Four legal technologists at an Atlanta Tech Village event encouraged the city’s legal tech enthusiasts to identify potential improvements and keep pushing forward.
“Bridging the Technology Gap in Law,” an event hosted at Atlanta Tech Village and co-sponsored by Thomson Reuters and legal technology entrepreneur group Evolve Law, brought together speakers from Atlanta’s legal technology community to highlight some advice they’ve picked up through their work.
Below are four tips from some of Atlanta’s legal technology leaders and entrepreneurs:
Natalie Kelly, director, State Bar of Georgia’s Law Practice Management Section – “Just keep swimming.”
In her 20 years working at the Georgia State Bar’s Law Practice Management section, Natalie Kelly found that more and more attorneys are looking for assistance managing practice technology. In fact, she said 63 percent of the requests she gets for consultations come from lawyers looking to adopt or migrate technology in their practice.
Kelly noted that no one, even the oldest practicing attorneys, lives today without the influence of technology. The more important question, she said, is how to get more attorneys to bring technology into their practices: “Everyone uses technology, it’s the gaps we need to focus on.”
There is a lot about technology adoption that makes small firms and solo practitioners. The threat of being automated out of a job, the price of e-discovery technology, potential threats to data security are three of what Kelly named “scare tactics” dissuading small firms from taking the plunge. Regardless of these concerns, Kelly encouraged small firm lawyers to “just keep swimming” through the maze of technology until they find a solution that fits.
Bar associations, she added, can push members towards technology adoption with discounted software and useful resources.
Jennifer Downs, founder, Aggregate Law – “It’s about connection.”
While setting up her business, Jennifer Downs had to teach herself how to leverage social media for business development. She encouraged attorneys looking to do the same to think about what social media engagement would best fit the type of practice they run, their client base, the target age group they’re looking to connect with, and their current social media engagement.
Most adults engage on Facebook, she said, but many professionals also engage on LinkedIn. Using these two networks can help attorneys connect with their peers. Twitter, by comparison, has a younger average user base, but does attract a lot of other attorneys.
Downs said that sharing information and resources through social media can help lawyers connect and establish trust with potential clients, many of whom are skittish about hiring attorneys without a specific referral. “You want to give your clients what they’re looking for and meet them where they are,” she said.
Where practitioners often make mistakes, Downs noted, is when they set up profiles on major social media platforms and quickly abandon them. “Be active, but don’t just set up your profile and then be a ghost,” she urged, adding that profiles without regular updates can make users wonder whether a business has been shuttered altogether.