Videotapes | Books | Articles | Press | Other Articles
- Released September, 2000: American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) Committee on Continuing Professional Education CLE TV ("Video for Lawyers"), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Videotape Series: The Lawyer's Guide to Using the Internet (Studio Videotaping Session)(tapes and accompanying materials may be purchased individually or in a four-tape set through Pritchard Law Webs or directly from ALI-ABA)
These videotapes have been favorably reviewed by Michael L. Goldblatt (Associate General Counsel of Tidewater Inc., author of several practice management books and originator of FindLaw Lawyer Marketing) in the March 2001 issue of Law Practice Management magazine, published by the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Committee.
Tape 1: Internet Primer for Cautious Lawyers
Co-panelists: Kate Spelman (moderator), Jerry Lawson, and Lew Gibbons
From the ALI-ABA advertisement:
The legal treasures on the Internet have produced a new super tool for the legal profession. Video 1 of the series introduces the Internet's timesaving services, the law-related information, and networking opportunities that are increasing the productivity of attorneys worldwide. Understanding the basics and terminology is vital to getting online and being informed. Attorneys who plan to stay in business need to know how to use the Internet to advance the quality of their practice.
Tape 2: Law Firm Web Sites: Building an Effective Presence
Co-panelists: Kate Spelman (moderator), Lew Gibbons, and Jeff Rovner
From the ALI-ABA advertisement:
The information gold rush of the 21st Century has begun with more and more law firms staking their claims on the World Wide Web. Video 2 provides the tools you need to maximize your Web investment. Attorneys are challenged to construct tasteful, interesting Web pages that download quickly and that offer information that is useful but that doesn't create an attorney-client relationship. Web designers know how to develop Web pages, but many do not know what is required for a law firm. Sit in on this discussion to find out.
Books by LaVern Pritchard
Articles by LaVern Pritchard
Some books and articles quoting LaVern Pritchard:
- Lore, Michelle, Telecommuting (slowly) gaining acceptance at Twin Cites' firms, Minnesota Lawyer, March 17, 2003 at 1
"Minneapolis attorney LaVern A. Pritchard, co-chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Practice Management and Marketing Section, ... believes that an important element in the formation and maintenance of communities is that people be in regular physical contact with each other.
'We exist in a real world. We have a craving to communicate with other people in the real world,' said Pritchard. 'Those who said we could exist in a virtual world have forgotten what it's like to be human.'" ...
"Accordign to Pritchard, full-time telecommuting by lawyers 'would weaken the ties that exist between people and law firms would become nothing more than hotels.'"
Bowden, Michael A., Which Legal Research Option Is Right For You?, Lawyers Weekly USA (2002)
"When it comes to comprehensive online legal research, the only games in town used to be Westlaw and Lexis[.] ...
Lawyers may have local and regional options[.] For example, [LawMoose (www.lawmoose.com)] concentrates all of its efforts on [Minnesota]."
LaVern Pritchard, who runs the site, noted that it was just named ?Site of the Year? at www.netlawtools.com. He added, ?We have philosophical and technological features that distinguish our approach from that of other free ?law portals? as well as the traditional legal database publishers.?"
- Hsieh, Sylvia, Is Your Law Firm's Website 'Usable'? Consumers Want Less Flash, More Function, Lawyers Weekly USA, April 29, 2002 16, 28, 2002 LWUSA 304 (available on the web only to Lawyers Weekly subscribers).
"'People don't come to law sites to be entertained or wowed with a visual. They come because they're looking for information or they want to know something about the firm. Anything that gets in the way of that is a problem,' said LaVern Pritchard, a Minneapolis attorney and web technology advisor."
"Pritchard also suggested getting feedback from your clients and family members. 'Ask your clients whether your website was useful or not. Have your mother look at it. See if she can use it.'"
- Lore, Michelle, LawMoose: a roaming, growing e-community, Minnesota Lawyer, September 10, 2001 (Law Tech News special insert for the Minnesota Law & Technology Show at S1, S-16-17.
"By now, most Minnesota attorneys connected to the Internet and familiar with the World Wide Web have heard of LawMoose, which is being touted as the first comprehensive single-state legal search engine on the Web. In this article, Minnesota Lawyer takes a look at the continually expanding and improving Web site, as well as the man behind it[.]"
- Leibowitz, Wendy R., A Legal Web Community? (As I Was Saying column), Law Practice Management, September 2001 (on the theory that online communities thrive best when there is already an existing community (such as LawMoose serving the existing Minnesota legal community)).
- Leibowitz, Wendy R., Who Owns the Law? (As I Was Saying column), Law Practice Management, July/August 2001, at 10, 15 (on the benefit of providing free public access to jury instruction guides which in Minnesota can be found only in a privately copyrighted publication.)
Lore, Michelle, Attorneys and judges discuss the role of technology in today's law practice, Minnesota Lawyer, March 12, 2001 at 1, 19.
