When it comes to the adoption of technology within solo and small law firms, legal technologists say it’s slow going. Many others, though, argue that it’s vastly ahead of other professional services. While we may disagree on its pace, technology adoption is happening, but I wouldn’t say it’s disrupting the industry yet.

The ethical duty for technological competence and protection of client information are sometimes cited as reasons for practice management system purchases. And yet, most legal technology solutions tout efficiency as their main selling point. To truly disrupt small law, technology must be part of a change process that aligns firm goals with individual performance measures.

In the past, human resources were the solution to improving project or company performance. Just add a few more workers, and we can speed up the production. Now, we instead apply technology as the fix, citing automation efficiencies. For example, legal practice management (LPM) systems can save your firm an average of x number of hours per week or machine learning software reduces contract review hours by y percent. Even with those efficiencies, people still fear the power of machines. Case in point: Some lawyers are reluctant to adopt time-saving technology for fear of losing billable work.