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Legal tipsJuly 2, 2020

How to Make Your Lawyer Stop Complaining and Embrace Technology

The legal field is not immune to the technological trends nearly all industries have had to face. Luckily, embracing technology is easier than ever in 2020. The legal tech industry has all sorts of productivity solutions ready for law firms to adopt.

The problem is that lawyers are often reluctant to change and resist adopting new technology for professional use. There are two major reasons for this: tradition and fear. It might be understandable, as lawyers are trained to avoid risk.

Here are the most common excuses and counterarguments to help you convince your law department otherwise.

Lawyers are often reluctant to change and resist adopting new technology for professional use. There are two major reasons for this: tradition and fear.

Argument #1: The transition to new technology is time-consuming and could threaten the quality of work.

Counterargument: After several months of quarantine, this is probably the easiest issue to address. When coronavirus struck, companies switched to remote work from one day to the next. It’s likely that your company had to adjust too. If the concern is more related to technical issues, firms can always outsource the migration process to a professional legal tech software team, so there aren’t any drops in performance.

Argument #2: We’ve got our document workflow functioning just fine, why change that?

Counterargument: We parked a Ferrari in your garage, why do you still drive a 1979 Buick? Legal software is designed to improve work quality, save time, and open the room for new possibilities. A workflow that does not get updated will inevitably become outdated.

Argument #3: We have a unique workflow that can’t be automated.

Counterargument: With a bit of customization, you can reproduce even the most complex processes. It is all about choosing the right tool. At AXDRAFT, we automate even the most complex document scenarios, and we address each client's needs individually.

Argument #4: Why not just hire another person for the extra work?

Counterargument: The more people are involved in a life cycle, the less efficient it gets. Several people touching elbows can lead to confusion. Instead, manage your current staff growth based on the workload in a way that requires cognitive effort, not just another pair of hands.

Argument #5: We’ve got confidential data, what if it leaks?

Counterargument: With the introduction of large-scale General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), companies are obliged to inform users when they collect data, where it is stored, and how long it is stored, how it is used, and how it is encrypted. Before choosing any tool, you can always monitor the feedback and clarify how well the potential vendor protects your information. Additionally, some tools let you process your data without saving it in the first place.

Argument #6: Technology will boost our expenses.

Counterargument: What is needed here is a little bit of math. Take the average attorney hourly fee, multiply it by the time spent on routine, and calculate the expenses that go down the drain each year. Add the lost opportunities and missed obligations, and then compare that number to the annual price for the software that can simplify the entire process. AXDRAFT’s calculator lets you estimate the time and money you can save on contract management alone.

Argument #7: It’s against our business model.

Counterargument: Every business model is targeted for growth. While the goal is to offer a real benefit to the user, your law department may not be aware of it. Furthermore, repetitive, frustrating tasks make employees unhappy. Automating those tasks with clear goals in mind can significantly reduce lawyers’ stress level, resulting in much better efficiency.

Argument #8: This may harm our relationships with clients.

Counterargument: Your clients embrace tech advancements faster than you think. When it comes to business needs, it’s the client who is the priority, and all they need is the result. In-person meetings, wet stamps, and printed documents may all be parts of your culture, but if your client prefers video calls and going all-digital, it’s best to adjust. Long term, a client-centered approach means better reviews, more referrals, and more business for your firm.

Legal services is now a multi-disciplinary field and can partly be delegated to non-lawyers. Though it doesn’t reduce the need for legal services, it implies more complex tasks for the team that will keep your firm’s employee’s skills sharp.

Some More Reasons to Consider:

  • There might be a fear of replacement, that technology is going to take jobs away.
  • Learning something new might feel like re-qualifying, and employees refuse to admit that legal operations are no longer only about pure legal work.
  • There might be a fear of losing authority in the eyes of the management.
  • There could be a fear of asking questions that might make a staff person appear unprofessional or unknowledgeable.
  • Sometimes it’s a simple unwillingness to change familiar and polished processes.
  • Other times, there might be a fear of losing control over work processes.
  • Unwillingness to admit the legal industry is no longer centered around lawyers only is another challenge.
  • A lack of education about legal technology and how to use it could also be problematic.
  • The best advice here is to equip your C-level management with soft skills and create an environment that inspires learning as a way to build a culture of innovation. If you still aren’t convinced, think about Google Translate. It has been out there for years by now. Why do we still have so many translators and interpreters in that case?

    How to Address the Adoption of Legal Tech?

    Planning: Assess your global business goals and how the legal team can meet them. Identify gaps in your current legal service loop. Outline your vision of legal delivery in the current market landscape. Look into your firm’s task distribution and the time required. Identify problem areas and strategize solutions.

    Organizing: Research available solutions to address problem areas. Speak to your lawyers about the changes you plan, and address their concerns in advance. Help them choose the software: after all, they will be the ones to use it. Lay out the new tactics and discuss it with your firm’s attorneys to design the most synergetic approach.

    Motivating: Prepare the educational and onboarding strategy. Establish consistent communication between management, the software vendor, and all of the external parties involved. Make sure the goals are transparent for the legal team and highlight their value and benefits.

    Controlling: Constantly measure and analyze the results of their work, and share it with your legal team. Frequently check in on the progress and the experience of software usage.

    Summing Up

    Legal technology is definitely here to stay, and top players in the field are effectively adopting it. Whether it remains a “frenemy” for lawyers or becomes their most faithful partner, is up to you. With proper education and support from management, you can create a new tradition for your firm.

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