The lawyers and firms who make the best use of technology – especially document automation – will succeed. Those who don’t will fade.
Many firms have a valuable “warehouse of knowledge,” memoranda, forms, briefs and templates. Making that knowledge immediately accessible, preferably with links to the lawyers most familiar with it, will make the firm’s accumulated paper knowledge – or knowledge on paper, more valuable.
How to assign value or what value to assign to various type of legal knowledge and legal services is at the center of the chaos in the legal profession. The straight billable hour method is an invitation to come up with different ways of valuing legal services.
The value in legal services will remain the efficient exercise of independent professional judgment tailored to each client’s particular situation. There is a lot of talk about commoditization in the legal marketplace, but clients are not commodities. Listening to and talking with clients, and the efficient exercise of independent professional judgment will remain valuable, more valuable than document preparation.