A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

Stress and project management: how to navigate when under a time crunch

Monday, October 22, 2018

By Dane O'Leary, Writer, Tech Journalist and Content Strategist

Ever since the Great Recession of 2008, many law firms have found themselves needing to make numerous changes in how they practice law so they can best serve their clients. Clients seeking legal counsel today want service that’s faster, easier, and cheaper. As a result, finding ways to strike a consistent balance between efficacy and efficiency is a priority for most law firms.

But even for experienced firms, that’s not an easy task. Law firms are often fast-paced environments. Like a clock, many law firms have lots of moving parts, and that’s before you account for the curveballs that can be thrown your way.

Scheduling issues with a client? A pile of legal documents that need to be completed and sent out? Numerous people in reception who aren’t on the schedule? An inbox full of important emails you haven’t had the time to read? Even when you have a dedicated person or team to monitor and track all these components to your firm, there can be a considerable amount of stress.

So, when it’s crunch time and there’s immense stress on your shoulders, how do you continue juggling numerous cases, clients, and maintaining your law firm without succumbing to stress?

Alleviate crunch-time stress with project management software

In essence, project management software gives you a singular place from which to observe and track projects big and small over time. It allows you to offload a lot of the stress that comes with being under a time crunch by inputting all your various tasks and projects to a digital space, making it much easier to appropriately allocate your time and resources.

Of course, not all project management tools are created equal. Some are more feature-rich and offer time-tracking and resource-allocation tools while others are simpler and more focused on project management specifically. For law firms, there are certain options that would be more effective while others target different industries. Since sifting through the different options can be confusing or even a bit overwhelming, we’ve compiled some advice for choosing a project management platform for your firm.

How to choose project management software for your law firm

As stated above, there are numerous project management programs from which to choose. If you’re not already familiar with this type of software and, thus, aren’t loyal to one program in particular, choosing the right project management software for your law firm can feel like taking shots in the dark. Fortunately, picking the right program for your firm can be broken into a series of simple, straightforward steps.

1. Assess the needs of your law firm

Not all law firms are the same. For one thing, each caters to a specific type of clientele, whether corporate accounts or individuals filing civil suits or any number of options in-between. But beyond the scope of law practiced, there are differences when it comes to day-to-day operations and how a firm functions as a provider of legal services.

It’s worth noting, though, that a project management program that has been extremely useful for one law firm might not be the best choice for another firm. Each firm is unique and has its own needs when it comes to project management.

So the first and most important step in choosing the right project management solution for your law firm is to assess the needs of your firm. Basically, besides needing a centralised system for tracking your various ventures, you need to identify any other requirements that should be addressed by a project management program.

If your firm has already been using a project management solution, you’ll have a basis for comparison and will know specific shortcomings of the current software that you want the new software to address.

But if your firm hasn’t been using project management software, there are a number of considerations to make when assessing the needs of your firm.

       Do you often need to refer to a detailed breakdown of who has contributed to a specific project or task?

       Do people at your firm frequently collaborate on a project or task?

       Has there been frequent confusion due to the details of a project and communication about a project being relegated to two separate channels? (eg. emails versus comments on cloud-stored files)

       Do you have trouble keeping track of who has access or needs access to specific digital resources?

       Does your firm currently use multiple channels for communication?

       Have there been problems with tracking and hitting deadlines at your firm?

       Does your firm use scheduling or calendar software that’s been frustratingly disconnected from your project management protocols?

       Are there any types of software your firm currently uses that you need or would like to have integrated into your new project management platform?

In effect, you want to ask yourself these and a number of other questions so that you can get an idea of the types of features you need in a project management application.

2. Create a small list of the most viable options

Once you’ve determined what your firm needs from project management software, you’re ready to begin narrowing down the numerous options to a short list of the most viable choices.

As you begin compiling your list of potential selections, pay special attention to the features they do and don’t offer. If you need robust communication tools in a project management platform, the programs that don’t have a focus on communication are unlikely to work for your law firm. Alternately, if your firm values integration with the calendar and schedule, you’d want to consider platforms that integrate with the scheduling software you use.

3. Test, compare and contrast those options

Testing those software options is probably the hardest part of choosing a project management software.

No matter how many user reviews and in-depth breakdowns of the software exist on the internet, there’s just no comparison with your own firsthand experience. After all, none of the individuals writing reviews have used the software in the very specific circumstances of your law firm.

