Digitalisation is transforming businesses across sectors. Manufacturing now has smart factories. Financial services now uses AI to detect fraud. Retail is now an online business. Across industries, assets have moved to the cloud, advanced technologies are powering business decisions, and physical workplace footprints are shrinking.
But it’s not quite the same story for the legal sector. While in other sectors average R&D investment is often 5% or more of revenue, in the legal sector few businesses reach an R&D investment of 1%. And that’s not because digital tools aren’t there. Over the last three years, the UK lawtech market grew at an average rate of 101% and actually outpaced the growth of other subsectors like fintech, climatetech and healthtech.
Digitalisation promises to remove manual tasks, provide robust data to inform decisions, and make client communications more secure. As some law firms begin to adopt tools that bring these benefits, others will soon lag behind. The challenge when catching up will be overcoming ingrained tech reluctance among internal and external stakeholders.
Winning over the hard won
Traditions, precedents and rules are integral to the legal sector, and that makes change challenging. Not only that, but law firms thrive through client trust, and many can be reluctant to bring in changes that could cast a shadow over their expertise.
Digitalisation can bring greater visibility to decisions and reduce mistakes, yet clients and colleagues can be nervous about moving away from a human touch. So, when any digital transformation is in the pipeline, law firms need to give both internal and external stakeholders confidence that this change is good.
Getting buy-in from the outset
To make change run smoothly, firms need to anticipate the concerns that will hold clients and colleagues back from adopting tools with enthusiasm. A huge blockade is privacy worries. And simply calling a new software ‘secure’ is not enough to alleviate those fears. Addressing security head on by providing evidence for it is much more effective at giving people confidence.
Privacy is just one example of digital transformation concerns. Others may be uneasy about potentially losing files, having more tools to manage, lack of contact with experts, or overlooked nuance. Taking the time to identify the sticking points means you can address them early to instil trust in the new solutions before launch day.
The practical side
No one wants to feel that they’ll be blamed for getting something wrong that they had no idea about. To build confidence in new tools, law firms need to educate colleagues and clients in how to use them. User manuals, top tip guides, or different levels of training for different users can all be effective ways to bring everyone up to speed.
This part of the process needs to be as clear and simple as possible, but it shouldn’t be dumbed down or patronising either. Getting the balance right will involve understanding the audience and avoiding jargon – including both tech and legal sector language.
What, when, how?
And crucially, do I need to do anything? These are the questions that people will want to know the answers to when you’re launching new technology.
Managing change goes beyond making sure that everything is in place ready to hit the ‘on’ button. It involves letting everyone who will be impacted know about what’s happening, when it’s happening, and how the transition process will run. On the lead-up to launch day, make sure everyone knows what they need to do. And if they don’t need to do anything, tell them – certainty through change is always a good thing.
Benefits over features
When you’re making tech investments, you want more than just minimal complaints – you want people to proactively use and champion them. Benefit-led communications can really bring your clients and colleagues onboard, helping you win with words.
Mod cons are only exciting if they actually make people’s lives easier. By explaining the advantages of law tech and other digital tools, you can highlight what’s in it for all stakeholders and give them a compelling reason to adopt them.
Buy-in starts with comms
Every element of launching new tools – from educating users to planning the transition process – needs a robust communications strategy. Taking the time to consider each stakeholder’s point of view means you can assuage concerns and motivate people to support the transformation. For our help in getting stakeholder buy-in for your digitalisation plans, get in touch.