COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on work practices across every industry, and law is no exception. The pandemic has turbocharged technology adoption across the sector, as law firms and corporate legal departments shift to enabling flexible remote working and exploring virtual ways of delivering services.
The changes brought on by the pandemic present opportunities for law firms to optimise operations, try different things and improve their business resiliency which is paralleled by increased technology investment.
But the big question remains, how exactly do firms determine which investment will yield long term results?
PracticeEvolve have asked several well-respected legal professionals, tech providers and legal IT consultants to share some practical advice on how to select the right vendor and implement technology that will serve law firms in the long-term.
“When it comes to selecting technology, put your teams on the frontline of the decision-making process. Engage the core users in the conversation of how to be more efficient, encourage feedback and applaud when they get actively involved. Also be curious, keep learning and do not hesitate to reach out to other people. There are a lot of great people out there who would be happy to listen and point you in the right direction. We can learn from each other’s mistakes to avoid making them in the future.” – Shani Comben, Partner at Hutchinson Legal
“It’s like a dating game. You are in this process together and on both sides, you and the vendor need to feel comfortable. You must be able to express what you want, and in turn they must be honest about whether their product can solve the problem for you. Go with a provider that will listen to you, assist and guide you.” – Mark Wiggins, CEO at Hall Payne Lawyers
“Deciding which practice management solution to go with is a key long-term decision so it’s important that the selection method is rigorous, includes appropriate due diligence and ensures that the final decision is a sound investment for your firm. The key is understanding and properly articulating the specific problem that you’re trying to solve with that technology. So, look for opportunities to test the waters and pilot the problem. You can do that in effective, low-risk, low-cost ways. And it is a great way to gain momentum towards the innovation you are seeking.” – Jeremy Collins, CIO at LexVeritas
“Don’t rush the decision-making process. Make sure that you are 100% comfortable with the technology as the product, but also, the people behind it and the financial strength of that organization. Do your due diligence on the vendor. Are they going to be around for the long term, do your strategies align, do you share the same values? Remember that you are entering into a long-term partnership, it’s not just transactional.” – Duncan Little, CEO at LexVeritas
“Make sure that the vendor is aligned with you. Do your research and talk to other firms to find out if they are satisfied with the service provided. Also, understand where the product is headed by asking for a roadmap. Cross check that against what they’ve done recently so that you can feel comfortable with what the vendor plans to deliver in the future.” – Steve Tyndall, CEO and Founder at Client Sense
“The devil is in the detail. When changing technology, what you don’t want to do is fix some problems, but cause others. So, don’t skimp on the detail and resource the project properly. The firms that have spent more time in the decision-making process, have a better outcome for the implementation.” – Jackie White, Owner/Director at Jackie White Consulting
“First of all, evaluate all the vendors based on your must-haves and then move on to your nice-to-haves. Shortlist the vendors and make your decision based on their ability to deliver across both areas. Be a human robot in the decision-making process and if you’re not robotically inclined, get somebody in that can support you to do exactly that.” – Steven Dore, Director at Alleviato
“A lot of the time law firms want to change practice management systems as a catalyst for change itself. In actuality, they are trying to adjust processes and they think that changing technology will help them do that. In my experience, law firms use about 10% – 15% of what their current practice management system can do. My advice would be to analyze your existing system first. See if you could utilize it better.” – Chris Kilpatrick, Owner/Director at Chris Kilpatrick Consulting