The Un-Billable Hour
Anthony Seale is the founder and CEO of Legatics, a legal transaction management platform. While seeking an...
Isabel Parker is the executive director at The Digital Legal Exchange. She is committed to driving change...
Christopher T. Anderson has authored numerous articles and speaks on a wide range of topics, including law...
Let’s look at your law firm’s culture when it comes to tech. It’s bottom up and top down, a full circle. You can’t delegate this stuff to one department or one level. Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace efficiencies. Be better. It’s not easy, but you can do this.
Guests Anthony Seale and Isabel Parker understand today’s tech better than most, and they never stop innovating. They’ve seen law firms that embrace technology and process management to improve not only the bottom line but also client satisfaction. Get better results and happier clients with tech. Listen to younger associates, ask what you don’t know. You are never too successful to get on this train. But where to start?
In this episode:
Special thanks to our sponsors Belay, Lawyaw, Lawmatics, and Lawclerk.
“Firms of the Future: Overcoming the Barriers to Legaltech Adoption,”
Managing your law practice can be challenging. Marketing, time management, attracting clients and all the things besides the cases that you need to do that aren’t billable. Welcome to this edition of The Unbillable Hour, the law practice advisory podcast. This is where you’ll get the information you need from expert guests and host, Christopher Anderson, here on Legal Talk Network.
Christopher T. Anderson: Welcome to The Un-Billable Hour. I am your host, Christopher Anderson. And today’s episode is about reduction. I mean, in particular, we’re discussing the introduction and employment of technology and technology in this context is writ large, technology being anything that enables your team including yourself to work more efficiently, more productively of employing this technology into your law firm business and how to do it right. If you remember, of course, in the main triangle of what it is that a law firm business must do, we’ve got to acquire new clients. We call that acquisition. We got to produce the results that we promised those clients. That’s production. And, of course, we have to achieve the business and professional results for the owners. And, of course, you have to be in the middle of all that for better or worse the center of that triangle is you.
But today, we are going to talk about production and we’re going to talk discuss how being deliberate about the culture of the utilization of technology can make or break the return you expect to get on your technology investment and to help me with that conversation or actually to really enlighten me in that conversation are my guests today, two guests, Anthony Seale. Anthony is a CEO of Legatics, which is a legal transaction management platform and Isabel Parker who is a legal digital transformation expert. And today’s episode of The Un-Billable Hour is the culture of technology. And once again, I am absolutely pleased to introduce my guests, Anthony Seale of Legatics and Isabel Parker, legal digital transformation expert who’s also the executive director of the Digital Legal Exchange and the author of ‘Successful Digital Transformation in Law Firms: A Question of Culture’. So, first of all, Anthony, Isabel, welcome to the show.
Anthony Seale: Thank you.
Isabel Parker: Please to be here.
Christopher T. Anderson: Oh, it’s my pleasure to have. So, before we get started in this very interesting topic. Anthony, I gave a very brief introduction. Can you talk to us a little bit about what is Legatics and why you got involved with those in building that business?
Anthony Seale: Absolutely. It’s like I was a finance lawyer myself and before I was a finance lawyer, I did satellite data analysis. So, I was quite an unusual person to become a lawyer and when I did, I think I started thinking about how I could do my legal work in new ways. I thought in terms of structure. I thought in terms of automation. I thought in terms of programming and I think a lot of the lawyers around me thought in terms of client relationship management, attention to detail and literary analysis and I think I’ve been starting to think about that work in a different way. I thought there was a huge opportunity to project manage legal transactions in a better way. Very often, they’re managed using enormous tables in Microsoft Word. It’s very inefficient. Clients don’t know what’s happening on their legal transaction until they’re sent some kind of table of documents that might be being produced. You’ll have very long calls to run through who’s doing what next and things become very disorganized and very expensive for the clients as well.
So, Legatics as a transaction management platform is a place online where people can come together. They can do their legal transaction. They can supply documents that satisfy obligations. They can see the progress of that legal transaction and we also start to automate certain tasks that lawyers are doing, like the production of closing sets, like the management of signature pages within a legal transaction.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic! Well, thank you. Isabel, I introduced you as a legal digital transformation expert and, well, I think everybody listening knows what each of those four words means. I’m not sure everybody understands what happens when you put them all together. Can you spill a little bit about what you do and how you came to do it?
