The Legal Technology Cynic
Thank you for visiting this site. I started this project as a jumping-off point for discussing what I see as the sad state of legal technology and its implementation by attorneys in it's current stage of development. I actively practice law in a small to medium-size law firm in a rural area of Central California, and I rely on various technologies in my practice every day. Over the years, I've found myself delving behind the basic user interface of most software I've used and into advanced features and programming in order to hack together the functionality I want, and which I think should have been obvious to whomever designed the software.
Before going further, I should note that I am impressed with the progress the legal technology field and attorneys in general have made over the past several decades in developing and utilizing advances in the technologies we use today. Desktop computers have virtually replaced typewriters in every United States law firm, most attorneys and their staff are adept as using email, and even some of the older attorneys and small law firms are beginning to use scanning technologies to digitize parts of their practice, at least as a backup to their hardcopy files.
But I see inefficiencies and unaddressed needs. I find gaps in the legal technologies currently offered, areas in which only ad-hoc software designed by non-attorneys or cost prohibitive custom solutions currently exist. I am frustrated by software with well-designed user interfaces but substantive limitations diminishing its usability in the real-world of the legal profession. From word processors that push users away from any type of interface more advanced than typing two database programs too inflexible to suit attorneys' needs in their actual day today application, I constantly find myself perplexed that there isn't a better solution.
I hope for this website to be a place where these deficiencies can be discussed and potential solutions can be proposed. Where solutions are impossible given the current state of technological advancement, I want to discuss how to overcome those technological limitations. Where solutions are possible but cannot be implemented due to attorneys' lack of understanding or willingness to adopt new technologies, I want to discuss how to get the legal profession to move forward. I do not anticipate that the solutions will come from this site, but I do hope that it can be a part of the profession's progress toward that goal.
A critical, if not cynical, look at the present state of the legal technology.
Robert B. Zumwalt © All Rights Reserved.