Last fall, I sat down with Wayne Hassay, managing partner of Maguire Schneider Hassay (MSH), and we talked about technology and access to justice here. More recently, Wayne and I connected at the 2018 ABA TECHSHOW, where he was researching the latest technology. We discussed his process and decided to report on his technology search and implementation over the next year as he evaluates various solutions for his firm.
First, I want to thank Wayne for sharing this journey. We believe sharing the decisions, what worked and did not work, and other lessons along the way will help other attorneys.
Mary Juetten (MJ): First, tell us a bit about your background and MSH.
Wayne Hassay (WH): Mary, I am happy to help. I think this is a necessary journey for any law firm that plans to be successful in the coming years. I am managing partner of MSH, a law firm with 23 attorneys, five paralegals and 19 other support staff in Columbus, Ohio. We enjoy a statewide practice and our clients include state government, real estate agencies, and small businesses.
I was licensed in 1991 and mentored by an attorney licensed in the late 1950s. I moved on to a firm that took full advantage of the expanded advertising rules that began in the 1970s. Now at MSH, we work closely with a group legal services plan, LegalShield, as provider attorneys. Certainly, my background is not unique. Lawyers of my generation have seen many changes in the law profession, and now as senior and managing partners, my generation has a duty to move the profession ahead once again by implementing technology.
MJ: When touring TECHSHOW what were you looking for?
WH: I came in with a basic agenda—document and file management software. I quickly learned there is so much more to consider. Virtual receptionists; technology-based litigation support; electronically available law clerks and paralegals; client-facing document completion systems; and lower-cost legal research options. This is just to name a few.
MJ: Will you restrict purchases to established legal technology companies?
WH: My bias going into the event was that I should consider only established companies. I was wrong. These are rapidly growing business spaces. All should be considered. As a matter of fact, in the days after the show, I found myself making a call to a start-up featured at the show to discuss what they could do for me and my clients.
MJ: What are the most important features or functions in a particular technology, for example, “done-for-you technology” or in the cloud?
WH: In my mind, the cloud is a given these days. Every solution must function in the cloud. I will have no choice and I will love not having the choice. My intention is to increase efficiency and scale. A critical tool will be “done-for-me technology.”
MJ: What are your priorities for the next three months?
WH: First my original goal, modernized document, file and time management software. Since the show, I have assigned key members of my staff to review and discuss with vendors the choices. It is critical that my whole team be on board with this project. Also on the list are research alternatives, document prep software, and some virtual receptionist features.
MJ: Can you describe your ideal practice management solution?
WH: I think it is many of the things noted above. It should be client-facing, so they can see what is happening. This gives them peace of mind and saves me time. It should complete simple documents through an interface driven by the client and then reviewed and approved by me. Of course, it should track the time of me and the staff, keep schedules and deadlines, and make me as paperless as possible.
MJ: How will you decide on a particular technology? Which of your partners are involved?
WH: It will be me and my overall staff. In my firm, my two partners will defer to me. In the end, I firmly believe that law firms—associates, partners, paralegals, and all staff need to evolve as a group with respect to technology or die.
I wholeheartedly agree with Wayne’s last comment and believe that legal technology is not just for millennial or entrepreneurial lawyers anymore. We will check in on Wayne’s progress with his practice management and other solutions near the end of summer. Any attorneys interested in joining the LegalShield referral network can apply here, and if you need CLE, consider attending Elevate by LegalShield, where Wayne and I will be speaking together on technology and access to justice.
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 co-founder of Evolve Law, now Evolve the Law, a membership organization of legal entrepreneurs focused on innovation and the future of law. Contact Mary on Twitter @maryjuetten.