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The Impact of Staffing on the Adoption of Legal Innovation

By Christiane Matuch posted 12-20-2021 09:51


By Christiane Matuch, LL.M., ALPM and Harriet Joubert-Vaklyes

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where the firm has bought or developed a new legal tech tool, but nobody knows how to make the most of it? Or maybe one person knows but just can’t handle the volume of support? Who are the first adopters of new, legal technology solutions in your firm, and does it matter what kind of support you provide? It sure does! (At least that is what our latest survey shows.)

Let’s get into it. Our survey shows that there are different levels of adoption between shareholders/partners, associates, paralegals, and staff. Almost 90% of respondents stated that there are different adoption levels between roles at law firms.

But who are your greatest adopters? Among our survey respondents, the greatest adopters of legal tech are associates and staff. This should not be surprising: everyone is contending with a very different landscape than they did 10 years ago. Many firms are introducing technology classes for their associates—they are the future of the profession, and they are taking this responsibility seriously. Staff is is also a driving force when it comes to adopting innovative solutions: there is higher pressure than ever before to remaining relevant in their support of attorneys.

We were also curious to see who supports innovative solutions, and found that firms rely on several types of support systems: from knowledge management and innovation departments to internal IT departments that build custom solutions. Some firms have dedicated innovation and technology solution committees charged with promoting the adoption of solutions. Marketing and business development are also involved, but to a lesser extent. 

We further asked what kind of resource would be most helpful to drive adoption—do we need business resources or legal resources? When asked this exact question, most people preferred a business resource. As you can see from the graph below, the preference was almost 2:1.

We take this as a shout out to legal operations, which can be staffed with business resources to help legal with development and adoption of innovative solutions.

We would like to thank everybody who participated in this survey and would like to close with the following takeaway: Investment in legal tech is only worthwhile if you have the requisite adoption, and that adoption hinges on targeting the right people within your firm. Since this varies from firm to firm, ensuring that you have a clear idea of what adoption looks like within your company is critical.

#Knowledge Management and Search