Time to change things up at your firm? FilePro’s Director, Todd Keeler, caught up with Lawyer’s Weekly’s Podcaster, Tom Lodewyke, to discuss industry changes, and how we can capitalise on them.
You can check out the full podcast here or we’ve distilled the top three points for how to drive change and update your processes below:
1. Embrace technology
The legal profession is dynamic and ever-changing. However, it’s fairly evident that in recent times the industry is changing more rapidly than ever before. The Law Society of New South Wales “Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession” report, listed technology as a catalyst for creating the progressive juncture we are currently experiencing.
So, what’s driving this technological revolution?
The lower costs of increased computing power, rise of cloud computing and prominence of mobile devices all have an impact, but ultimately, consumers are the ones behind the wheel.
“A lot of it comes down to client expectations,” says Todd. “Clients these days want to walk into a law firm and see that the lawyers are cutting edge, that they’re thinking about technology, and doing things more efficiently.”
It all comes down to competition. If your firm takes an hour to search through files and locate a piece of information for you, are you going to use them again? No. You’re going to engage a firm who can turn information around in a matter of minutes.
The good news? Technology enables you to more effectively respond to change, e.g. changes to regulations, risks, processes, pricing, competition, client or staff needs. Even better, it’s no longer the exclusive domain of larger or NewLaw firms. Innovating via better use of technology is happening with traditional and smaller law firms whose agility can be a great competitive advantage – streamlining processes.
“If you take a lawyer and you’re freeing them up for half an hour a day because they’re more efficient, that piles up through the week, in the month, and then the year,” says Todd. “If you transfer that across to billable hours, you can see how many opportunities are being lost”.
Rather than messing around with paperwork, free up your human capital. Your team could be adding extraordinary value through other avenues, such as business development or networking.
2. Ensure everyone buys into the change
“If the change is to be successful, then everybody needs to be onboard,” says Todd. “All owners, partners, and directors need to set an example to staff that they support the change through embracing new processes.”
If there isn’t uniformity across the team, the new processes won’t be successful. For the change to be successful, all team members need to be onboard and advocating for the new processes.
“It’s one thing to just purchase a product and say ‘we’re putting it in place and we expect everyone to come on board’. But, if you actually involve all the key players, then that process will run much more smoothly.”
3. Lean on your providers
Todd strongly advocates that if you’re purchasing new software, then lean on the software provider to help you implement those systems.
In his experience, firms struggle to get the most from their existing technology. They spend time and money on trying to figure out how to leverage their systems. This effort takes lawyers away from their matters and clients. This isn’t the exception, but the rule.
In general, the people you engage to implement new systems will have done so a million times before. Use their knowledge. Specifically, look for:
- Onsite project management and training to all staff
- Ability to customise prior to going live eg report layouts, workflow and accounting
- Their experience with mergers/restructures
- How they help existing clients maximise their software e.g. cleaning data and health checks
Ask which other firms they have dealt with, especially those of a similar size or location. Find out what they did that worked, and what they did that didn’t work.
Once implemented, ask them to come back to visit in 3 or 6 months. Ask them what you’re doing well, and what you could be doing better. Ask them “how did we go with the implementation? Are we actually getting runs on the board and having a bit of a win here?”. Lean on them, and learn from them.