Strategies to Grow Mid-size Law Firms
Why Your Firm Needs A New Approach To Technology
Your Future Depends On It
I was consulting with a prospective client recently who is facing a real conundrum. This law firm had built an eDiscovery practice to support some current clients and attract new clients. They spent money on people, technology systems, office space and promotion of their capabilities. But then the floor fell out from under them.
Their current clients greatly reduced their budgets and the new clients they were hoping to acquire did not pan out. This firm was stuck with an eDiscovery function that was costing them over a million dollars a year with no real prospects to recover that investment. This is a tough spot indeed for them.
I see this sort of thing all the time. Through our SYNTHESIS E-IT SECURE® (SEITS® for short) assessment service, we perform deep-dive analyses of technology ecosystems at law firms. SEITS® gauges a law firm’s readiness to deliver all of their legal services in line with the growth plans set forth by their management committee.
After conducting dozens of SEITS assessments I have come to realize that law firms need a new approach to how they apply technology to their business. Make the right calls with technology and you prosper. Make the wrong calls with technology and you might very well end up losing millions of dollars or even putting the future of your firm at-risk. Here are my top 5 reasons that I believe your law firm needs a new approach to technology.
Five Benefits Of A Proactive Technology Mindset
Why Your Law Firm Should Change Your Mindset Now
Over the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to guide more than 200 law firms to new heights of success. My role as a legal consultant gives me visibility into their operations, technology, strategic plans and business culture. I find it very gratifying to help these firms align their technology strategy with their business goals and watch them reap the benefits. This is very rewarding to me.
However, serving all of these clients has taught me one key lesson that I think can really benefit your law firm. Most firms are unique in terms of clientele served, operating model, market niche and culture. But nearly every firm I’ve served has had the same mindset when it comes to technology. They take a reactive, rather than proactive, technology stance.
This is a very costly mistake – one that you can avoid – that produces all sorts of negative situations. After reflecting on the last dozen or so law firms that I’ve counseled, I compiled five reasons that your firm should take a proactive technology stance and how this shift in mindset will pay huge dividends.
How To Pass Client Technology Audits With Ease
Removing A Real Barrier To Your Growth
I recently heard of a deal that a law firm was about to lose because they couldn’t respond quickly enough to a client technology audit. The business development team had worked very diligently for nearly 2 years to close this deal. But it was all about to go sideways simply because the law firm was struggling to complete the audit. This happens more frequently than you might realize.
Client technology audits—whether from new or existing clients—have become commonplace in the legal industry. They have become a pervasive litmus test that law firms must pass to qualify to do business.
This is driven, in large part, by some very public client data hacks and breaches of law firms. Clients are nervous about how law firms are handling their private data and want proof that their legal providers are adhering to best practices. Here are my best ideas about how to remove a real barrier to your growth—how to get out of your own way and unleash your full business development potential—by being ready to respond to client audits quickly and easily.
Digital Evidence Collection Practices Of Successful Attorneys
How To Avoid Spoliation And Effectively Manage Digital Evidence
Just as a house is only as stable as its foundation, a civil or criminal case is only as compelling as the soundness of its base. If evidence gathering is not performed appropriately in the beginning stages, the price is paid down the line in spoliation or destruction of evidence claims or failed investigations. Wise counsel will examine the circumstances of the case and consult a forensic expert from the beginning, to determine what digital evidence may be available and the most appropriate way to ensure its preservation is sound. In the infancy of a case, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Your Greatest Cyber Threat Is Down The Hall
WHY INTERNAL PEOPLE ARE YOUR GREATEST RISK
Cyber hacks make big headline news. For example, the Democratic National Committee may have been hacked by “patriotic” Russians who ostensibly sought to affect the outcomes of the last U.S. election. Watching the news, it’s understandable why you might believe your greatest security threat is from an offshore organization seeking to hack into your firm. Or you might feel that your firm is secure because you have firewalls and other strong external perimeter defense protections.
But in my experience, an external attack is far less likely to cause a breach than internal people. As the CIO of LOGICFORCE, I have come to believe that your most prevalent cyber security threats are internal, not external. Here is my best advice to you about how to identify and manage these threats so you can avoid the very negative consequences that follow cyber breaches.
Will Your Evidence Stand Up In Court?
THE VALUE OF DEFENSIBLE PROTOCOLS
Many small to mid-sized law firms today use eDiscovery Collection practices, such as relying on in-house resources and tools, that they believe to be faster and less burdensome than other options. It’s the path of least resistance. But is this wise? These practices can put them at reputational and financial risk.
If your firm is doing this, you are probably incurring far more risk than you realize. I want to make sure you understand the risks you might be taking and are aware of options that can produce the results you desire without the dangers. Here are my thoughts about how to produce evidence that will stand up in court because it was collected via defensible protocols.
