A. Quote of the Week
“Don’t assume that automation or new technology is the answer. You may achieve great efficiencies by improving the processes, realigning tasks, streamlining workflow, and providing training.” (Ivy Grey)
B. Articles to Read
1. Why Process Needs to Come Before Technology for Legal Innovation
To Innovate In Law, We Need Analysis, Not Hype (Above the Law)
“Without workflow and process analysis prior to introducing something new—particularly new technology—law firms may go through upheaval only to find that the project doesn’t meet expectations or lead to demonstrable improvements.”
Why it Matters:
This excellent article by Ivy Grey sets out a clear roadmap for firms to follow when conducting workflow and process analysis. As Grey notes, this analysis needs to happen prior to introducing new technology. Process isn’t taught in most law schools (yet), but it’s a critical part of the innovation journey.
2. It’s Not Just Lawyers: Process and Technology Challenges for Doctors
Why Process is Health Care’s Biggest Problem (Harvard Business Review)
“It takes more design time to create a care model that builds in quality and efficiency, but without that work upfront, the technology doesn’t matter and, in fact, only increases costs. This thinking is not new. Many industries from aviation to automotive to nuclear power have been applying this concept of “process before technology” for a long time. The safety and quality results in those industries is second to none. It’s about time health care catches up. Our lives may depend on it.”
Why it Matters:
Replace ‘care model’ with ‘client service model,’ replace ‘health care’ with ‘legal services,’ and replace ‘lives’ with ‘jobs.’ Yup, that’s the legal industry. Like the health care industry, the legal services industry is just starting to implement ideas that have been standard practice for decades. Technology is changing the way medical services are delivered, just like it’s impacting legal service delivery. However, the authors are emphatic that process must precede technology. And the same holds true for changes to legal service delivery.
3. It’s Not Just Lawyers: Data and Technology Challenges for Baseball Players
“Batting and pitching sensors are among the newest tools of trade in a sport where performances are now measured in hundredths of a second and where technological advances and analytics have been a trend in recent years. A data revolution has helped to change both the way players are evaluated and the way fans follow the sport.”
Why it Matters:
In baseball, a data revolution is helping change the way that talent (players) is evaluated. In law, the data revolution is just beginning, but it is certainly changing the way that talent (lawyers) is being evaluated, both within law firms and by in-house counsel retaining law firms.
In baseball, the data and analytics revolution has revealed players who were far more overrated than previously thought (I’m looking at you Derek Jeter – a player who won 5 gold gloves for being an ‘elite’ fielder, despite being a pretty lousy defender by more objective measures). In law, increased use of data and analytics will allow in-house departments to more objectively analyze their outside counsel’s performance. That elite lawyer who has won dozens of accolades may not be so great after all (and other lawyers may be vastly undervalued). Only time (and data) will tell.