By Tom Lambotte, GlobalMac IT
Have you ever quantified your mindset towards technology within your law practice? Looking into your Legal Technology Mindset may prove to be one of the most valuable exercises you do this year. Whether or not you are conscious of its impact, your overall mindset towards technology within your law practice makes a significant impact on your bottom line. It could very well make the difference between being profitable or not.
Mindsets create behavior. It is very easy to score the external things you see - client referrals, firm revenues, money spent on IT services, and so on. But what is more important is what's behind behavior.
I have created a process for taking your initial subjective emotional response (how do you feel towards technology) and translated it into clear thinking, communication and action. This Legal Technology Mindset Scorecard is comprised of eight key mindsets. This article will cover one of these.
Taking the qualitative experience of how you feel towards technology and creating a quantitative measurement enables you to improve different areas of your law practice. With this score, you can evaluate where your current mindset currently falls and where you like it to fall. Most importantly, once you have scored yourself, the decisions and changes needed to get you to the next level become clear.
Let's start by having you score yourself on the Legal Technology Mindset:
Of the four sections, which do you fall in? Of those, pick the closest number that resembles how your feelings are in relation to all of the given mindsets.
A) How would you rate yourself currently, on a scale of 1-12? ____
B) What is your ideal goal, on a scale of 1-12? ____
Now that you have a score of where you currently are (A) and where you would like to be (B), let's expand on each of the 4 mindsets and how they may be impacting your firm.
Mindset Level 1: You view technology as an expense that is to be minimized at all cost and belive: "if it’s not broke, don't fix it."
It’s no secret that the legal field is not the most cutting edge of industries. Historically, the legal field has been slow to adapt and embrace technology. Many see the legal field as generally falling into the category of 'technological dinosaurs'. Attorneys that fall into this mindset towards technology will often go by the adage, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, that is an incredibly flawed belief system. The belief here is that the longer you keep computers, the better ‘bang for your buck’ you are getting. Although this is technically correct, the unrealized cost of this is massive.
If your mindset currently falls in this category, chances are very good that you despise spending money on technology. Rather, you see it as a waste, something that cuts directly into your profits. When you feel like you have no choice but to spend money on technology, you feel like a victim. In addition to this, when the time to upgrade does come, this event tends to be highly disruptive to your practice. This is likely because you not only need new hardware, but also need to update your software licenses, which are long overdue, and you may have other solutions you depend on that are outdated and maybe no longer in existence at all. This is similar to driving a car for three years with zero maintenance and bringing it in when smoke starts billowing out from under the hood.
It is very likely that you've suffered one or more catastrophic technological events over the years, either in a major data loss or significant downtime. The cause of data loss could have been a 7-year-old backup hard drive that was overdue for replacement. Why buy a new drive if it’s still working, right? Perhaps a critical deadline was missed, because your 5-year-old computer decided to stop working the night you were cramming to file.
If you currently hold this mindset, the odds that your technology will start working for you and that you will start leveraging the value of technology inside your firm is slim. On a positive note, becoming aware of this limiting mindset may be just what you need to break free and move towards embracing an empowering mindset towards technology within your practice.
Look for Part 2 of the article in March where I will expand on the other 3 mindsets and how they may be impacting your firm.