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Is IT training the poor relation of IT?

An attention grabbing headline if ever there was one! I don't want to come across all 'woe is me', but rather explore perceptions and the role of IT Training within a law firm, particularly during software rollouts.

Well are we?

Ok, the inspiration for the headline originates from a conversation I had with colleagues many years ago. It was a conversation borne of frustration at current events in the firm where we worked. We were rolling out a new DMS to the firm. Obviously this is a major event for IT. It just had to be right. It's a week before the training begins and the IT Training team still haven't seen a finished product and we have no training environment. Scary stuff, but not uncommon. You just have to adapt.

The Dutch playfield

For my first blog I want to start to give you a short overview of the IT solutions in use by Dutch law firms. Currently, there are approximately 14,951 lawyers and 3.258 law firms in the Netherlands. 48.5 % are "me, myself, and I firms"; 36.5% have 2-5 lawyers; 8.7% have 6-10 lawyers; 5.6% have 11-60 lawyers, and just 0.8% have more than 60 lawyers (24 firms).

If you want be part of the Dutch law firm Top 50 you need at least 30 fee earners. Most of the law firms on this list are Dutch, some are from the UK (Clifford Chance, Freshfields, A&O. etc) and a couple are US firms (Baker McKenzie, Greenberg etc).

Is SharePoint the One?

I’ve heard this question a lot of times lately and for some reason I always wondered: “will it ever be?” If you are looking further down the road you’ll hear a lot different opinions about SharePoint and if it will be necessary or useful in a law firm.

Many firms are busy to renew their intranet to professionalize the look & feel and to implement new features. Often, such intranet redesign projects face quite some scope-creep resulting eventually in the launch of new and related projects. This is always the biggest challenge of a project manager: scoping the project to a manageable piece.

IT training & Law Firms

Why am I here?
I have a genuine interest in legal IT but I find most publications rarely mention IT Training (or front line services generally), unless it relates to IT staff development. Surely there’s more to legal IT than just technology? I took it upon myself to jump on my IT Training soapbox. As a wise lady once said, “I believe the Trainee Solicitors are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way”. I’m sure those were the words...

For those who are interested (and a few who are not) I aim to explore the role of an effective IT Training function within a law firm – hopefully dispelling a few myths, exploring a few case studies and providing some food for thought. I don’t have all the answers and I certainly don’t claim to be the fountain of all training knowledge, but I am passionate about what I do.

Welcome to the online café society

I am delighted to contribute to the new Legal IT Professionals website. Let me start by introducing myself and flagging up some of my current and ongoing projects and a very important upcoming event in the legal IT calendar.

Legal Technology Journal

I am the editor of Legal Technology Journal, a quarterly magazine from Legalease, publishers of Legal Business, The In-House Lawyer and the Legal 500 series. Legal Technology Journal is essential reading for everyone working in legal IT, with a readership of some 5,000.

Legal Technology Journal is going from strength to strength – the summer issue was a bumper issue with more case studies, articles and pages than ever before at a time when many publications are clearly struggling for content.

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