Well, it’s August and that means lots of things. If you live in Texas, it means you are seriously regretting your decision to move here because it is just stupid hot and humid. Apparently, housing lots in Hell are sold out as Texans look to move someplace cooler. August also means it is time for my annual “Cool Tech” blog – one of my favorites. Somehow, this is the eighth year in a row where I will share technology and tech-related ideas that can make life easier (or a smidge better) for in-house counsel. If you want to check out past editions of my “Cool Tech” blog, here you go:
There is a lot of great technology discussed in these past editions and they are worth reading to find a gem or two that works best for you.
You probably know that I am a bit of a technology geek. Not that I have any special powers (I am as afraid of screwing something up as you are), but rather because I wholeheartedly believe that technology can make an in-house lawyer’s job easier, improve the capabilities of the legal department, and help show the value generated by the legal team. In my “Cool Tech” posts, I generally try to discuss technology that is free (or very low cost) and adds immediate value. While I think e-billing systems, matter management systems, document management systems, electronic signatures, and so forth, are table stakes for legal departments today, that is not my focus here. If you do want to read about this type of big tech (and all in-house lawyers should), I suggest you check out this really cool fairly new site, LawNext. LawNext is a comprehensive directory of legal technology products and buyer’s resources. I also recommend the CCBJ 2022 Directory of Leading Legal Technology and Project Management Solutions available here. But, with one exception, we’ll stay small and focused, i.e., technology you can buy and start using today, much of which is free. As always, I received nothing for recommending this technology to you. I just think in-house lawyers will find the technology useful. But, enough yapping, let’s get to the fun stuff. Here is my Cool Tech for In-House Lawyers 2022 Edition:
Well, it’s that time of year again. Every August for the last several years I have devoted a “Ten Things” blog post to talking about super useful technology for in-house lawyers. Fortunately, there is always more cool tech to talk about and this year is no different. That said, if you want to go back and revisit some of the past cool tech blogs click here (2016, 2017, 2018). The ground rules are the same as always: (1) I receive no compensation for these recommendations, they’re just things I think in-house lawyers (any lawyers really) will find useful and helpful; (2) I try to focus mostly on free or low-cost technology – no breaking the bank for the most part; and (3) generally, everything I discuss should work for in-house lawyers anywhere in the world, not just the USA (if there is an exception, I’ll note it).
With that in mind, this edition of “Ten Things” discusses some of the coolest technology out there for in-house lawyers, things that will make your life a little easier and, hopefully, more productive:
I was a panelist at the 16th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course in San Antonio, Texas on August 18, 2017. I was joined once again by Jason Smith of Apttus and Jane McBride of Optimus Legal to discuss ways lawyers can work smarter and not harder – a worthy goal if ever there was one! Of course, one of the main ways to accomplish this is through the use of technology which we all touched on at some point during the discussion. If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I have recently written on the impact of artificial intelligence on in-house legal departments as well as ways to slay the “Email Jabberwocky.” Both highlight ways technology (and common sense) can help you do more in the same or less time. You also know that I enjoy writing about the use of technology generally by in-house lawyers. And now that I have gotten back in the General Counsel game after two years of private practice, I am focusing even more intently on ways technology can make my and my team’s lives easier. What all of this means is that it is time for my annual “Cool Tech” blog post. You can read my past posts for Cool Tech 2015 and Cool Tech 2016 (and I still recommend all of the technology mentioned there), but this edition of “Ten Things” will discuss an all-new list of cool tech for in-house lawyers. As always, I do not receive any compensation or anything to endorse these products, it’s just my opinion about technology I think in-house lawyers might find useful:
One goal set out in my sample legal department goals for 2015 was to increase efficiency (and reduce costs) in the legal department. One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of technology. This can mean anything from apps for your smartphone to sophisticated software programs running on servers at your company. For some, using technology can be daunting and frustrating. For others, it is as easy as falling off of a log. But, to be a successful in-house lawyer or general counsel you need to embrace technology and make sure your team does as well. So, if you are afraid of technology, you need to get past that.
One issue with using technology is that the choices are almost endless and it can be difficult to distill things down into a useful list. This edition of “Ten Things” takes on the task of listing some key technology that can help you increase your own efficiency as well as the efficiency of your team or the department overall. I am going to assume you know how to use Microsoft Office products (free and pay) and Google products (free), so those tools — certainly very useful — are not included. That said, if someone asked me to list my ten key technology tools for an in-house lawyer, here they are: