In the business world, upper management often finds itself leading the charge for technological implementation. But in law firms—which are, of course, businesses, though they’re typically run by lawyers rather than MBAs—that structure may be inverted. It’s typically the senior partners who are most resistant to new systems and methods because they’re comfortable with what they’ve always done. Especially for younger associates, who grew up with and truly grasp the advantages and benefits of technology, the time may come to make a push for modernization. But how can those who are already tech savvy convince their firms’ leadership that technology is a worthwhile investment? Focus on these four key aspects of smart technology solutions.
1. Ease of implementation
Management in any organization doesn’t want to pay for technology that will be hard to use, cause delays, or necessitate days of training and frequent frustrating consultations with an indecipherable user’s manual. Instead, focusing on technology that is intuitive and approachable will greatly increase your chance of success. Look also to consolidated software packages that are intuitive and seamlessly integrated, allowing users to add elements as their needs expand or as their budgets allow.
2. Security compliance and risk management
According to a 2016 survey by the International Legal Technology Association, “security compliance/risk management” was the main technology concern for 39% of law firm participants. With the seemingly endless parade of businesses and organizations that have been hacked in recent years, law firm partners have good reason to be leery of technology. They know how much they stand to lose if their information is not kept secure. To allay these entirely reasonable fears, focus on how technology improvements can beef up your security and can help your firm manage its risks.
3. Future clients
Some of the easiest, most accessible technological advances—such as website upgrades, practice-management software, and document-management programs—can provide quick and palpable advantages to your firm’s current and potential clients. After all, the business world is adopting technology at warp speed, which means your clients’ needs and expectations are changing. Share your vision for the future of your firm as a technologically sophisticated client-friendly practice with the firm’s leaders and encourage them to embrace a bold new paradigm.
4. More time for the human practice of law
Many senior partners resist technology out of a fear that it will eventually replace lawyers entirely. But while menial tasks are indeed being automated and artificial intelligence systems can complete repetitive work like contract generation, true lawyering cannot be computerized. These human skills, such as managing clients, crafting and writing arguments, and negotiating with opposing counsel, are not likely to be taken over by machines—at least for now. Focus on how technology will allow the attorneys at your firm to spend their time where it really matters.
Yes, it may initially be an uphill battle to convince your law firm’s senior partners to buy in to technology, but it’s a battle worth fighting. By focusing on these four key aspects of smart technology solutions, you can set yourself up for success!