The IT director of Charles Russell Speechlys has royally pissed off his own IT team after penning an article about the industry which criticised IT workers and warned of redundancies.
Published in the December issue of Legal IT Today, even the piece's title appeared geared to upset staff working under Duncan Eadie. "Is technology making the IT department redundant?" he asked. Instead of answering 'no, and here's why', Eadie set about lambasting the "IT function" (it was not identified as his own) for failing to get with the programme:
“As technologists we take pride in being the instigators of change in an organisation, and become frustrated when we meet resistance. ‘I’m too busy for that,’ ‘Why do we have to change?’ and ‘We’re fine as we are’ are phrases we often hear. But are these same change resistant comments now emanating from the IT function itself?"
Eadie continued, “is the IT department the driver for change or the inhibitor? Is technology going to make the IT department redundant?" Leaving his staff hanging, his discouraging answer was that "Change is coming from all angles" and "will only accelerate. About time too.”
Sources said it looked rather like Eadie was taking a swipe at his own underlings for their intransigence. Describing how the explosion of "innovation directors" and "change leaders" was "a reaction to frustration with an IT function buried in legacy systems and approaches", Eadie predicted that "If IT isn’t going to do it, then someone else will".
He also warned that the typical law firm IT team "of the near future is likely to change its shape", which will affect "probably about 20 per cent of your team’s headcount". Which didn't exactly comfort staff. "Subtle warning to team to look for new jobs", asked one insider, "or incredible insensitivity?"
Sources said that, in a tone-deaf move, the firm even sent the piece to IT staff. "CRS just circulated IT head's article to us", said one employee. "WTF - Happy Xmas to you too!" The timing was "not great for crimbo" said another. It resulted in “mutiny”, claimed another source, which in IT terms means CRS lawyers may have had to turn their own computers off and then on again.
A spokeswoman for CRS said, “The article was about widely-accepted challenges across the legal market which every legal IT director has to be aware of, it is not specifically about our IT department. Like every firm we are planning for the future and in fact our long-term plan is to increase headcount".