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What will the legal foot soldiers of tomorrow look like?
A recent article discussing the future of U.S. Army technology offers a look into how law firms might use similar technology for associate attorneys in the future. The Army is running a pilot program where new recruits receive pre-loaded smartphones.The phones come pre-loaded with useful training information. Lieut. General Mark Hertling said "It has everything a soldier needs to know."
With the smartphone, a recruit can access army manuals, the Soldier Creed, first aid manuals and all sorts of additional materials from the "Apps for Army" library.
"Enormous opportunities exist for Army exploitation of commercially developed smart-phone technologies," according to an Army outline. "Opportunities exist to significantly enhance soldiers' and units' effectiveness and efficiencies in the conduct of administrative functions, training, leader development, access to specialized training and aided execution of military functional tasks."
So what might such a program look like for the associate attorneys of the future? Law firms could issue pre-loaded devices, such as iPhones or iPads to associates, which could be loaded with important documents such as code sections, treatises, case law and legal dictionaries. Associates would also be able to access information from the Internet and files and forms from the firm intranet. The device could even be loaded with podcasts containing training material, as well as CLE courses.
It would allow associates to have the comfort of knowing that they will never be without the information or materials that they need. Every deposition, brief, memo and contract can fit in their pocket. They can travel lighter but carry more.
It will be interesting to follow the Army's pilot program and see how it works out for them. In the meantime, keep an eye on emerging technology and consider whether there are ways in which you can use it to strengthen your firm.