Isabel Parker: Yeah, I can certainly have a go. Like Anthony, I started life as a big know and where, a finance lawyer as well in a larger magic circle law firm and I experienced a lot of the pain points that Antony described as well. So, I’m fully conversant with the frustrations of working in an analog way in an increasingly digital world. I then moved out of private practice to become Chief Legal Innovation Officer of my law firm, one of the early roles created in that space —
— and became responsible for helping the law firm to change the way it works to put it very, very simply through using technology, different processes, being more customer centric, working more of a multidisciplinary way. The one you described me as a legal digital transformation expert and thank you for that, I suppose what I really mean is looking at how lawyers deliver to their clients currently and how we might improve the way that they deliver to their clients by using a combination of technology, of process, of people and of different ways of working challenging the established law firm paradigm.
Christopher T. Anderson: Excellent. You’ve put this all into a book, the ‘Successful Digital Transformation and Law Firms: A Question of Culture’ and when was that published?
Isabel Parker: That was published last year, actually, November last year. So, it’s in all good bookshops now should you wish to avail yourself of it.
Christopher T. Anderson: So, make note everybody. If it’s not in your bookshop, it’s not a good bookshop. So, you should find it. Alright, let’s get into it. So, we’re talking about legal technology and the first thing is to define what that means, right? So, when you say legal technology, people immediately think, oh, you mean my case management system, oh, you mean the computers, but I think we’re talking about something bigger than that and then being able to actually incorporate that technology into the firm. So, let’s start with you, Isabel since you wrote the book. When you talk about bringing the digital transformation, will you talk about bringing technology into law firm? What are some of the most important or impactful technologies that could be brought into a law firm and that you’re writing about?
Isabel Paker: It’s a great question, but in a way, it’s a very tricky question to answer.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yes.
Isabel Parker: When we think about technology as applies to the legal profession, we could be thinking about something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or a simple as a Word document all the way up to something as sophisticated as the AI that’s just been introduced to a ChatGPT, for example. So, it spans a huge spectrum of different possibilities. Instead of thinking in terms of tools or individual technologies, it’s best I think and so you can certainly comment on this to think in terms of client outcomes. Ultimately, what lawyers are trying to do is to make the experience for their clients better that can be cheaper, becoming more efficient.
It can be more seamless, but certainly using technology is just one way of making sure the client experience is improved and you switch from a — what has been he’s talking about analog delivery model to a much more digital delivery model which clients themselves will be experiencing in their own businesses because everything is digitizing and in their own personal lives because even in our own home lifestyle personalize. Everything is digitizing for us, too. So, it’s a way of lawyers making himself more relevant, leveraging all kinds of different technologies for better client outcomes. But Anthony, I’m sure you can articulate it much better than I can.
Anthony Seale: I think it’s really interesting you say it like that. I think as a technology company, we’ve always come at it from the angle of let’s solve problems for lawyers. We’ve never said we’re a workflow company. We never said we’re an AI company. We’ve said we’re a company that’s been built by lawyers who understand the problems that we’re trying to solve and we’ll use whatever bits of technology we need to solve practical problems. So, when I pitch the lawyers we say, we’ll help you finish your transactions faster, we’ll help you organize them, we’ll help you go home earlier, we’ll help you give your clients a clear online view as to where their legal transactions are and I don’t come along and I don’t say I’m going to use a bit of AI here or a bit of pattern recognition here or a bit of kind of workflow organization here. We go in and we say let’s solve your legal problem and I think that’s really important part of a successful approach.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. So with that, I think all those goals are laudable, right, going home earlier and which really just means getting being more productive with your time, getting the same amount of work done in less time, making the client experience better. Certainly, particularly can be used or they’re using this in their businesses, but it’s also how everybody’s gotten used to consuming other services. We consume banking services digitally. We’re Telehealth thing. We’re doing everything digitally. But so, those are the benefits. Let’s just start with though overcoming the obstacle. So, let me start with Anthony like these benefits all sound very compelling, yet there is resistance. What blocks technology from being used in law firms and why are we lagging?
Anthony Seale: I think the number one thing that blocks technology in law firms is culture and I think you can think of it, we hear stories of juniors who want to bring something in that perhaps makes their life better and they might be even scared to suggest something in a meeting.
