I’ve worked for a California-based technology company for more than 4 years now. Last week, as I was returning from one of my quarterly trips to the home office, it occurred to me how different my experiences with this company have been compared to the time I’ve spent working for various legal organizations over the past 2 decades. From its use of technology to facilitate teamwork and communication to fostering a supportive, fun, and flexible work environment, there are a lot of lessons law firms can learn from the way that my employer runs its business.
1. The importance of technology
As a technology company, it’s not surprising that my employer uses cutting-edge technology across the board. Cloud-based software is used for every function, from email, HR, internal collaboration, and more. The software used by employees for their various functions is nearly always simple and intuitive, and in many cases offers the option of a mobile app, as well. The workplace is essentially paperless and printers are rarely used. While there is a fax machine, it was unplugged when I visited the San Diego office last week.
Lawyers can learn from this model and take steps to move towards a paperless law firm (or at least one that uses significantly less paper) and use legal software that improves efficiency. Consider incorporating tools to streamline the law firm’s processes by automating document creation and create workflows that automatically track deadlines, to-dos, and statutes of limitations. Use mobile apps to more easily track and capture billable time and use software to improve the firm’s intake and communications features, both internally and externally (think client portals), thus saving time by reducing data entry redundancies and miscommunications.
2. The importance of teamwork
3. The importance of communication
4. The importance of flexibility
5. The importance of a supportive work environment