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Strategies for Change

ILTA Pittsburgh Lunch, 19 Feb 2015

Ron Friedmann and Jim Tuvell, Fireman & Company

Change is hard
Understand what has changed + what is changing in legal market
Learning from change in consumer markets
Applying these lessons to foster new change

Change is Hard
Even When Your Own Life is at Stake

Leading Diseases Kill

Lifestyle Decisions Contribute to Illness

Better Lifestyle Chooses are Clear

But Many Do Not Change Habits, instead

To Foster Change, Understand

What Has Changed
Overview of Changes in Law Firms and Law Practice and some Examples

Law Firms Have Changed In Many Ways







Secretary, Accounting, Library, Facilities

Copy Room, Paralegals, Recruiting, Travel Services
Fax center, IT, Finance, Prof. Dev.
Marketing, KM
Practice Support,
Marketing Tech, BD,
Practice Groups, BI,
Diversity, Sourcing

But How Much Have Lawyers Changed?

Only in this decade have those changes begun to law practice itself
Most tech + process changes had little impact on lawyers work
Word processing substituted for dictation, long hand, and cut + paste
Email substituted for fax, Fedex, calls, and memos
Internet enables new ways to research

Query how big a change this has really been

However we answer, lets learn how those changes occurred

Adopting PCs in the 1980s

Make it hard but cool to get a PC.
Scarcity can drive demand
Competition spurs demand

Two senior partners brag about learning to type

Many lawyers use PCs in their practice and present enthusiastically
Key communication only by email plus commit to client email
>> Top Down, Consciously Planned, Funded, Deep Commitment

Moving from Paper to Images in Doc Review

Mid-level associates had problems they wanted to solve
Address the mess of dealing with paper
Capture more review info
Avoid drafty, rodent-infested warehouses

Permissive firm management allowed building new tech / approach

Early use successes sustained effort
Full text search found more docs
Finding and managing images was easier
Was also cool

>> Bottoms up change by motivated lawyers, willing to take chance.

Institutional support and funding but not top down.

Punctual Time Entry

New managing partner
Penalties in place
Partner draws held
Associates direct deposit suspended

Staff walked around reminding
Partners (who were with program) reminding

>> Top down, stick approach, some staff support to communicate,


Internet Email
A few firms started early
But many waited until clients demanded
At some point, change becomes necessary to
Stay in business
Recruit new lawyers

>> When you change because the market demands it, thats not really
change management. Closer to execution in a rush, if not a panic.

Frequently Heard Then (?) and Now

Why would I ever use email. I just walk down the hall to talk.
Law firms dont have or need websites.
I went to law school so I would not have to deal with numbers
I cant create a budget for litigation, its just too unpredictable.
We could never send legal work to India, its not safe

We dont need marketing our reputation is why clients come to us

To Foster Change, Understand

What Is Changing
Overview of Recent an

KM: Failure to Change Lawyers Led to Automate

Took a few years to learn lawyers would not do anything extra
Bad titles, bad doc type selection
After action reviews rare

Professional support lawyers substitute but uncommon in US

Most firms end up with enterprise search
>> Lesson: In US, most successful KM is automated. Only lawyer change
is learning a new UI (and thats no longer a big deal)

Legal Project Management Driven by Pain

Requires basic changes in how lawyers work
More talk than action to date
Focus has been on pricing and budgets
Monitoring and adjusting is lagging

Adoption is generally spotty, driven by partners in pain

Firm-wide commitment still the exception
For example, Seyfarth, Gowlings, Baker Donelson
Even in these firms, uptake is not universal

>> Lesson: Partners in Pain will drive localized change. Even with PIPs and
management commitment, change spreads slowly

Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO)

Lawyers initially said legal process outsourcing could not work
India is not safe. They were wrong
Bad Quality. Lawyers had no metrics + LPO was just as good

Clients led adoption, not law firms

LPO worked but spawned many other alternatives
>> Lesson: change was slow, honestly held but false beliefs hindered,
clients ultimately imposed. But little of this affected how law firm
lawyers worked. If law firms dont change, others will rise of NewLaw

Predictive Coding in Discovery

Substitute tech for humans in discovery (responsive, privilege)
Almost certainly superior to linear review
Linear review is simply not economically feasible
Studies to date show tech better than humans

Journey remains underway

Clients, law firms, and courts remain uncertain or skeptical
Wider spread adoption likely dependent on courts

>> Lesson: Change is sometimes limited by the law itself, which changes even
slower than lawyer

Learning from Consumer Markets

Why Do our Personal Lives Change More Rapidly?

Adoption Cycle Crossing the Chasm

As Consumers, We Change Faster and Faster

What Persuaded So Many to Spend So Much?

Lessons from Consumer Markets

Affordability is a big factor
Viral force a factor (see it, want it)
Ecosystem comes together (e.g., content or apps to support devices)
The experience and emotions matter
Habits can change quickly

Clear answer to The Whats in it for Me

Applying Legal + Consumer Market

Lessons to Foster Change
Lessons Learned and Approaches to Foster and Manage Change

Motivating Change is Hard Work

Client request / demand
Management aligns on benefit

Imminent threat to business

Management that sees compelling
advantage + is willing to act

Whats In It for Me
Do same work faster / better
Low barrier to entry

Whats In It for Me
Do new kinds of work: make more
or be happier

Know Your Audience

Open or actively supportive

Supportive but not ready to act
Undecided sees pros and cons of change
Uninformed / no opinion
Unsupportive / disagrees


Starbucks Cards
Money but Kahneman


Partners in Pain


Management buy-in > top down

Competitive advantage
Fear of loss
Client pressure
Partner envy

When is it Feasible to Foster Change?

Market necessity firm is behind, catching up is a crisis
Management sees a competitive advantage
Practice has a need or sees a competitive advantage

Ideal Change Recipe

Institutional Motivators
Client demand
Management buy-in
Practice group buy-in


Lawyers skin in game

Firm allocates budget
Staff build + execute
Management tracks and manages
Lawyers communicate changes to clients

Change is hard
Distinguish individual and institutional
Individual is easier; institutional more rewarding
Choose battles carefully
Manage your own expectations
Exit early if necessary
Dont sign up for the impossible