A week ago, I was invited to Portland, Oregon, to present at the Federal District of Oregon Conference on “Innovations in Law: Science and Technology.” The conference explored the intersection of law and technology from many different angles. It utilized the Ignite method of presentation that involves each participant having six minutes and 20 slides, which are set on an automatic pace. The idea of the format is to “ignite” the audience on a subject. This meant that participants had to develop a very short presentation on their use of technology in the law, and time it well to a series of slides.
One overarching theme that came through strongly was that people are looking for better ways to interact with lawyers and technology, and one of the most interesting topics was the massive shift in our economy away from the law firm model, which apparently peaked in revenue in approximately 2004. While I was aware of this generally, I was not aware in detail of the explosive growth of non-traditional law and law support services, often centered around technology. In essence, a great deal of traditional law firm work is now being done by outside contractors, which is profoundly altering the legal profession. (more…)