Litera Evangelist Curt Meltzer speaks with three experts in driving technology adoption in law firms. The conversation focuses on aspects of adoptions such as communications, planning, understanding the underlying problems, and using metrics to show ROI. Read transcript
Service Excellence Partner, Eversheds Sutherland
National Director of Knowledge and Practice Innovation, Bennett Jones LLP
Director of Practice Innovation, Burns & Levinson LLP
Welcome to Legal Tech Matters, a Litera podcast dedicated to creating conversations about trends, technology and innovation for modern law firms and companies big and small.
We know that there's really no point of having something amazing if it's just going to sit on the shelf and collect dust. I mean, ladies and gentlemen, just for a second, let's be honest with one another, how many times have we gone out and purchased something only to find the tag on there? Maybe a month later, maybe even years later, this has got to be a worldwide phenomenon or shared human experience. If you will, please tell me I'm not the only one on this. But in the same way, having great technology is fantastic. But unless lawyers use it, they just won't see the efficiency gains. So our next session will be highly beneficial as it discusses ways to Adobe technology to get the results, get the benefits for you and for your team.
The next version of the Changing Lawyers Live, this is titled Tech Empowered Firms are Enjoying a Boost to Efficiency. I'm Curt Meltzer. I'm an evangelist with Litera and I'm very excited to welcome our guests today in alphabetical order. Rachel Broquard is the service excellence partner with Eversheds Sutherland. Angela Dowd is the director of Practice Innovation with Burns and Levinson, and Kate Simpson is the national director of Knowledge and Practice Innovation with Bennett Jones.
So we have three countries represented. Rachel is in London and the UK, Angela is in Austin in the US, and Kate is in Canada, in Toronto. So we've got a multinational panel and a group of people who have tremendous experience in trying to get lawyers to embrace technology. So if if you would please go in that order again, alphabetical order, if you could just introduce yourselves and say a little bit about why you're you're interested in talking about this topic today Rachel.
Hello. Yes, I'm Rachel Broquard at Eversheds Sutherland. I am a practicing lawyer and have been an M&A partner at the firm until I stepped into this role in April 2020. Really excited to be here today to talk about adoption of legal technology because ultimately that's our raison d'etre.
If lawyers aren't using the solutions that we are suggesting that they should use then we are not helping them solve the problems that we're here to solve. They're really excited to get into the debate today.
Thank you, Rachel Angela.
Hi, I am Angela Dowd, I'm the director of practice innovation at Burns and Levinson in Boston, Massachusetts. I have been with my firm for many, many a moon. I sort of was actually in human resources of all places and then have been through various functions and places in IT and in the firm. And I think for me, that's part of the reason why technology adoption really resonates is that there are so many business issues that we can assist with. And to Rachel's point, if we are not helping them adopt to want these products to use the products, you know, for whatever reason that speaks to them, then how are we really helping our firms? So I'm really excited to be having this conversation.
Great. Thank you, Kate.
Hi, I'm Kate Simson. I am the national director of knowledge and practice innovation for Bennett Jones, a largely Canadian firm with a few international offices. And I'm excited to start this. My background is actually in user experience and information architecture. And so at getting lawyers to use technology, there's a kind of an HCI element to making the technology as intuitive as possible and engaging.
But there's also a lot that we can do to nudge behaviors, to get lawyers, to actually use technology that may not at its outset look more intuitive. So I'm also excited to be here today. Thanks.
Great. Thank you all.
While I've been in the legal technology space for more than 35 years, we've seen a lot of changes in that time. But I'm particularly excited about what's happening today. There's, I don't know if we can call it a legal technology renaissance because I'm not sure that there was ever, ever a high moment. But this is clearly a high moment in terms of the amount of attention and money being thrown at solving legal technology issues and solving the problems that clients have. So it is a particularly exciting time, but all throughout these 35 plus years, we've had the same challenge.
No matter how good the tools are and no matter how much they address the business challenges, it can be difficult to get the lawyers in particular to embrace them. And so we're going to get into that today. So let's start off with the very first, very basic question which each of you have touched on just a bit.
Why do we care? Why do we spend so much time on technology adoption? It's not the sexy tech stuff that everybody gets interested in. It's actually the hard work of getting people to pay attention and to change. So why do we focus on this and why do we care? Kate, would you mind starting us, please?
