We all know that it is hard to get attorneys to care about technology training. But lo and behold: It’s starting to look like clients can get them to care. And if it’s important to the clients, it’s important to the attorneys.
HAPPY CLIENTS = EFFICIENCY + SECURITY + INCREASED PROFITS
Today, tech competency is considered fundamental to ethical law practice for two main reasons:
- Efficiency: If you know how to use technological tools, then you won’t spin hours and bill for time you wasted by doing things the old, inefficient way.
- Security: If you know how to protect your clients’ sensitive data through secure email practices and other hacker-resistant protocols, then you won’t lose or disclose client confidential information ― and trust.
Bonus: Not only do these two skills lead to happier client relationships and better legal work, but they also contribute to a positive bottom line.
STEPS TO TECH COMPETENCY AT YOUR FIRM
To prove your firm’s tech competency to clients, you actually need to achieve tech competency. You need a step-by-step process to assess where your users stand now, ways to train them to the next level(s), and then use the data you collect to prove that you are tech competent.
Here are the steps you must follow.
UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM
Ivy Grey, Vice President of Strategy for WordRake, recently published a list that highlights the problem we face.
Do you know anyone in your firm who …
- Manually numbers paragraphs or manually adds line numbers?
- Does not know how to use templates (or is unaware that they exist)?
- Struggles against formatting, consistently redoing work rather than resetting or automating formatting?
- Retypes information because they do not know how to cut-and-paste with or without the original formatting?
- Ignores the Bluebook rules and preferences for section and paragraph symbols because they do not know where to find them or how to insert them?
- Manually creates the table of contents and table of authorities, and redoes it manually every time the document changes?
Each of these mistakes and clunky processes slows down the attorney’s entire team and leads to errors.
You need a step-by-step process to assess where your users stand now, ways to train them to the next level(s), and then use the data you collect to prove that you are tech competent.
Additionally, law firms are increasingly being targeted by hackers. A Law.com investigation found that law firms are falling victim to data breaches at an alarming rate, exposing sensitive client and attorney information. The new mantra is: It’s not if you’ll be phished, but when.
But it’s not only hackers. A recent study proved that employees are worse than hackers when it comes to putting law firms at risk. SolarWinds reported that 80% of data breaches are caused by internal user mistakes.
You need to train every single person at your firm to use technology properly.
- Assessments and Benchmarks
The fastest way to kill a training program is to make people sit through material they already know. Therefore, you need to assess each of your employees’ skills. How can you do this? Use assessments that directly correlate to technology skills that attorneys and staff must master. Once you assess each learner’s skills, you can craft customized learning paths for each individual.
If you’re thinking, “There’s no way! I can’t assess each person and create learning paths for each employee in my firm!” then you also need to educate yourself about a handy new technology called a learning management system, or LMS. A good LMS can make the assessment, learning path and benchmarking process a snap.
Once you’ve assessed them, give them goals or benchmarks. Essentially, when you’ve assessed each learner’s skillset, you then give them learning goals to achieve in the next quarter, the next six months or annually.
- Create a Dynamic Learning Environment
Once people understand the benchmarks they must hit, you must deliver technology training in ways that your employees can actually use — mobile, easily digestible, targeted, in-person, online and more.
Additionally, your training content must be legal-specific. There is a specific workflow and products that attorneys use in their daily professional lives, and they will want their training to reflect something they are already used to.
- Engage Employees in Learning
Give your attorneys and staff a reason to learn! This is where your HR department comes in. They can help you incentivize learning. For example, one firm I work with made a portion of users’ annual salary increase dependent on successfully passing the baseline assessment.
- Market Your Achievements
Brag about yourself! Imagine this headline: “Firm XYZ Demands Technological Competency from All Employees, Delivering More Value and Safer Processes.” Your marketing department can spread the word in all their marketing efforts, including:
- Requests for proposals (don’t wait for clients to ask if you’re tech-competent — make it part of your boilerplate language)
- Local trade journals
- Business journals
- Conference presentations
- Attorney/employee bios
GET AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION
Clients are increasingly demanding proof that their law firms are secure and that their legal teams are tech-savvy. Differentiate yourself from the competition now by launching a training program that delivers results, safer processes, client trust and bottom-line lift.