The Real Value of Legal Technology to Lawyers
Last week, we shared the first part of our interview with Leah Presser and discussed reasons why lawyers are slow in adopting legal technology - with the main reason being that they don’t see a reason to change. This week, we at dealcloser, together with Leah Presser want to dig deeper on the true value of legal tech to lawyers. Here’s the second part of our interview.
dealcloser: Do you think lawyers are tired of hearing that they need to adopt technology?
Leah Presser: There are those attorneys who were coaxed out of their shell 10, 15 years ago to sample the new magical wonders of legal technology. Then, their experiences were vastly different from what they were promised. Technologies requiring time-consuming training or prep work and using complicated interfaces were thrust at them with little or no guidance on how to use them effectively. So now, we’re like a repentant ex promising attorneys that it really is different this time, we swear.
DC: What is the main reason lawyers should adopt legal technology? Is it to increase revenue? Or is it to add other value to their firm?
LP: At this point, it’s simply to remain competent and competitive. Would you sign a contract with a lawn care company allowing them to charge you an indeterminable (but definitely enormous) hourly rate to cut your grass every week using only hand-held scissors?
Clients will not continue to pay exorbitant fees for attorneys to manually perform services such as legal research, contract and document review, and drafting basic court documents when legal technologies are readily available to do the same with greater accuracy and efficiency and at a much more affordable price.
Honestly, lawyers are running out of excuses. Tech’s costs savings extend to law firms as well who now no longer have to outlay ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars just to get started. Legal technologies are now more accessible to firms of all sizes through affordable and scalable cloud-based subscription or per usage models.
Legal tech vendors are publishing hordes of free educational materials to help attorneys understand why they should adopt legal technology. Yet, it’s exceedingly difficult to get the attention of legal department and law firm leaders. The buying process can be long and arduous, and purchasing decisions are often made by committee.
It’s an uphill slog, to say the least.
Which is why many legal tech vendors become proponents of mandatory legal tech education. No matter how altruistic vendors are in their educational efforts, deeply held misgivings about their motives can never be entirely eliminated. Attorneys need to hear of and learn about technology from someone other than vendors in order to fully embrace its importance.
DC: How can lawyers use legal technology to build successful relationships with their clients?
LP: Effective communication is at the heart of building relationships, and technology makes it easier for attorneys and clients to stay in touch. However, it's difficult enough as it is for attorneys to separate work from their personal lives. We don't need to add even more ways for clients to gain access to them 24/7! Rather than increasing the frequency of communications, attorneys can use technology to improve the quality of every interaction. Just one example is how helpful it is during a phone call to have software that provides immediate access to all the important details about a client as well as the matter being discussed. There are fewer, "Let me find out and get back to you" delays. And, clients feel much more valued when you and your staff know everything there is to know about them every time they call.
The best way to build great relationships with clients is to provide efficient and effective services. Technology offers an array of helpful advantages such as cost predictability, cost savings, smoother collaborations, more effective data management -- the list goes on and on. Technologies remove barriers such as time and distance in relationships. Software can standardize all types of data, ensuring attorneys access every last byte of information about a case. Technology is also the great equalizer because it allows smaller firms to do the same amount of work just as effectively as big firms.
Which counsel do movers and shakers want to work with: the firm that mails hard copies of a contract out to nine different signatories and takes months to complete a deal? Or the firm that allows all nine to sign electronically from anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes? Clients are much more likely to trust attorneys who recognize the need to become proficient in understanding and using today's technologies. These are the attorneys they will seek to advise and guide them safely into our digital future.
**Leah Presser writes compelling marketing copy and research-backed content legal technology vendors use to win over attorneys, corporate counsel, and top executives. Get persuasive writing that hooks readers in early and builds trust, curiosity, and confidence in your ability to help them succeed at LeahPresser.com.