I joined ACLEA in 2000, the year also known as “Y2K.” The numeroynm was an abbreviation for the year 2000 software problem related to the formatting and storage of calendar data. Back in the 1960s, computer memory was expensive and scarce, so programmers decided to use a two-digit number to represent the four-digit year. Which wasn’t a problem until, well, the approach of the year 2000. Programmers scrambled to fix the problem and for the most part, things worked okay, but we learned a valuable lesson: when it comes to technology, we always need to be looking ahead.
For the nearly two decades I’ve been around, the Publications SIG has been discussing how to keep our products offerings relevant as technology transforms the legal industry. We know lawyers are typically “late-adopters” of technology, but according to the results of the Wolters Kluwer 2019 Future Ready Lawyer Survey, lawyer use of transformational technologies will double by 20222. The survey of 700 professionals from law firms, corporate legal departments, and business services firms focuses on current state, future priorities, and preparedness in three key areas: tools and technology; client needs and expectations; and organization and talent. The resulting report is a great resource for those of us planning products and programs for lawyers. The key trends expected to impact legal organizations over the next three years are:
- Coping with increased volume and complexity of information;
- Emphasizing improved efficiency and productivity;
- Understanding legal technology of highest value;
- Meeting changing client and leadership expectations; and
- Coping with financial issues, including greater competition, new and alternative fee structures, and cost containment pressures.
The free survey report has a great deal of interesting statistics and findings, including how firms currently use foundational, enabling, and transformational technology; the emerging generation gap with transformational technologies; the top reasons new technology is resisted; and much more. I highly recommend checking it out!