Partner Buy-In: The Key to Legal Tech Adoption

May 29, 2020

Partner Buy-In

With remote work being the new normal, and your firm’s employees (and clients) working from home, there’s no doubt that technology adoption has become an obvious need. It’s become clearer than ever that operational efficiency is directly tied to tech.

There are several tech tools and platforms that could help your firm conduct business during these trying times. But are your leaders ready for change?

Video technologies are, of course, a no-brainer. And it’s undeniable that accessing documents and files over a secure network has become imperative during the coronavirus lockdown.

And yet, a (pre-pandemic) survey shows that Legal Tech Adoption had soared into the Top 3 of the Challenges Facing Law Firms heading into 2020:

1. Operational Efficiency 31%
2. Pricing Pressure 29%
3. Technology Adoption or Implementation 26%

No doubt that 26% number jumped substantially when the pandemic hit.

One of the problems facing change is that legal tech entry points to law firms can be anyone from a paralegal, to a junior lawyer, to a CIO, or even a managing partner.

And while any of these people might be responsible for researching and/or introducing a new technology to the firm, studies show that the best way to assure it is to be implemented and adopted by all, is with the ever-elusive “partner buy-in”.

“Leaders wield the influence to embrace change and guide their teams to achieve improved levels of performance”, writes Aderant CEO Deane S. Price in the latest edition of their Business of Law and Legal Technology survey.

Translation: If the partners aren’t sold on the idea, why should we be?

To the survey’s question “Is it challenging to obtain leadership support or partner buy-in for new business of law initiatives or new technology projects?”, the responses paint a grim picture: 75% answered either “Yes” or “Sometimes”.

Comments included “They don’t know about technological advances and have no patience to learn”, and “Very entrenched in their ways. Cost. Time to implement.”

For those in the survey who responded that it was not a problem getting partner buy-in for new tech innovations, the response that could be held up as the bellwether for implementing new technologies was this one: “Our management is progressive. Our managing partner says, ‘If I can do it, we can all do it.’”

The positive news here is that even before the COVID-19 crisis, the tide was turning. According to Fennemore Craig managing partner James Goodnow: “Gen X and Millennial partners are increasingly stepping into leadership roles, which means that large firms are now being shaped by tech natives.”

In addition, the realities and, indeed, necessities of the new “work from home” culture, will undoubtedly have helped push some of the more senior leaders into the technological age.

Korbitec is helping lead the legal tech revolution with indispensable products during the pandemic:

  • ACL5 is a document automation tool that increases productivity by saving time, improving speed and accuracy, and eliminating errors
  • xchangedocs allows the secure transfer of files, remotely, to all parties involved in a legal matter

These types of benefits should be evident enough to win that all-important partner buy-in.

 

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