Ah, the age of technology. There are so many “aids” out there in the ether to make the lives of legal practitioners easier, and it is so hard to keep up. One of those new wave programs in particular caught my eye this week. Lawnext.com has a new legal dashboard program that gives law firm partners a “snapshot view” of all activity across matters and associates.
Sounds promising and efficient, doesn’t it? Associates and partners in constant, on-demand contact re legal matters, schedules, etc, including how busy associates are. It all boils down to numbers, and there is no personal contact to get in the way of all that efficiency. AND the presumption could be that it benefits associates to make sure that they are busy, as partners know they want to be.
Is that the way it sounds to you? Cuz it sounds a little too Big Brother to me. It sounds a little too intrusive with the potential to promote insecurity and competition. But, then, I admit to have started out in practice before computers managed EVERYTHING. Before people in adjoining offices e-mailed each other instead of speaking. Before texting was a form of professional communication. Before computers tracked when lawyers were actively engaged in work. And, as a lawyer, writer and communicator, there are some things about the good old days that I miss —- as well as a lot that I do not.
Although I understand progress, I also understand the importance of human elements in personal service industries. I understand how critical it is to experience your audience in a personal way and evaluate your performance based on how you are being perceived and received. I particularly understand how such personal evaluation relates to the ability to engage new clients and new matters and be persuasive in the courtroom and the boardroom.
So, are we throwing some of the babies out with the bathwater with this new-age approach? Make up your own mind.
Maybe the most obvious Artificial Intelligence is not all you have to worry about.