This is Part II of a three-part series. Read Part I here.
Back in June, I spoke with Wayne Hassay after the 2018 ABA TECHSHOW about his plans for technology over the next year. As managing partner of Maguire Schneider Hassay (MSH), he was researching various solutions for his firm. I recently connected with Wayne to review his progress and uncover any early lessons learned.
To summarize, Wayne was originally looking for document and file management software but after attending TECHSHOW, he expanded the list to include:
- Modernized document, file and time management software (legal practice management- LPM)
- Research alternatives
- Document preparation software
- Some virtual receptionist
Mary Juetten (MJ): Are you still focused on the four technologies above?
Wayne Hassay (WH): Priorities have somewhat changed. For instance, I need to revisit research alternatives. The virtual receptionist options have lost their luster. I am feeling a virtual receptionist will not work for a firm our size. At about 25 lawyers, I feel this is too large.
However, maybe I have yet to speak with the right company.
Also, our “receptionist” wears many hats. The software would save me this employee cost, but I would lose the other contributions. Document preparation software must be a priority, but I have yet to find a product that inspires me to move rapidly. So LPM has become the first focus. I also added a push to modernize our website, which in a perfect world will dovetail into the LPM solution.
The website project has also opened my eyes to more advanced cybersecurity options. We now have a cybersecurity insurance policy. We are instituting two-factor authentication, encryption, better email phishing protection and more intense human factor training. We are in the process of creating a breach protocol procedure.
MJ: Excellent regarding cybersecurity! Can you share what staff and lawyers are on the team to review LPM? How many solutions are you considering?
WH: My teams were best associates and best paralegals. It is now down to three solutions.
MJ: What are the top LPM features? Any lessons learned?
WH: Top features: time tracking, client portal, document automation, document management, online payment, and scheduling. I am finding what I need but it has been hard to find it all, in one product. I have learned that integration with more than one software might be what every firm requires to meet their specific needs.
The number-one lesson learned is switching to a fully robust LPM will be an enormous job. The job cannot be taken lightly. Everyone must be on board and prepared to make a significant change for the better.
MJ: For research alternatives, have you considered any of the smaller companies, like Casetext?
WH: Yes, my attorney staff experimented with research alternatives and did not find a comfort zone. I am not sure if this was shortcomings in the products or attorneys being resistant to change. I am not giving up on this one.
MJ: What are the advantages for clients for the above four solutions?
WH: The number-one advantage for clients has to be efficiency. An efficient lawyer is a better lawyer, plain and simple.
MJ: Have you received any pushback on the initiatives?
WH: Of course! No one likes change. How much is this going to cost? If we become efficient will I lose my job? What do I have to learn? How much time is this going to take? We don’t do it that way! These are all things I have heard or am certain that employees are thinking.
MJ: Finally, anything you can recommend to other managing partners at this point?
WH: Keep going. Change is hard. But the mantra should be, “Evolve or die.” You, your paralegals, attorneys, and other staff cannot be stuck in the “that’s not how we do it” mentality. Because if they are, your business will suffer, if not perish.
We will check in on Wayne’s progress near the end of this year. Any attorneys interested in joining the LegalShield referral network can apply here, and if you are interested in being interviewed on this topic, please reach out to me on Twitter @maryjuetten.
About the Author
Mary Juetten is the founder and CEO of Traklight, a cloud-based platform for assessing risk and protecting intellectual property, and was the co-founder of Evolve Law, now Evolve the Law, a membership organization of legal entrepreneurs focused on innovation and the future of law.