How Law Firm Administrators Can Implement New Technology

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how law firm admins can spearhead change

As a law firm administrator, you manage the processes, systems, and technology at your firm. This varied portfolio of responsibilities makes you the best person at your law firm to know what’s missing. 

Accordingly, law firm administrators and managers have invaluable insights when evaluating new technology for their firm. But what’s the most effective way law firm administrators can persuade partners to adopt the best tech solutions for the firm?

Firm administrators often see the value in legal technology like Clio. But it can be challenging to get law firm partners on board. By researching and sharing legal technology recommendations through a formal plan and proposal, firm administrators can convey their ideas to their supervisors more effectively.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how law firm office managers and admins can convince firm partners to implement new legal technology. Also, we’ve included the best practices for researching tech solutions and creating a transition and implementation plan to communicate your proposal. We hope this will help you convince your boss to adopt new legal technology that can drive success at your firm. 

Focus on the benefits of the new legal software

There are many tech options available to law firms, but that doesn’t mean your firm will benefit from adopting every new technology you come across. Focus on the quality of benefits (tangible and intangible) and how they fit your firm’s needs. 

As our guide to law firm management explains, it’s best practice to have a clear idea of what problem the solution is trying to solve when implementing change at a law firm. To determine if a tech solution is the right solution, define the existing pain points at your firm. Once you can clearly outline a problem that needs solving, you can better assess if a tech solution will alleviate the problem for your firm.

For example, you may notice that your existing billing system is inefficient, time-consuming, and prone to error. Technology like Clio Manage could be a win for your firm.  Clio Manage could help with your billing issues as it streamlines billing with tools like automated payment plans, online payments, and time and expense tracking. 

If you find a new legal tech product that addresses a pain point at your firm, look at the system you’re currently using. How does this new technology compare? If the difference isn’t significant, then it may not be worth bringing to your boss.

For more legal tech tips for law firm administrators, read our post here.

Do your research

person typing on a laptop

Once you’ve decided to look into a legal software solution for your firm, it’s time to research it thoroughly. Document your findings as you go—this will save you time later if you decide to create a proposal for your boss. Also consider the following tips:

  • Learn how it works. You don’t necessarily have to become an expert spokesperson for the technology. But taking the time to understand how the software works is key. Look for resources to help you with this. For example, Clio offers a free intro webinar to show you how the software can help your firm. In addition to a basic understanding of the technology, consider factors like security, useful integrations, and support
  • Make a pros and cons list. Make sure you thoroughly understand the pros and cons of the new software. Consider factors like cost, ease of use, benefits, updates, and data migration.
  • Check out the competition. Armed with your pros and cons lists, compare the technology with other similar tech options to see if there’s a better fit for your firm.
  • Get a free demo. Want to see how a tech solution works? Many legal technology solutions offer a free demo of the software. A personalized demonstration can help answer specific questions you may have for the technology vendor.

Conduct a SWOT analysis

Analyzing the legal software’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) can help you decide if you should move forward with the software. 

The SWOT analysis process requires asking essential questions and collecting data for points under each of the four categories. Once complete, you should have a clear picture of a solution’s potential. A completed SWOT analysis will better inform you about the risks and benefits to consider.

Additionally, a SWOT  analysis is an excellent way to collect data, which will be important when presenting a new legal technology to your boss. After all, nothing speaks louder than concrete numbers. Also, your law firm’s partner(s) will likely be interested in the following when making their decision:

  • How much money and time the new software can save? (Strength)
  • How difficult and time-consuming will it be to implement the new technology (Weakness)
  • How much potential increase in profits and/or revenue can the new software generate? (Opportunity)
  • What risks are there in adopting the new software? (Threat)

Learn more about how to conduct a SWOT analysis.

Create a legal technology transition and implementation plan

To make it easier for your law firm’s staff to adapt to change, present a clear picture of the current situation. Include the pain points, potential solution, how to implement that solution, and what to expect once your firm switches to the new legal software. You can accomplish this by mapping out a transition and implementation plan. 

Your plan should include proposed answers for questions around how you will implement the technology at your firm, such as:

1. What will the transition/migration period look like? 

If you transfer your law firm’s data to a new legal software, you need to have a plan and a supporting team to accomplish this quickly, securely, and efficiently. 

For example, Clio offers comprehensive migration services and data migration support. Whether you’re moving to Clio from a manual spreadsheets system, a server-based solution, or another cloud-based solution, a dedicated Migration Specialist will work with your firm to help transfer your data securely and quickly. You could also plan to work with a Clio Certified Consultant (more on this below).

2. How will you encourage your law firm’s staff and partners to adopt the new legal software? 

law firm staff and partners

As Matt Homann, former lawyer-turned-CEO of a design firm discusses in this interview on change management for law firms, change can be a bit of a paradox for many law firms. 

As Matt says, “People don’t want to be changed because they lose something. They lose knowledge with an old way of doing things. They lose power. They lose status. They lose comfort. They lose the ability to do something in a simple way, even if it fundamentally is more complicated.”

With this in mind, be prepared to teach others how to use the new software. Teaching others could mean preparing yourself to teach your law firm’s staff and partners. Or, you could assign this responsibility to another staff member, using the legal software’s account manager or migration support.

3. Who will be responsible for what? 

Be clear about who will be responsible for each aspect of the transition, so there aren’t problems with miscommunication and gaps when you take on the new tech.

4. What would a realistic timeline look like? 

During your research into the new legal technology, you should establish how long it will take to realistically transition. Consider the time your firm will need from the deciding to adopt the new legal software to when your firm will be fully up and running—factor in considerations like data migration and teaching staff.

Document your findings

Doing a thorough analysis of a potential new technology is only half of the necessary preparation to do if you want to recommend the new software to your law firm. To present your technology solution more effectively, you need to record your findings in a formal document.

Your formal proposal for adopting a new legal software at your firm could include:

  • Summaries and findings from your research (including costs)
  • Your SWOT analysis
  • Your transition and implementation plan

If possible, you could also include your assessment of the potential ROI of the new software in your proposal.

Present your proposal

presenting a business proposal
Once you thoroughly research, plan, and document your proposal, the next step is to present your proposal to the decision-makers at your firm formally.

Set a meeting with your boss. If possible, invite other law firm staff to listen to your proposal. Engaging other staff members can be useful as the new software will address pain points they also experience.

Come prepared with your plan and documentation. Also, prepare to discuss potential questions about your proposal and the new legal tech software. 

Consider working with a legal technology consultant

If your proposal is successful and you get the buy-in for new tech from your boss at the firm, congratulations! You’ll be eager to move forward. But remember to use your implementation plan, and consider working with a technology consultant. While there is always an inevitable learning curve and transition period when implementing new tech, if you’ve done the prep and have the right support, the migration process will run as smoothly as possible. 

For example, suppose you’re adopting Clio at your law firm. In that case, Clio’s Certified Consultant Program can connect your firm with consultants and professionals who can help your practice get up and running. 

Law firm administrators can spearhead change at law firms 

Law firm office administrators can play an integral role in supporting their firms—and driving change. 

For example, suppose you’re a firm administrator tasked with evaluating potential legal tech solutions for your law firm. Or perhaps you believe a new legal software will help your law firm streamline workflows and improve revenue. Know that you can make a difference in your firm’s future success. While conducting proper research, preparing a plan, and making a proposal to your boss regarding new technology takes time and effort, it can pay off in the long run.

Remember that your opinion is important, and preparation is critical: If you prepare with research, analysis, and a plan, your recommendation will be so much more valuable.

Categorized in: Technology

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