Driven by market demand for efficiencies and cost savings, the largely traditional legal industry is increasingly using legal technology to improve processes. Implementing Law Practice Management (LPM) software can help law firms minimize administrative tasks and spend more time administering the law and meeting client needs.
Introducing new software and processes to a law firm has many moving parts. Once you’ve done your research and landed on viable options, gaining staff support for the new law firm management platform is imperative. Without adequate onboarding and training, law firms will not realize the full ROI or leverage the features to run their practice as efficiently as possible.
While adopting any new software comes with a learning curve, with the right law firm management provider, resources and training, your law firm can start using any system in no time. Here are a few tips to make the process smooth for your entire team.
Present the benefits to your employees
The first step to successfully implementing law firm management software is to get everyone on board. Occasional users should also be involved in training courses so that they know how to use the software appropriately to the situation. When attorneys and staff understand the value of legal technology and its benefits, they are more likely to commit to learning and understanding it.
Clarifying the current inefficiencies that the software aims to solve shows the office staff how their job will become easier after the training process. You could provide real-world examples of pain points that impact specific members or departments to increase adoption. For example, if your company is struggling with document management, you can show how a cloud-based LPM securely stores all documents in one place and can be accessed from anywhere. Documents can be linked to a specific matter or contact, giving you quick access to a document when working under this screen.
Plan the training process
No matter how intuitive, there will be obstacles along the way that can cause delays or employee frustration. Your law firm should prepare for and communicate with the changes and potential delays that may affect them. This is where an LPM provider can help your law firm with the onboarding process.
Law firms should also have a clear idea of what problems they want to solve and what goals they want to achieve with the software. Law firm management software is simply a resource for improving workflow and efficiency, but it cannot do this on its own.
Training should never be a one-off event. As employees gain skills and navigate features, they need to practice them to become more comfortable with the platform. This doesn’t have to be time-consuming – just 10 or 15 minute training sessions using hypothetical scenarios can build the skills needed to use the software on a regular basis.
Most importantly, hypothetical scenarios and practice sessions allow employees to make mistakes and learn from them without jeopardizing important cases or hampering the business process. You won’t be nervous to experiment and learn with low stakes.
Integrate training into weekly or quarterly meetings. You can even host a lunch and study session or offer an incentive to attend. When you generate morale (and rewards) as you train, it feels less like work.
Use provider resources
Firm management software vendors should provide resources and training for law firm employees.
Giving and receiving feedback
An open channel of communication is necessary to empower employees and ensure the platform is fit for the business. Managers can provide feedback on progress, but it’s important that employees can also share their concerns or limitations with the software. The platform is of no benefit if staff are unfamiliar with it, so feedback is an opportunity for law firms to evaluate their various software options.
However, feedback sessions should be structured. Examples can be meetings to discuss progress, a dedicated email to submit feedback and questions, or a platform-specific digital box for suggestions.
Hire management consultants for law firms
Legal Technology Consultants with a certification in Law Practice Management Software are available to assist companies with the onboarding and training process. These consultants can assist law firms with migration, implementation, and customization to ensure optimal use of the software.
Typically, legal advisors begin by understanding the firm’s needs and developing a strategy to implement new technology with minimal friction. When the training process is overwhelming or challenging, a consultant can help organizations save time, money, frustration, and downtime.
Systematize the implementation process
Regardless of whether a law firm conducts the training itself or uses a consultant, the process should be systematized for future training. The software is constantly updated with new features and capabilities that require some training to learn, and new employees must be trained as part of their onboarding to the software.
When systems are in place, leaders and employees can prioritize process, time and budget to improve or implement new ideas, improving both human resources and the value of technology in the organization.
to celebrate success
If the employees and lawyers learn the software, they will make small profits. All of these achievements should be celebrated across the organization to communicate the value of technology and increase engagement.
For example, law firms can send out company-wide emails to showcase the positive results employees have achieved since implementing the new platform. Whether a process was created or an employee noticed a reduction in time spent on tasks that used to take hours, that should be cause for celebration.
Commit to continuous learning
Law firm management is constantly evolving with product updates, webinars and training materials continuing well beyond the initial implementation. These updates are important for attorneys and staff to take advantage of new features and learn how they can positively impact their day-to-day work.
Implementing new legal technology can be overwhelming for law firm employees, but once the real benefits are realized, employees can appreciate the time devoted to training.