Is there a culture within a law firm that says that ideas from senior people are more likely to be correct than ideas from junior people. Do they feel empowered to try something new, to change something to deliver a service to a client in a new way that might be different. Maybe, it’s even a little bit risky. It’s only going to be new, but it might be better or we might even see seniors who are saying, we want to change the way en masse as to how we deliver our service to law firms using technology. How do we get everyone else on board? How do we get all of our lawyers to change really ingrained working habits and practices? And again, that comes back to culture. So, we build all this technology. It has all of the benefits that you suggest and then it comes down to that people part and that’s when things get really, really difficult and I think overcoming that and thinking about how we can overcome that is a huge benefit to bringing that technology in.
Christopher T. Anderson: So, Isabel, what about that people part? Because I think that’s really where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? I mean, the impetus is there and the technology is there and I love the value approach that we’ve been speaking about. But what about the people? That’s a difficult one to overcome.
Isabel Parker: I agree and I think uniquely so in a law firm environment. Anybody who’s worked in the change role within a law firm will tell you there’s something about the lawyer’s psyche that makes it quite tricky to push fundamental change through a partnership structure and that’s not knocking lawyers. I’m on myself and Anthony as well. But lawyers, although as individuals, they can be very dynamic and thoughtful and risk-taking. Once they come together in an organization, in a structure, that tends sometimes to be a little bit less than the sum of its parts and to become rather unwieldy, slow to change and resistance to change. A good example of what I’m talking about might be a referred to ChatGPT at the beginning of this podcast which is, as I’m sure you’ll know sort of new large language model that’s can produced by open AI to allow people to interrogate an AI model and have a very conversational kind of chatbot type experience of the back of it to auto generate information, and the reaction to that particular piece of technology in the legal community has been really interesting.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this too, Anthony, but lawyers tend to do two things with technology. They tend to either demonize it. This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to us. We’ll then be put out of a job. It’s the end of our career as know it or they mythologize it so they make it the answer to all their prayers and I think we’ve seen that very, very clearly in reaction to ChatGPT. Whereas in reality, technology is neither something to demonize almost on the ties. It’s simply another tool to be used to do your job more effectively, to solve those client problems, to enable your lawyers to go home a little earlier. But for some reason, it maybe the training, it may be the psyche, it may be something to do with the structure of the law firm partnership. Lawyers are quite resistant to embrace technology as part of their normal working lives. It is a very big challenge.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. I think it does make sense with our training, right? So yeah, here we got three lawyers here who are willing, right? But the training is precedent. The training is respect precedent. That’s the core of our common law structure that even though we are a few thousand miles apart from share. And so, we need to overcome and that’s a great place to stop for a second. We are going to hear a word from the wonderful people who make this show possible. And then, we’re going to come back and Isabel, I’m going to direct that question back at you again, but this time I’m going to ask you, okay, if that’s the culture because I think what we’ve done in the first part of the show here is we’ve described the problem and talk a little bit about the opportunity. But let’s start talking as we go about the methodology. How do we do this? But first, we’ll hear from our sponsors.
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And we’re back with the Un-Billable hour. We’ve been talking with Anthony Seale and Isabel Parker. We’ve been talking about technology and its relationship with law firms, the purpose of it and some of the challenges with implementing it because of the nature of lawyers in the culture that exists in the firm. So, what I said we’re going to do when we come back and I want to start with Isabel is say, okay. That is the challenge. I agree with you and I think everybody that’s listening can say, yeah, that makes sense. That’s what I see in my business. So, this is where the legal technology or digital — I forget how I introduced you, the digital transformation expert. How do we do it? How do we overcome this obstacle? Where do we start? Let’s go there. What’s the first thing we need to do with the law firm in order to enhance the likelihood of adoption and realizing the returns on those technology investment?
Isabel Parker: Well, we talked a bit earlier about the people and cultural elements of training technology adoption in law firms and they are incredibly important. But hand in hand with those people elements goes structural elements. You can’t divorce the two. There are a number of reasons why structurally it’s difficult to drive change to a law firm. For example, partnerships. In Germany, we’re talking about law firm partnerships depend on a consensus-based decision making. That’s where everybody has to agree before something gets done. In a corporate structure, of course, it’s much more commander control. Because of this consensus space is that you’re making structure, you have to be able to persuade pretty much everyone or the vast majority of people in your organization, however big or small that might be that this is the right thing to do. Lawyers are skeptical by nature for precisely the reasons that you have already called out. It’s the backup precedent. They like to be sure that everything has as a forerunner that they can be sure they’re making the right decision.