Fortunately, many project management platforms are either free or offer a free trial, which means it’s likely you can test most or all of your contenders without significant financial investment.

There are a number of ways to approach testing each project management platform. Of course, the best way is to implement the program across your entire firm; however, between installing the program, teaching your team members how to use the program, and repeating this entire process for each software option, this requires a lot of effort.

Depending on the size of your firm, an alternative could be to assign each of your software choices to a specific team at your firm and allow those teams to use the separate programs at the same time. Then you can ask each team to compile their feedback and impressions on which to base your decision.

However, you choose to test the software, the goal is to be able to eliminate the poorest performers until you’re left with the best project management platform for your firm. With the best option in place, your firm will have a suite of tools and software features to help them stay productive and stress-free, even when it’s crunch time.

About our Guest Blogger

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine.

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/daneoleary/   

Becoming the market leader in your industry

Sunday, October 14, 2018

By Paul Brown, Chief Financial Officer, GlobalX

If you want to experience business growth, there are some very important items to consider. We all know you need to have your brand out there in one way or another, be it by having a social media presence, advertising material or making sure you show up on Google. What people seem to forget is that the above is simply to be considered equal to the competition. You must become the market leader to get ahead. 

Becoming the market leader breeds confidence in your brand so much so that customer decision lead-time dramatically shortens. This means never missing incoming leads, and increasing the likelihood of converting said leads. More than just keeping up, it’s important to surpass and dominate the industry and take a nice large chunk of the market share with you to truly experience reliable growth.

So, what’s the secret to making sure your brand is the headline act in your industry? The short answer is, be different. Maybe your point of difference doesn’t yet exist and that’s fine. We have some key principles which are sure to get your mind ticking when it comes to producing new ideas for boosting your brand to market domination.

Before you take on the world, take note of your customer service

So, before you get ahead of yourself and start marketing your brand to the masses, it’s important to first take a step back and make sure your customer service is the best in the industry. It’s important to exceed expectations at every point when it comes to interacting with your customers, because if you don’t do it right, then no amount of marketing will set you ahead of the crowd. 

There’s two ways to ensure your customer service is on point. Firstly, arrange an internal survey or discussion to ask your staff if there’s any ways they think your service could be improved. Secondly, find an avenue to survey a wide range of your customers, making sure you include the happy, unhappy and most of all loyal customers to see if they have any suggestions on room for improvement too. Don’t forget to make a plan to action the suggestions.

Talk the talk – but make it personal

Everything you do needs to interact with your customers on a personal level. From telling your story on Facebook to personalised emails and taking the effort to go to your client’s place of business, it’s important that you are never the person behind the brand, but that you are the brand personified. If you have a large company, it’s important that every last one of your employees is aligned with the ethos of your brand – if they’re not, then you will be confusing your customers. 

Value, value, value

If you truly want to attract the attention of your customers, then you better be willing to offer them value for nothing. In this day and age knowledge is at our fingertips, and Google is the source. If you’re the expert in your industry, then you better be giving your advice away for free. If this doesn’t make sense to you, try thinking about the fact that everyone has the ability to put an advert on television, but you don’t want to be like them, you want to be at the top of your industry. So, take the opportunity to offer some high value content online, and be prepared to give it away for free. Remember, honey always attracts more flies than vinegar.

Be willing to risk it all

If you’re trying to get to the top then you should be willing to take risks. Look at any large brand, they were always ready to put their money where their mouth is and try new things wherever possible, even if it meant risking it all. This is the key to truly standing out from the crowd. Be it by incorporating some kind of new technology, innovating the way you interact with your customers or quite simply doing something that’s never been done before, businesses need to run risks in order to reap the rewards.

So now that you’re ready to stand head and shoulders above the rest of your industry, be sure to make an action plan for building your business. The sky truly is the limit when it comes to just how far you can take your brand if you’re willing to combine imaginative thinking with hard work. Don’t forget with any new initiative, to keep your branding front of mind, so that with a million new initiatives, there’s a single thread running through all of them.  

About our Guest Blogger

Paul is the CFO of GlobalX, with experience in all areas and facets of accounting and finance operations. Exhibiting a high level of commercial acumen, Paul’s range of expertise includes change management facilitation and implementation, training and development of staff, business performance planning and project management.

