How do you reconcile opposing thoughts from the same group of people? You can’t choose both black and white without finding yourself at an impasse.
Altman Weil’s 2018 survey of managing partners and chairs at 801 American law firms of 50 or more lawyers garnered some interesting results, including a few bottlenecks.
One in particular is that 69% of partners resist most change efforts. At the same time, 69% of partners also say that going forward they believe the pace of change will increase. Basically, almost three quarters of these partners know change is coming on fast, but three-quarters also simply don’t want to be a part of it.
When you add in Altman Weil’s other statistic that almost 50% of all firms failed to meet their total annual billable hour targets for 2017, it sounds like a bit of a predicament.
Change is an Opportunity
After the 2008 recession, many firms were just trying to survive. Now, a decade later, a lot are back to feeling comfortable, but without any long-term plans should another crisis occur.
Law firms need to accept that change is required to address the market challenges they are facing today and will face tomorrow. It’s a necessary evil but it also presents an opportunity to distinguish themselves from other firms.
Clients are asking for more cost-effectiveness, and are more than willing to take their business elsewhere if they believe they can get the same level of service for less money. So, to differentiate from the competition, firms must invest in new technology to improve workflow processes and to reduce their overhead.
Implementing new software solutions can be a major adjustment, and presents risk and uncertainty, especially for partners set in their ways. But it can make a significant difference for your staff, lawyers, and client relationships.
It can also be overwhelming. Start by setting up a committee with a specific budget for future technological development. They can audit your firm’s development activities based on what potential clients would want, not necessarily what your firm wants.
Related article: Concerned about implementing new software at your firm? Check out our tips on how to make it a seamless process.
Change can be Simple
Change doesn’t have to be fast and it doesn’t have to be a complete 180 degrees flip from where your firm is now.
Maybe upgrade your practice management system, or modernize your billing software. If your firm is looking to automate document creation, consider a template management system or document assembly application. These solutions can come built-in to Microsoft Word for an even easier transition.
Strategically assessing what your firm needs to succeed is simply a smart move that both colleagues and clients will appreciate.
For the full Altman Weil survey, click here.
For more information on all of Infoware’s legal software solutions, click here.