So, if I were advising a law firm of whatever size to start thinking about technology adoption, I would say start with a business case. That sounds very boring, but it’s very, very important. When I talk about business case, I mean a document it can be very light that sets out clearly the costs, the total costs and the anticipated benefits of adopting a particular technology or changing a particular way of working, sets out KPIs to track whether that’s going to work and incentivize people to adopt it. Because once lawyers can see that there really is a clear and reasoned case for adopting this kind of technology, they’re much more likely to get on board.
And another element that we brought into that business case is to hear from clients themselves about what they would like to see from their law firm, to ask them what’s good about the experience that you have with our law firm, what’s challenging about it, what would you like to change, start to bringing that client voice about how their businesses are changing and how they want to change the way that they’re served by their external advisors and factor that into the business case as well. So, I think something that’s tangible clear and sets out the cost of benefits in a way that everybody can understand, can be incredibly compelling.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, and I think that client voice also can indicate something that it runs against the grain of the conservative mindset that law firms tend to have but that is — like actually by doing nothing, you could lose these clients. Like this is not — it’s not like we’ve all been talking so far in this about, oh, it’ll be you go home earlier, your clients will have a better experience, it makes things easier, better, more productive, but I think gone are the days where Standing Still is, okay, right? That in a risk analysis, change is important. Anthony, what do you see in that regard? Like how, how does this sit on the risk side of the balance sheet?
Anthony Seale: The fastest we’ve ever seen anyone buy our software is where they said, a client said that we used it on another deal with another law firm and that deal went really well and we really enjoyed the experience. We had in the digital space of that transaction and what are you guys doing here? And I’ve never seen a law firm look to procure something so quickly. Clients move around a lot faster than they ever have done before and I’m thinking about particularly client technology that’s client facing and what client think of your services is really, really important element of this.
Christopher T. Anderson: Into that point, like also what Isabel was talking about regarding the resistance, the one thing I think that we didn’t hit on was, okay, we got on the precedent and why lawyers are resistant to change and I think that makes sense. There’s also this other thing, particularly in the larger law firms, but I think it’s really across the board. Lawyers aren’t measured in any way by their willingness to adopt technology. And the most important measure, no matter what other measures there might be are, they’re billable hours, right? How much did you bill? How much did you bring into the firm? How does the adoption technology view when I could honestly always look you in the face and say, I don’t have — I’m billing X hours. I don’t have time to be messing around and I certainly can’t afford for technology to slow me down. How do you address that concern? Because I think that’s real.
Isabel Parker: I think you’re quite right to point out that the billable hour level is a challenge in itself to technology adoption particularly. If you’re thinking only in terms of technology for greater efficiency. There’s an argument you continuously hear from absolute traditional partners that anything that makes it more efficient, needs to be bill less, which means you make less money. So therefore, why would we put ourselves out of business? And of course, that’s a valid argument that should be taken into consideration. But it somewhat misses the point. Technology could be leverage for a number of different uses. And then putting together a business case efficiency is just one of the benefits. There’s also revenue generation. If you’re using technology in a smart way so that you can really understand your underlying data as a law firm, that can be used to the client’s advantage, that can be monetized and could be all generating in itself. Digital products can be built with particularly with a number of these no code tools. We bring the lawyers in to help you to develop digital products that you can commercialize to your clients for example.
So, technology could also be a big revenue generator. And it also will take you closer to your clients. Very, very important if you continue as a law firm to deliver in an analog way, you’ll become increasingly disenfranchised from your clients who themselves will be digitizing and then you can’t be trusted advisor anymore and someone else will sweep to take up the V oxygen. So, I think thinking about digital transformation, as a really broad holistic and fundamental change of (00:22:01), that can both generate revenue and bring efficiency benefits is really, really critical.
