Ch: 5 - Management and Personnel Technology Considerations

Committed Management Support and Involvement

To revitalize the technology plan in your firm, the managers and leaders of your organization must embrace a technology vision and support a technology culture. The firm’s leaders must understand and take action to reflect and implement firm technology strategic objectives. If the leaders do not understand or are opposed or noncommittal to integrating technology into your organization, then the allocation of available resources - money, training and people - will not be a priority. Without equipment, software, and training, small automation pockets or islands may develop, but no firmwide implementation of automation will take place.

Fred Bartlit, Jr., Esq. of Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott in Chicago, Ill., says that the firm’s culture must support technology. His firm gives strong recognition to partners, associates and others who discover and are able to present technological legal applications. Whether it be “Dave the Database Wizard” or “Mary the Macro Queen”, these individuals are acknowledged and compensated for their expertise. They become the seed of firmwide implementation of technology efficient applications. They are constantly challenged to present new and better technology applications. Fred himself uses full text, databases, graphics and a host of other applications, reasoning that to lead a firm requires that one must know more about these applications than the other members of his firm.

One of the keys to adopting technology in the firm is to gain firm leadership support. Leadership support can be gained in a number of ways. If the “technology idea” can originate from your leader, then it will have a much stronger chance of success. If your manager has a close friend who has enacted technology and whose opinion he trusts, this may be the best avenue. If management can attend an outside seminar or presentation as a team on how technology is used, it may be one of the best methods to take a serious look at technology. Another way is to host a technology seminar in-house. Besides being eligible for CLE approval it gives the firm members and leaders the opportunity to ask specific questions of the state of technology and the industry trends from a respected expert.

Probably the two most important ingredients for successfully implementing law firm technology are leadership and training. The first comes from the top; if the leaders of the firm do not lead the way to technology, the rest of the firm will struggle needlessly and probably unsuccessfully, only partially achieving the benefits technology has to offer. Similarly, if everyone in the firm is not properly trained, then the technology investment will not be fully realized. - Nicholas Wallwork, P.C Reality Today, A Prototype of the Law Firm of the Future.