Monday, July 25, 2011

Law's Lost Generation?

Last week's NYT OpEds on law school reform continue to reverberate in the legal community - especially among law students and recent graduates.

One answer for graduates, as I suggested, is to proactively define and promote their own expertise.  Another is for this generation of new graduates to join with other new graduates and use technology to their advantage.  This generation may face the worst economic situation for lawyers since the 1930's, and are largely being shut out of traditional firms.  But they are also (by definition) the most wired generation ever and have access to technologies that can bring tremendous value and efficiency to legal practice.  These technologies include:

1. Social networking to bring in business from around the corner and around the globe.
2. Better, inexpensive and free online research platforms.
3. Virtual law firms, which can lower overhead and increase transparency by providing links to the public work product of firm lawyers, and facilitate rating or referrals from clients.
4. Workflow technologies to offer better and more efficient service to clients.

We're working on a couple of these technologies (see tabulaw.com, tax26.com) and I believe that the next couple of years will bring many more.

If you are part of this new generation of lawyers, what role do you see for technology in law?  What technologies would you like to see for lawyers?