Christopher T. Anderson: Make sense. Okay, so let’s get down to brass tacks. I think we’ve sold — we’ve identified the problem. We sold the need to overcome it. And you know, how we need to see things differently. Because the tradition way of seeing the billable hours, primary the traditional way of being fearful of change is needs to be overcome. But let’s get brass tacks now. So, what are — like we need to change — first of all, do we need to change the culture before we can introduce the technology? Is that the right step and then I’ll follow that up. Let’s just go there first. Is it culture first?
Anthony Seale: I think you can do both at the same time. So, I don’t think you can change culture in a vacuum. I think you need to show some action to show that your culture is changing and bringing in a piece of technology is a perfect opportunity to do that. I think if you take that document there is about suggested you write as to what are the benefits of this technology and you take that to the top of the law firm, and you get people at the top of that law firm to role model what the change they want to see in that law firm. That is often one of the most successful ways of changing a law firm culture that I’ve seen.
Isabel Parker: Yeah. I would agree with that. I think you need the top down and try to — and you hear it a lot in the bottom as well. Because a change effort needs to be atomized across the whole organization. It can’t be delegated to the IT group or the innovation group. It won’t be affected or embedded if that’s the case. So, I obviously agree in a role modeling at the top. We also — my previous law firm had a lot of success by drawing in our younger associates who were very enthusiastic about using technology who are somewhat frustrated about the long hours they were working. Sometimes (00:23:51) when they could see better ways of doing things. Bringing these individuals and these associates in as intrapreneurs. If you like can be very, very effective way of going the tentacles of the change right across the organization.
So, that’s method that’s adopted by quite a number of law firms that intrapreneurship kind of model. So, you’ve got the top and the bottom working together. Then you just have to worry about the fat middle that may not want to change because, you know, frankly let’s be honest, law firms have been doing very, very well. We wish the world too well, but they have been doing very, very well over the past few years. And for many who are, you know, maybe five years away from retirement, the kind of investment that it might require for wholesale digital change can be relatively unappetizing. So, there is a layer that you really have to think about whether you work hard to move or whether you just let it sit there.
Christopher T. Anderson: That makes total sense and to at point. Because some will be retiring. I want to talk about on the other side of this break, which we’re about to take. Longer term cultural change, right? So yeah, we can change. We can involve the younger people we have in the business and we can also lead from the top and hopefully actually find some leadership in the middle as well.
But longer term also, maybe we need to pay attention to who we’re bringing into the business. Get a little diversity with that. But let’s talk about that as soon as we come back from this break.
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Christopher T. Anderson: We are back again with Isabel Parker and Anthony Seal. And we’ve been talking about adoption technology into law firms. And we’ve talked about — we’ve been going through some of the solutions leading from the top bringing in the younger people in the business who might already have ideas and certainly familiarity with using technology to make their work more efficient and their lives more efficient. But so, I posed the question before we broke about. What about longer-term change and how paying some attention to recruiting and who we bring into the business? So, what about that? How can that be part of this solution?
Anthony Seale: Well, I’m someone who didn’t just go and do study law and then become a lawyer. And I think had going and doing satellite data analysis gave me a completely different perspective as to how I could go about my legal work. And I think if we start to think, how do we stop being so specific about sort of hiring people who are very like us within the law firm and he think like us who think like the status quo and start to think, has somebody got a life experience or a career that they’ve had elsewhere or something that else — that’s going to give him a fresh perspective. Because I think hiring a more diverse range of people who bring a more diverse range of thinking can start to help us break down the status quo and start to think how do we deliver some of our legal services in new ways that are going to really impress our clients.
Isabel Parker: Yeah, absolutely. And if we look at it from the client angle again, I hear a lot from general counsel that what they’re looking for is from their external counsel, is not just the best quality technical legal skills which are assumed obviously. They’re looking for more than that because there are no sure legal problems anymore. If you think about a big litigation, that’s as much a data problem as it is a legal problem. You need the legal expertise, but you also need other skills to crack that problem the most effective way. So, the days of simply recruiting for technical skills I think are long gone. Although they do persist in law firms, simply because of the partnership model and the consensus-based decision making that that requires, is much easier to operate in that environment if everybody thinks pretty much the same. Because you can trust your father partner, because they’d been to your law school or they’re the same color as you are, or they wear the same suits and that kind of perpetuate itself over time. And these two are homogeneity of human capital in law firms, which isn’t the most helpful thing for driving innovation and change.
Christopher T. Anderson: Right.
