Adoption Challenges And Solutions For Law Firms


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Getting attorneys to adopt and use technology and new business processes is challenging. By following known best practices, firms could substantially increase the probability of high adoption rates, and therefore better leverage of their investment in technology and BPR.

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Adoption Challenges And Solutions For Law Firms

  1. 1. Getting lawyers to adopt your solutions. A difficult, but not impossible task.
  2. 2. ii3 | About ii3  ii3 is an independent, full-service knowledge management firm  Our focus is on legal, accounting and government  Our main areas of practice are:  Matter-centric document management  Enterprise search  Portals  Strategic consulting in areas such as  Project management  Business process reengineering  Lawyer/attorney adoption practices and more
  3. 3. Keys to ii3’s Client Successes  We have a deep understanding of business requirements, user adoption and the application of appropriate technology  We focus on the practice and the users: lawyers and assistants  We work with lawyers to improve their practices, and apply these lessons to technology projects
  4. 4. ii3’s Clients KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP
  5. 5. Adoption Challenges in Law Firms
  6. 6. Lack of Adoption is Detrimental to Success Lawyer/attorney adoption is a critical measure of success for many initiatives. It is safe to assume that most firms do not always get a good a return on their substantial investment in this regard. It does not have to be that way!
  7. 7. Adoption Challenges in Law Firms | A  Both „technology heavy‟ and „technology light‟ initiatives are affected  Any initiative, from KM, through Information Management and business process reengineering will be affected  Lawyers and attorneys pose the most significant challenge to adoption  Senior partners are especially resistant to change
  8. 8. Adoption Challenges in Law Firms | B  In many cases, adoption by your lawyer and attorney population, is the most important measure of success for your initiative  Some of the reasons for lack of adoption:  Initiative perceived to require too much change  Perceived to have little value (“it was working fine before”)  Resistance to any form of change  „Carrot‟ not sweet enough, and the „stick‟ non existent  Target population did not remember it was coming (even if you sent emails announcing it)  Solution does not seem to meet their expectations (e.g. poor usability, cumbersome functionality, confusing processes etc.)  Poor attendance in training sessions
  9. 9. Why do Initiatives Fail to Foster Adoption? | 1  Not enough focus on lawyer needs early in the planning phases (or not enough planning!)  Lawyers are not actively participating during requirements gathering  Initiative does not have explicit „sponsorship‟ from powerful partners or advisory committees  Rollout plans are either non existent, or focus mostly on „mechanical‟ elements like help desk support and training
  10. 10. Why do Initiatives Fail to Foster Adoption? | 2  Belief that “when we build it, they will come” means little is invested in lawyer communications and solution „marketing‟  Rollout practices are lacking in areas such as:  Training: „one size fits all‟ (e.g. same training for young associates and senior partners)  Communications: not all available channels are „blended‟ and used effectively (e.g. portal, video, printed flyers, emails, one-on-one and group demonstrations)  Support: support is delegated to support desk, which in turn can‟t support business process issues and questions  Follow up: little follow up, especially with those lawyers who are especially challenges by the solution.
  11. 11. What do lawyers/attorneys say? We have conducted interviews with senior partners as well as past managing partners in one large firm in the city. For privacy reasons we can‟t provide names, but here are some quotes: “…Don‟t launch during busy “…Send more reminders season (e.g. just before that something is coming, xmas)…” but keep emails short…” “…Make sure it‟s important “…If you change things, to me. If it‟s meant to be make sure it‟s for a very used by my assistant, don‟t good reason and that it bother me…” improves things substantially for me…” “…one size does not fit all. I make great use of a „cheat “…I liked it when Beth kept sheet‟, others may require dropping by my office to training…” check in on me…” “…Get support at grassroots “…Be especially careful with level as well as the firm‟s initiatives that affect me management. The first is immediately, like email…” more important!…”
  12. 12. ii3’s Best Practices to enhance Lawyer/Attorney Adoption | A 1. Your planning process should include a comprehensive set of requirements, solicited from lawyers (if they‟re your main target audience) 2. During planning process, ensure participation of lawyers, with good representation from various offices, practice groups, and seniority 3. Try and secure the sponsorship of one or more senior partners. They will in turn help you get buy-in, promote with peers and „run interference‟ whenever needed
  13. 13. ii3’s Best Practices to enhance Lawyer/Attorney Adoption | B 4. Your planning documents should include a deployment, rollout, and adoption plan. Don‟t wait until you‟re ready to rollout. Do it early! 5. Your plans should include a comprehensive communications section. Think like a marketing executive. What‟s the solution‟s value? What‟s the „elevator‟ pitch? What means do you have to promote it that‟s attractive and creative? (e.g. video on your portal) 6. Needless to say: your solution should have real value to lawyers/attorneys. Focus on a narrow band of pain points and needs; your solution should address those effectively
  14. 14. ii3’s Best Practices to enhance Lawyer/Attorney Adoption | C 7. When planning your training and education activities, personalize your methods (e.g. classroom, CBT, „cheat sheets‟, one-on-one, „time release training‟ etc.). This „different sizes fits all‟ method is more demanding and usually more expensive, so make sure you have planned for it during your budget process. Don‟t leave yourself short! 8. Identify competing rollouts. What other initiatives could impact your lawyer population? Coordinate!
  15. 15. ii3’s Best Practices to enhance Lawyer/Attorney Adoption | D 10. Active support from junior lawyers who are more comfortable with change, could help senior partners come up to speed as well. 11. Peer to peer support is critical; if the next office partner is happy, change resistant lawyer may feel compelled to give your solution a second chance 12. Recruit assistants; make them part of your rollout team. They can be first line of support. 13. Avoid rolling out during busy seasons. Find opportunity „windows‟ and „reserve‟ your place early on.
  16. 16. ii3’s Best Practices to enhance Lawyer/Attorney Adoption | D 14. Follow up with lawyers and attorneys. Do so obsessively. Try and „touch‟ as many of them as you can. Walk the floors. Deal with any signs of negative feedback through personal attention. 15. Tell the firm about success. Communicate what works, and try and recruit some of the lawyers to tell their story (“I love the new Unified Messaging system – I can now save my voice mails for future reference”)
  17. 17. Lack of Adoption is Detrimental to Success Your initiative is like a Hollywood flick. It may look great in the executive screening room. But if you don’t promote the hell out of it, no one will know how good it is!
  18. 18. Thank you! For more information, please contact Shy Alter: Twitter: @shyalter