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Why Your Law Firm Needs a Tech Committee

By William Vogeler, Esq. on August 18, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you were on a rocketship going to the moon, how long would it take to get there?

Oh wait, you don't have a rocketship and you don't know how to command one anyway. So basically, you're not going to make it.

That's kind of the problem with many law firms today. Relatively few have fully functional tech committees, and some attorneys wouldn't know what to do if they had one.

LegalTech Revolution

Many lawyers, guardians of a risk-averse institution that lives on precedent, are slow to adapt to changing technologies. Recent studies show that fewer than 10 percent of law firms use artificial intelligence even in the midst of a legaltech revolution.

"If tech startups represent one end of the culture spectrum, characterized by a 'fail fast, learn faster' environment, the practice of law is on the opposite end, with lawyers unwilling to experiment with different ways to find the right answer," according to Thomson Reuters.

But robots are already taking over law jobs, so it's time to get a grasp of emerging technologies before some BB8 takes your seat. That would be a seat at the tech committee table, says Above the Law.

"[Y]ou really need to sign up for whatever tech committee your law firm offers," writes Joe Patrice.

Tech Committe Basics

Dennis Kennedy, a veteran of legal tech, says every committee needs a decision-maker and a clear direction.

"Without a clear mission, technology committees can turn ineffectual at best and wrongheaded and obstructive at worst," he wrote for the ABA Journal.

He said most law firms "are reluctant to try any novel and creative" technology, but the committee should develop a diverse portfolio of projects. That will help the firm move forward, rather than lag behind with simple infrastructure upgrades.

On his blog, Kennedy said the role of the tech committee is to envision the future, adapt to it practically and inform others in the firm. "In large part, the primary role of a tech committee and a tech committee member is to improve the level of communication about technology among all constituent groups in a law firm," he said.

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