Something for the LawTech Weekend: What Santa can bring Legal IT for Christmas

It’s that time of the year, and time for an irreverent look at Legal IT again. Last year’s predictions proved wildly accurate (not!)… So here’s what Andy Stokes* thinks Santa should, and should not, bring Legal IT for 2018.
A return to slumber for endangered Madagascan lemurs
Commonly known as the Ai-Ai (or Aye-Aye or even Aie-Aie) this unfortunate critter has been roused from its sedentary tree dwelling lifestyle throughout most of 2017 because of declarations that it is “the year of AI in Legal IT”. However despite all the excitement, the animal in question has been given no firm job offers – possibly due to uncertainty over Brexit, or more likely because its sharp claws are more suited to document shredding than document assembly. It remains however a useful name to have up your sleeve when playing Scrabble.
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to the newly unemployed
It’s been another wonderful year for Corporate and Social Responsibility; plenty of initiatives around gender equality, work/life balance, mental wellbeing and celebrating diversity*. And, quite seriously, this is all highly laudable. But it’s not been such a fantastic year for members of staff that have been laid off … whoops … Sorry, I meant “transitioned into an innovative new business paradigm”. Of course, Big Law is a business like any other, but it appears CSR only goes so far…
(* other dance troupes are available)
Please Santa, no more lipstick for the pork
I think I’ve lost count of the number of Business Intelligence services and products for legal that are hitting the market in 2017. Many of them are very slick and have great UIs, and some do add a small degree of genuine value. But they largely recycle the same old measures and dimensions in a “new and exciting way” (so, HTML5 and Jscript then). Where are the truly innovative measures that mine metadata and give us hitherto unknown insights into the business? So please Santa, no more lipstick for this particular pig …
Can the legal teams have some “Shadow IT” in their stocking please
With cloud services, SaaS and agile development becoming more readily available, we’re certainly seeing a rise, or a rise in predictions, of Shadow IT. Which is where legal teams engage directly with outside resource to solve all their problems, because internal IT is too busy /not bothered / laid off / too incompetent / too bureaucratic to get things done for them. So I want all good boys and girls working in legal teams to be able to open a box full of Shadow IT on Christmas Day. I can’t wait to see their little faces light up … only to then realise that … Batteries-not-included and the petrol station’s closed.
Buzzword Bingo – a game for all the Legal IT family
And of course, the all-time favourite, given the old one is worn out after so many years use.
Tired of Monopoly or Scrabble? Let’s get back to the traditional game of Buzzword Bingo, whereby IT people string together meaningless phrases, plant them in a few emails or articles, and see how they are taken up by others. You score points whenever a Partner trots out sentence including ‘Cumulus based Digital Synsformational systems’ or perhaps ‘Neural based platform independent enablement transformations’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Machine based artificial equity ownership member entities. You might want think about that last one for a while.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year folks …
*Andy Stokes is a “veteran” of the UK legal IT scene – which means he can remember life pre-Windows and the interwebs. He has a genuine sense of humour (as distinct from thinks he’s funny because nobody dare tell him otherwise). We don’t have a picture of him so we’ve used one of an Ai-Ai instead.
You can find him at
Andy Stokes
Director – Andy Stokes Consulting Limited
T – 07500 786591