Recent surveys demonstrate that clients are increasingly concerned with not only the quality of their legal representation, but its efficiency. They recognize that efficient legal work can make the difference between affordable representation with a good return on investment and ludicrously expensive representation that breaks a budget and gets someone fired.
Clients are also painfully aware of the relevance of technology proficiency to efficiency. In their worlds, a technological edge can be the difference between survival and extinction. Every product maker and service provider must compete on speed and cost now, and effective use of technological tools is the primary differentiator for these variables.
That is, perhaps, why some clients have started asking their firms how they make use of technology to speed up results and lower costs; and at least one client, Kia Motors, has actually begun to test its outside providers on their technology proficiency (see “Tech Test Helps Kia Motors Choose Outside Counsel“).
Kia’s tests for law firms are purportedly designed to ascertain, among other things: the level of familiarity lawyers have with MS Office products and other technologies; the effective division of labor in the firm; the use of effective systems for process and work flow (think “process improvement” law firms); and the availability of forms, templates, checklists and other tools for speeding up production.
Law firms that have actually instituted technology improvements and workflow management to improve efficiency and results should be communicating this strategic advantage on their Websites, in their collateral materials and on social media. Law firms that have not paid any attention to the need for constant improvement through the use of technology would be well-advised to figure out how they will wind down their practices.