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Is your law firm doing all it should to respond to the challenges of the internet era? Based on my experience with hundreds of US law firms, I am confident that the answer to that question is no. So many of my clients react to the web’s penetration on the business of law as though meeting the internet challenge requires no more than creating a firm website. The site often does little more then disseminate information about the firm, its practice areas, lawyer biographies and almost always contains bad graphics of a gavel, court house or a spinning globe of the world. In effect, they apply a thin veneer of customer-oriented information over a law firm’s organisational structure and mentality that is rooted in 100 years of ‘business as usual’. Firms believe they can do everything: marketing, strategic planning, technology and client services in the same old way but faster via the internet. The real task is much bigger; internet-based technologies are changing the way a law firm is organised and how it relates to not just its clients, but information suppliers, employees and how it manages its own intellectual assets. The new internet economy is based on one thing: information. A firm’s ability to organise it, disseminate it among its members, price it based on its value to clients and distinguish it from the competition is the only thing that will differentiate one law firm from another in the new marketplace.

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