- Practical technology information and advice for in-house law departments.

Table of Contents
General Info
Document Revolution
Contract Management
Gadgets, Etc.
Learn More
Legal Stuff

Major Legal Technologies Available Today

General Discussion

Follow these links for information on some of the major types of technology for legal departments:

Practice Management Systems

Knowledge Management, Document Management, Image Management

Intranets and Extranets

Partnering/Collaboration/Virtual Law Department



Billing and Invoice Processing

Find Outside Counsel


Document Assembly, Review, and Proofing

Corporate Information Tracking

The ASP Option

Practice-Specific Technology


One of the realities that we, as corporate counsel, have to deal with is that our companies all have some sort of underlying IT infrastructure. It can range from nothing but a basic network to a sophisticated system incorporating such elements as project management groupware, databases, document management, scanning, integrated messaging, electronic fax management, intranets, and extranets. If your company has this kind of infrastructure, you should always investigate whether you can use these systems and save the trouble of finding and implementing your own systems. Even if you find you want to add something like a practice management system, if that can be integrated with some or all of your existing systems, it is likely to be more efficient to use as many of the tools you already have as possible, rather than trying to take the legal department in a completely different direction. This has the added advantage of improving the odds that your IT department will support what you are doing now and in the future.

However, many of us do not have sophisticated corporate systems, or those systems do not meet our needs for functionality or security. In that case, we have to do the work of identifying our needs and finding ways to address those needs. In all cases, it is important to work with your IT people so that they at least understand what you are trying to accomplish. It is unlikely you will want to run your department completely separate from any of your corporate IT systems, so to make sure that you are not trying to do something that would be incompatible with the overall corporate IT infrastructure.

One solution that can avoid many of these issues is to go with a completely web-based system offered by an ASP. Because this type of system resides outside of your corporate network, your IT people only need to be concerned with making sure you have functioning computers with (preferably high-speed) Internet access. This may be an attractive option for some departments. At this point, however, the ASP market for corporate legal departments is limited. In addition, ASP-delivered systems tend to be less customizable and often slower than systems run in-house.

On the right side of the page are links to more information about specific technologies, including some available on an ASP basis.



Last updated: 05/17/01


Copyright 2001-2005 David A. Munn