Lawyers today seem to be the favorite butt of jokes. Perhaps the only thing businesspeople like less than lawyers is the ordeal of going to court. Certainly, the perception among many is that American lawyers “sue first and ask questions later” — to the tune of an average legal bill of $20 million per year for litigation for major U.S. corporations, according to a recent survey.

Ironically, technology is playing a role in nurturing this inaccurate perception at a time when lawyers more than ever need technical savvy — especially those involved ever more in advising e-commerce ventures. A simple Google search reveals many Web sites that perpetuate the “sue-first-question-later” myth (see, for example, www.mediationtools.com/articles/suefirst.html or www.princeton.edu/~innov/may2004/m2004viewpoint.htm).

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