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Six Ways to Engage Attorneys in the Use of New Technology
I have spent most of my professional career working in the legal industry in finance and IT roles. In addition to my primary responsibilities, I’ve facilitated many new technology implementations. I know the rewards and challenges of collaborating with a broad cross-section of colleagues who have varying levels of comfort with computer applications. Some adopt technology more readily than others.
Law firms realize the greatest value from new technology when users actually use it – and use it well. How can you accelerate the adoption of new technology and the competency of the more reluctant members of your team? Here are six methods I’ve experienced as having the greatest impact on a positive outcome.
1. Apply Top-Down Pressure
We’ve all been motivated to take action when there’s pressure from the top. If you’re implementing an exciting new financial tool and firm management absolutely embraces it, others will too. If the managing partner quotes financial metrics in a meeting, every other attorney is going to want access to those metrics as well. When you get executive endorsement, the desire to use and learn new technology will quickly spread.
2. Give One-on-One Attention
Everyone has a different view of technology. Technophiles in the firm will readily embrace every new app and gadget that comes long. Attorneys who are always traveling, with 60-hour work weeks and chaotic offices may benefit from new technology, but they can’t justify taking the time to learn to use it. Other partners and members of counsel would rather not even think about new technology let alone use it.
No matter the perspective, every attorney can benefit from one-on-one attention when being introduced to a new tool. Techniques such as a screen sharing session or a personal visit can have remarkable results. If you’re rolling out technology to overseas locations or the offices are too far away for a day trip, you can train a super user at the office to perform training. This level of client service may sound exhausting; however, the impact can be transformative and you will strengthen relationships in the process.
3. Hold Internal Meetings
A great way to simultaneously engage firm management and also give personalized attention is to present your new technology in department meetings. If your firm has a technology committee or leadership committee of some sort, even better!
Giving presentations to a group of attorneys is an effective way to deliver training to a large number of people. Also, with the committee or department head in the room, attendees are more likely to pay attention. You can then offer to follow up with personalized training for those who desire it or need more help.
4. Engage Admins
I am sure my attorney friends would not argue when I say that administrative assistants are the backbone of a law firm. If you need your attorneys to know how to use new technology and the technology doesn’t contain confidential information, it’s always beneficial to train admins as well.
An administrative assistant is the person an attorney will go to first when he or she needs support. In many cases, partners and administrative assistants have worked together for decades! Leverage the influence of your administrative assistants. They are powerful partners (pun intended!) when engaging attorneys in new technology.
5. Record Training Sessions
Remember the attorney who works 60 hours a week and never has time to learn anything new? Recorded training sessions can provide knowledge transfer at a time, place, and pace conducive to a busy attorney’s schedule. Leverage the training department (if you have one) to ensure the recorded training is comprehensive, thorough, and is delivered at a good pace. Offer the recordings in addition to the other techniques described above so your attorneys have every opportunity to learn new technology.
6. Leverage Relationships
I am a strong believer in the power of personal relationships. At the end of the day, you know your attorneys best. Leverage your relationships throughout the firm, as well as the tips above, to ensure your technology rollout is a success. New at the firm and don’t have established relationships? This is the perfect opportunity to build them.
What techniques have worked for you when engaging attorneys in the use of new technology? Share in the comments below!