Seven Lessons Learned From Outlook/Mailsite Migration

This summer, I helped migrate our firm to Interwoven’s Mailsite/Worksite Web product, magically turning our KM into a matter-centric maven. Here are seven lessons I learned, in short snappy form.

  • In order to understand why we force change, you have to understand the big picture. However, some roles in a law firm require focus only on the small things.
  • There is no perfect solution. There is no perfect set of software that will work exactly like every single one of us wants.
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • Once the stakeholders are behind you, everyone else will simply have to accept it. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be screaming. My ears are still ringing.
  • A successful software rollout may be defined as one in which most of the software works as expected and no one responsible loses their job. Measure twice, cut once.
  • You will have to go to each individual computer and hand-modify at least one thing, even if you’re good.
  • If you’re going to do it, you need a good manager who gives their life to the project. Handling the politics, the management, and the technicalities demands ability and sacrifice.

September 8th, 2005 | Best, Firm, IT, Legal | 3 comments

The Partners, They Are A-Changin’

It occurs to me that I am working with perhaps the last generation of lawyers (and any other white-collar, services-based type of person) who are technologically disabled. When these guys (yes, males, as a rule, except for the few members of the pioneering generation of women in law) die off, there will be no one else to ask what ‘copy and paste’ means, or not be able to accomplish the same abstract task using different programs. I won’t have to show another Of Counsel where the Reply button is located in Microsoft Outlook, having changed locations and icons from Lotus Notes. There will be no more web-based evaluations printed out, hand-filled, and sent across cities and time zones to the evaluation supervisor to input into the ‘Internet’.

Heck, the amount of paper consumed by law firms everywhere will drop by 75%, at least. In my mind, there’s the diminished, hoary, antediluvian lawyer who says to his young paralegal, “Do you know anything about this ‘Internet’, son? I heard Old Crotchitkins mention it to Knoobly-Knees at the [Ye Olde Closed-Membership] Clubb yester-evenin’. Said you could find out just about anything on it regarding my favorite pass-time of dominos. Also said that his son even found out the Anneballon’s secret mint julep recipe. I’ve been trying to get that out of that son-of-a-gun for years.” The bow-tied-one coughs. “Could you go and print out that ‘Internet’ for me so I can read up on it?”

But that just might be the last time that request is ever made. Strange to think that we might have to shift from dealing with an extreme lack of savvy to an extreme over-use of savvy, like those enterprising Stanford applicants who are now calling up their 2nd-tier schools. Just something to think about.

August 9th, 2005 | Firm, IT, Law, Legal, Technology | No comments