Finding helpful legal technology consultants is more than just a pain-in-the ass. It’s downright intimidating.
Even for lawyers who routinely demolish witnesses on cross-examination. Which is understandable, of course.
Technology is complicated, confusing, and unenjoyable. Plus it’s not even a small part of why you wanted to practice law in the first place.
That’s why it’s easy for busy lawyers hire the wrong person to help them solve their technology problems. Here are 5 common mistakes you’re likely to make in hiring a technology consultant (hereinafter “tech guru”).
1. Picking the first tech guru you come across
Let’s admit the sad truth right off the bat: the odds are stacked in favor the tech guru. There aren’t enough of them floating around, and you don’t know how to discriminate among the few you come across.
Plus, you don’t have a lot of spare time.
But, if you’re going to hire the right person you can’t just pick the first person you stumble upon. So, even when you don’t have an immediate need for hiring a tech guru, you should be scanning the horizon for good candidates to talk with when the need arises (keep reading for a surprisingly helpful recommendation for doing this).
2. Not hiring a tech guru with the right skill-set.
The guy that built your website is not necessarily the guy that should help you with your email service. And the guy that installed your document management system is almost certainly not the right person to train your staff to get the most out of it.
There are more different types of legal technology consultants than you probably realize. Maybe the first consultant you should hire is one who can help you figure out what skill sets you’ll be needing for common tech problems. (see number 5 below).
3. Not hiring a tech guru who specializes in helping lawyers
Lawyers have a lot of common technology problems that any tech consultant can help with. But we also have special duties to clients that create ethical obligations.
Yes, the hipster that your daughter went to school with is a tech-wizard, and might be getting ready to sell his software to Google for 3 billion dollars. But his software probably doesn’t have conflict-checking built in.
Which makes it worthless to lawyers.
The other tech wizard you know loves Dropbox and swears it’s the answer to all your prayers. But does he know the requirements that lawyers have to meet in using cloud services?
In the long-run, you’ll save needless agony (and money) if you hire tech consultants that specialize in helping lawyers and law firms.
4. Not hiring a tech guru with the right incentives
If you talk to a consultant that specializes in selling one or two specific legal software products, don’t be surprised if they tell you those products are the solution to all of your problems.
Practice management software is notoriously difficult to get unbiased and knowledgeable recommendations for.
Ideally, you’d try to find someone who gets to see all the different types of practice management software in action, but who doesn’t sell the software or make money from its sale.
Usually, that kind of person would be extremely hard to find. But not if you avoid the last mistake.
5. Not hiring a legal technology trainer
Before you buy more software, you (and the folks in your firm) should learn to get more out of the technology you already own.
You should hire a technology trainer that specializes in helping lawyers and legal professionals. Not doing so is the biggest, and most common mistake lawyers make.
Hiring a legal technology trainer will help you in countless ways that will surprise you once you experience the benefits firsthand.
For example, here’s what will probably happen:
- You’ll learn your software has major configuration problems.
- But the tech trainer will easily solve those problems in the first visit, and in turn solve a bunch of other related problems.
- You’ll find out your staff’s poor training on word processing software alone has wasted many hours of time.
- You’ll also discover the poor training caused some major snafus (which they convinced you were caused by “software glitches”).
- Ultimately, however, your staff will rejoice and their morale will soar as they learn to unlock the best features of the software they most often use (it makes their lives easier and makes them feel more valuable to the firm).
Besides helping your staff become more proficient, and more efficient, there are other, hidden side-benefits to hiring a legal technology trainer.
What hidden benefits?
Well, legal tech trainers get to help lawyers in lots of different kinds of kinds of firms. Which means they get to see all the different kinds of software packages lawyers and their staff tend to use.
But they see it from a completely unbiased perspective because they don’t make money selling such software.
In short: they know the difference between poorly designed software and user-error caused by poor training. Bad software costs lots of money, and it can’t easily be offset by great training.
If you want to learn more sign up for our free email course on “How to Create a Modern Law Firm” (i.e. one that’s automated and streamlined so it virtually runs itself).