In an interview earlier this year, Axiom’s founder and then CEO Mark Harris fired a shot at the state of technology in the legal industry:

By contrast, selling tech-only solutions into the legal industry today would be like selling a conveyer belt to a blacksmith in the late 1800s.  You cannot sell the instruments of industrialization to artisans!  They aren’t ready for them and have no idea what to do with them!

Shortly after our conversation went live, I started getting all kinds of reactions from folks across the legal industry — technologists and forward-thinking lawyers. Some agreed with Harris’ assessment and some disagreed, but no two responses were the same.

So today, less than a week before lawyers and tech companies from around the world converge on New York for the annual Legaltech Show, I’ve invited a number of prominent legal tech executives and lawyers, both in-house counsel and decision makers inside law firms, to react to the quote and offer their perspective on the state of technology and disruption in the legal industry. New replies will continue rolling in over the course of the day and beyond, so click FOLLOW to follow along like a fly-on-the-wall as the conversation unfolds.

The Wright brothers were bicycle repairmen when they invented the airplane.

Don’t assume that lawyers are happy with the past state of legal technology. Traditional providers have gouged and underserved this market for decades. Characterizing lawyers as luddites is a disservice.
Clio’s success has come from meeting lawyers’ desire for technology solutions, instead of underestimating it.
I agree with Mark’s assessment – lawyers want and will use the tool that makes them better lawyers that comes off the conveyor belt, but they don’t necessarily (there are exceptions) want to operate the conveyor belt itself.

This is no different from me – as a business owner – wanting the benefits of a CRM software, but not wanting to be the one responsible for keeping the information in it up to date in the first place.
Recognizing the value of pairing services with software in the legal market was a turning point for our business, Allegory. From my point of view, it’s a matter of input versus output. What is it that’s truly important to lawyers and brings value to them in terms of technology? It’s retrieving and using that information when and how they need it. In other words, lawyers like to use software for outputs. In order for a tool to be effective, however, information has to be input – organized and stored – in the first place.
If you look at technology that has been successful in the litigation industry, for example – ediscovery, legal research, trial presentation – those tools generally arrive in the lawyers’ hands pre-populated. In other words, some service is responsible for the input. This is how we had to think about Allegory – delivering lawyers and paralegals a fully-populated tool with their case, so they could focus on lawyering and all of the benefits of our software that support great lawyering, without having to worry about organizing and storing information in the first place.