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Security and Self-Discovery in the Legal Profession

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These are more than trends; these are words to the wise.

Much of what Dennis Kennedy says in his “Eight Legal Technology Trends for 2008” rings true to law librarians and we hope, more to the point, to attorneys.

His #3 “Security Begins to Matter …Really” point is one we’ve been hammering on for years. Excerpt:

“…Given the volume of confidential data held and handled by lawyers, it is surprising that the legal profession has never been considered a leader in information security. I have never met a “Chief Security Officer” at a law firm. However, what’s more troubling than the lack of leadership role is the all-too-common lax security practices of lawyers at even the most basic levels. The password policies and practices at too many law firms flunk even the most basic security tests….” (full text)

As for his #2 point, “Lawyers Win Round 1 in the E-discovery Battle . . . by a Wide Margin.” you can substitute for his use of the phrase “electronic discovery” any number of legal technology trends and this entire paragraph would be on point.

“… I realize that it will be easy for these observations on e-discovery to be misinterpreted. Let me be clear. It is wrong-headed for lawyers to put off the day of reckoning on electronic discovery. Last year, I wrote about 26 trends in electronic discovery. Craig Ball has recently written persuasively about 17 trends. There is and will continue to be a widening EDD gap between the lawyers who do electronic discovery well and those who don’t do it at all. The professionalization of the litigation support management role will continue, as well as a slow movement toward the creation and evolution of technology counsel – lawyers who specialize in the e-discovery discipline. At some point, this EDD gap will become insurmountable. There are great opportunities for lawyers who want to differentiate themselves by being great at e-discovery in 2008. While that’s certainly the path I would advocate, for most of the legal profession, 2008 will be a sleepy year in e-discovery…”

Do you feel behind the curve on these technology trends? It’s not too late – it’s almost never too late, is it? Your own bar association tech training offerings are one place to begin to bring yourself into the 21st century, but you can also start learning on your own. Here are a relatively painless 23 Things (small exercises), which I blogged about here last August.

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