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-brown-714291122/

How to generate and qualify new leads for your law firm

Monday, October 08, 2018

By Quentin Aisbett, Director, OnQ Marketing

Law firms are bombarded with advice about transitioning from paper to digital. Much of the reasoning sits around cost savings. But have you considered revenue generation opportunities with your move to digital?

Specialist technology solutions for going paperless are launched seemingly every month, while regulatory changes (such as electronic conveyancing) place even more pressure on today’s firms.

Of course, going paperless can provide many benefits.

Firms can expect to:

       save time on data entry;

       remove transcription errors;

       make it easier to re-use data; and

       ultimately provide a better client experience.

But what’s often left out of the ‘benefits of going paperless’ discussion is the lead generation and lead qualification opportunities that digital provides.

One of the key digital assets law firms can implement is a client questionnaire. I see two types of questionnaires and each comes with varying benefits.

1. The existing client questionnaire

As an example, let’s take a family law firm providing divorce services. Those firms that haven’t yet gone digital are likely to be asking their clients to fill in a hard-copy form to provide information on themselves and their spouse.

We know there’s problems with that traditional approach:

       The questionnaire is huge and clients dread filling it all out.

       When it’s completed, the law firm is faced with the issue of how to get it back efficiently. A dozen pages scanned and emailed is painful. Do they drop it in? Or perhaps mail it back. None of those options are a great experience.

       The office admin then must transcribe the completed form, risking potential errors in the process.

2. The prospect questionnaire

This is when a legal client is online researching about their situation and trying to identify which firm is the right fit for them. They’ll find several legal resources online from Legal Aid to individual law firms. Often the information is presented to them is thin content lacking the depth they need. Or sometimes it will be presented in a way that's hard to follow and it doesn’t provide any real value to them.

A digital questionnaire is a terrific way to improve the user experience.

The potential client goes through the questionnaire and at the end is presented with a summary of their position.

This type of questionnaire presents your law firm with two key opportunities:

a)       You separate your firm from the rest

That’s because you’re likely to be one of only a handful of websites that provides them with a positive experience and clarity about their situation. This puts you in a better position than your competitors to secure the client or provide them with a quote. With an online questionnaire, the information a potential client submits can also be saved, so they don’t need to re-submit it if they decide to continue.

b)       It qualifies potential clients without you wasting time on a call or an appointment with them if you’re unable to assist them

The questionnaire can also be structured to identify good and bad clients, helping you to qualify them and to refer them elsewhere if necessary.

For example, the call to action the user sees at the completion of the questionnaire can be conditional depending on their answers to specific questions. If they’re not the right fit, you can suggest they seek out Legal Aid or another firm so that they aren’t wasting their time or yours.  Or if they are the right fit, you can encourage them to book an appointment with your firm or let them know you’ll have a member of your team contact them.

You can also use different types of prospect questionnaires to generate leads.

For example, if you’re practicing property law, you might want to develop a ‘Do I need a conveyancer or a solicitor?’ questionnaire. There are a ton of articles online addressing this very topic, so it will be difficult to rank another article prominently. But if you use a questionnaire instead, other websites addressing the topic will be likely to link to your questionnaire and this will provide additional traffic and search authority.

For example, many of the articles that cover that topic are from the real estate industry. The questionnaire can therefore become a lead-generating asset from that industry.

Some other questionnaires that could help the researching prospective client include:

        Do I need a lawyer?

        Should I be paying child support?

        Is it worth challenging a Will?

        Should I file for bankruptcy?

How to get questionnaires published on your website

There are third-party software solutions that will help you publish questionnaires on your site. There are many solutions in the market that are easy to use and allow you to embed questionnaires into your website.

However, I encourage you to contact your web developer to build your questionnaires for you. Ultimately, you’ll then have more control over their functionality and styling. 

About our Guest Blogger

Quentin Aisbett is a digital strategist and founder of Melbourne-based agency OnQ Marketing. He works with law firms and other professional services to drive their organic growth online.

He is a regular contributor to Inside Small Business and is an active participant in the Quora community.

Web:  https://www.onqmarketing.com.au   |   LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/quentinaisbett/

Audacious leadership – what’s holding your firm back?

Monday, October 01, 2018

By Ricky Nowak, CEO, Ricky Nowak & Associates

Australian leaders spend many millions of dollars and hours every year developing their own leadership capability and that of their teams, yet as a nation we are undecided about what leadership style really works.

