“Do Less Law” is both a controversial and seemingly nonsensical command to issue to lawyers. However, Ron Friedmann’s intent in saying it is neither to encourage negligence nor to free up work for newly-minted JDs. Instead, the intention is to address the continually-mounting pressure for “value,” without turning it into an effort to squeeze more blood from a stone.
Last week, Ron published a Taxonomy of Ideas in which he described four primary ways to “do less law:”
- Do what we now do, but better
- Do what we now do, but less intensively
- Do less than we do now by practicing preventive law
- Re-think how we do what we do now
The concepts he detailed have the potential to significantly improve the legal field, if teams invest in implementing them appropriately. I would propose one more idea to add to his outline, in the last section, on “re-think[ing] how we do what we do now:”
Even if you use advanced technology and efficient processes to prepare for litigation, you may find an external stumbling block: judicial technology. There are still courts that require copies to be delivered by hand, and some that offer e-filing still require a paper backup. And while there is increased investment in visual technologies for the courtroom, technology compatibility and accessibility issues remain. Re-thinking what we do now involves considering the entire ecosystem: not just what is within the walls of a firm, but where work product comes from or goes.
Bringing the judiciary along may mean having a governmental affairs team lobby for new technologies in your jurisdiction. Or it may mean setting up an extra account on your ediscovery platform, to enable login from a court building with strict network permissions. It could even mean downgrading your own technology to better integrate with the judicial systems: state-of-the-art software isn’t useful if it requires extensive work to make its products consumable by those who don’t have it.
If you’ll be attending ILTACon 2015, consider joining Ron and Tim’s session on “Doing Less Law” and contributing your own ideas.
H/T Jeffrey Brandt’s PinHawk Law Technology newsletter