Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Power of the Internet

The Internet is the world’s first expanding resource. Think about it. Water, air, oil, land, food are all limited despite their being ubiquitous. The pioneers who first came to the US in the 1600’s probably thought those resources were unlimited. However, the more people there are on the planet, the scarcer and more expense those resources become. But the Internet is different. The more people who use it, the more plentiful and powerful it becomes. Is there any other resource like that?

Never has access to information been so easy or inexpensive. Never has there been so many tools and information available for free. Everyday there is a new website providing another free service that is designed to make life easier, more organized, or better informed. As a kid, I remember my family sharing one subscription to Life magazine to see pictures of what was going on in the world. To keep up with the news, we had a subscription to The Boston Globe and occasionally purchased a copy of the Sunday NY Times. TV came along later, but the information could not be stored, indexed, or searched. Once or twice a month, we would go to the town library. Growing up there were relatively few sources of information. Today, the Internet provides news, pictures, video, and research at the touch of a button. Information is everywhere.

Never has the power of the pen been so strong. The Internet enables anyone to speak to the world, to organize and repurpose information. In the old days, you would have to own a TV station or newspaper. Maybe you could write an article or a book. Or you could send out post cards, or make telephone calls. But you could only reach a handful of people and once the phone call was over or the newspaper was thrown out, the words were gone. Only the words of professional writers were immortalized. Today, anyone can publish a website or blog for free and make their thoughts and words available to everyone any time any where, forever.

Never has opportunity been greater. Whether you are building a Web 2.0 application or a Law Firm 2.0 application, the opportunity to make a change in the world is staring you right in the face. Anyone can make an impact on the world. A huge impact. All you have to do is to think about how you want to apply your skills to change and improve the world. And then go do it!

What do I want to do with the power of the Internet?

I want to build a national network of lawyers, one that shares information and resources and fosters a culture of collaboration. I want access to tools and information that facilitates the practice of law and empowers the solo practitioner to work shoulder-to-shoulder on par with lawyers in large firms. I want a system that encourages continual improvement of the quality of legal services. I want the quality of life for lawyers to go up and the cost of legal services to go down. By applying the power of the Internet, I think all this is possible.

From an IT (Information Technology) standpoint, we currently live in a golden age of opportunity. What do you want to do with the power of the Internet? How do think the Internet can help or improve the legal profession?

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