E51: Season 5 Episode 6 – Modernizing Law Firms and their Technology
In this episode, Tom Dunlap chats with Heinan Landa, President & CEO of Optimal Networks, about how law firms can modernize their use of technology to better meet the changing world’s needs. Listen in as they cover topics such as using and adopting technology as a tool, transitioning to new tech, and what etiquette to follow on new technology.
Heinan’s Book and Changing Technology
Last year, Heinan wrote his book “The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change,” which was published in April. At the time, he didn’t realize how relevant it would soon become with the onset of Covid and the higher need for technology.
In this episode, Heinan discusses how law firms tend to be a little slow with adapting new technology, as they are naturally more risk adverse. However, with the rapid growth and change of new technology, law firms are falling behind—especially in this time of Covid. He believes that law firms need to pay attention to the change that Covid has only accelerated, or else they will suffer.
Technology as a Tool
The first step in modernizing law firms is shifting the perspective on technology. Many people are hesitant to adapt new technology, as they may not trust it or feel it can’t help. However, Heinan believes that technology can be a useful tool for law firms. The right technology can help acquire new clients and aid existing clients. It does not need to be something to fear, but rather to properly utilize.
Adopting Specific Tech
In looking at how to get a firm to adopt a specific technology, you first need to discover why the current software isn’t working. Heinan states that you must identify what people need that they aren’t getting and how the new technology can aid in this.
Helping the Transition of New Tech
One way to make the acceptance of new tools easier is by involving your people in the decision. If you let them help bring about change, they are more willing to accept that change. Its less about technology and more about organizational change and best practices.
Once you do shift to new systems, make sure you provide ample training and support, so your people don’t feel left in the dark. Heinan recounts how a few years ago when his firm was implementing Slack, they decided to treat themselves as a client. They held many “lunch and learns” over Zoom, which was unheard of back then, to teach themselves how to properly use the platform
Another aspect of easing the resistance to change is by knowing your own culture. Different law firms have to adapt differently. Perhaps try incentivizing your people to use the new tech. If you turn off the old ways of doing things, people will be forced to learn.
When it comes to using new technology, such as Zoom, Heinan encourages following professional etiquette. When meeting with a client, turn your camera on and be as engaged as you normally would be in person. It’s also important to look nice and have a nice background.
However, Zoom fatigue is a real side effect of all these meetings. So, if you are going to relax the rules, do so internally. Your weekly check ins with your staff can be over the phone as opposed to another Zoom call.
As mentioned before, Heinan explains how essentially most businesses had to adapt two years’ worth of technology in two months. It would be an understatement to say that this was a challenge for many. However, Heinan also wants to focus on the long-term benefits of technology like video conference. Looking forward, he wants to focus on what will stick and what will fall away. Listen to the episode to hear more on how video conference affect the making and maintaining of relationships.
Three Ways to Modernize your Law Firm
Before Heinan hopped off, he gave three ways to help modernize your law firm. First, he emphasizes additional security for the law firm, now that everyone is working at home, in potentially insecure environments. Teleworking employees no longer have the corporate firewall, so firms must find other ways to provide extra security.
Second, Heinan wants you to shift your perspective of technology from a cost to a way to enhance your client service. He believes that firms must start looking at technology as a tool, and not as something with negative connotations.
His third point is that you should be assessing yourself on a regular basis, and then incorporating new technology piece by piece. He believes in tackling the modernization of the firm in parts so that it’s not as overwhelming.
Heinan Landa: LinkedIn
Modern Law Firm Book: Website
Law Firm Anywhere: Website
Optimal Networks: Website
Tom Dunlap: LinkedIn
Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig: Website