Why do we struggle with audacious leadership?

Part of the reason is that more traditional businesses resist standing up and standing out than those willing to lead with the positive audacity of learning new ways and be willing to get it wrong. Yes, making mistakes is hard when we are scrutinised for it. Yes, being a student and not being a master is even harder – especially when we are used to being known as an expert. And most of all, being committed to learning and exploring options takes time and as the clock ticks over 6 minutes it’s easy to default and use money as an excuse for not extending themselves ‘right now’.

The word on the street is that the legal industry feels this where it hurts most – the financial side of business. Largely traditional, risk averse and conservative, many firms seem stuck between the legacy of the past and breaking through to the future way of working. The additional problem is young talent is already thinking as futurists and wants to bring in new advances in communication and engagement. So perhaps it’s time for the traditionalists to shift slightly off the dance floor and onto the balcony and mentor future audacious leaders to ensure their firms remain in business and keep their staff before they become someone else’s.

However, easier said than done and my belief is that many people find it difficult to let go of things like hierarchy in favour of a more inclusive style of leadership - perhaps the fear of losing their foothold Perhaps people are largely unwilling to stretch their thinking and behaviour outside

the traditional or they don’t feel the industry or clients will support them and resist doing business with them.

As such they go with what has worked in the past and hope things will be OK. But hope is not a strategy. It is a four-letter word that often ends badly.

Herein lies a deeper problem.

Is new talent the answer?

Young talent coming in to legal firms today do not want to simply hope they will have a career trajectory but rather strive to make their mark. No different from any one else who aspired to grow their career, right? Even us back in the day… right?

One could say the traditional pecking order now is like a precarious deck of cards – one that may look strong to your clients or outside world but the foundations may not be so firm, as young talent take to their keyboards rather than the key boardrooms!

But before we shift off our seats a little in favour or upcoming talent, we need to ask if they have the capability to lead with an unwavering sense of purpose and as experienced leaders, how can we equip them with the competence to lead as audacious lawyers not just confident lawyers. That’s our role – irrespective of whatever our jobs are: we as audacious leaders must give them more than knowledge on the job and provide them with exceptional experiences not just explanations.

What’s the key to building audacious leaders?

The key to this is around mindset where no ambiguity exists in thought or behaviour, and we show our commitment to them and our clients. This mindset is around total focus and is resilient enough to withstand and work through criticism, complacency or external or internal influences that may try and sabotage our vision.

Audacious leaders must demonstrate through stronger negotiation, communication and influence techniques that their passion is not hot air, and their intent is purposeful not fanciful. We either get good or get going.

We are saying we need to stretch our capacity and capability outside the typical transactions we do every day.  We are saying we need to give voice to our passions, convictions and do it with courage even when we feel our most vulnerable.

We are saying that we constantly evolve, become more nimble, responsive and adaptive. And yes, we are also saying it’s not easy. Perhaps it never was. But one thing for sure, things have changed.

So have we, so have our clients and so have our staff.

Today and tomorrow’s leaders will lead best by being audacious. In the positive sense. In a timely sense, and in a way that is uniquely yours.

About our Guest Blogger

Ricky is a professional Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Executive Coach with over 30 years’ experience in executive and business training and development within Australasia. She has been successful in creating sustainable change and increased productivity for clients in diverse industries ranging from Engineering, Construction, Legal, Finance, Agribusiness, Urban Design, Technology, NFP, Government, Project Management, Mining, Medical and Mental Health, Transport and Logistics. Her unique style of presentation delivery and coaching has helped her diverse clients achieve outstanding commercial and professional results for themselves, their teams and their organisations.

She has trained, spoken or facilitated work over 3000 presentations to companies and individuals globally. She is a certified speaking professional, certified human resource professional, author of four business books, preferred Executive Coach for the Australian Institute of Company Directors and regular commentator on national radio and blogger for Australian Human Resource Institute.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rickynowak/     Web: www.rickynowak.com

The 2020’s: time for law firms to take strategy more seriously

Monday, September 24, 2018

By Mitch Kowalski, Strategic Advisor on Legal Innovation

I remember meeting the Managing Partner of a large Canadian law firm and asking about his strategy for the firm. He was quick to respond, “Our strategy is to be the best in every area of law that we cover.” He seemed to be very pleased with himself. And perhaps rightly so; after all, lawyers hadn’t much use for sophisticated business strategies.

