Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Legal IT vs. Corporate IT

Here's a very interesting post from Prism Legal that explores the difference between Legal IT versus Corporate IT. The content is the result of a panel discussion at the Strategic Technology Forum in Lisbon, hosted by LegalWeek last month.

Here's the panelist list of differences:
* In legal it’s about words; in corporate it’s about numbers. This makes a big difference in how CIOs present business cases to management.
* Lawyers resist change, industry embraces it.
* Corporate management asks “what’s the business case?” Law firm management asks “what are other firms doing?”
* Legal market software suppliers are few; corporate many. A corollary: legal software vendors are less innovative.
* Corporations do zero-based budgeting, meaning CIOs have to justify items each year. In law firms, budgeting is a continuous and incremental process without the need to justify each year.
* “There is no PowerPoint in law firms.”

The panelists were David Coates, IT Director of Bond Pearce and formerly of UBS; Jason Haines, Director of IT, Allen & Overy LLP and formerly of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC); and Malcolm Simms, IT Director, Eversheds LLP and formerly of Disney/ABC Television Group.

I think they did a great job of pointing out the differences, but I didn't understand "There is no PowerPoint in law firms."

The Prism Legal, Ron, goes on to say:
All of these resonated with me. One comment on “no PPT in law firms.” I think this difference has a deeper meaning than many may think. Presentations are not just about content; they are about guiding or controlling a conversation. When I started as a manager in a large law firm, I met frequently with the management committee to discuss tech projects. Discussions wandered and were, as a consequence, often unproductive. So I decided to use a presentation as a way to help guide the discussion. The resistance to my doing so was palpable. I wish I had had a chance to pose this hypothesis to the panelists for confirmation or rejection.


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