DLA Piper’s Personal Touch

Where is that “Easy Button” when you need it? Want cash? Push a button. Want some new shoes? Click a button. Want dinner? Dial a button. We live in a society that is making many, many things easier to accomplish without too much human interference. But there’s one important achievement that still requires a human, personal touch: learning.

Lately, I’ve heard from law firms that want a machine, a button, that will enable them to evaluate the learning among their staff. In pursuing LTC4 certification, they are seeking a learning management system (LMS) that will not only enable them to teach the required skills virtually, but to also score the learning, evaluate next steps, and assign additional content automatically.

Sure, this sounds fantastic because it sounds so easy! But is it effective? Is it truly helping your team learn important skills? I’ve encouraged the trainers, IT experts and HR professionals with whom I speak to think more about adding a personal touch to the LTC4 learning process.

Then, like manna from heaven, an article just came out in LegalTechnology.com about DLA Piper’s very personal touch in its pursuit of LTC4 certification. This gigantic, global firm – which presumably could buy any “easy button” machine that it wanted – chose instead to approach its training the old fashioned way – one-on-one learning.

Neill Morley, DLA Piper’s Head of IT Learning, said, “We performed assessments individually and created custom learning plans to fill the knowledge gaps.”

They performed assessments individually! According to Wikipedia: “DLA Piper is a global multinational law firm located in more than 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.”

Shoot, they must have considered an automated system for the Herculean task that they set for themselves. But no. They chose to make the learning in their firm more personal.

Why? I’m guessing they chose this path because it’s more effective.

And here’s the good news for small to mid-size firms: it’s also cheaper! Yes, there is more sweat-equity invested in one-on-one learning and human time is not free, but it’s more effective and – given the prices of the evaluation engines on the market – cheaper. Based on those facts, any bean counter can tell you the ROI on the human approach is high!

In fact, DLA Piper reports in the article:

“Return on Investment (ROI) has not been directly measured but due to the personalized delivery, the trainers are reporting an immediate impact and very quick ROI.”

Here at Savvy Training & Consulting, we always encourage the human touch in the learning process. Yes, we offer a very robust LMS (SavvyAcademy) that provides continuously updated content in dynamic learning platforms and it can track progress and achievements. But can it evaluate and score true learning? No. That is a human task.

We encourage trainers, IT experts and HR professionals to assign individualized learning paths and then, once the staff member or lawyer has completed those requirements, to personally observe them as they seek to complete tests and evaluations. In that personal relationship, true learning is not only achieved more effectively but it’s accelerated!

“[Morley] notes: ‘We used the excellent relationships our trainers and other onsite IT staff already have with individuals across the firm. We set our own standards very high and personalized the first LTC4 module (Legal Documents) by delivering one to one sessions, and up-skilling and assessing during each session. We also created recordings for every skill required for Legal Documents. Eventually, we aim to do this for all modules. We received excellent feedback on the quality, delivery and effectiveness for the sessions and are using this to promote the rest of the curriculum.”

(The underlines are mine.)

What if you already possess the very thing that you need to create real learning in your firm: positive relationships?! And any teacher or trainer on the planet will tell you that a machine may be able to push learning, but it takes human interaction to achieve real growth.

One note: The article also states that DLA Piper had buy-in from the very top of the firm and across all global divisions:

“Once the firm’s IT department agreed that using LTC4 curriculum to benchmark lawyers’ technical knowledge across the firm and to up-skill (provide additional/advanced training) where required, DLA Piper’s CIO introduced the idea to its CEO who was most supportive. A few months later, the firm’s International Managing Partner agreed and the LTC4 initiative became a full-fledged IT project with an assigned project manager.”

This is critical to any learning program’s success. If upper management fails to embrace and inspire learning, then the mission is doomed.

If your firm wants to pursue LTC4 certification and you have been feeling like you need to make another heavy technology investment to make it happen, take heart from the DLA Piper story. Learning is a human process! You don’t necessarily need a fancy “easy button” to achieve your goals.

If you’d like to discuss this article further or learn how your firm can pursue LTC4 certification, please contact me today!

If you’d like to discuss this article further or learn how your firm can pursue LTC4 certification, please contact me today: (info@SavvyTraining.com or 303-800-5408).


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.


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