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Engagement: Getting Lawyers to Commit to Marketing Technology – Part 1

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While it may seem shocking that more than half of marriages end in divorce, what may be a more interesting statistic is that even fewer technology implementations have a happy ending. In fact, according to respected researchers, up to 70% of technology implementations fail. And while many people may take the leap and get married again, you often don’t get a second chance at a failed marketing technology implementation, especially in a law firm. That separation is frequently final.

In today’s hyper-competitive legal marketplace, where attorneys are being required to learn new skills like project management and alternative pricing, you would think that they would eagerly embrace any marketing technology that could help them gain an advantage. And yet lots of lawyers still seem to have a love/hate relationship with technology. It’s not that lawyers can’t commit – it’s that they don’t see the need to. They just don’t seem to be wedded to the concept that taking the time and effort to learn and regularly utilize technology is going to make their lives easier or their practices more profitable.

The Betrothed

When considering lawyers’ sometimes-casual attitude toward technology, it’s also important to comprehend another critical reason why legal technology and attorneys are not always a match made in heaven: the lawyers themselves. Not only are many lawyers not particularly technology savvy, research into the lawyer personality or persona also describes a few other potentially challenging attorney traits:

  • Skeptical
  • Hypercritical
  • Independent
  • Risk averse
  • Reluctant to share
  • Resistant to change

While these may be beneficial attributes for the practice of law, they are not particularly helpful for encouraging marketing technology adoption. In fact, as a managing partner we worked with once said, “Trying to get attorneys to do anything can be like herding cats.” (Even more challenging: these are very smart cats with opposable thumbs). Plus, in a law firm time is money… literally, so attorneys typically don’t cherish any activity that requires time be taken away from billing, unless it can provide some real long-term rewards.

The Institution

But it’s not just the attorneys that sometimes get cold feet. Firms forever have also had a perpetual on-again/off-again relationship with marketing technology. While many may be willing to invest significant sums to purchase the latest and greatest software and systems (especially if other firms have them), often they abandon these tools later when they realize the additional time, effort and resources that are required to be successful. They want the benefits of the relationship but are unwilling to put in the work.

There are a number of other reasons that encouraging technology adoption in a law firm can be difficult. Some firms are resistant to change, preferring the precedent of the status quo. Still others are slow to adopt new technology, even though it may be detrimental to their future success. Additionally, it can be particularly challenging (or next to impossible) to mandate anything in a law firm, especially software use. Add to this registry of criteria the fact that in many firms there is often no real accountability. These issues are often compounded by compensation systems that don’t encourage collaboration.

A Promising Courtship

While lawyers and technology may initially seem incompatible, if attorneys take the time to get to know their marketing technology, they might actually fall in love because of the long-term benefits like:

  • Solving problems
  • Automating processes
  • Improving efficiency
  • Reducing data entry
  • Saving time and money
  • Improving communication, coordination and client service
  • Enhancing business development and increasing revenue

It’s not that attorneys are needy; they just have to see what’s in it for them before committing. But, of course, a successful relationship takes two.

 

Chris Fritsch is a Business Development Technology Success Consultant and the Founder of CLIENTSFirst Consulting. For more than a decade, her team of almost 100 consultants and other professionals has been helping law firms and other organizations successfully select and implement business development technology to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM or eMarketing success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.

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