I often get asked by lawyers: what legal tech should I purchase and, relatedly, how in the hell can I know what I need to know about tech and keep up with it. It’s an ongoing source of frustration: lawyers constantly hear they need to be tech savvy but are clueless how to get there.

That’s why I really like a new book by Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke entitled Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide. I’ve known Sharon and John for several years through the ABA’s Law Practice Division and admire and respect their knowledge about legal tech and process, so I was excited to see that they put their knowledge on paper for all to access.


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Thomson Reuters today announced a new legal workflow solution that it claims will enable firms to better plan, manage and execute legal matters with enhanced data and data analytics. A cloud-based system, Thomson Reuters PanoramicTM is built on TR’s Practical Law’s legal guidance platform and its 3E financial management system to better connect the front office of a law firm—where the legal work is handled—to the back office—where law firm financials are monitored and analyzed.

TR says Panoramic is specifically directed toward large and mid sized firms although it’s primary beneficiaries in my opinion may turn out to be the more innovative mid size firms (the AmLaw firms in the 100-200 range) who lack the resources and systems of some of the very large firms. As I have previously noted, it is, in fact, these mid size firms that will be most under threat in today’s changing legal marketplace. But because of their generally reduced cost structures and overhead, some of these firms, those that choose to distinguish themselves in the market, also have a big upside potential. And tools like Panoramic, if vigorously adopted (which is an if, as discussed below), could enable this capitalization.
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So, as promised in my general post about Legalweek last week, here are my thoughts about the three most innovative and relevant products I saw at this year’s Conference (plus one).

As I said before, none of the three is groundbreaking in and of themselves. None will change the way we fundamentally practice. But taken together and added to any number of other products that are designed to address particular pain points, they collectively move the needle in various ways from efficiency to life balance. This is what good product developers do: they find a problem and try to solve it. Forget saving the world.
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One of the benefits from being a blogger and writer is opportunities to attend media events and look at products sooner than perhaps  others get to. One prime example of this is the Consumer Electronics Show that is going on this week. CES, as it likes to be called, is one of the biggest trade shows and occupies almost all of Las Vegas for the better part of a week. It boasts 4500 exhibitors and some 185,000 attendees. So it can be kind of daunting.

I’ve been coming now for several years and one reason I like it is that it’s outside the LegalTech realm. Different ways of thinking and talking about tech from legal that is refreshing and thought provoking.
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Should You Consider the Surface Go?

Earlier this year, Microsoft came out with a miniature version of its workhorse Surface Pro. The smaller version, called the Surface Go has a 10 inch display with a 1800 x 1200 display ratio and comes in various configurations and memory. Just like the Pro, you have to pay extra for the keyboard and pen that goes with it.
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Today was yet another big Apple Event to announce new products. This one was held interesting enough in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Academy of Music instead of in California which is where Apple typically holds it announcements. The show opened with a short video ironically extolling New York (“ I happen to like New York”) instead of Brooklyn; I assume Apple does know the difference. In any event, the video was pretty well made and definitely one of the cooler things Apple has done recently.

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Today, Google held its #madebygoogle event in New York City and announced 3 new products. While none of these were particularly surprising since they had all been rumored for some time (some tech writers had already been sent some products to review), the announcement was still interesting. And while all three of the new products are primarily designed for home and general customer use, I can see some useful applications for us lawyers.

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This Post will be a little different.

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would not review tech products or offer tech hints mainly because I didn’t think I would typically have much original to say. Also, I didn’t think I would have the time to keep up with all the new tech products and adequately try them out to write accurately.
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Standard innovation theory tells us that we move from an early adoption phase to mainstream very quickly. This is in part true because our  behaviors are influenced by our peers, how widespread we think the use of a particular product is and how well known the provider of the product is to us. This is particularly the case where the product saves time, is easy to use and produces a better result. And all this is especially true in the legal profession.

If true, then Thomson Reuters’ new Westlaw products announced today may be the event that takes AI and data analytics into the mainstream for the legal profession.
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