October 29, 2008

Trust But Verify

In one of the articles that accompanied the AmLaw Tech Survey 2008, Alan Cohen reports on a conversation he had with Bob Craig, chief information officer at Baker & Hostetler. According to Craig, the next big challenge is to change the way the IT department relates to the lawyers of his firm. He likened the current relationship between the two groups to the relationship between "a teenage driver ready to hit the road and a nervous parent wary about forking over the keys." Under the current model, "all new technology gets controlled, vetted, and often limited by the technology department." In Craig's view, that approach is untenable with the advent of the new web 2.0 tools. Instead, he wants to change the way IT departments work with lawyers, by implementing a "trust but verify" system that allows users to install the tools they need without permission, provided that IT can check to make sure "no harm is done."

Bob Craig's vision of the IT/Lawyer relationship is laudable:
We want IT to inspire lawyers to unleash their creativity - not lock them down. ... The fundamental concept of Web 2.0 is to empower users to contribute and collaborate. If we're going to take advantage of Web 2.0, there's a whole mind-set shift that has to take place in IT. "Trust but verify" is the precursor.
I couldn't have said it better myself.

2 comments:

Daniel J. Pritchett said...

Thanks, I needed that! I am constantly irritated by the "looks good, let's send it to committee and take a vote before we try it out" process.

Mary Abraham said...

Daniel -

If you're able to influence the decision makers in your office to adopt a "Trust but Verify" approach, you could radically improve your quality of life. Good luck!

- Mary