After a couple of years in private practice, when my client Bell asked me to join its legal department as a litigator, I was excited at the prospect of working for a leading Canadian technology company. However, I was surprised to learn the legal department was as technologically advanced as a court of justice: I was given a computer with a matter management system (MMS) that resembled Excel (ok, maybe Access) and used Windows Explorer as the document management system (DMS). Things could only get better!
Within the first couple months, we embarked on a large-scale technology overhaul to source and implement more robust MMS and DMS. I had been involved in a similar project at my previous firm, which was created through the merger of five law firms, and brought my lessons learned to the table. From functional and technical requirements identification with the different stakeholders (lawyers, administrative assistants, paralegal, litigation support, IT, IS and clients) to RFPs, implementation, acceptance tests and production, it was an interesting but demanding journey (on top of my day job!)—which reminded me that technology is simple and humans are complex. Change management is the true challenge of any legal technology implementation. While the technological roll-out was completed in a matter of months, when I left about three years later, adoption was still ongoing.