Traditionally our monopoly meant that we only competed among ourselves - and we predominantly differentiated ourselves based on quality of legal work, not on different customer experiences. And on a personal level, many lawyers define their own sense of self-worth on labels such as being the best or working with the best. And so, his pronouncement made perfect sense to himself and to his partners.

I, on the other hand, having had training and experience on boards of large companies where strategy was taken very seriously and where the key to success is competing on difference (not different shades of sameness), was stunned. In my mind, I started to pick away at his triumphant pronouncement.

There was the obvious problem of defining what the best means when it comes to lawyers - how does one objectively and accurately determine the best real estate lawyer or best corporate lawyer? Are they the smartest? The most efficient? The one who gives the most value for money? The one who gives the best customer service? And what exactly does it mean to be the best law firm?

Had I been cheeky enough to ask these questions, he might have realised that being the best is not a strategy at all. Most would scoff at a cricket or rugby team saying that its strategy this year is to be the best, or its strategy is to win more. Winning, or being the best, is the outcome of following a successful strategy – it’s not a strategy itself.

To paraphrase strategy guru, Roger Martin, strategy is the framework that holds together a set of integrated choices (where to play; what capabilities are needed; what management systems; what technology), that when taken together, not only give the law firm superior financial returns, but most importantly, give the law firm sustainable advantage over all competitors. Sustainable advantage means an advantage that’s not fleeting because it’s not easily duplicated by competitors.

As we know from sports teams and even law firms, quality is easy to duplicate - it can be bought, or it can be trained. Moreover, quality doesn’t differentiate firms in a market where there are numerous competitors all with the same quality.

Both Canada and Australia are awash in good quality lawyers, so the Canadian Managing Partner’s so-called strategy has little chance of setting his firm apart in such a market; particularly when his own lawyers are easily poached by some firm willing to give them a higher draw.

Having great lawyers is now merely table stakes, in a market place that now boasts law companies, legal process outsourcers, lawyers on demand, massive in-house legal departments, business technology applications that are revolutionising office environments, a new generation of workers that are proving less enamoured with traditional law firm careers, and well-funded legal tech cool kids building applications that can already provide different forms of legal services.

With these changes and opportunities comes the ability for law firms to take a much more sophisticated approach to strategy so as to create real sustainable competitive advantage that not only brings value to clients, but also entices and retains talent.

A successful law firm strategy must be based on something more than just having a bunch of great lawyers who do good work for a bunch of great clients. These ideas will form the basis of future blogs.

About our Guest Blogger

Mitchell Kowalski is the Gowling WLG Visiting Professor in Legal Innovation at the University of Calgary Law School and a strategic advisor to in-house legal departments and law firms on the redesign of legal service delivery.

He is a Fastcase 50 Global Legal Innovator and the author of the critically-acclaimed books, The Great Legal Reformation: Notes from the Field, and Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century.

Twitter:  @mekowalski     |     Email:  mekowalski@kowalski.ca

Firm-Book; a snapshot of the risks of using Facebook in the modern practice

Monday, September 17, 2018

By Dugald Hamilton, Principal & Founder,  23LEGAL

Social media has become a part of our lives, whether we like it or not. Facebook posts of new babies, insta-blasts of the latest delectable cuisine you have just whipped up in your kitchen or a boomerang story of you and your friends enjoying a Friday night cocktail after a long week.

But what does this mean for your firm? Regardless of whether you use Facebook as part of your firm’s marketing strategy, this global phenomenon impacts your business. 

Facebook Terms and Conditions

You may be hard pressed to find someone who has read, and understood, the terms and conditions of Facebook (T&C’s). Yet we use these platforms daily (perhaps hourly in some cases) and blindly accept that these companies have our best interests at heart. 

The recent US elections and the large-scale data scraping undertaken by Cambridge Analytica [1] to attempt to manipulate the election should have sent alarm bells off across the Social Media world.  Yet we all still seem to use these platforms and probably haven’t given it another thought. [2]

These recent events should be seen as a chance to consider (or reconsider) whether it is worth the risk of using Facebook; both as a marketing tool but also simply accessing it on devices that also hosts your firm’s data and information.

