There is a Difference between Having Technology, Using Technology and Dedicating Yourself to a Process Utilizing Technology
We have incorporated an awful lot of technology into our law firm business model and process. By way of example, we use GoToMeeting with the attendant conference call service almost on a daily basis. Many of our clients are located in other states and over seas. GoToMeeting is a tremendous asset to any law firm and, in many ways, is far superior to a face-to-face meeting. For instance, you actually share a desktop and are looking at the exact same thing online. In a traditional meeting, there’s a tendency to get together and talk about things without moving the ball. The best case scenario in a face-to-face meeting is that someone’s got a projector or patch cord into a LSD TV so that everyone can look at the same thing. If people have multiple laptops, changing the presenter is extremely difficult. This is not true with GoToMeeting.
I’m not saying that face-to-face meetings aren’t important. But I am saying that an awful lot of people have software applications such as GoToMeeting downloaded on their computer, but rarely, if ever, use the application. They have not incorporated GoToMeeting as a resource within their business process.
There is a big difference between having technology and using it. You have to commit to technology in order to get real value out of it. It’s great having an extranet, for instance, but if you don’t use it religiously, it will become more of a headache than a tremendous asset that it can be.
And there is a difference between using technology and dedicating your firm process to it. The key to technology is process. I cannot state this strongly enough. For instance, talking to a client on the phone is fine. But our process dictates that you schedule a GoToMeeting with the client in order to maximize the time that you are on the phone. In almost every instance, you and your client are reviewing something. If you were both looking at that “something”, you will have a much more intelligent, thoughtful and focused conversation. And specific to-do items will arise out of the conversation. If you are editing the document online while discussing the appropriate language, you will be able to not only discuss concepts, but agree on the exact language after drafting, reviewing, revising and finalizing.
Lots of lawyers and law firms have great technology. Few law firms actually use that technology. While some lawyers in law firms use technology, most lawyers in law firms don’t. A single lawyer in a firm utilizing technology is fine. A law firm dedicated to that technology as part of their client service model is nothing short of amazing.
So take some time and look at what technology you have available to you in your law firm. Now ask yourself whether or not you use that technology to its fullest potential.
Great post. I read the last two paragraphs as part of the closing I used for a presentation of legal technology trends yesterday. You frame the issues very well.
Posted by: Dennis Kennedy | 2008.04.20 at 20:07