Training During a Law Firm Acquisition
By Doug Striker, CEO, Savvy Training & Consulting
2015 was a record year in the United States for law firm mergers and acquisitions. There were a whopping 91 in 2015 alone. Now, in addition to the boon of combining client bases and pure legal know-how, can you imagine the culture shifts these firms are experiencing? And, along with that, these firms need everyone to use the same technological systems – ASAP! As you can imagine, I believe training is the key to smooth transitions during these times of upheaval.
Trainers and IT professionals are tasked to achieve three important goals:
- Audit existing technology assets in both firms
- Pick the most appropriate programs and systems for the newly merged firm
- Train everyone to use them efficiently
Each one of those bullets represents a mammoth job! Of course, I’d like to weigh in on the training responsibilities and the best ways to achieve efficiency across the firm.
Training During a Law Firm Acquisition
Once the audit is complete and the firm has chosen a technology protocol, it is time for trainers to get everyone up to speed! Yet, in most firms, trainers are already overwhelmed and the idea of turning this new (merged) ship around in one cohesive direction can seem… well, laughable. (If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right?) Here are a few steps to take and some tools that will make your job easier.
First: Assess where everyone stands currently
You do NOT want to approach this new training challenge with a one-size-fits-all strategy. You will end up wasting some people’s time and that is not a great way to start a relationship. So, you’ve got to conduct an individualized assessment of everyone’s skills so that you know who needs what. (A good learning management system can make this job a snap. Read on.)
Second: Encourage Self-Driven Study
Using your LMS, assign the perfect courses to the appropriate people and track their achievements. Some “courses” may only take 10 to 15 minutes at an individual’s desk and could be completed during a lunch break. Encourage participation with prizes ranging in value from tote bags all the way up to cash prizes for completion of a group of courses.
Third: Flip the Learning
With people taking the courses they need at their desk, you can make your in-classroom trainings much more dynamic! People come to you with base knowledge thanks to their desktop trainings and you can challenge them further with interactive lessons that help employees to apply their new skills immediately.
You Need a Robust Learning Management System
Honestly, I don’t have any idea how two firms would merge successfully without having a very robust LMS at their beck and call. And, in case you haven’t researched the options lately, these systems do not have to cost a fortune any more. Your firm does not have to work with a hardware vendor and then a software vendor to create a proprietary LMS for your firm. (That’s a crazy costly endeavor and you don’t have time!)
Here’s what you should look for:
- Cloud-based: Get a cloud-based LMS that your team does not have to administer.
- Subscription-based: Forget the hassle of managing your own LMS updates. Let the provider do it for you. Buy a subscription and let someone else do the work.
- Continuous updates: With your subscription, you should receive continuous updates to the training content, particularly in areas that your firm desperately needs during its merger.
- Top-notch customer service: If you’re relying on a provider to support your training needs, make sure that provider is Johnny-on-the-spot with helpful, pleasant assistance when you need it.
During a merger, your firm is under tremendous pressure to produce as it also learns new systems and protocol. As a trainer, make your job easier with a robust LMS!
Savvy Training & Consulting works with leading companies and technologies to deliver the most up-to-date training solutions and curricula to law firms. Savvy recently unveiled an award-winning Learning Management System (LMS) for law firms, SavvyAcademyTM, which delivers scalable training capabilities, reportable data down to the individual user and 24/7 support, all for a fraction of the cost of traditional LMS services. For a free demo, click here.