7 tech adoption tips from law firm COOs

  • Legal

If you want to implement new technology tools to modernize your law firm’s operations, you’re in good company. Forward-thinking firms are constantly updating their tech stacks to improve performance, insights, and efficiency.

As we all know, though, getting busy lawyers to adopt new tools and ways of working can be tough. So we asked several law firm COOs to share their top tips for accelerating new tech adoption. Here’s what they recommend:

Understand how your lawyers work

Most lawyers work out of their Microsoft Office email inboxes, although increasingly many are communicating in Microsoft Teams as well. By integrating new tools into the programs they already use every day, lawyers will be more likely to adopt them.

Consider your firm’s culture

Every firm is unique, so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to change management. A small firm with a small IT team might want guidance from an outside consultancy, while a more traditional firm might prefer change management led by a trusted employee (who might also manage a relationship with an outside advisor). Tailor your approach to suit your firm’s culture.

Choose your vendors carefully

Compared to other professionals, lawyers score relatively low when it comes to resiliency. So if new technology doesn’t deliver on the first try, your lawyers will be unlikely to give it a second chance. Choose vendors who understand your industry, have a good track record, and are willing to work with you to provide excellent support and a great experience from day one.

Create a ‘wow’ moment

Success breeds success. Start small with a carefully chosen use case, or pilot with a receptive practice group, to minimize complexity and quantify your success. Once you have an early win, others will be eager to jump on board.

Identify and address your teams’ pain points

It can be hard for lawyers and administrative teams to get excited about high-level, collective benefits of change management initiatives (such as “increasing operational efficiencies”). To win broad stakeholder support, make it personal for them. Research their biggest challenges and frequently asked questions — then clearly demonstrate how the new technology will help.

Include a skeptic

Before moving forward with a new tech initiative, most law firms solicit advice from a committee of interested parties. What many overlook, however, is the value of including a change-adverse participant in the discussions. This person can articulate unspoken — but sometimes widely held — concerns, and identify shortcomings in your implementation plan, so your initiative has the best chance of succeeding.

Open lines of communication

Change is hard, especially for busy lawyers who have limited time to learn new technology. Create a two-way communications plan that includes frequent touchpoints throughout the vendor selection and implementation process, shares support from firm leaders, and solicits open and honest feedback so you can course-correct along the way.

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