Yeah. I'm going to go with the business, the business reason first, which is that it is the ROI. The reason that we're here. So we really care about adoption because our firms are making huge investments. This stuff isn't cheap, so we need the lawyers to use it to get some of that return on investment. So I think that the major piece is actually a business reason that we need to.
We do show and we'll talk about this later. But what we track metrics to ensure that success that we do measure success in terms of adoption and use of the technology.
Very good, Angela. But there are other reasons why we care?
I mean, absolutely, I think that oftentimes and almost always, we're buying technology because it solves a problem for us right there. There are some underlying reasons why it would be great to have as much money as I wanted to just buy cool things because they were cool. There is a business problem that we're trying to solve and to Kate's point, know the return on investment. We've identified this problem. So now we need to get people to buy into this so that we can fix the issue through this technology.
Very good. Rachel, what are some of the other reasons?
Yeah, so I mean, Kate touched on one of the key ones for me, which is the return on investment. Clearly, there's a need to use technology to reduce risk within our business.
But ultimately, for me, this is about using technology to augment the services that our lawyers are providing. We are not a technology provider. We are a law firm and technology enhances the way we deliver our legal services. And ultimately, we aspire to delivering that service excellence to our clients by using best of breed technology and therefore getting as many people across the organization to buy into using the solutions to help them deliver better work to our clients is what we're here to really deliver.
I think it's also important to note that what we speak about a lot with people is improving end user happiness. A lot of the work that lawyers do is routine and boring, and their eyes bleed at 3:00 in the morning from reading documents over and over and over. And if there's a way to get rid of some of that boring work, make them more efficient and let them get home earlier or get the work done in a more efficient manner and a higher quality manner. That's important. So we care that they understand, we understand their pain, and we're trying to help them address those things so that they can enjoy their job more. And everybody wants to get paid to think and be creative and work with clients and collaborate and so on. They don't want to get paid to do nasty document review and things of that nature.
Absolutely. I think that, you know, you bring up a great point is that from our attorneys went to law school because they enjoy practicing law. They don't want to format documents. They don't want to have to do this. You know, there's what I'm going to call more maintenance items or things that are better done by technology. They want to practice law. They want to service their clients. They want to do those deep legal specific things.
I was that lawyer in the physical data room 20 years ago. I was that junior associate, sat there at 2:00 in the morning pulling together these very manual DD reports. I am so glad that our lawyers today do not have to go through these processes. Yeah, you're absolutely right. It's about helping our people to thrive.
Yeah. You know, it's funny. You know, Simon Sinek. He's got this great book called Start with Why? And I remember doing this. You know, when it first came out and my my why is like, Why do I get up in the morning? I want to improve the lives of lawyers. You know, they have it is a it is a hard world that our lawyers live in and just making sure that they don't have the microaggressions that we have with technology where you want to throw the printer out the room, because why can't you see it's just sitting there? Why can't you connect? And you know, we want to solve some of those problems. And I think, you know, technology shouldn't be seen as an additional frustration. It should be seen as something that can kind of engage in a new way to do the work that needs to be done.
So and I think the technology has evolved to the point now where it's not something that we do to people, but it's something that we do for and with people, right? I mean, we all remember back in the days when it was it was an especially for you if you've done, you know, UI, UX, it was definitely something we did to people. And you know, there were times when it felt like you had to hold your arm up and the moon was in the right phase and then magically, it would somehow produce this thing for you.
Yeah. And you know, your demo sessions would start with an apology, but why? It doesn't look quite as well?
Exactly. Have you ever been in a demo and that didn't happen. Kate, I really loved your term of microaggressions. If they were only all micro-aggressions, right? Life would be a lot better. They, you know, rightfully so. They are under enormous amount of pressure. And when the tools that we provide don't do it for them, it is extremely frustrating and they're focused on client service and being responsive to the client. And then we need to facilitate that relationship and their ability to deliver on their promises to those clients. So. So we understand those micro aggressions. I'm going to have to use that. So what so we talk about adoption and most people think of it, I believe as, OK, we're rolling it out. We're doing some training. Now, everybody has to start using this thing. But I think there's a lot more to it than that. Angela, when does this adoption process really start in order to be successful?
I think you really have to define the problem first, right? Like, you can't have a solution if you don't know what you're trying to solve yet. You know what? What defines success? If you can't explain to people what it is, then it really is that you've just bought something cool because you thought it would cool and you thought it would help.
