Adopting new technologies is one of the hottest topics in the legal sector. Law firms cannot help it. Everywhere they turn, legal tech companies are introducing them to new case management applications, artificial intelligence and deep learning tools, etc. You could even say that technology is overwhelming the legal sector. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
Law has historically been slow to adopt technology and the changes that come with it. In fact, the industry has been glacially slow. Yet now there is a risk of the opposite scenario. Technology is coming so hard and fast that law firms do not know how to keep up. They are focusing so much on technology that they are losing touch with the whole point of practicing law.
Is your law firm considering a significant technology upgrade for 2020? If so, here are four surprising ways you can improve on that technology:
1. Humanize It
There is a temptation to view technology as separate from, and superior to, the human beings that use it. This is a mistake in any industry, but it is particularly egregious in law. After all, the practice of law is the practice of serving human beings by providing them with legal advice and representation. Technology is just a tool for providing that service.
Law firms could do themselves and their clients a big favor by humanizing their technology. In other words, new technology should be viewed through the lens of how it can make interaction with clients better. It should be viewed in terms of providing better service that makes clients happy. In the end, it is all about serving the client.
2. Treat Clients like Customers
Much of the technology now coming to the legal sector has its roots in customer relationship management. For example, the NuLaw case management application is built on the Salesforce CRM platform. This is not accidental. Customer relationship management changes the dynamic between service provider and service user. And like it or not, law firms are businesses before anything else. They are operated by providers who seek to sell a service to users.
All of this is to say that you can improve the legal technology you adopt in 2020 by making a concerted effort to treat clients like customers. Clients are not just people who need your services. They are people who can get those services elsewhere. Treat them like customers so that they do not have a reason to go to the competition.
3. Be Willing to Break Tradition
More than one legal analyst has pointed out the reality that tradition is often a barrier to technology in law. However, it doesn’t have to be. The modern, progressive law firm not afraid of embracing the twenty-first century can, and should, be willing to break tradition if doing so means providing better service. Tradition does not have a whole lot of value for its own sake. Why hold on to it if it is preventing your law firm from being the best it can be?
4. Embrace the Collaborative Mindset
Finally, modern technology dispenses with the old-fashioned, top-down structure that dominates so much of American law. Other industries have rid themselves of that top-down structure in favor of a more collaborative environment. The collaborative mindset is one that law firms would do well to adopt. After all, modern legal tech is built on collaborative effort.
Technology is gradually changing the way law firms and corporate legal departments do business. If those in decision-making positions are willing to embrace and improve on technology, it can lead to transformational change.