Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd meeting of the Boston Legal Innovation Meetup group.  They had a lively panel discussion on document automation services in the legal industry, with an emphasis on how these systems can be used to streamline law practice.  It was also noted that most lawyers and law firms have not embraced this technology, except Big Law.

That part of the discussion did not surprise me.

Big Law certainly has the money and the drive to adopt the latest technological advancements.  But what could a small firm or a solo accomplish by using technology?  I’ve seen some small firms thrive because of their adoption of iPads to keep clients up-to-date on their cases.  The skillful use of a simple blog has transformed some solos into legal stars.

Yet the vast majority of lawyers shun social media, blogs, and anything that goes beyond a simple website.

Is it just the cost that keeps the vast majority of lawyers technologically unsavvy?  For things like document automation systems, perhaps, but what about the [lack of] use of social media (free) and blogs (also free)?  For some unknown reason, lawyers fall behind other professions when it comes to adopting technology into our practices.

Based on Thursday night’s discussion, I was impressed with the efforts that law schools are making to give their graduates a technology-focused education so they’re ready for the law practice of the future, even if some of this technology-focused education is being done at the request of big law firms who are looking to hire tech-ready law grads.

What also struck me was how far behind the United States is compared to Europe and Asia in terms of adopting legal innovation in both education and practice.

Unfortunatley, not much effort is being put into educating “older” lawyers on how technology, like document automation, could impact their practices (and by “older” I mean those who might have graduated law school in the last century, prior to cell phones let alone smart phones, like yours truly.)  Maybe this is an area where the local bar associations can step in to offer classes to expose “older” lawyers to new technology?

If you are interested in legal innovation and technology, and you are in the Boston area, I encourage you to come out to the next meeting on September 11 at Northeastern.  Click here for details.  You will have to sign-up for www.meetup.com and join the group to RSVP for the event.