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The Human Element

April 10th, 2019 – It is amazing how much technology is out there today. I mean, there are apps for virtually everything. Statista.com reports for Q3 2018, 2.1 million Android apps and 2 million Apple Store apps. Is it any wonder why everyone feels information overload?

Access is also easy since devices are now inexpensive, disposable commodities that are outdated within a year or two. Personally, I find that today more than ever, making use of all the technology available to me is more of an art form than an exact science.

Adopting new technology is not easy. There is an expense in time and money to identify and weed out the tech that is right for us. There is a learning curve to understand the new tech and the time requirement to adopt something new. And then there is the ongoing commitment of using the new tech.

In the legal world, we hear a lot about technology, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and how all of this will affect legal professionals and consumers. There are apps for time management, billing, e-discovery, CRM, marketing, social media and yes, legal research. But at the end of the day, the purpose of all this technology should be to provide better legal representation to the people who need it. In an ideal world, tech should help lawyers do it better, faster and cheaper, passing on those benefits to the client.

I have even read the thesis that claims tech will replace attorneys. I am here to tell you that it will never happen. And here’s why. With all of the technology available today and everything that we purport to come, practicing law is an art form and not an exact science. Nuance and interpretation are things learned and formed by each person on an individual basis and then internalized along with a lifetime of experiences. A certain style or “savoir-faire”, each person’s unique way of adapting to different situations.

In the legal world, how one does research or formulates a brief is truly an art form. Yes, we need access to all of the information and yes, technology makes it easier. But at the end of the day, people formulate their own methodologies for accessing data. We sift through mounds of information, interpreting the data until

we find what we FEEL is just what we are looking for. We finally select the pieces of information that support our strategies, our arguments and our intuition.

Interpreting information is more than just zeros and ones. The human element makes all the difference. When we speak, write, paint or play music, we are expressing our unique personality. Apply this to the work we do in our professions and the same applies.

It is this human element that makes all the difference