Posted by: johnocunningham | January 3, 2012

Top 10 Tech-Related Trends in Legal Practice (#10)

Growing IT Capacity. Law firms are growing their information technology (“IT”) capacities in order to support an explosion in technology utilization and data.

Among other things, law firms need more IT capacity and support to host richer Websites, to support more data management and e-discovery programs, to enable the use of more sophisticated practice management programs, to utilize CRM and ERM tools, to support social media utilization, to facilitate process improvement and project management programs,  to create and store more audio-visual files, and to facilitate more interactive work collaborations.

Even if your firm has few lawyers, you must be able to count on the support of an IT professional or professionals. That is why many law firms are expanding their in-house IT staffing, while many others are turning to the use of SaaS (“Software as a Service”) programs, which are entirely supported on a 24/7 basis from the outside.

According to a 2011 technology survey of law firms published by Law.com:

  • IT spending and IT staffing continue to grow at a healthy pace, despite the slumping economy;
  • There are now less than 25 lawyers and staffers per in-house IT professional  at 57 percent of law firms;
  • The vast majority of Chief Information Officers or other functional heads of IT now earn between $200,000 and $400,000 per year in law firms.

Of course, smaller firms are competing by using more SaaS or “cloud” services, which are also springing up in abundance.

One thing is for sure, however: If you don’t make IT a significant part of your business plan and strategy now, you are competing in a crowded road race without an engine!

 

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