chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

Law Technology Today


Building Lawyer Proficiency with Legal Tech

Kim Bookout


  • Based on the challenges your firm wants to solve, create a process for lawyers and staff to evaluate how the tech is working for them.
  • The best legal tech enhances successful workflows rather than forcing a team into a box that may hold them back from what they already do best.
  • Learn seven practical ways your firm can win lawyer buy-in, increase adoption, and maximize the value you get from your tech spend.
Building Lawyer Proficiency with Legal Tech

Jump to:

While legal technology adoption rates hit new highs each year, lawyers’ comfort level with tech hasn’t necessarily caught up. In fact, in a Bloomberg survey, just four percent of law firms said their lawyers are “very proficient” with legal technology and 67 percent rated their lawyers average or lower.

In the same survey, more than half said “lack of tech-savvy users” was a barrier to legal tech adoption while the same percentage said they felt they were “sufficiently trained” on their legal tech.

This is a red flag for law firms that have invested in legal tech to improve processes. After all, if lawyers don't use the technology, it can’t deliver value and the firm’s return on investment will be dismal. 

So, the question is: How can law firms ensure successful adoption – and consistent use – of legal tech? Here are seven practical ways your firm can win lawyer buy-in, increase adoption, and maximize the value you get from your tech spend. 

1. Clearly Communicate Benefits

When rolling out new software, start by sharing the ideal state you hope to achieve. It's hard to get people excited about a new tool if they don’t understand the benefits. Focus on what's in it for your team. What challenges does technology solve? Common frustrations include excessive time spent on repetitive tasks, difficulty collaborating with remote users, lost insights due to information silos, and overall inefficiency. How does software remove these barriers and help them meet their goals?

For example, the Bloomberg survey revealed that 43 percent of law firm professionals said their No. 1 goal was increased profitability. And one-third of respondents said their organization needed better matter management software. So, bring the two things together and provide an overview of the bottom-line benefits that lawyers can expect to see from an investment in a case management solution.

Focus on the specific ways technology will make their work easier. You may still face skepticism, but that’s where the right training comes in.

2. Customize According to your Needs

Before a single user logs into your new software, explore your customization options. Partner with the software provider to talk through your use case in detail as well as how your team works. In addition, you can ask for insight on how other firms like yours use the software. Then, ask them to suggest ways to configure your instance to your specific needs and current processes. 

Adapting the technology to mirror existing routines helps users familiarize themselves with the software more quickly. The best legal tech enhances successful workflows rather than forcing a team into a box that may hold them back from what they already do best.

3. Provide Comprehensive Training Across a Variety of Learning Styles

Before you organize training sessions, learn what barriers exist that will keep some members on your team from using legal tech. Are there attorneys who aren’t tech-savvy, or don’t think learning about new software will be worth the time, or still don’t believe legal tech will solve their challenges?

Once you understand any barriers, use the information to further reinforce why your firm invested in legal tech to address their needs, and how you’re committed to guiding them through the onboarding process.

While half of the professionals who responded to Bloomberg’s survey reported an increase in tech spend, only one-quarter reported any increase in training. Certainly, this could be part of the problem when it comes to adoption.

Don’t offer one-size-fits-all training. Adjust your training sessions based on need. Some will need mere minutes, others will need hours. Just as litigators will read their audience to develop the right method of persuasion during a trial, legal tech training should cover all four learning styles: by reading, seeing, talking, and doing.  

Southern Illinois University Law Journal article cites research that says Generations X and Y (most of today’s lawyers under the age of 58) prefer visual learning. So, incorporate this into your training plan. Seeing in real time how the product solves their problems is one of the fastest ways to generate enthusiasm. Additionally, encourage lawyers to explore the software after seeing a demo, provide written resources that reinforce the training, and allow plenty of time for questions.

4. Showcase Success Stories

If one team or group at your law firm is having success using legal tech, it may breed curiosity. Your patent litigators who aren’t fully using the technology may see your employment team is more efficient than ever.

As a 2021 McKinsey survey found, successful transformations are more likely than others to involve influencers, especially organizations where those influencers: 

  • Role-modelled the new mindsets and behaviors that support the changes being made.
  • Disseminated transformation-related knowledge and best practices throughout the organization.

Encourage tech-savvy teams and power users to share how they’re using legal tech and inspire others to join — this is an opportunity to turn critics into adopters. A little healthy competition never hurts, either.

5. Create a Pilot Program

Sometimes it’s smart to start small. Rather than an organization-wide rollout, consider creating a pilot program with a select group of users who are strong technology adopters or advocates. This approach can be especially effective in larger firms. 

Creating a pilot program has several benefits. In a smaller group, you’ll be able to quickly work through the onboarding process and put the software into action. The pilot group can identify any potential gaps, help validate your approach, and provide constructive feedback. Not only does this set the stage for a smoother wide release, but it also creates an influential group of technology champions that can serve as a catalyst for other teams.

6. Offer Ongoing Resources and Support

Training shouldn’t stop when you've completed your planned sessions. Ongoing proactive support is crucial to success. Check in frequently with your lawyers during the rollout. Send messages with helpful information like step-by-step guides, process guidance reminders, and quick tips.

After a few months, circle back to see how users are feeling. Ask your team for details on how they use the tool as well as any tips or tricks they may have discovered on their own. Ideally, you’ll be able to identify power users and share their insights. Alternatively, those conversations may reveal common challenges, offer supplemental training tailored to those topics.

7. Evolve with Feedback

The final step of successful legal tech adoption and implementation is feedback. According to the Bloomberg survey, when asked if their organization had a formal process to evaluate their use of legal tech 41 percent said no and 33 said not sure. Most users won’t go out of their way to offer unprompted feedback on technology, but when given an opportunity and specific areas to focus on, their insights can be incredibly valuable. 

Based on the challenges your firm wanted to solve, create a process for lawyers and staff to evaluate how the tech is working for them. Review the results of your evaluations and if the intended goals aren’t being met, refer to the previous steps in this process for help moving in the right direction.