How well would you say your law firm adapts to change? Would you give the firm a thumbs-up, thumbs- down, or a solid “meh”? It may come as no surprise that most law firms (and companies!) would rate themselves with a big thumbs-down in the change management area.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the LMA Minnesota chapter this summer about driving effective change management. This topic is a favorite of mine, as I wrote about overcoming change objections and presented typical change management barriers at LMA.
Over the last 15 years, I have worked with hundreds of law firms on driving end-user adoption for their legal software solutions. One thing is clear: Enduring change is tough, driving change is tougher, but avoiding it isn’t an option.
Clients demand better service, more customized solutions, and data-driven value for their investment. They’re also looking for law firms to supplement and complement the legal work they can do themselves because of technology changes.
You may be thinking, “I KNOW the firm needs to be responsive to client needs, but driving change around here is tougher than nailing jelly to a tree.”
Let’s look at why it’s hard and what you can do about it.
Legal Marketing as a Career Choice
First, I want you to think about how you became a legal marketer. Have you always wanted to be a marketer in a law firm? Recently, I asked this question to a group of legal marketers at LMA. I also asked about whether they fell into the role and whether they wanted to stay in legal marketing as a career.
Perhaps you have a story similar to the summary of responses as depicted in the graphic below.
Legal marketers often find themselves in the industry, but not by design. Most are committed to doing great work. However, many decide to leave or consider leaving because their firms don’t seem to value marketers as much as they should.
Driving Change for Your Projects
In many firms, a marketing technology project (like CRM) often becomes “the marketing project” and loses value in the partner community. When marketers tell the managing partner to use CRM solutions to be “more successful,” the message falls on deaf ears. Attorneys think, “I’m pretty successful already. Who are you to tell me how to be successful?”
As a result, marketers feel as though change will not happen or it will be too difficult. Realistically speaking, enacting change in an environment where change isn’t always welcome takes a lot of work— but it’s not impossible.
Cut your teeth on driving change for your MarTech projects and you’ll have the credibility to take on a similar project within the firm or somewhere similar. Essentially, change management can only work if you enlist the help of people who will do the heavy lifting for you.
In my discussions with clients, I often hear hesitation about looking to end-user adoption as an indicator of whether the MarTech project is successful. The knee-jerk reaction is that you will lose control of the project. Take a breath. Replace your urge to control behavior with a framework that empowers end users. By enlisting the help of many peers to do the heavy lifting, you can truly drive change while improving engagement, productivity, and commitment.