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Infographic Friday: Evolution of Law Office IT

Infographic Friday  Evolution of Law Office IT

In 2004, Ron Friedman wrote rather profoundly of the law technology evolution that “legal technology always comes back to documents and how to manage them.”  By that measure, one might argue we can trace the roots of legal technology to the advent of the Gutenberg, or perhaps even further to papyrus.  

Today’s featured infographic is now a couple years old and was originally produced by Smart WebParts. The infographic traces the technology used to produce documents from the 1970s to 2012, though these tools are likely found in any business, let alone the business of law.

While legal IT conversations tend to center on how slow the legal industry has been to adopt new technologies, sometimes it’s worth reflecting too on just how far the industry has come.  Certainly there are other aspects of legal technology that are not included – the transformation of a traditional legal library to research databases notwithstanding – is one example.

As Mr. Friedman wrote:

The start of the computer revolution in law begins in 1973, when Lexis invented the red “UBIQ” terminal to let lawyers search case law online rather than laboriously pore through books. The revolution quickly moved from document searching to document creation when Wang introduced a computer dedicated to word processing. By 1979, when The American Lawyer first published, many law firms had purchased Wang or similar machines, placing them in central word processing departments where they could be used virtually nonstop. Around the same time, firms also started buying fax machines.

What other legal technologies merit reminiscence?

Evolution of the Law office

Photo credit:  Flickr via Creative Commons

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.