Why is it so hard to use technology?

Nov, 2020   ·   4 min read

Whether you are ready to admit it or not, more technology is required to survive in the new economy than ever before. However, technology adoption has been identified as one of the top issues that a law firm faces. So why is adoption so difficult? There are several causes. Let us review a few key ones.

  • Most legal technology is not designed around how people work. So instead of it being intuitive a user must stop and figure out or ask someone how to do something.
  • A user must interact with a multitude of different technologies that all work differently. So instead of becoming proficient at one, a person must become proficient at many.
  • Since it was so difficult to learn the current technology, even if there is a better solution, no one wants to learn it. The devil you know adage.
  • The office is working fine, sure there are issues, but it is not worth the effort of using new technology.
  • Sign-up and go approach. There is a belief by vendors that customers can figure it out, "they use Amazon don't they"", or the vendor might provide some video guides on YouTube. However, law firm management technologies are more complex than a commerce site.
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So how can you avoid these adoption pitfalls? First educate yourself around the technology your firm will use. Obtain a good understanding of its capabilities and its faults while separating the marketing hype from the reality. Plan how you envision using the legal practice management technology within your practice. Then follow a few simple things to make sure your plan is a success.

  • Test out the technology that you will be using. Make sure the design works for you. Compare its overdesign to technology that you use in your personal life.
  • Select technology that covers as many of your needs as possible. Sacrifice some degree of functionality for coverage. Think about how often you would use the potentially missing functionality on a day-by-day basis.
  • Create a "go live" plan to ensure success that includes:
    • Making sure the attorneys, para-legals and administrators all know why it is being implemented.
    • Providing sufficient time for users to learn the system before going live.
    • Encouraging feedback and make sure it is addressed. People want to express their ideas, and this makes them part of and committed to the change.
  • Make the technology a part of how you work and not an afterthought. Understand what you expect to get out of the case management or legal practice management software. Identify how you will measure its value and then see if you are getting the results. If you are not achieving the desired results determine the cause and adjust.
  • Look for vendors that measure their success based on yours. Do they help you get started? How hard is it to get a hold of them? Do they have check points to see how well you are doing? Do they solicit feedback?

If you do the work up front, then your law firm management software investment will be rewarded. Your local bar association like the Chicago Bar Association has a whole section dedicated to technology for its member firms.

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