Implementing Technology: Still Not for the Faint of Heart, Part II

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.

Implementing Technology

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.

About Mary Juetten

Mary Juetten
Mary Juetten is the founder and CEO of Traklight and the co-conspirator behind Evolve Law. She specializes in helping companies in transition or startup create sustainable, operational, and financial growth. Her financial credentials and legal degrees provide a foundation for consulting on business or practice improvement. Mary created the only self-guided risk management software platform that creates a custom business risk and intellectual property (IP) strategy and automates the client question and intake process for business, IP, and startup or venture attorneys. Mary is an international writer, who contributes to Forbes, the ABA's Law Technology Today, GoDaddy Garage, and the Lawyerist plus wrote KPIs for Small Law Firms for Thomson Reuters; speaker; and mentor. Mary is on the GLSA Board and is a LegalShield Access Advocate.

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