Like, it was just awesome. And again, if I had that much money, I would. That would be fantastic. But I think it really starts with defining what the problem is and having an understanding who the people are, who your stakeholders are and what their view of it is.
You know, not necessarily just what's in it for me, but how do they view a problem because a senior partner is going to view it very, very differently than a mid-level associate? Then maybe the same issue, but very different sides of that same problem, then what is their connection to this issue?
Rachel, what about you and when does the process start for you guys?
Yeah, I mean, I think Angie has touched on it, the way that I've seen technologies adopted rapidly is when they are addressing a real life problem and people are feeling the pain at the time that they are trying to find the right solution. And that's why you find rapid change and rapid adoption. But yeah, I mean, historically, we've seen I.T. departments try and impose tech on lawyers and actually the lawyers need to be involved in the process from the very start so that the people on the tech side and the people who are actually delivering legal services to clients really are talking at that very early stage. And then you're bringing their ideas on board so that if you leave it until you're ready to launch, you've probably left it too late to start.
You want to engage their emotions at the very early stage. Understand what they want. That's why they need it, what their pain points are and really understand the human connection with the problem of why it is that they want that problem solved. And it could be because actually, they put a real desire to deliver a great service for a client.
And for me, that is a real motivator for lawyers. They want to do great work for their clients. And if you can tap into that, then hopefully that helps you drive that adoption within the organization.
And then I would add that there's a, you know, when you're preparing for a new, you know, putting a pilot together and and you're kind of figuring out the pain point, you're figuring out who's going to be on that pilot. You're also taking steps to identify your communications plan, you adoption plan, because you're thinking, well, you know, what are what are possible reasons not to use it that people might bring up so that you can build your communications plan about avoiding that very, very excuse and understanding that different people have different ways of doing things. And so they may well adopt this technology and use this technology in different ways.
And so what we need to do is for success in adoption, it's not just you have to use it and you can only use it in this one way for that, for that necessarily to be adopted by all people. And so understanding who your audience is and that different different vintages as well as different offices may end up using the technology in different ways. So you know that that conversation about adoption really starts for me before you even look at a tool because you're constantly thinking, OK, so when we do get a tool, then we have to kind of push adoption. And so anything that we can find out about the tool about how people currently work as we go through that process is key to when we got past that pilot stage and looking for roll out.
And I have to say to that point, there's also the managing of what the tool will do right, like I have found at least in demos and this is, you know, no slight to anybody. They all look spectacular and sexy, and they'll make us lose weight and make massages and all sorts of things right. Like the demos look spectacular. They're supposed to look spectacular. And sometimes, you know, if you haven't made those definitions early and really identify the problems that you can bring people back to the problem that you're trying to solve. You can have the shiny object syndrome where all of a sudden this no fault of anybody's, you know, your stakeholders are like, Oh, but it also does this and this is something important. You're like, No, no, no, that is cool, but not important.
There's just that, given that I've been in many of those meetings, when you're first talking about the problem and people already come with the solution, or we should buy X. Yeah, and that's not the kind of thing you want to get into because they use X at Y law firm and it works great for and our clients said we should use these. So that's exactly what we should use. Like, well, that's all great. And maybe perhaps we'll get to that point, but they're kind of jumping the gun on that and, you know, setting, I think, unrealistic expectations when they say, well, we already know what we're going to use and let's just cut to the chase that they're missing a huge part of the program.
And I think that's part of the job of the technologists to say, all right, let's embrace that and appreciate the input. But you know, let's take it one step at a time. It's that you don't want to put the cart before the horse.
You have to be very sensitive in that situation when a partner in the law firm has been approached by a legal technology provider, and they've reached out to you to say he's a really great bit of technology that I think is really going to help me with in my practice area because it might be the first time that that partner has engaged with the legal tech program, and he started thinking about how they are going to change their practice and adopt new technologies so you don't want to shut them off, but you do want to encourage that enthusiasm for legal tech.
But being mindful of your overall legal tech strategy, so it does require a lot of thoughtful handling and care in that particular situation.
Yeah. And have you seen that the number of vendors approaching your partners has gone up?
