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Are lawyers embracing technology?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 12/09/13

Being an in-house lawyer presents a number of challenges in the 21st century.

Technological advancements have changed the world and the legal profession has to keep pace. For example, social media policies are now the norm, as no one wants to run the risk of getting into trouble over an errant tweet.

Generating an influential online presence could not only stand a lawyer, but also their firm, in good stead.

A poll carried out by Lawyers Weekly sought to find out how useful technology is for people in the legal world - and the findings may surprise some.

Of the 445 respondents, 40 per cent said they have embraced the latest development, but they do not enjoy how easy it is to contact them as a result. Some 27 per cent revealed they use technology to reduce their workload.

However, 29 per cent have not been swept up by the technological wave and they think the profession is still "stuck in the past". These people obviously still need convincing of the merits of tablets, smartphones and the like.

Brian Borskjaer, the director of legal technology at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, admitted he is surprised by the findings, as he thinks legal firms - especially those operating in the top tiers - are investing heavily in technology.

"I think it's very much about understanding what lawyers need and then delivering it and educating them about the benefits of the technology," he added.

In terms of how technology is used, Mr Borskjaer made it clear that lawyers should feel free to set up their own rules or guidelines. He added not setting "unrealistic expectations" is key - for example late night email interaction is not always required.

While there are times when being 'always on' can reap benefits - such as during a big case - finding the right work-life balance should take precedence.