Law360’s Carmen Germaine quoted Huse in the recent article “The 5 Innovations Partners Need to Embrace in 2016”.
Excerpts from the article are below. To read the entire article, click here.
The 5 Innovations Partners Need To Embrace In 2016
Share us on: By Carmen Germaine
Law360, New York (January 29, 2016, 10:13 PM ET) — Though the legal profession has rarely been on the forefront of major change, attorneys seeking to catch — and maintain — clients’ eyes in 2016 will need to learn to adapt to the increasingly rapid shifts of the marketplace.
Partners can stay ahead of the crowd by embracing new ways of doing their old legal work, experts said, whether by downloading a trendy new application or adapting to how their clients do business.
Here, Law360 looks at five innovations partners should adopt in the new year.
It’s likely no surprise that partners seeking to woo clients in 2016 will have to take a page out of their young associates’ books and download technology that makes their jobs easier and helps build relationships with their clients, experts said.
“Law firms need to be mindful of technological innovations so that they can proactively adapt their business models to accommodate the demands placed on them by their clients,” said Jill Huse of Society 54.
A number of new programs on the market can help partners ease their workload and run more efficient practices, Huse said. She pointed to the new app Shake, which allows users to create legal documents, send them to counterparties and have a countersigned agreement “all in a matter of minutes.”
“It’s kind of revolutionary,” she said, adding that attorneys could use the platform to cut down on the transaction process.
Another example, Huse said, is e-billing software popular with in-house counsel that allows clients to aggregate data and alerts them to overstaffed matters, questionable billings and overall efficiency.
“This is significantly impacting how law firms operate, as the clients now have more control than ever before with determining organization, staffing and pricing,” Huse said.
Partners should also be making use of social media technology to help build brand awareness or establish themselves in an industry, Huse said, moving beyond blogging or tweeting into podcasts and video.
Attorneys who “really want to get their name out there” should especially consider turning to video blogging, Huse said, as it allows for a deeper connection with clients.
Overall, “There’s a lot of innovative technology platforms,” Huse said. “I just don’t think it’s made it to the legal space as much as it could.”
Distinguishing your firm from the dozens of others vying for a client’s business requires a certain amount of ingenuity.
Imported Group Leaders
Another major change that partners will do well to embrace in 2016, whether they like it or not, is the growing prevalence of outside managers running practice groups, Chow said.
While firms have been hiring business managers to lead practice groups for a few years, the practice is not yet widespread, and Chow said firms have also started bringing in senior leaders from one practice group to lead another group in a different area of the firm.
Huse agreed that bringing in an outside manager can be “a smart way to handle a practice group.”
“Having a practice group manager can really help facilitate case work and filing and just have some efficiency brought into the process,” Huse said.
Most attorneys are probably already aware of the rise of legal services firms, and many firms are justifiably worried about the effect on their bottom line. But experts said there are a few ways partners can avoid letting the innovative new firms run away with their business.
When a partner is in the trenches with a client day after day, it can be hard to stop and make sure the relationship is on the right track. Experts said every partner should be seeking more feedback from clients in order to make sure the client is happy with their work and to address any problems, but said formal audit programs that designate a third party to do the questioning are still underutilized.
Huse said client interviews offer a chance to discover what’s going on in the client’s world. In addition to uncovering issues, client audits can also be useful to find new opportunities, as a client might mention other legal issues they’re facing or refer to a new area of expansion.
“What we see mostly is when you do a client interview, you come back with work,” Huse said.