Well, usually I am feeling so even more, even when the vendor already knows that we use a competitive product or whatever, they've still gone in to the partners, that could get quite frustrating because then we have to have those careful conversations with those partners about the fact that we already actually have a piece of technology that can do what this vendor is saying that they want to do. So, but that those numbers have certainly gone up,
I have seen that as well. Though, to Rachel's point, I think it also gives an opportunity to have those conversations with perhaps stakeholders who may have been not as technologically, you know, eager in the past is that, you know, if you can have that conversation to say, Hey, we actually have something that's similar, can I schedule you with some time with our trainer to take a look at it? And is this a pain point you're feeling? Can we talk about this and how this is impacting your practice and why you think this would be a good idea? And maybe we can have a further conversation.
So for me, maybe it's the size of my firm. I've really welcomed a lot of those conversations that are time consuming. You do have to be careful about them, but anything that really helps people embrace technology more as a way to augment their practice. I'm always eager to start those conversations.
They can be a lot of fun. If you're able to structure it properly and you can make friends, even though you might not think so. And I've had that experience where I have a confrontation with somebody and we both reflect on it. And then you become a lot closer and can get places so it doesn't always take a straight path, but hopefully get to the right place ultimately. But all of this change that's being introduced is not the only change typically at a lot, and there's all kinds of things going on as managing partner. You always have to balance, well, how many different buttons can I push here? How many different things can change at once? Not very many. So you have to set priorities and there are other dynamics in the technology. There may be other types of integration that are going on or maybe replacing one technology with another. And people have to learn new ways of doing things, and you have to build some sort of integrations and build it into the training programs and so on. So, how do you balance those priorities and how do you get how do you get others to embrace what you see as your priorities wants to tackle that tough one?
It's a it's a big challenge. And when I came into my role relatively recently, 18 months ago, I mean, we have a plethora of legal technology solutions and are efficient. Eversheds Sutherland is one of the world's biggest law firms. You can imagine that there's a lot of technology across our organization. And one of the things that we embarked on when I came into old is what I call Project Marie Kondo, which is named after the famous Japanese lady who goes in and sorts out people's wardrobes and discusses their houses.
It's a project. Marie Collins, for me, is about looking at our tech stack and working out which of those solutions are the ones that bring us joy and that we really love. And that is going to maximize that return on investment and identifying these technology solutions that are perhaps past that best about the day perhaps haven't been adopted as well as we would like. Perhaps it was a pet project of a particular partner who's now left the organization
Because one of the things we talked about earlier was how early you start adoption and the adoption process takes a lot of time and effort, and we have limited resources. So how do we maximize our return on investment? It's really focusing on those technology solutions that we think are really going to move the dial, deliver that return on investment and help us drive our business forward. And so I think it's around focusing on those that return.
And then once you're moving away from the stations that are not there, you are in a better place to identify the gaps within your tech back. And then that forms the strategy going forward. So that's the approach that I've taken. I'm really interested to hear the approaches from my fellow panelists.
Yeah, I will say that, you know, for us, there are probably two things that really dictate it. one is the sort of overarching goals of the firm, right? So if you look at the firm's strategic plan and where it's trying to go, that can really dictate some of where your priorities lie. And then honestly, for my size, sometimes it's what's on fire, right?
Like, they all use the pandemic, for example. They they, you know, and the pandemic is something in lockdown that has changed things for a lot of people. You know, we were a traditional law firm. We worked in the office, we worked in the office, we have desktop machines.
We had probably four laptops in the entire firm, which, you know, most people are like, how is that possible? But that's just the culture of our firm know they very much valued this sort of work life balance. People didn't live in the office for a bazillion hours a day, and when everybody went home on very, very short notice, we had to figure out how to make that work.
And that really sparked a lot of changes in resources about what was impossible, what was possible so that people suddenly what they didn't need the technology because it wasn't, you know, they could just come in and, you know, we live in a city. Everyone's very, very close. They suddenly embraced change. They were suddenly wanting change. They were suddenly wanting ways to collaborate. Where before we could do what I call the sneaker network, we would stick our head down the hallway and we would sit in someone's office and talk and chat.
And those are the things we still want to do. But we want to do those things because those are things that are good for certain conversations. And now technology enables us to do things that technology is good for.
