Last time, I presented a series of tips on choosing technology based on speaking with legal technologists involved with LegalShield’s Elevate conference. Once you have made the decision on which software to purchase, the fun really starts!
Again, it bears repeating that any technology chosen should be simple to use and only purchased once you have reviewed the associated process. When thinking of purchasing a legal practice management system, take the time to map out your workflow with client matters to identify the steps to be automated. For example, are you going to send billings from that system or from your accounting software? Are you in need of an integrated timekeeping solution or will your existing software work with your new practice management choice? Don’t rush that technology choice without taking the opportunity to streamline and review your existing processes with a positive view to change.
Basic project management skills are necessary to lead any technology implementation. That, however, does not necessarily translate into a new hire or expensive consultant. Like the process review outlined above, involving your team so that they can have ownership of the project will help immensely once the system is up and running. Below is valuable advice from seasoned legal technology veterans.
Implement features that you will use
Alexander Verno, Friedman, Framme & Thrush, P.A.: “Look past the bells and whistles and consider what features you need and will actually use. Keep in mind, most software users only regularly use about 20% of a program’s features. Sometimes ‘exciting new features’ touted by sales reps may not be practical or even applicable to your firm.”
Take it slow and steady as far as a pace for the implementation to avoid staff burnout.
Make sure everyone is consistent
Lisa Pansini, Creative Manager at Rocket Matter: “Properly train your staff so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the use and implementation of the technology, i.e. file-naming conventions, workflows, etc.”
As we discussed above, examining pain points, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies before any purchase or implementation is critical.
Train, train, train
Stephen Kane, CEO, FairClaims: “Train, then follow up, follow up, follow up. It takes us all at least two weeks to develop new habits, perhaps longer for legal technology (two-three months for an enterprise). Measure, report, assess, encourage.”
Amy Boley of Thomson Reuters mentioned an important ask from the vendor around training: “Have a plan to train staff utilizing the resources available from the technology provider.”
Document, document, document
Stephen Zetzer, CEO, eWranglers, LLC: “Use standards and process. Document how key functions are done in your firm and reinforce with all staff how to perform key functions and where to store the documents and so on.”
Don’t give up
Lori Gonzalez, President, RayNa Corporation: “If the software has some kinks or issues that need working out, don’t give up. Tech gets better with user feedback so use, give feedback and try again.”
A final comment from Stephen Kane is to take the time to celebrate milestones and success along the way. As always, if you have a technology implementation story, regardless of the outcome, please reach on Twitter @maryjuetten. #onwards.