"'Tech Week' opened with a discussion [presented by] an expert panel of distinguished attorneys and judges in tune to the growth of technology. ... 'Law firms and the legal profession as a whole are very much in a 'catch up' mode about what is going on,' Pritchard observed. ... 'Clients want what we can deliver in new ways[.]'."
- Gordon, Jennifer, Netcetera column, Marketing for Lawyers (March 2001)(about designing a web site to be capable of being crawled by web spiders).
Skjong, Ingrid, Raising the Bar - Rapidly Changing Technology Seems Poised to Lap the Law. Can the Legal World Keep Pace?, Twin Cities Business Monthly, July, 2000 at 91-100
Skjong, Ingrid, Pro Bono - Not being a lawyer won't bar you from on-line legal advice and information, Twin Cities Business Monthly, May, 2000 at 109 (article appears in 6th Annual Small Business Guide).
"When LaVern Pritchard set out to determine how many Minnesota law firms had Web sites in the summer of 1998, his count topped out at 80. A year-and-a-half later, his list has swelled to 230 -- a hint of things to come.
"When there were fewer sites, it was easy to look through them," says Pritchard, an attorney and the founder of Pritchard Law Webs, an Internet-based firm that links individuals and businesses to legal information via the Web. But there are getting to be more, and you need more sophisticated ways to find lawyers."
Note: Print version of this article recommends Priweb.com for businesses looking for information about law and lawyers.
Torner, Nancy, Speakers stress survival of the techiest among law firms, Chicago Lawyer, May 2000 at 74 (available to Lexis subscribers over the Web)
Joining [ABA TechShow 2000 presenters Wells Anderson and Stephen Lief] for an interview after the session was LaVern A. Pritchard, owner and founder of Pritchard Law Webs, Minneapolis, which does research and software product development, consulting and Web publishing.
Following the session on the boutique makeover, Pritchard said that most legal software is moving toward a Web-based interface.
Lawyers should have jumped on this immediately, Pritchard said[.] There aren't that many people who are willing to invest the time and effort and who have the technical skills inside the firm to remake the firm into something that is a good competitive fit for the era we're actually in. There aren't any models of what will be the survival firms.
Lawyers need to remember that clients aren't standing still; they are in the Web revolution themselves, Pritchard said.
And the highest growth clients in the future clearly will be the ones that are pushing the Web development, he said. So, if lawyers are oblivious to that, literally, it's going to be the client saying, 'Will these people effectively serve us?'
It's a cultural divide, and it risks growing much wider. It's not even just effectiveness, it's simple ability to communicate with clients on their own terms. We know the world is changing faster than we can possibly change. But if we can change faster than all the other law firms are changing, including the big ones, we are going to be able to compete in this new world."
Lore, Michelle M., Complex business litigation -- not just for big firms, Minnesota Lawyer, May 15, 2000
LaVern A. Pritchard -- a Minneapolis solo practitioner [note: and founder of Pritchard Law Webs] -- maintained that small firms can be successful handling complex business litgation matters "if they use the proper technology and explicitly focus on litigation as knowledge management."
Pritchard said that technology has eliminated any relationship between the size of the firm and the sophistication with which it can provide its services. "You can substitute good techniques and good technology for people," Pritchard said.
- Bowden, Michael M., 'Knowledge Management' Helps Small Firms Maximize Their Expertise, Lawyers Weekly USA, November 1, 1999, 99 LWUSA 1005 (discussing why systems for knowledge management (both technological and sociological) have become a competitive necessity for law firms).
Note: This article is available on the Web only to those with a right of access to the Lawyers Weekly USA article archive. It is also available in print in the November 1, 1999 issue in Section B.
Although implementing a knowledge management system can take a lot of time and effort, experts say the benefits outweigh the initial inconvenience.
Obviously, ready access to all of your firm's work can dramatically speed your workflow - while removing a lot of frustration and delay.
"If you have a question you can answer it in 30 seconds, rather than asking somebody to go digging through your files and bring back something three hours later," says Pritchard.
"One reason that knowledge management is getting more and more important is that there are more and more interruptions in the day," explains Pritchard. "We're bombarded with e-mails and faxes and phone calls and pages. If you're interrupted a hundred times you have to pick up a hundred times - and you don't always get to the end of your project."
"Knowledge management can be a vital competitive asset," notes Pritchard. "There's a big difference between getting back to a client in three days and answering him [or her] in 30 seconds. People are getting shorter attention spans and higher expectations. They want things to happen quickly and efficiently, and a good knowledge management system can enable you to begin to respond to those increasing expectations."
- Samborn, Hope Viner, Scrambling for Privacy -- Encrypted information on lawyer-client networks maintains confidentiality, foils unauthorized users, American Bar Association Journal, July 1999 at 81 (on the value of database-driven extranets -- "You have all of the power of the database and all of the simplicity of a Web page," says LaVern A. Pritchard of Pritchard Law Webs in Minneapolis. --, firewalls, and the interrelationship between lawyers' use of extranets and their future success).