I think that there is something in that and how it happens is different. I mean,I could compare the different tools we bought over the last few years and the different techniques that each of them have required to get that adoption has been amazing. And it's so it's less of a single playbook that you just open when you buy a brand new piece of technology. It's not. like each technology requires a slightly different playbook to figure out, you know, full adoption or to get older, to hit success. And you know, no one could have predicted that the pandemic would be one of those things I would put in my playbook.
Another pandemic, please? But, you know, so you know, a couple of our technologies were affected in a positive way by the pandemic. So my firm had already given out laptops over the previous year. And so we were all ready to just hop to the moment that the government said, go home. We will pick up our laptops and one home. And that was, you know, full cited by our oil CTO.
But what we hadn't realized was all of the manual processes that we were trying to automate, such as closing, for instance, the closing mechanics. We were trying to automate and use technology to make that smoother and faster. And we had amazing adoption among some of the junior associates, like they were like, I'm never going back to the old way of doing it, but we still had a huge holdout of people who were still doing it the old way. And obviously, the fact that they were now locked in their homes were like, I can't really do it the old way because I need access to a very powerful printer if I'm going to do it the old way. So suddenly they were, tell me how to use this, this new tool, and they're all very excited about using it. And then on the other side, we have things like the Contract Companion in word that people kind of did know about but didn't know about.
And suddenly that became a need for self-serve. People actually want to know what technology communications they may have missed over, and he was suddenly much more interested in. Give me a rundown of all the things in my world within that that I have, but I just have forgotten that I don't use anymore or or forgotten about.
And so we got a we were kind of hit twice, once through the pandemic from a you just can't do it. The old ways now moving to the new ways and some where people were more interested and more open to learn about the technology because they wanted to be a tiny bit more self-serve from home because they didn't have to go after people just outside the door that they could yell at to get help with. And so we did get quite a lot of what more adoption because of this, you know, remote work. New World.
Yeah, it has been a catalyst for positive change, as well as all the negativity and the positive focus on the positive. Yes, it's there. Hopefully, we look for the silver linings and it has the other thing that's been wonderful is IT as a group has probably gotten more praise since the pandemic started than they've ever gotten before. Right. Because their work kind of saved the day and became very visible, very quickly. So that has been nice. I think that's kind of wearing off, though.
You each touched upon communications and what a critical role it plays. Kate, you talked about how different people need different things and work in different ways and and and learning happens in different ways for different people, their tactical, tactile learners, there are audio learners, there are visual learners and everything in between. And so there's different ways of educating people and communicating with them about what's going to happen, what is happening, what's been happening and what continues to happen. So can you talk a little bit about some of the ways that you've addressed that need to continually communicate the value, Rachel, in your stance on that, please?
Yeah. I mean, in terms of the learning and development process, it's continuing. And because there's so much change in this space, you've got to continue to communicate with the business, say a couple of things that I've been doing.
One is a tell me a story campaign, which is getting partners who have engaged in using technology for a particular client on a particular piece of work to do a short tell me a story idea that we can share with the rest of the partnership. Because when partners hear from other partners some of the success stories, they're more likely to have their eyes opened and want to engage intimate, same level of service to their clients. I've also just come out of the back of a large learning and development program that we have run across the firm.
It kicked off with a one week virtual conference for all of our lawyers where we did a big learning and development piece called 12 Days of Legal Techmas around some of those technology solutions that have come through the Project Marie Kondo program say that as many people as possible are aware of them and have been able to learn about them.
We have taster sessions, we had deep dives, we had practice, great people come and talk about the application of these technologies and we have great engagement across the business. I think we had nearly 70,000 page views on all types of platform, which was great to see.
Then coming out of the conference, we ran a global legal hackathon where we invited teams to tackle any particular client challenge that they wanted me to get to them in certain areas. If they wanted to have some ideas and gave them access to a sandbox that they could go away and play with some of the technology solutions. And we've just come through, a week of judging with our ten finalists to be announced next week. So that's how we're trying to make it a little bit more fun and engaging for people or something?
Kate, how about you?
Well, I still have a lot of work with the communication to do, I think, but you know, the rule of seven is something that I kind of adhere to a lot. It's a PR marketing rule - you need to touch people seven times before they internalize any message. And that, and those messages need to be different types of messages. So different media, different formats, different times. And there is a kernel of truth with it that you do need to to attack the communication on a multitude of fronts.
