I’ve had several conversations with Savvy clients lately that have me excited about a culture shift that is emerging in the legal industry.
First, let me paint the context:
Savvy works primarily with law firm trainers, HR directors and IT professionals who often find themselves on an island inside their very busy firms. Tasked with training attorneys and staff who have no time or motivation to learn new technology skills, these people do their best to keep the firm up-to-date on tech tools that are absolutely mandatory for efficient work in today’s legal environment. But it has been an uphill slog-fest because law firms work on wicked deadlines with overwhelming workloads. Attorneys, paralegals and secretaries have been known to simply ignore training because they don’t see a need to change how they work.
And what is delivering their newfound motivation to accept change? Client expectations.
Consider a conversation I recently had with Charles Collins, IT Director at Ward and Smith, a midsized North Carolina firm. Charles was telling me that his staff was actually demanding more training.
I shook my head like a cartoon character and said, “What did you say?!”
“Clients are starting to demand more insight into the work we’re doing for them and how we’re doing it. They are starting to dictate tech solutions that they want us to use. They are also holding us to high standards in protecting their data. As attorneys are hearing this, they are driving a learning culture shift at our firm.”
He continued, “Our attorneys are more eager to learn about the technologies we have because they can turn around and sell that skill to clients. It’s a marketing tool: ‘We have a really good understanding of the current tech and how to use it efficiently. We can also keep your data safe.’ This is changing our culture.”
Did you read that?! ATTORNEYS are demanding a learning culture thanks to their clients’ expectations.
Flipping the Paradigm
This is absolutely a positive and productive way for law firms to embrace a learning culture. It would have been nice if everyone had listened to the trainers a decade ago when they started rattling cages and saying, “You gotta know this stuff to serve your clients properly!” But, as with many other industries, sometimes the market forces the change before the visionaries on the inside.
(That said, the firms who listened to their trainers years ago and launched robust training programs will reap the rewards as other struggle to catch up!)