As a Client Success Advisor, I work closely with corporate legal departments to increase user adoption of legal technology. I strive to grow the solution’s value and work to highlight features based on the legal department’s goals or pain points. In fact, one of the most rewarding statements to hear from a client is something along the lines of “..it can do that? That just made my life so much easier!” I think it’s fair to say I’ve experienced many barriers to solution adoption in the corporate legal department. I recently came across an article on this subject, and it piqued my interest.
“Breaking Down Barriers of Legal Technology Adoption,” recently published in Legaltech News, discussed a panel held at the 2016 Stanford CodeX FutureLaw Conference, an annual conference examining the impacts of technology on the legal scene. While most of the commentary was specific to firms, I realized it was strikingly similar to what I’ve experienced within corporate legal departments.
User Adoption Barriers
According to the panel, the most significant barriers with firms adopting legal technology is the presence of too many “narrow solutions” and a desire to “boil the ocean.”
Firm staff are quick to resist adoption if they are required to learn multiple point solutions — especially if the solutions do not have the ability to talk to each other. I can say the same sentiment is shared among legal technology users on the corporate side. The frequency at which I speak to my clients about their desire to consolidate old point solutions into their Mitratech matter management and e-Billing solution has increased. In these discussions, my colleagues and I ask targeted questions about their daily use of their legal techology — including pain points — to ensure we recommend solutions that are best for their needs, not just good solutions.
It’s not feasible for firms to rely on a provider for critical business process development as well as the technology to support it. Our clients value the configurability of their Mitratech solutions to fit their processes and the flexibility to make incremental changes as they, as an organization, grow and develop.
Proactivity is Key
As I read the article, I was waiting for the part where the panelists debate if the firms adopting legal technology is even worth it and what the firms perceive as the advantages and disadvantages. Much to my surprise, there was not any discussion opposing adoption, but rather the thought that “law firms bringing legal tech efficiencies to clients proactively is one way they demonstrate commitment to addressing their clients’ needs” and that firms can begin to influence which technologies their clients use.
I have always felt that of one the greatest values our clients receive from implementing legal technology is increased collaboration and a better relationship their outside firms. Reading that adopting technology at the firm is also viewed as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the firm and the client gives me increasing excitement to watch the evolution of how corporate legal departments and firms interact as legal technology advances. It appears on both the corporate legal department side and firm side that the value of legal technology far outweighs effort overcoming adoption barriers.