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"Legal Departments Tell Firms: Get on the Tech Train"

Well, that sure sounds like a smart slap at not-so-tech-savvy firms, huh?

"When Aon Corp. slashed its outside counsel roster from about 400 to 23 law firms in 2005, it quizzed the firms about their tech offerings. 'We asked them about extranets, e-billing and litigation management,' says David Cambria, director of legal operations at the Chicago-based insurance giant.

"But Cambria says that he didn't really care whether firms had all of those products. He had another agenda: 'I wanted to know if [the firms] were playing in the same pool as me,' says Cambria. When they crafted the tech section of their request for proposal, Cambria and his colleagues started from the assumption that all the firms they were interviewing had experienced, capable lawyers. But 'we wanted to take it to a higher level, and the most successful firms were the ones that told us how they'd help us do what we do better, with technology,' he says.

"Aon isn't alone. Law departments, once the hardware and software stepchildren of the legal profession, are steadily, if gradually, adopting more sophisticated ways to aid their work, according to Corporate Counsel's 2007 In-House Tech Survey."

Sound like a big opportunity for techie paralegals to help "geekify" their firms!

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