And so I love the idea of that. It's like the idea that at Eversheds you have a month where you can't miss the communication that there's a specific campaign going on. And I think that's a great one. And we're always trying to find new ways of communicating some of the things that we want people to use, and we have to come up with quite clever ideas to do it. So on the internet, you know, the little messages that pop up to tell people how to use things.
I think that we have the technology now to reach more people in different ways. And I think we have to be quite creative when thinking about communication and adoption and recognize that, as Rachel said, we're not we're not technologists where we're lawyers and we're serving our clients through legal advice.
And that means that the technology is an enabler. And so we have to recognize that they may not be ever the expert operators of the technology that we're rolling out. So how do we ensure a level of competency that just because they only use the technology once a month, they can still use the technology and they don't have to learn it over and over again because they don't use it on a regular basis. So we have a huge student training program. We work very closely with professional development to take through each new cohort as they come into the firm.
And we have quite a lot of repetitive meetings with those juniors as they learn the practice of law, but also the technologies that can help them with the practice of law. And that has been very, you know, we as we've seen each new year come through our training programs.
We see the benefit of that repeated communication and repeated training sessions. So keep going. Keep repeating your messages. It works. It's not a question,
Angela. Anything to add there.
You know, I think that I'm really going to echo what Kate and Rachel said.
I view it as very much like a bit of the fitness world, right? So that everybody has what motivates them differently. And that's different. So, you know, whether that's you want to run a marathon, that means you want to perhaps lose a little of our lockdown weight, you know, whatever that motivation is different for people and their formats are different. So you know, the idea of running with people, it horrifies me. I would rather do it by myself. I'm with my headphones and it's my own personal space. But some people love classes where they meet people.
And how that message gets delivered really has to be customized for your audience, and you have to know who they are and what their motivations are so that you can again keep on repeatedly bringing that message in different ways at different angles so that they do internalize that.
I think I learned a lesson from Ralph Baxter, who was the chairman of Orrick when I first started there as CIO, and he'd been managing partner for more than 20 years. And he said in relation to motivating partners to get things done. So they're all very successful people there. Most of them are type A. They've always been at the top of their class and very successful in whatever undertaking they choose. And so you can rely on their competitive instincts.
So he would say, I can get lawyers to do things for a ten dollar Starbucks card that typical millionaires wouldn't care about. And I think that is a really good motivator for people. They are competitive and they don't, you know, you're not trying to defeat the other person, you just want to excel.
And so if you can create some sort of competition or at least some sort of recognition, peer recognition through contributions, as you said, Rachel with. Partners are champions of products making videos to say how they've utilized it and how it's aiding their practice.
I think that's something that a lot of people would embrace. And of course, you're not going to get everybody. Nothing you do. It's ever going to get anybody. And I think that that adoption metric, which you talk about the moment is an important one to talk about.
But I think as long as you can reach people, they might not be able to get to use the technology themselves. But if they understand that it's there and how it can make life better for somebody at the firm and how it can improve your level of client service, then they can perhaps direct someone else to utilize it. And that's something I'd always found was valuable for, you know, older generations, perhaps not being interested, but just understanding, Oh, we've made this investment. And here's the payoff. And this is how your team should be using it, somebody on the team should be using it, then that that makes them feel better, like, OK, well, I don't have to use it as long as I know that somebody is doing that. And if they just ask, did you use this? That's really all they have to do to get more people to use it. So there's every firm, though, as has been said, culturally, every firm is different and you have to figure out what's going to work best for you. But there is a never ending supply of options.
So let's get into metrics now. How do you measure success? How do you anticipate the success? You know, what are you looking for? How do you determine what you think will be successful? And then how do you measure it as time goes on? And how do you tweak the program based on the metrics that you find? Kate can you start us on that please?
All right. Yes. Identifying what success looks like is really important to begin with because, you know, we're not talking about systems and tools that every single person at the firm will use. You know, our tools are used by a targeted select audience. And so identifying who those are is so key up front because then you can measure your success. So for example, one of the issues we had when dealing with Closing Folders was How can we tell what success looks like?
We would have to know how many deals were closing full stop across the firm and then figure out how many of those whose close deals were being used by Closing Folders and that data, it's really hard to gather. And there is a data project ongoing so that we can identify all of that. And understanding that Closing Folders is not going to be rolled out to the litigators is a key part of what then your percentage of success when those numbers start coming in.