Isabel Parker: But Anthony’s point, absolutely, we need more diversity and that starts with recruitment. I think it’s been proven time and time again there’s a correlation between increased cognitive diversity and better financial performance in organizations. The law firms would do well to sort of consider that and start to think about the pool for which they recruit and the way in which they bring people through the ranks, who they make partner. Should it just be lawyers or could it be came from other allied business support professions, for example. But certainly, more multi-disciplinary working, more cognitive diversity should lead to better results and greater innovation.
Anthony Seale: I agree. I think there’s a risk that lawyers only trust lawyers as well. I think law firms — and it does help when you get to certain level of scale. But I think even the kind of admin assistant could start to perform other functions beyond their role as well. I think lawyers need to start to really trust and respect other disciplines like data analysis, like technology expertise
like people who can develop new products, services, whether that’s with a low code solution on the side of their legal job or whether that’s launching a whole new product. And I think trusting people who have non-legal expertise as well is critical to changing and creating more innovative law firms that are going to produce new and exciting things for clients.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah. Which kind of like leads me to thinking about, you know, we’ve spent almost all the time talking about people, which is important. And how that mindset, how the culture, how the habits of lawyers and the other team are important. But to borrow the words from, it’s an American television show called The Prophet, Marcus Lemonis. He looks at people and process, right? So, when analyzing a business, what about process here. Because surely introducing technology each different new facet of technology doesn’t need a new bespoke methodology of introduction. Is there a process that could be formalized for capturing new ideas, bringing them into the firm and actualizing them?
Isabel Parker: I believe that that’s absolutely essential. If you simply light a fire under the firm for lots of ideation and have no way of dealing with what comes at you, it will start to harm the reputation of the team that’s leading the innovation or the change. And that we just don’t get things done. So boring as it may seem. I believe that having a defined process in place will help to move things along more quickly and certainly at my former law firm, we spent a lot of time putting that in place. It’s a challenge though. Because lawyers don’t actually like crisis very much. So, don’t need to generalize that, everybody. But I do think little (00:31:50) kind of think that’s true. Would you think that into a process somehow goes against the grain of what lawyers think there are about? So, imposing that process was a really tricky thing to do but it gives much more transparency. It means that when ideas come into the hopper if you like instead of the most powerful partner or the person that shouts the loudest, just banging the table. You’re able to prioritize those ideas on the basis awesome defined criteria that align to the strategy of your firm. So, is this a practice area were looking to grow? Is this a geography we’re looking to grow? Is this an important client for us? Does it serve more than one client?
And approaching the processing in that way, really does speak things up. And I’m sure and to need that in your sort of line of business where you’re in a technology company effectively. That kind of much more agile way of working is something that you’ve had to put in place to work effectively to deliver to your clients and I think law firms would do well to think about mirroring that.
Anthony Seale: Yeah. I think it’s been really interesting to see who gets involved with some of those groups within law firms as well. And some really interesting things I’ve seen is where law firm sets up like an innovation group or how can we deliver our service better group. And they include not just senior people, they include junior people in the organization as well. Who actually, delivering some of the kind of more routine administrative tasks and actually have a lot of perspective on the ground as to how are they going about that work. And I think that allows ideas to come from everywhere. And I think having the formal structure there also give those people permission to have ideas and permission to say, look, this part of the process, you know, creating a closing set is actually taking loads and loads of time and it’s really important and it gives them a forum to be listened to. And I think when you start to improve all of those smaller parts of the law firm, then you can start to deliver a better client service and do some exciting things.
Going back to what we said earlier. I think clients want law firms to change probably more than law firms realize. I think clients are in the business of usually changing a lot more rapidly than law firms are. And I think they probably want lawyers to be doing this a little bit more than the lawyers realize.
Isabel Parker: I completely agree. And a lot of the DCs that I talked to will say precisely that. And being able to demonstrate to your clients that you have a process in place to take ideas that come from clients or come from associates or partners, wherever that may be. And that they are prioritized in the right way and able to be brought to fruition quickly and effectively for the benefit of the client, really in the client voice were appropriate. That’s a really compelling story for law firms to tell their clients. They can only be a good thing.
