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The Stereotypes of Risk-Averse Lawyers with Technology

The well-known belief that lawyers are risk-averse when it comes to technology and any type of major change in the law office has been percolating for decades. Though it is a commonly perceived notion that lawyers are hesitant to adopt change that modifies their existing way of work, it is interesting to examine why this perception is the case and what can be done to combat that stereotype. To simplify the matter, the article I examined states lawyers do not like new technology because no one wants to be replaced with technology and the majority of individuals do not like change. In general, people have specific routines and mannerisms and an abrupt uprooting to those routines can contribute to disgust. Law firms are a prime example of this phenomenon.

While law firms are often integrating legal tech into work practices, many law firms are still hesitant to replace practices outside of e-discovery and practice management systems. Despite the size of the firms, replacing these systems is a source of discord because the changes uproot the traditional billing and support system. The traditional billing system of law offices is seen as the stereotypical ‘best practice’ because it enables firms to earn more money for their work. Replacing systems with electronic avenues reduces the need for as many human interactions and thus increases office efficiency. While efficiency is typically seem as a positive trait in most businesses, in law it produces different results. While efficiency through automated systems enables work to be done quicker, which generally satisfies clients, it can contribute to the disenchantment of lawyers. Efficiency can replace or reduce the amount of money billed, thus reducing the amount of money earned for work.

In order to combat these problems, it is often easy to revert to the classic stereotypes of a lawyer and to ignore change. However, as the article notes, law firms need to find a way to “marry the art and science of law with technology.”  In order to do so, a firm should look for a gap in the law profession that no one else is thoroughly tackling and find a way to address it. This could lead to the adoption of more legal tech companies. By knowing the market of lawyers and what they need in order to perform efficient work, an effort can be made to marry technology and law without one replacing another. Pushing lawyers to adopt technology in order to mesh with traditional law firm practices will likely be met with increasing disdain in the years to come. Instead, finding and implementing legal technology that simplifies a way a work while still preserving some of the traditional methods may prove successful for firms still operating in the past. The impetus to combat the traditional stereotypes of lawyers has become stronger over the years with the rise of legal tech. The more law firms operate within the traditional stereotypes, the farther they can fall behind the competitors adopting legal tech in accordance with market change. The needs of clients have changed over the years, and lawyers must respond to those changes by embracing a method of work more efficiently without completely uprooting traditional methods of work. By creating a smoother transition into legal tech, lawyers can combat traditional stereotypes and work to distance themselves from antiquated ways of work.


-Kristen Schulz