The December edition of the Legal Technology Insider newsletter (issue 215) is now out. The digital version hit desktops during the past 15 minutes and the hard copy version will be arriving (subject to the Christmas post) from Thursday onwards.

Top stories include two pieces on the rise of 'cloud computing' plus the results of the latest readers poll – Reasons to be Fearful. We started out by asking whether firms had significantly amended their IT strategies since 1st September 2008. 35.5% of those responding said ‘yes’ they had – the remainder said ‘no,’ which means they are either oblivious to the recession or else revised their plans earlier this year. There again 58.1% of those responding said they had postponed, delayed or deferred IT projects since 1st September; 36% said they had cancelled IT projects; and, 60% said they had delayed, postponed, deferred or cancelled decisions on future IT procurement projects.

On an even more sombre note, nearly one third of respondents (32.3%) said they had already made IT staff related redundancies and lay-offs since 1st September and 41.9% were actively considering lay-offs. In other words, we could be seeing IT related job losses in nearly three quarters (74.2%) of law firms over the next few months.

In total, a mere 35.5% of firms said their current IT procurement plans were continuing unchanged – which suggests 2009 could be a very lean year for the legal IT industry. Asked why, 12.9% cited difficulties is securing credit to fund IT projects; 22.6% said they were reluctant to be seen spending money on IT at a time when they were laying off staff; and, 77.4% their prime motivation for cutting back on IT was continuing uncertainty about the economy and its impact on their firms’ business.