Skill shortages are escalating, according to a recent resourcing and talent planning survey by the CIPD. Over four-fifths of respondents felt that competition for talent has increased over the past two years. Forward-thinking law firms have come to realise that technology will be a key differentiator when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent in law firms – and to embedding clients firmly within the business.

Law firm clients are driving demand for collaboration underpinned by technology. Clients want information on time, in real time and they want to know what is going on all the time. They expect cloud collaboration and shared access to data. They do not want to have to spend time calling their lawyers and asking them for simple information and updates. Law firms who want to keep these clients will have to meet their expectations.

Alongside the changes in the relationship between the law firm and the client, a new user persona has emerged relating to personnel within the law firm. This persona describes younger professionals entering the workplace. These individuals are digital natives who have used technology throughout their lives. They expect technology at work to be at least as good as the technology they use at home and college. Law firms are having to respond to this and ensure their technology setup is at least on a par with widely used consumer technology. Recent graduates simply do not have the skill or inclination to use antiquated technology or adapt to manual processes and if that is what’s on the menu they will soon go elsewhere.

In addition, many law firms are moving away from traditional training models and implementing training in the form of learning environments. Essentially learning environments are ingrained as part of the fabric of the firm in that training is delivered “just in time” as needed and as part of daily work.

Traditional Classroom learning is becoming less common as technology is enabling more effective, on-the-job learning that is far more engaging. Employees who are offered the opportunity to gain new skills and competencies as part of their daily service delivery to clients will retain more as they experience the benefit of highly relevant training in real time with direct impact on client results. Ultimately this type of environment will make them more tech proficient more likely to stay in their jobs.

Read the rest of Peter Zver’s blog post on Legal Week.