So there is a, you know, you can't go our whole panel presentation without mentioning the word data and the number of data projects that we've all got going on. So I'm not going to talk about any of those data projects, but identifying what success looks like.
Are you saying it's going to be 80% of all closed deals that should be used through Closing Folders? Or is it 70% like your aim has to be good? And then you have to set up the usage metrics to show that you've hit that and some vendors are slightly better at that. I'm seeing that funders are increasing the level of of of tracking that that you can now do in some of the tools, which is which is great from, you know, just five years ago because we need that, we need that, we need to be able to show our leadership that the technology is indeed being used.
And so identifying what what you're looking at. So we produce quarterly reports that show not only trend lines, but we can also dig into who's using it and why. So that we can track at a more granular level, but also over time, what that looks like is, you know, some quarters will go down and some quarters will be higher than others. And you can't see that in isolation. You really need to be able to get the trend lines to be able to compare across quarters, across years. But again, if you haven't identified what that successful metric is going to look like at that KPI, then you know, you're not going to get started.
So it does take a lot of work. And as I said, that you need the data projects to be ongoing at your firm. In addition, because some of the data isn't just being pulled from the tool itself, it is about the deals that you are actually doing as a firm.
Sure. Sure. Angela?
You know, I'm really going to echo again what Kate said about scoping in the beginning, about knowing what success looks like, but also knowing the problem that you're trying to solve. To Kate's point, oftentimes we're rolling things out to six people that it's not going to an entire firm, it's not even going to an entire practice. But let's say it's just going to the docketing staff. And what it's doing is it's reducing the number of hours, it's reducing the number of errors it's reducing, you know, knowing what defines success in the beginning, what your scope is lets you say, yes, only six people in our entire firm use it.
But what it's done is it's saved them, you know, eight man-hours a week doing this, and now we have better data, we have better quality, less errors on X, Y and Z systems downstream. These are the things that make this project successful and why it was worth that money because again, return on investment. This is what we're trying to show again and again.
So I agree with what my fellow panelists have said, particularly around measuring that return on investment and tapping into what you were saying earlier on that competitiveness, perhaps gamifying the return on investment between practice heads, etc. is something that can work.
But it's not just about the return on investment. There are other metrics that you need to be looked at. And for me, client happiness is a really key part of that. And we think about electronics signatures, and we introduced them back in 2016 as an organization and we started to use it.
And ultimately it is the pandemic that drives widespread adoption of that solution across the profession. And the reason for that was because the pain of not adopting that solution was greater than the pain of adopting it, but actually thinking back to why we introduced electronic signatures in 2016. We wanted to think about how we could deliver a better solution to our clients. And I remember we were closing a deal shortly before Christmas, and we had got many of the documents ready and lined up and signed, and the GC was on a plane back home to see his family.
And the lawyers on the other side phoned up and said, Actually, we need to make a change to this document. We can't fix it. And if we had not implemented electronic signatures when that GC landed, they would have had to go into the office, print out the document, sign it and scan it back before they could go home to their family. And the fact that we got that GC back home to the family early for Christmas, for me was a really successful outcome
That would have a very positive impact on your realization and the retention level for those clients that both those things retention and realization would improve. Hopefully when, when, when we use these tools properly and hopefully that increases the firm's margins and its overall profitability as well, and it can be challenging to define that and to allow the agreement to just say yes to technology and increase the profitability of the firm. But using these other metrics can do that.
Well, we're about at the end of our time here. We have covered a lot of ground. There's quite a lot more to cover. But if, if, if you could give me, I'll put you under pressure here, 30 seconds. The most important thing you recommend to people is to try to get people to adopt new technology. And I'm going to start with Angela.
I know what problem you're trying to solve. If you know what problem you're trying to solve, you can tell a good story, and a good story will take you so far.
Very good. Rachel,
Don't give up, keep iterating. You'll get there.
Very good, Kate?
I think I'll go back to the playbook, which is that each new tool requires quite a different approach and you need a creative and catalog of approaches for success. So don't try the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome, but have a range and try different things with different tools for different audiences. Recognize the differences among us.
Perfect. All right, well, thank you all so much. Okay. Angela and Rachel, I really appreciate the time that you've spent with us today, and I'm sure our audience does as well. Thank you all for listening, and I hope you enjoyed the remainder of the change in your lives.
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