Change is inevitable. We can fight it, but only for so long. There comes a point
when resisting change can start to wear on you…or more specifically, your law
Practicing law is familiar and comfortable. Don’t throw away all of your hard work by resisting change when it
comes to technology. It’s time to take a hard look at your practice and start embracing the changes you need to
make to survive against your competitors.
In the legal industry, we have reached a point where using technology to aid in the practice of law is no longer
an option but a requirement.
Almost every business needs to embrace technology into their practice, it’s as simple as accepting credit cards
from their phones, or filling classes with an appointment booking tool on their website. The most important is
that the business owner’s level of commitment to the software and building processes around it is almost always
indicative of the level of success they achieve.
Despite these facts, attorneys are among the most resistant to the use of technology, and are years behind the
adoption curve. The uproar and disdain around the recent expiration of Microsoft XP should serve as a prime
example. Attorneys all over the US knowingly put their practices at risk when they continue to use an outdated
machine. An unsupported security solution leaves client and case information vulnerable for the taking.
So, why be so resistant to change?
These may be a few reasons why solo or small law firms procrastinate, excuse, or
deny the need to adopt and learn new technologies. Here are the most common
Wrong Time, Wrong Place
There’s always a reason to put off change. Whether your firm just took on a new client or you just added a
new team member, the timing may never seem quite right to get your firm up and running on new technology.
Instead of waiting around for the “ideal” time, identify the changes your firm can make right now.
Fear of the Unknown
If you and your staff are still sorting through paper files and taking hours to find client emails, you may not
realize it, but your practice may be at risk.
While it’s normal to be fearful of implementing new practices at your
firm remaining in your comfort zone, could hold you back and have negative long-term effects on your practice.
Take a chance at challenging yourself to the unknown and stand out from your competitors by staying ahead of
Threat to Job Security or Control
Managing every little detail of your practice “by hand” may give you a certain amount of control and peace of
Perhaps you think, “If I’m doing it my way, I know it will get done, and done right.” However, new legal
technologies that allow you to get out of the weeds will give you more hours in your week to do meaningful
work or generate new business, and that may be reason enough to reevaluate your priorities.
Embracing Technology Changes in Your Law Practice:
While it may be scary at first, changing some of your tasks from manual to automated and from paper to digital
will position your practice for growth. There’s no need to worry about job security or control when you’re
establishing systems that allow you to work smarter rather than harder.
Lack of Trust
It can be hard to trust new systems and technologies. Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure whether a
change will work for you is to give it a chance with an open mind.
With the right technology and software partner, you should feel like you have a support system. From the
moment you first speak with a salesperson, that person should have an understanding of your business’s goals.
Ask questions and consider attending how to adopt technology thourhg online sessions to learn more. Speak to
clients with a business similar to yours to understand their experience.
Steps in the Journey of Change
Ready to make a change in your small law firm? Follow these steps to make it
Step One: Assess the Current State of your Practice
There are many steps in the journey of change, but accessing the current state of your practice is arguably the
first and most important. Evaluate the current state of your small law firm and be realistic about what you hope
to get out of a change. It may be true that a major change could be a few months off, but there’s no reason your
firm can’t make a few small changes now in preparation for the larger shift down the line.
Step Two: Align your Attitude
You can benefit from your investment by getting your team members on board and leading by example. It is up
to you to be their leader. Stay positive and turn challenges into learning opportunities.
For example, if your firm is switching from paper files to an online case management solution, your entire team
must make the switch and embrace it. It won’t do your firm any good if one member is still using paper files
while everyone else has access to the same digital versions. Everyone is accountable.
Step Three: Establish a Vision
Every change no matter how small, impacts the way your small law firm operates. That’s why your firm should
have a clear vision in place before you alter your practice in any way. Are you looking to gain more customers?
Is saving time a goal? By identifying exactly what your goals are, you can implement the best software,
communication system, or organizational structures for your firm and your objectives.
Step Four: Convey and Communicate Concerns
If your firm has been running the same way for the last decade, you will understandably have more than a
few concerns about making a change. Instead of relying solely on online demos and motivation of your team
members, establish special onboarding sessions to get your staff up-to-speed on new technology updates on the
firm and other pressing concerns. This will help mitigate firm-wide concerns and provide your firm with a strong
Step Five: Be Patient
Take the time necessary for your practice to see benefits from the changes you implement. It takes thirty to
ninety days to have a solution fully implemented with staff trained, and processes built around the business and
these new changes.
Be sure to benchmark where your firm stood before implementation and measure progress as your firm gets
more familiar with new technology. This will help you motivate the team along the way.
Step Six: Choose Technology that Evolves with You
At Smokeball, we tailor our software and training courses to the ongoing needs of our clients. Open
communication between you and your provider is key to getting the most out of your purchase. Whether it’s the
need for more specific training, a feature that would make a big difference in your day, or just a small tweak, be
sure to communicate with your provider.
Your provider should want to help you work smarter and make their product better for you. Communicating your
needs, frustrations or asking for help will ensure the highest return on your investment for your practice.
The decision to adopt something new is hard; the transition process can be time
consuming and sometimes frustrating.
Providers are here to help you, and they should genuinely care about your team’s ability to learn, use, and grow
with the technology changes you buy so you become a client for life. At Smokeball, our goal isn’t to sell our
software to every law firm on the planet; it’s to help our clients get as much as possible out of our software so
they can grow their business and succeed.