Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 95 of 143

Tech Trends of the Future Law Firm at the right time to the right prospective client for each law firm practice group. This will require a much higher degree of customization and personalization of the firm’s messages to fit each client. It will also require marketing sophistication, talent and tools. Instant Access for Clients Online meetings and video chat will replace the phone call as the fastest and easiest way for clients to make contact with their attorneys. Law firm staff will not be able to hide behind their desks, their phones, their assistants or their nine-to-five schedule. Clients will demand much faster response times on questions and 24/7 access to their lawyers. Social Impact “How strong is your network?” This will be one of the most important questions and criterion used by firms in hiring new lawyers. Law firms and every member of their staff will be evaluated by clients based on their networks, prior results and ratings across social sites. Law firms will need dedicated staff to build and manage social profiles and will also require complex reputation management systems to track conversations across networks. Content as an Asset The moment a law is passed, a verdict is reached or a lawsuit is filed, law firms will need to launch an onslaught of blog articles, micro-posts and media pitches establishing their credibility and expertise on the subject. Each practice will need to “publish or perish” in the ongoing information wars and will need unique, well-written angles to break through the clutter. Legal jargon will need to be reduced to the most client-friendly, customized messages. Themed content will need to be created and managed by each location and practice area. Real-Time, Personalized CRM Client databases and communication tools will move beyond the static Christmas card lists to interactive and personalized communication, promoting two-way dialogue and progression of the firm/client relationship. Private Clouds and Portals Flashy websites will be replaced with device-formatted, client-centric versions of a media-rich “experience.” Each firm will have its own dedicated and highly secure cloud that will enable remote staff and clients to access and share its internal knowledgebase: documents, expertise, opinions, calendars and matter materials. Video, blog and individual attorney content will be easily accessed and indexed. Security Fingerprint or retina-scanning devices, user/document-level encryption and ultra-high security measures will be in place to protect knowledge sharing, content assets and information. Online and mobile security departments at law firms will grow, constantly balancing the need for client access with the risks of information loss and attacks. In 2020, the complexity and opportunities created by new technologies and the resulting client expectations will require firms to be agile and sophisticated. Technology, content and social assets will become key differentiators and competitive advantages. Law firms will thrive or fail, largely due to the investments (or lack thereof) made to prepare their firm for 2020’s “new normal.” ILTA Augmented Reality (AR) In meetings with clients or opposing counsel, facial recognition and future Quick Response (QR) code standards will pass the “virtual business card” to the AR-powered devices (glasses…contact lenses?) of each person in the room, including a full profile of each person. This will include their history, their social network, articles they have written, their state bar record and cases they have worked on –– providing an instant scan of any potential conflicts. QR coded email signatures, letterhead and advertisements will link to a centralized, personalized version of the firm’s website. Carey Ransom has been the CEO of RealPractice, Inc., a provider of legal technology solutions and services, for more than 10 years. Carey, an experienced Internet and software entrepreneur, has spent many years in key executive roles at companies including Brand Affinity Technologies, WebVisible and Message Rite (now Microsoft). An industry innovator, Carey has spoken at software and online media conferences such as INBOX, The Kelsey Group, OMMA and the Search Insider Summit. He can be reached at Brad Cooper is Senior Vice President and General Manager at RealPractice, Inc., and is an Internet pioneer and software technology veteran with nearly 20 years of experience, including user interface design and customer research roles at Apple, Xerox and Macromedia (now Adobe). Brad also has a wealth of management and marketing experience spanning a variety of large and small technology companies. He can be reached at Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 97

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