It's hard to admit, but the legal industry is the lonely caboose at the rear of the tech train. I’ve often said that if you put a 19th century surgeon in a 21st century operating room, the poor soul would run out the door screaming “WITCHES! They’re all witches!” However, if you stuck a 19th century attorney in a 21st century courtroom, the intrepid counsel would simply ask for the latest case law and get to work.
Industries ranging from furniture production to public safety to adult “entertainment” have embraced the efficiency, accuracy and productivity of technological innovation. Yet, when it comes to the legal world, we see 10 deep scratch marks in a mahogany conference table where an old school lawyer’s fingernails have tightly grasped tradition.
Why So Slow?
I submit a theory of three primary culprits which are inhibiting legal innovation:
POTENTIAL ENERGY: I Could'a Been a Contender.
Q: What’s another word for an unexploded bomb? A: A paperweight.
Sure, a bomb COULD blow you to smithereens. However, it sits as potential energy. LegalTech could permanently alter the world of law as we know it, but we only see broad-based adoption in few precious areas (e-discovery, billing management,… did I mention e-discovery?).
When it comes to LegalTech adoption, decision-makers are often caught in a frozen state. Even if they are enthusiastic supporters of change, the bureaucracy around them blows the cold wind of resistance. Who wants to stick their neck out for “efficiency”? (Not a very sexy cause célèbre.)
KINETIC ENERGY: Like a Rolling Stone.
Depressed yet? Well, turn those frowns upside down. In the immortal words of Bluto from Animal House, “Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
While an object at rest tends to stay at rest, it’s hard to deny that the LegalTech rock has begun to roll. We see new conferences, organizations, products and technology. We see entire sections of publications devoted to legal innovation.
We see buzz. The great thing about buzz, is that it creates an invisible social pressure called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, as the kids say). This brings me to this CALL TO ACTION, dear reader…
Help your fellow LegalTech entrepreneurs by building their buzz too. To keep this ball rolling, we need adoption of innovative ideas across the legal spectrum. The veneer has been cracked, but all sorts of technologies must wiggle in to help widen the gap.
Change is contagious (look at every revolution… ever.). We have the unenviable task of creating a new normal. This will only happen with a constant and collective push. Tweet, share, speak, blast, spread. To quote Bluto again, “Who’s with me? Let’s go!” (Then he runs out the door alone.)
Who is the Author?
Convince,LLC and www.LitPredict.com founder Matt McCusker, MA is a nationally-known Litigation and former President of the American Society of Trial Consultants (ASTC). He has utilized his background in I/O Psychology to provide innovative solutions for legal teams and Fortune 500 corporations around the world.
Matt has served as a source for many media outlets (the Wall Street Journal, CNN, “This American Life with Ira Glass”, the Chicago Tribune, and more). He is available to teach/present about the crossroads of psychology and litigation at law schools, professional organizations and conferences.