DeskTop Declares ‘No Law Department Left Behind’

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DeskTop identifies the challenges that corporate law departments face with acquiring and implementing new technologies.

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...there are some very simple ways to start that will prove the value and return on an IT investment.

Law Department DeskTop Services, LLC (“DeskTop”) lists the 12 reasons why law departments are technologically ‘left behind.’ “It is surprising,” offers O. Forrest Morgan, President, “that a significant number of corporations, both large and small, including some very sophisticated ones, are not taking advantage of readily available technology that can dramatically increase their productivity and cost savings. The reasons for this situation are that the corporations perceive that there are numerous barriers to acquiring technology and are accordingly hesitant to tackle the challenge of adopting technology. And although the list appears overwhelming, there are some very simple ways to start that will prove the value and return on an IT investment. For our recommended next steps, please visit us at:

1.    Cost of technology. Even if it is reasonable, justification of any new technology requires rigorous analysis of cost benefit issues and typically involves participation and review by corporate oversight organizations outside of the law department.
2.    Budgeting. It typically takes many months, frequently as many as 15 months, after a decision is made to acquire technology to actually fund the project and get it started. So it is frequently a time-consuming and work intensive process.
3.    IT participation. Law departments are cost centers and frequently are orphans when it comes to internal corporate IT support. They also do not have the resources or expertise within the law department to implement technology on their own and were accordingly subject to the schedules and priorities of the IT group.
4.    Understanding how the law department actually works. Corporate IT departments typically are technically very competent, however they generally do not understand what lawyers do or how they work, and accordingly have difficulty creating or recommending technology that is relevant to a law department.
5.    Ease of use. Many technology products can be intimidating and difficult to use and as a consequence are not utilized or fully utilized when they are actually installed in the law department.
6.    Resistance to change. It is a fact of human nature, apparently particularly strong in attorneys, that people do not easily accept new ways of doing things.
7.    Concern that a new system will require additional work. There is an assumption that any new system will place an additional workload on existing people and that any new data that is required or will be developed for the system will have to be done in-house.
8.    Best practices. The frustration that most law department managers seem to have is that they attend various conferences and learn of potential "best practices" that could be implemented in their department. However, when they return to their department they find that they do not have a structure for readily putting such practices into place, particularly without extensive use of non-existent technology.
9.    Understanding legal fees. Legal fees for outside counsel typically constitute 60% or more of the average corporate legal department's budget and are obviously the biggest single item. Legal fees and their management, however, are generally not well understood by any group outside of the law department.
10.    Knowledge management systems. It is generally understood that while it would be useful to be able to retrieve prior knowledge on a systematic basis, systems capable of doing so can be very expensive, are very labor intensive in terms of populating and maintenance , do not provide readily available information and generally do not work very well in the real world.
11.    Data mining. Most law departments do not have a facility which permits them to analyze closed or even pending matters on a structured basis. As a consequence there is no easy way to analyze or improve the experience contained in prior activities.
12.    Supply chain management. This term is largely unheard of in a law departments setting, however, it is a fundamental concept that is utilized in most corporations. Basic supply chain management and the Technology for it is generally thought not to be applicable to any corporate law department.

About Law Department DeskTop

Law Department DeskTop provides a hosted, SharePoint facility that streamlines the workflow processes between law firms and their corporate clients. The DeskTop consists of legal modules which either have been developed in-house or by law firms with an expertise in a particular area of the law. Clients of the DeskTop may pick and choose the modules they wish to use and integrate workflows to seamlessly manage legal workproduct. The DeskTop facility allows authorized parties to view / collaborate on the documents so that the process may be as efficient as possible. For more information on the DeskTop, please email O. Forrest Morgan at forrest.morgan(at)lawdepartmentdesktop(dot)com or call (646) 559-8979

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Forrest Morgan
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