It’s been three years since The Washington Post ran a challenging headline: “Lawyers, could you pass this test?” In the story, reporter Catherine Ho explained that Casey Flaherty had left the in-house counsel team at Kia Motors, where he had been charged with monitoring spending at the company’s nine outside law firms. What he found not only upset him, it changed the trajectory of his career.
While at Kia, Flaherty began auditing the nine outside law firms on the way they used their time and how efficiently they completed tasks, such as working in Microsoft Word.
“The results were all bad, but they were different degrees of bad,” he reported. Meaning: Kia was WAY overspending on legal fees because the lawyers didn’t know how to do basic legal tasks efficiently.
As the article explained:
Much of the time lawyers spend is not just in the courtroom or negotiating deals — a lot of their work involves drafting and editing contracts, preparing e-filings and other mundane duties that can be time-consuming if lawyers are not familiar with technology that can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete such tasks. Tech skills are especially important now that many law firms are slimming down their support staff.
Flaherty ultimately left Kia and became an entrepreneur. Building from the audit he used on Kia’s outside counsel, he developed a full-blown test called The Legal Tech Audit, now known as The Legal Tech Assessment, or LTA. This easy-to-administer test analyzes how well timekeepers and staff use basic law practice technologies, such as word processing and spreadsheets, to complete common legal tasks.
Guess who loves this? Clients! They now have a way to assure that the lawyers they hire aren’t spinning expensive hours while tinkering like rookies on simple work processes.
Guess who is starting to understand the bottom-line value of this test? Law firms! They now see that efficiencies drive profits.
LTA: How Does it Work?
The beauty of LTA is that it makes assessment easy and defines clear, easy-to-follow learning goals for firms based on their results. The company has a fantastic (and entertaining) video to explain the process, but in a nutshell, a firm:
- Launches the assessment for participation of all intended timekeeping employees and staff
- Analyzes results across several predetermined subject areas
- Using the results, creates individualized learning paths to improve skills
Conveniently, Savvy Training & Consulting is an official LTA partner and our SavvyAcademy Learning Management System comes fully loaded with all the training materials and learning paths that your firm will need to improve test results (and client deliverables).
One More Benefit from High LTA Scores
I’m hearing more often that clients are requesting certification scores in the RFP process. They want to be sure they are hiring attorneys who will bill them for hours spent efficiently doing real work!
Think about it from your clients’ perspective: Why should they pay top dollar for a superstar lawyer when half his or her time is spent trying to format a Word document? Sure, they may be brilliant, but why pay for technical inadequacies?
On the other hand, once your attorneys’ LTA scores are also brilliant, you can start leveraging that fact in your proposals and marketing materials, including:
- Spread the word: Tout your efficiency achievements in blogs and articles.
- Make it personal: When your attorneys publish, have them include something about efficiency in their bio. (i.e. “John Smith has achieved Expert Status across the LTA standards.”)
- Include efficiency in proposals: Whether or not it’s requested, be sure to slip your efficiency goals and priorities into client proposals. You’ll stand out and cause the client to wonder, “What are these other firms doing to leverage more benefits out of my dollars?”
If you’d like to learn more about LTA and training to support your goals, contact me at Jay@SavvyTraining.com, 303-800-4568.