Strategic approach to technology adoption in law firms

For many law firms, technology plays a supporting role in mitigating risk, reducing operational costs and increasing staff productivity.  There are however a growing number of firms that are not only using technology to support what they do, but more importantly, are using it to enable new opportunities.

For firms who have the right approach and strategy in place, they can unlock the benefits of true team collaboration, lawyer mobility, enhanced business development and innovative client services.

There is however little, or no value in investing large sums of money into IT systems and technology, if the firm is not committed to challenge what has traditionally been accepted as ‘how we do things’.


An integrated fit

The firms who will more easily discover the opportunities technology can provide, typically share the following attributes:

– A clear business strategy and direction
– An industry focus or specialisation
– Provide fixed fee for particular types of work
– Have processes that underpin their practice

For these firms, technology begins to weave its way into everything they do, these firms constantly seek ways to be more efficient and for that reason, technology is a natural and welcome ingredient to their success.


Business strategy realised

With a business strategy defined, a digital strategy can be formed to underpin the firm’s objectives in a way that can allow those opportunities to be realised in the fastest, most effective and least cost manner.

In short, there are countless exciting ways that technology can facilitate opportunities and support a law firms objectives, but technology alone is not the answer where the question it seeks to answer, is yet to be formed.



About the Author

Steven provides law firms with IT strategy and direction. He is passionate about assisting firms to extract more from their technology investments and discovering technology enabled opportunities. Steven presents regularly in the legal sector and contributed to the George Beaton e-book, NewLaw New Rules. He formed NextLegal in 2014 to provide law firms with greater technology insight, advice and capability.


  1. Ben Lowry Says :
    Posted on 12 October, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Spot on Steven, I think the one word that underlines your post is potential.

    Firms that understand the many facets impacting the legal industry, and develop a clear strategy as to how they will reshape their firms in the coming 3-5 years will be very competitive.

    On a technology front, the most important factor for many small and medium firms will be ‘how’.
    How do we best focus our limited resources to achieve transformational change successfully, while not detrimentally impacting cash flow in the interim, a true dual horizon challenge.

    By focusing on your core business, and engaging trusted external partners in your strategy planning and execution, the technology adoption benefits will be sustainable and measurable.

  2. Steven Tyndall Says :
    Posted on 12 October, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks Ben, I completely agree, I think a firms potential is realised in asking ‘how can it be done better’, not ‘how can I use technology to improve on what we already do’.

    The next step, the ‘how’, can be a challenge, but with the drivers and objectives understood (the ‘why’), the challenge is very much achievable, especially with the right approach in place .

  3. Mark Wiggins Says :
    Posted on 15 October, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Steven,
    thanks for the post and I have to agree with Ben, in that it is the “how” whilst also watching the dollars.
    You are also spot on with your comment about “how can it be done better” and I have started mentioning to staff, associates and partners the line that Atlasian are taking in recruitment that “we don’t want people to maintain the status quo, we want people who will challenge everything we do”.
    A tweak in the vision statements to encompass ongoing change management and adaptation should assist in the strategy shift that Ben mentions.
    Indeed challenging times, but in all reality, very exciting times also.

  4. Steven Tyndall Says :
    Posted on 15 October, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Thank you Mark, that is a great initiative and I applaud your proactive approach.

    I think there are massive opportunities for firms that can reconsider what they do in a constructive, objective and healthy manner. Change is often very difficult to achieve, it can not necessarily be proven to work, it probably has little short term financial gain, and law firms are of course typically risk adverse by nature.

    I agree, challenging but very exciting times. Thank you for the comments.

  5. Graeme McFadyen Says :
    Posted on 20 October, 2015 at 11:40 am

    I agree with Mark that we need to challenge the status quo. In parallel with adopting lean, agile technologies law firms need to reconcile themselves to the prospect of significant and ongoing change in the short term. Smaller firms probably have an advantage in that they do not have substantial legacy systems and teams which may otherwise encourage a “steady as she goes” approach. I see the changes as providing very real opportunities for nimble firms to seize the opportunity and win work off the larger, more conservative firms using both technology and different pricing models. Not all of them will get it right but I expect that there will be sufficient numbers of law firms willing to test the market so that informed clients will encourage their lawyers to propose alternative pricing and delivery models.

  6. Steven Tyndall Says :
    Posted on 27 October, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for your comments Graeme. You raise some very valid and interesting points. In an increasingly competitive market, an agile approach to technology and a willingness to challenge the status quo seem to be common across those firms that are winning new clients and new work.