A recent Bloomberg BNA article summarized a trend that has been taking place for a while in big firms – more and more investments in technology, particularly to improve financial and practice management.
Thus, firms are doing what their clients have been doing for quite some time now – improving efficiency through better systems and technology.
But we have yet to hear from firms how those investments are translating into better results for clients.
If law firms are cutting document review or document assembly times, if they are speeding up due diligence related to transactions, or if they are measurably improving the speed or cost of any aspect of operations, they have a golden opportunity to tell prospective clients just how that is getting done with technology.
In my experience interviewing clients, I have learned that a significant percentage of them feel that law firms don’t explain “how” they are the best at what they do. Clients hear firms frequently saying the right things about focus on value, efficiency and results, but they still don’t see the proof. Furthermore, a significant percentage say that they would be receptive to hearing a firm explain how it can deliver results better, faster or more cost-effectively through the use of technology.
For instance, clients would like to know if a firm has employed technology to cut its time and costs on document assembly for asset-based lending or document review for litigation discovery, and they would like to see actual numbers on percentage gains in efficiency.
In most cases, clients say they “hire the lawyer and not the firm,” but a firm-wide investment in technology, as well as process improvement and project management skills related to technology that produces measurable results can cause a client or prospect to upgrade their assessment of a law firm as a whole.