“When you are a hammer, not everything is a nail.”
Working for one of the major players in today’s legal technology, I found this recently published articlein the ABA Journal to be pretty interesting. Building legal technology tools for today’s lawyer has been my company’s primary goal since I arrived back in 2012. Right away I saw the benefit our flagship product DocXtools had on hundreds of firms spanning the United States, the United Kingdom, and a few countries in the European Union and elsewhere. However, I noticed something. Most of the users of core DocXtools were members of a firm’s word processing group or part of the secretary team. Lawyers themselves, while finding value in DocXtools, were not using the software to its full capacity. About 2 years into my career, Microsystems had embarked on a new journey to find a solution that would cater directly to the lawyer. That solution was EagleEye and has since evolved to Contract Companion, an automated agreement solution.
The author, Patrick Lamb, a founding member of Valorem Law Group, provides his list of problems with most tools available on the market today. I want to point out one of those items but please read the article for the full list.
Way too complex. Technology solutions try to be all things to everyone and end up being nothing. Lawyers should not have to go to school to learn how to use a solution.
Patrick attributes this to a “my way or the highway” approach. The solution should be used the way that the audience wants to use it, not how the tool-maker and developers want the user to use the software. The beauty of a solution that has that type of flexibility is that it hits home for multiple lawyer groups spanning many different backgrounds. But, to accurately judge the value of a tool lawyers need to see, touch and feel it for themselves. That tool should see things from a lawyer’s perspective. That is when a solution not only saves time and money, but saves hours of headaches. The best solution would not only see what you want it to see, but also what you didn’t think to look for.