I cannot recommend enough an article entitled “The Decade in Legal Tech: The Ten Most Significant Developments,” by Robert J. Ambrosi – a person for whom I have the deepest respect. Ambrosi is a Massachusetts lawyer, writer and media consultant who not only writes the LawSites blog, but also hosts the LawNext podcast and is the legal-technology columnist at Above the Law. He has been following developments in legal technology for more than two decades.

In his 2020 New Year’s article, Ambrosi describes the past ten years in legal technology as “a decade of tumult and upheaval, bringing changes that will forever transform the practice of law and the delivery of legal services.”

The most significant change since 2010 in Ambrosi’s estimation has been the surge of start-up companies related to the increased use of artificial intelligence and data analysis in legal research (such as EVA, ClerkVincent, Quick Check and Brief Analyzer). In the area of practice management, he says, Clio is the “Big Kahuna.” The emergence of these companies has changed the face of legal practice.

Among other notable developments in legal technology in the past decade, Ambrosi points to lawyers’ markedly changed attitudes toward migrating their legal practices to the cloud, the “untethering” of legal practice from bricks and mortar offices (today, he says, only two percent of lawyers still have no mobile phones), changes to legal ethics that reflect the need for lawyers to be proficient in technology, and the “ascent of the client.”

Feisty startups took on established behemoths. The cloud dropped rain on legacy products. Mobile tech untethered lawyers. Clients demanded efficiency and transparency. Robots arrived to take over our jobs. “Alternative” became a label for new kinds of legal services providers. An expanding justice gap fueled efforts at ethics reform. Investment dollars began to pour in. Data got big. – Robert J. Ambrosi

I recommend you set aside some time to read Ambrosi’s article carefully. Not only is it an indispensable overview of what has been happening in legal technology in recent years, it is a great checklist of technology-related matters that every law office should not only be aware of, but be deeply engaged in, as we move into the century’s third decade. If you are unfamiliar with any of his ten “significant developments,” you should be making plans to get caught up.

Please let me know your thoughts on this – or any other matter relating to human relations and the management of law firms – either in the comments section below or directly via email.