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Associates Disgruntled Over ‘Depressing’ Technology Cuts at Firms

Posted Sep 3, 2010 1:22 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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As some firms cut technology spending in the wake of the recession, midlevel associates are calling the move shortsighted and disheartening.

Lower productivity because of outdated technology—such as ineffective document management systems—was one of the chief concerns among unhappy associates, according to a recent job satisfaction survey of third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates conducted by the American Lawyer.

“Technology updates have been nonexistent,” a Morrison & Foerster associate wrote in the survey. “The firm is cheaper than ever in all respects, and it is depressing.”

Other firms have ramped up tech upgrades with aims to win competitive advantages over their more cash-conservative counterparts, according to the survey. However, boosting tech spending is only part of the equation.

“Installing the software is probably the easiest part,” Michael Chung, Boies, Schiller & Flexner’s director of information technology told the American Lawyer. The hard part is training busy lawyers how to use new work flow systems. “It’s like asking them to change the way they practice law,” he said.

Thompson Coburn topped the satisfaction results among 4,942 associates surveyed from 137 large and midsized firms for the fifth year in a row.

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