Interact Preview | How can Legal Tech Help Law Firms Win the Battle for Talent?
Discover the retention benefits of competitive technology, as outlined by autonomous time-tracking and productivity software, WiseTime.
While associate salaries are higher than ever, employee turnover shows no signs of slowing down. According to Thomson Reuters Institute’s 2022 Report, some firms are facing associate turnover exceeding 23.2%. This is much higher than the 18.7% rate back in 2019, and imposes a significant financial challenge for law firms.
Over the years, there has also been a growing emphasis on work-life balance, mental well-being, leisure, and other activities outside work among associates. About 60% of the 3,700 associates surveyed for The American Lawyer’s 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey said they would consider leaving their firm for a better work-life balance. While technology may not be the solution for everything, it can help make legal operations run more smoothly, free up time, and thereby allow for a healthier work-life balance. It may, therefore, not come as a surprise that we are seeing a profession-wide shift as firms reassess how their legal tech stack can help attract, engage, and retain market-leading talent — plus, tools to preserve knowledge when the inevitable happens. But what types of tools should you invest in to help you win the battle for talent?
Let’s dive into eight areas of consideration:
1. Invest in software that eliminates tedious tasks
2. Understand the impact of UI/UX
3. Preserve data in a safe and easily accessible place
4. Choose software providers that leverage modern API’s
5. Choose products that help build trust in the workplace
6. Look for solutions that preserve data when the inevitable happens
7. Build a tech stack that plays nicely together
Invest in Software That Eliminate Tedious Tasks
Looking into the data, there is a real struggle with inefficiencies that distracts attorneys from billable work. According to Clio’s recent trends report, the average lawyer billed just 2.5 hours (31%) of an 8-hour day.
But here’s the thing: legal professionals want to focus on what they were trained to do, and very few want to think about admin things like how much time they spent on an email or in a meeting. In fact, timekeeping is among the top tasks that attorneys have expressed a strong dislike for. It becomes tedious to manually click on a start button or remember to stop a timer multiple times throughout the day to ensure accurate time records. On the flip side, clients tend to care less about the process and more about the outcome. They don’t want to pay someone to do tedious tasks that have little to do with their case. Consider tools that can automate processes to eliminate these frustrations and improve efficiency.
Understand the Impact of UX and UI
Choosing products with advanced UX/UI will lead to happier users and reduced frustration. Great UX design makes an app easy and pleasant to use, which means that your team is likely to stick with it for longer. If the content or layout looks unattractive or outdated, or if it takes too many steps to perform a simple action, it may be a sign to look for alternatives.
Consider the size of the buttons, colors, fonts, and text, as well as the overall feel of the product. If you notice unclear call-to-action buttons, crowded menu or taskbars, or a lack of handy shortcuts, your team will likely spend more time navigating and learning the software than they will using it. It should be obvious to your users, almost instantly, how to execute the software’s key functions.
While the best UX/UI shouldn’t need too much explaining, navigating new software or tools can still be challenging. Try to choose providers that offer onboarding guidance, self-service help guides, and a way to reach out for more help. This will make it easier for your employees to adopt the software and troubleshoot any issues or questions, so they can start benefiting from the tool as fast as possible.
Preserve Data in a Safe and Easily Accessible Place
With hybrid working models becoming the norm, workplaces need to ensure that they are leveraging technology that enables their employees to share data safely and easily— from anywhere. This means investing the time to find software solutions that are cloud-based and trustworthy. Things to look for when assessing the safety of your data can include:
- Provider certifications or accreditations, such as ISO compliance certificates
- How they store their data and back it up. Check which data centers they use and if they encrypt data along the way
On top of ensuring that your software providers are credible, you can also take steps to ensure that your law firm is protected and your privacy controls are maximized. Check out our article about how you can maximize your privacy controls here: Maximising Privacy Controls for Your Law Firm – WiseTime
Choose Software Providers that Leverage Modern API’s
Ensuring that your software providers use modern APIs will make it easier to connect other applications when needed. A provider using a modern or open API also shows good credibility in progression. If your application developers are using modern APIs and technology to build their software, then they are more likely to progress and update features faster.
Open or public APIs mean that the application can be built on, or developed, by anyone. They are published and shared freely on the internet, ensuring that users have the opportunity to develop their own solutions to connect to the software. Software that has an open API typically uses a standard for how the program communicates, meaning that developers have to write less code to make it work seamlessly with other applications. It is an indication of streamlined and effective software design, which should be the foundation for a significant part of your tech stack.
