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Law firms and technology. Is the tail wagging the dog?


In this rapidly changing and fiercely competitive market, it has become clear that the use of technology is critical to success. So have law firms got technology in perspective?


Law firms are increasingly investing in the latest technology, often under the pretence that the investment alone will provide major business improvements. But does the technology deliver value to the business? Does the technology enable efficiencies and opportunity for innovation? Does it make a difference to the bottom line? Or is each law firm simply investing in the same technology as the next without focusing on its use in the context of the bigger picture?


In our experience, the best investment in technology comes not from investing in the latest and greatest, but investing in technology in a way that will truly assist a law firm to achieve its strategic goals. The objective might be to achieve a specific business outcome or address a particular business need. When a law firm is clear about what it wants to achieve, technology can then be used to assist in achieving its aim. We say ‘assist’ because the technology will only take you so far. It is the business change associated with the uptake of the technology that needs to be achieved to ensure the desired results are delivered, and in turn, the return on investment realised.


Technology is changing rapidly. And law firms are traditionally slow adopters of technology. With these two factors at play, not only will law firms continue to fight the battle to keep up, they will see little return on investment in the very technology that is supposed to be game changing for them.


For law firms considering a technology investment, determine what your objectives are first and then look to leverage technology to support those objectives and the desired outcomes. Otherwise the risk is the technology selected may result in the tail wagging the dog.


 Amanda Harriss, Partner

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