We seem generally aware that when we are sharing data with Facebook, we give them the ability to access and use that data. Facebook call this “Provid[ing] a personalised experience for you”.  But is it really this simple?

Intellectual Property Licence

One key term which generally gets glossed over is what Facebook can do with your Intellectual Property. The T&C’s state:

you grant us [Facebook] a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free and worldwide licence to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).”

Notably you allow them to translate and create derivate works from your content. You need to consider whether any derivative content will be consistent with your branding? Will it comply with your legal and ethical requirements when it comes to advertising legal services?  What if it doesn’t?

Generally, Facebook will only respond to orders issued out of a Californian Court [3]. So, there is a risk that you could be subjected to obligations or orders here in Australia (e.g. injunctions or other court orders) which ultimately you may need to seek the assistance of a foreign court to allow you to comply with such order.

Now you can end the licence with Facebook by deleting the Content or your Account, but if you have shared it with others (or if Facebook has) the content will subsist until those people also delete it.

Access to Data

As a user of Facebook, also grant them access to a wide (and possibly exorbitant) range of data.  This can stem from simply the data you upload or submit knowingly to Facebook (e.g. a photo or blog post) but also encompasses many other forms of data including, for example, meta data [4], location settings, device settings, signals and unique identifiers. 

One major area of concern which needs active consideration is that that you grant Facebook access to your cameras, microphones and even where you move your mouse on your computer screen [5].  There are reasons why founder Mark Zuckerberg covers his own webcam and microphone on his laptop with tape. [6]

The risk for firms is that if Facebook (or any other hacker) is recording, storing and using this data, you potentially put yourself at risk of breaching privilege, court orders and causing irreparable harm to your clients and your firm.  The reputational damage of a breach alone can cause significant irreparable harm to your brand, and this is before you consider the on flow of that risk to you having to notify your clients and respond to any claims as a result of that breach.

If you turn your mind to how many staff members use Facebook on their work computer, work phone or on their personal devices in their office, around clients or on firm business, the risk is ever present.

Commercial Terms and Conditions

In addition to the T&C’s, when you access Facebook for business purposes you are also subject to Facebook’s Commercial Terms and Conditions (CT&C’s).

Relevantly, these CT&C’s include terms such as:

  • Warranties that:

    • you can bind your firm when you use it for business;

    • your access of Facebook complies with all applicable laws, rules and regulations – this may arguably include the laws of other jurisdictions;

  • an indemnity in favour of Facebook for any damages (including legal fees) related to any claim brought as a result of your use; and

  • Depending on the service you use, you also agree to a wide range of additional terms and conditions which themselves can have a significant impact on your firm. [7] 

Five Tips for what should you do to minimise risk

Facebook, when used well, can be an essential tool in your Firm’s marketing arsenal.  When things go wrong however you need to fully understand what you have signed up for, the risks that flow from that.

So, here’s five tips on what can you do today to start to address this risk:

  1. Read the T&C’s and CT&C’s (and all other terms and conditions) in full so that you fully understand what you are agreeing to by allowing Facebook to be used on your systems;

  2. Begin the discussion about what risk your firm is willing to accept and whether using Facebook is right for your business;

  3. Develop, implement and enforce an appropriate policy for use of Facebook (and all social media for that matter) within your firm, your office and amongst your staff;

  4. Consider whether you can outsource any of this risk; say for example taking out cyber insurance;

  5. Stay up to date and continually review these ongoing risks.

All risk management strategies are designed to ensure that you are prepared to respond meaningfully and quickly to any issues which arise in and around your business.  The best time to prepare for that is today.

Meet the author, Dugald Hamilton at the ALPMA Summit in September

Rise of the Machines – The Essential Guide to Future Law Firms (Panel Member)

You are the Biggest Risk … Goodbye … but it doesn’t have to end this way

Dugald Hamilton, Principal, 23LEGAL

[1] (87 Million users (~300,000 Australian users) had their data accessed)

[2] (If you are concerned that you may have been caught up in the Cambridge Analytica data breach you can check via this link https://www.facebook.com/help/1873665312923476?ref=shareable )

[3] Consumer law breaches can be resolved in Australia; however, you are unlikely to be a consumer if you are using or publishing on behalf of your firm

[4] Meta data is a set of data attaching to files which describes and gives information about the data.

[8] See for example, Facebook Platform Policy, Self-Serve Ad Terms, