
the case of Microsoft products, incurring unnecessary
6. Have a technology committee without experience,
expertise and a clearly-defined mission. The
result: even simple projects take years to make decisions
about and IT staff operates on its own.
7. Fail to educate your IT staff about your
legal practice and the unique issues involved.
The results: ill-advised decisions, misdirected priorities
and technology gaffes involving clients.
And these seven ways represent just the tip of the
iceberg. You may also be putting money into technologies
already known to be on their way out, locking up your
data in proprietary systems, buying overpowered or underpowered
hardware, paying insufficient attention to security
and antivirus issues, and creating difficulties in communicating
with clients. You have to find a lot of extra hours
to bill to be able to toss away that kind of money.
The best route, of course, is to take a good hard look
at what you may be doing wrong, refocus your efforts
and save some of the money you are wasting to use for
technology that helps you.
Dennis Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a computer lawyer and legal technology expert based
in St. Louis, Missouri. A frequent author and speaker,
Dennis was the 2001 TechnoLawyer of the Year and maintains
a highly-regarded web site and blog on legal technology
and technology law topics (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/).