Christopher T. Anderson: Yeah, absolutely. The attention to and acknowledgement of the fact that the clients really at the end of the day, drive it and that there is competition. And that some law firms are getting the message should continue drive this. So, you know, the market is in fact, competitive and we’ve established. I think that the culture in the firms needs to change. And that there are practical steps to take. Isabel, you know, just so we can — if you can give a quick hit like for a key takeaway.
I law firm leaders, whether big firms or small firms want to learn more about how to do this. Because obviously 30 minutes is not enough. It’s just teasing. What are the resources they can look for to learn more about this?
Isabel Parker: In terms of resources, I think it starts with a realization internally with the leadership of whatever size is the firm that you have. That cultural change is a deliberate act. Can’t just throw up their hands and say, well, culture is what it is, how we do things, how things are done around here. Culture can be managed deliberately and it needs to be managed deliberately. So, recognition from the leadership that they have a responsibility for shaping the culture of the firm. And for creating a culture, in which innovation can flourish, which means psychological safety, IE, allowing ideas to surface from the bottom upwards and not just, you know, the highest paid person’s opinion, making people free to speak, creating more diverse workforce by bringing people from different walks of life and different backgrounds, and listening to their voices.
These are all deliberate actions that could be taken to improve the culture of the famine to manage it and to manage it for the client benefit. And clients will love to hear that, that all law firms are focused on. So, I would say a deliberate conscious leadership effort.
Christopher T. Anderson: Great. Thank as well Isabel and Anthony. I’m going to give you the last word here. So, you know, if you’re talking to the listeners of this program or other law firm leaders. Where do they start? How do they get started acknowledging and moving forward to be more effective leaders of culture and technology?
Anthony Seale: I think you can start small. I think you can take a technology project and use that as a way of changing your culture. I think taking the ideas out of that funnel, taking them to the top of the organization saying, yes, this is a positive thing that we want to be doing and then role modeling those changes within the organization can make a huge amount of progress. And I think talking to non-lawyers and technology experts can be really insightful as well. And if there’s one group of people that will talk to you to know and probably because they want to sell to you the set of vendors and they’ll happily spend time talking to and sharing their expertise as to how they’ve seen law firm successfully adopt technology, and what some of the challenges are and how they can be overcome.
We do things like we produce an e-book called “Firms of the Future”, overcoming barriers to legal technology adoption. You can download it from our website. We are always happy to have conversations with people about how they can change their law firm and how they can successfully bring technology in as are many legal technology experts. So, the resources, the advice is out there and I think that can really help you start to think about how you can change things within your own law firm.
Christopher T. Anderson: Great. Well, thank you. And that is going to wrap up this edition of The Un-Billable Hours. So, I thank all our listeners for listening. So, Anthony, you just mentioned a couple of things but if so if people want to know about that website or follow up with you on anything we’ve talked about. Where can they find that information?
Anthony Seale: Sure. So, if you get to legatics.com you can download eBooks on this topic and on other topics as well. You can also talk to our team members who’d be really happy to pick up the conversation about how you can bring technology into your law firm and change the culture of your law firm to make that technology purchases success as well.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. And Isabel, as a legal digital transformation expert, how can people follow up with you and learn more about what you’ve got to offer in that arena?
Isabel Parker: Well, feel free to link me and should you wish to. I’m happy to speak to anybody who’s interested in learning more. And of course, you could always buy a copy of my wonderful book available once again at all good bookstores.
Christopher T. Anderson: And let’s get that title again.
Isabel Parker: “Successful Digital Transformation in Law Firms: A question of Culture”. So, it couldn’t be more point for this discussion.
Christopher T. Anderson: Fantastic. Thank you both for being guest. You’ve been wonderful.
Anthony Seale: Thank you.
Isabel Parker: Thank you very much.
Christopher T. Anderson: My pleasure, my absolute pleasure. My name is Christopher T Anderson and I look forward to seeing or hearing or being heard, I guess, by all of our wonderful listeners next month with another great guest or guests. As we learn more about topics that help us build the law firm business that works for you. Remember, you can subscribe to all the editions of this podcast at legaltalknetwork.com, or on iTunes. Thank you for joining us and we will speak again soon.
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|Published:||January 24, 2023|
|Podcast:||The Un-Billable Hour|
|Category:||Legal Technology & Data Security , Practice Management|
The Un-Billable Hour
Best practices regarding your marketing, time management, and all the things outside of your client responsibilities.