I will take exception to one of the things [Brian Inkster] said, “There is an acknowledgement that the cloud makes NewLaw ‘as agile, if not more agile, than Big Law’. I think much more agile.” It does not. Agility has little to do with the platform, and much to do with how you use it. There are agile firms who use premise equipment. There are awkward/sluggish/lethargic/stiff/clumsy firms using the cloud. People, process, work flows – these are where your agility is created. Choosing only the technology will fail every time.
I agree. However, the point being made originally in Briefing Magazine’s Legal Technology in 2014 (which I quoted only part of) was really emphasising the fact that, via the Cloud, NewLaw now has access to enterprise level technology that once was the preserve of BigLaw. This gives them, perhaps more correctly, the ability to be agile using such technology in a way that was not previously available to them. the same is true of Small Law of course. It also gives them the many advantages (often ones of agility) over office based Legal IT that I outlined when my own law firm, Inksters, moved into the Cloud. Some of these do come with simply being in the Cloud. But yes… agility will be increased substantially with how you then use your cloud platform. I rather think that NewLaw is tuned into this fact and may well be more agile in implementing that use than Big Law 😉 There will, however, no doubt be “awkward/sluggish/lethargic/stiff/clumsy firms” using the cloud just as there are and will continue to be “awkward/sluggish/lethargic/stiff/clumsy firms” using systems located within their own offices.
Paul Caris, CIO of Eversheds, said in the Briefing Interview that I was quoting from:-
The management and managers of law firms need to look at how they are going to compete when the technical competitive edge is gone, and when all [legal businesses, new and old,] are on a level playing field.
In my opinion it may not be a level playing field that the future holds but one where proactive cloud adoption and agile use thereof by NewLaw has left Big Law well behind the Legal IT curve and less able to compete with them.
NB: This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Legal IT curve. See also:-
- Big Law is so behind the Legal IT curve
- Big Law Little Law (Guest Post by Mark Gould)
- Legal Technology is not all about tablets, cloud and getting there first (Guest Post by Rupert Collins-White)