Choose Products that Help Build Trust in the Workplace
Companies with a high level of trust benefit from greater employee engagement and better financial performance. People crave control of their own data and don’t want to work in a “big brother” culture. That’s why WiseTime’s goal was to develop a tool that would empower users to get the most out of their time without compromising their privacy.
While cloud-based software tools can boost the transfer of knowledge and aid collaboration by introducing shared online spaces for employees to collaborate, they can also make users nervous about having everything on display. Ensure that your employees are afforded the ability to work privately and collaboratively, without feeling like they are being watched.
With the implementation of the GDPR laws in Europe, there has been a massive shift worldwide to accommodate user privacy online. The prevalence of working from home has, however, also increased a sense of distrust for some employers, so employee monitoring tools have grown in popularity. It is important for employers to understand the consequences of employee monitoring and how to tread this line carefully.
Look for Solutions That Preserve Data When the Inevitable Happens
Even in a relative slowdown, firms will keep searching for top talent to invest in the future of the organization, so understanding how you can provide your team with better solutions and services is key to ultimate success.
Getting the timekeeping data into your operations platform (like Mitratech) in a timely manner is vital. It can speed up the invoicing process, allow you to reevaluate fixed fees using accurate data, and increase your billable time overall. Setting automated posting goals and alerts can also speed up that process and help preserve knowledge when the inevitable happens.
Any applications that allow you to leverage reports on team, project, or user activity, also allow you to transfer data and learnings when a user leaves. Ensure that users are not working in siloed environments by having software and applications that connect and store as much data as possible in shared places. WiseTime, for example, offers team managers the ability to run reports via the inbuilt dashboards to show them what projects and matters were taking up most of the time of any given employee. This helps unveil where to focus resources and energy during any transition period.
Build a Legal Tech Stack that Plays Nicely Together
There are many different bits of legal tech these days promising to streamline workflows and give lawyers time back for actual legal work. Most will deliver on these promises, but if you can avoid a disjointed legal tech stack and integrate products as much as possible, they will deliver even more.
For example, a practice management system that can talk to your billing system and your timekeeping app saves so much data entry and manual work. If you can get an all-in-one solution, then wonderful. If not, however, most software services these days offer integrations and connections to others.
Not all connections are equal – some are very basic and still leave things to be done manually. Those that are fully integrated will usually sync data between systems, and may even have built-in smarts, like automation or AI-assisted actions. WiseTime, for example, connects seamlessly to Mitratech’s TeamConnect. You can even access your WiseTime timeline of activity from within TeamConnect. All matter IDs are in sync, so there is no double entry— when a new matter is created in Mitratech, it flows straight to the timekeeping system. There are also built-in automations and AI capabilities that detect matter IDs within activities and allow users to send the activity straight back to their timesheet for billing.
Good integrations save a lot of double entry, exporting/importing of data, and save the headaches of any out-of-sync data scenarios. Wherever possible, it’s worth investing fully in the software solutions available that already connect to your existing suite.
Do Your Research so You can Reap the Benefits
Switching between applications or adopting a new piece of software can be time consuming for everyone involved. It needs to be integrated and rolled out internally in an effective way before it can begin to be useful.
By doing your research and trying to abide by the above tips, you will ensure that you don’t have to make the switch for a second time, and you will realize faster time-time-value. A good tech stack can make or break a business, and an employee’s experience within their job role. So to ensure your talent is happy–and remains so— you need to empower them with the right tools.
Join WiseTime at Interact
Learn more about how WiseTime gives you time for more by taking timekeeping off of your team’s to-do list. Join us in Nashville from August 14-17, 2022 at Mitratech’s Annual User Conference, Interact! WiseTime will be presenting alongside thought-leaders from TD Bank and Mitratech for a tech-focused panel, Ride Ahead of the Herd: The Retention Benefits of Competitive Technology, on August 15, 2022, from 3:15-4:00 pm CT.
This blog was written and submitted for publication to the Mitratech blog by WiseTime, a valued sponsor of Interact 2022.
To learn more about WiseTime, please visit: WiseTime – Autonomous timekeeping for attorneys
To learn more about Mitratech’s Interact sponsors, please visit: Sponsors – Mitratech Interact 2022 User Conference (cvent.com)