Minnesota State Bar Association, For the Record - 150 Years of Law & Lawyers in Minnesota (June, 1999)(section on trends in law and technology at 434-441 cites Pritchard's experiences as an early adopter of personal computer technology in the law office -- editor observes at that time "hardly any self-respecting Minnesota attorney would have a computer on his or her desktop" -- also the importance of the Internet to the future of the legal profession)(unavailable on the Web).
- Romenesko, James, Netcetera, St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 15, 1999 at F1 (on participation in initial Pritchard Law Webs Minnesota Law Firm Web Page Rankings).
Hamlin, Elizabeth, The Name Game -- As companies scramble to launch Web sites and join the marketing masses on-line, the battle for domain names is getting more and more complex, Twin Cities Business Monthly (December 1998), 110-113 (on the value of the Amazon.com domain because it is associated with a business concept, the increasing deference to rights of trademark owners in domain name controversies, and the Web's "glorious chaos")(unavailable on the Web).
Leibowitz, Wendy, Lawyers Thriving in 'Net Businesses -- They combine legal know-how with technical savvy, National Law Journal (October 19, 1998)(unavailable on the Web).
"Specialized legal databases seem to demand lawyer-developed tools, says LaVern A. Pritchard....
Lawyers know not only what information, forms and tools fellow practitioners need, but also how the materials should be organized and cross-referenced to be accessible to different teams working on a matter. ...
Web-based tools may change the way lawyers work, requiring a collaboration that the technologies used by Lexis-Nexis, Westlaw and other such companies do not require. 'Being able to build and use group knowledge tools is fundamentally different from the way law has been practiced until now,' says Pritchard."
Campbell, Allison, Where's the Cybersheriff?, Twin Cities Business Monthly (July, 1996)(on legal issues in Internet commerce).
- Katz, Sheryl L., Why and How to Build an Intranet, AmLaw Tech (Fall 1997) (on litigation intranets).
- Leibowitz, Wendy, Revising Copyrights and Wrongs: New Media as Copying Machines, National Law Journal,
reprinted on Law Journal Extra (Sept. 1, 1997)(on lawyers' intellectual property).
- Leibowitz, Wendy, What Lies Ahead for Tech Tools? Building Better Legal Pads, National Law Journal, reprinted on Law Journal Extra (December 29, 1997)(on what lawyers really want from technology).
- Leibowitz, Wendy, Not Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Gadget Boom Will Kill the Billable Hour, National Law Journal reprinted on Law Journal Extra (August 31, 1998)(continued vitality of hourly rate billing is explained in part by cultural factors).
Platt, Nina, Knowledge Management: Can It Exist in a Law Office?, Law Library Resource Exchange (February 15, 1998)(featuring Mr. Pritchard's original legal hypertext systems from the late 1980?s).
Select articles elsewhere on the Web about lawyers and technology:
Cotts, Cynthia, Sharp Rise in Web Sites by Largest Firms, National Law Journal, reprinted on Law Journal Extra (October 6, 1997)(survey showed nearly two-thirds of the largest U.S. law firms had web sites).
Leibowitz, Wendy R., The Next Generation of Web Sites Is Friendly to Client and Attorney, National Law Journal, reprinted on Law Journal Extra (November 10, 1997) (pioneering legal database-driven web sites).
Leibowitz, Wendy R., Intranet: A Lawyer's Personal Intranet, National Law Journal, reprinted on Law Journal Extra (November 18, 1996)
Johnson, David R., Building and Using Hypertext Systems, Law Practice Management, May/June 1991 at 29. This is still the best article about lawyers and hypertext (unavailable on the Web, published by American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section).
Pruner, Mark, Competing in Cyberspace: The Big 5 vs. The NLJ 250, Internet Newsletter, reprinted on Law Journal Extra (November 1998). If you're a lawyer, and particularly if you are responsible for the future direction of your law firm, this provocative article is well worth reading, even if you reject some or all of its premises and predictions.
(Pruner predicts that the largest accounting/multiprofessional consulting firms will be practicing the best law in the next three to five years and that the legal profession's response to changes wrought by web technology will be ineffective.)
At Pritchard Law Webs, we do not believe such predictions need come about and do not believe as Pruner does that the "rules governing attorney-attorney competition" are serious impediments to serving clients in new ways.
Nonetheless, if you are managing a law firm and have been waiting for a "wake up call," Pruner's article, a part of the rising tide of debate about the big accounting/professional firms moving into areas traditionally regarded as law practice, warrants a spot on the agenda for your next strategic planning session.
The need has never been greater for big picture planning and change management in the face of dramatic changes in the landscape. We said in September 1998 that law firms that failed to adopt a viable web strategy within a few months were going to be in trouble, whether they knew it or not. Firms that wait are slipping further and further behind the cutting edge. Since this is systemic change, catching up to the new leaders can prove very difficult.
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