Shakespeare, Henry V and Agincourt would not seem to have relevance in today’s technology landscape.  However,  Paul Lippe writes a marvelous post in the Am Law Daily that binds Henry V’s victory to the need for law firm innovation.

A few quotes from Lippe’s post really strike home for me.

  1. Technology is anything that didn’t exist when you were a kid–if it did exist, to you it’s just stuff. (This is a quote from a former boss of Lippe’s. )
  2. To say that the history of the world is the history of the interplay between leadership, culture, and new tools is no exaggeration.
  3. …”Web 2.0,” because I think this collection will be the most consequential tool for lawyers in our lifetime…

Pen and paper are still technological innovations even if they are older innovations.  Using pen and paper effectively has created countries and cultural revolutions.  Technological tools build, expand and grow but the purpose is the same: create, affect, change, lead.

Lippe’s definition of Web 2.0 technology for lawyers and the break-down of the parts is simplicity at its best.  His buckets of mechanisms, contexts and consequences lay great groundwork for future conversations.  I appreciate the recognition on Lippe’s part that contexts and consequences will need additional explanations and look forward to reading those.

I think the most profound part of Lippe’s essay today is the conclusion that due to law’s boom period lethargy in adopting new technologies was the norm and I agree that the end of the boom requires innovation.

Law firms must expand their outreach and response and not with tools they build for themselves.  Customers must be met where the customers already live.  There is an inherent warning that needs to be heeded in this new level of outreach.  Lawyers are not a client’s friend and thus the blurred line between professional and friend in the social realm of Web 2.0 must be more clearly defined and adhered in attorney/client relationship.  The consequences reach beyond just the possible offense to a client but to discovery and privilege issues as well.

I look forward to hearing more from Mr. Lippe on the issue and welcome comments about how innovative lawyers are harnessing the power of the new longbow in the Web 2.o Argincourt arena.

Constance Ard January 26, 2009