5 Ways Moore’s Law Is Putting Your Law Firm At Risk
WHY YOU NEED A TRUSTED TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR
Moore’s law holds that the compute power of CPUs (a computer brain) will double about every 18 months. While this may not be perfectly accurate, there is no doubting the pace of technological change. You probably have more technology options than ever before. So how do you decide what makes sense for your law firm?
Where should you be investing? What technologies are “must haves” and what should you avoid? More importantly – who is your trusted advisor to ensure you don’t fall behind, get the advantages and avoid the pitfalls of disruptive technology change?
As the President of LOGICFORCE, I get to witness the strategic and non-strategic choices of hundreds of law firms, when it comes to legal technology. I think this gives me a very unique perspective on the dynamism of our market. Here are the top 5 ways I see rapid technological advancements putting mid-size law firms at-risk and a solution I recommend to mitigate those risks.
Technology Obsolescence Kills Law Firm Productivity
FORTUNATELY, THERE’S A MUCH BETTER WAY
Law firms routinely come to us with a specific pain point: an outdated document management system, an aging server, a cyber security issue or a myriad of other challenges. They eagerly await the resolution of the problem so they can get back to focusing on work. But I have a concern.
In nearly every situation where we’ve encountered outdated technology, a single fix will not actually fix the problem. Why? Because technology is an ecosystem. Like all ecosystems, changes in one area impact other areas. An improved document management system might require a new server which might require new network systems which will definitely impact cyber security. How do you afford it all? How do you anticipate an expensive upgrade chain reaction?
It appears to me that most small-to-mid-sized law firms have accepted, as a reality of modern business, that they cannot keep their entire technology ecosystem upgraded and on the cutting-edge. I do not accept this premise. To realize break-throughs in productivity and profits, you need a better approach to managing technology obsolescence. Here is my advice about how to do this.
Top 10 Law Firm Cyber Security Threats Right Now
AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ADDRESS THESE
Law firms today face more cyber security threats than ever before and the threat landscape is evolving rapidly. If you don’t understand where you are at risk and what to do about it, it’s nearly impossible to defend your clients’ data and your firm’s reputation. I want to help you understand where you are at risk right now by sharing my top 10 list of cyber security threats.
As the CIO of LOGICFORCE, I see law firms being subjected to a wide variety of cyber threats. Any one of these threats might cause irreparable damage to your law firm. Yet each one of these can also be addressed effectively with the right technologies and right approach. Here are my top 10 cyber security threats for law firms and what you can do about them.
The True Cost of Unresolved Litigation
IT Is Likely Higher Than You Realize
Cutting edge strategies, laser focused marketing campaigns, smart investments and a talented workforce will not alone ensure a company's success. Every organization is competing for scarce resources and market share in innovative ways unheard of even five years ago. Therefore even the simplest business transaction risks conflict. Understanding, managing and planning for conflict so that it does not become a barrier to growth and prosperity should be of paramount importance to every company.
Looking At The Future From A Cybersecurity Point Of View
Perspectives To Consider
Last September, the 2015 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey which was released during ILTACON in Las Vegas stated that security management was the largest challenge facing legal IT departments that took part in the survey. This was the first time in eight years that email management didn’t come in first place in that category. For anyone who’s paid attention to the news headlines this past year, this shift should come as no great surprise. Cybersecurity threats are definitely making the headlines—and can be challenging to tackle head-on.
Large Law Firms Hacked, Don’t Be Next
We Are Here To Help
The Wall Street Journal announced on Tuesday, March 29th 2016, that Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and a handful of other prominent law firms were recently subject to a data breach in which confidential information regarding clients may have been stolen. This is just one in the proliferation of recent breaches at high profile companies and firms.
Cyber Security Considerations for Law Firms
Where You Need to Focus Now
As the news media continues to make us aware of the ever mounting data breaches within our corporations and government agencies one would assume these institutions are the only key targets for state and criminal sponsored hackers. However, data breaches at law firms are occurring at an ever increasing rate yet go primarily unreported. However, 25% of firms did report some type of breach in 2015 up from 10% in 2012.
A Brief Look at the CyberSecurity Reference Model
A Security-Based Approach to the EDRM
The EDRM (eDiscovery reference model) is one of the most popular conceptual eDiscovery models that legal and technology firms use to make the eDiscovery process as efficient and error-free as possible. It refers to nine stages that are vital to the discovery process: information governance, identification, preservation, collection, processing, review, analysis, production, and presentation. These stages are divided by professional skill sets and largely organized to help legal firms have an easier time calculating the overall needs and costs of a project.