I was a little shocked to see the Hildebrandt story on how a dozen managing partners felt about their technology investments. Their perspective was they just wanted to make sure the network was reliable and maintained at a reasonable cost. We don’t know all the details of the discussions that took place with the partners but one thing is certain, “they are missing the boat.” One of two possibilities come to mind, either the partners just couldn’t articulate the benefits of the technology the firm actually uses beyond stable networks, or their firms really don’t use technology for much more than email, document storage and a few legal software applications.
Technology can be a game changer for a mid-size firm, here are some examples:
- Business Development – without a good contact management system (other than just Outlook) it’s just not possible to manage relationships and track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
- Business Process Improvement (BPI) – business processes used by firms may not have changed very much in the last 10-20 years. Most of these processes are manual, paper based systems, for example, new client/matter intake, requesting a check, requesting a vacation day etc. These are just ripe for cost reductions and improvements in service.
- Attorney Dashboards – at a glance, how am I doing compared to the requirements? Am I missing time for a certain day, do I have excessive client un-billed costs aging over 60 days, is my billing realization dropping below 95 percent? Attorneys need on-demand access to hard-hitting performance related information, gone are the days of sending out reporting packages (aka, paper).
- Green Billing – stop sending your corporate clients paper bills, they don’t want paper. Green billing allows your firm to send clients a digitized bill, ready to be immediately imported into their in-house system for processing and approval. Happier clients and faster payment cycles is a win-win for both parties.
Of course, the list could go on and on, the overall message is that when the managing partner can say that technology is being used by the firm as a strategic advantage in the marketplace his firm will be in a much better position to compete and quite possibly more profitable.