Launching is TechCrunch for legal technology written by a legal technologist. Over the past 12 years I’ve seen a lot of buzz and hyperbole around legal technology and frankly, though I myself have worked as a developer and analyst in legal technology since 2005, I have no idea at all what’s real and what’s smoke and mirrors. I get contacted by legal startups frequently — often several times a day; I have sat in scores of demos and webinars;  I read an enormous amount about the industry each day.  And yet my personal experiences within large enterprises and my on-the-ground conversations with people who are actually in legal technology — as developers, marketers, founders, etc. — makes me feel as if all of it completely contradicts everything I read. Again: That’s how it feels.

I’ve actually spoken with lawyers whose names appear on testimonial pages of practice management solutions who tell me in no unclear terms that after a honeymoon period of engaging with a particular product they have come to hate, hate, hate the very products which have featured them as being satisfied customers.

I read product marketing materials that claim to have thousands of deployments with nothing to back up the statements.

Nearly every legal tech web site I click on has a footer with blue chip and tech corporate logos that I suppose are meant to indicate their products are being used by those companies, but there’s rarely anything to confirm that’s the case — no case studies or link-throughs.

I’ve decided the only way to get to the truth of the actual state of legal technology is to explore the industry on a company-by-company, category-by-category basis.

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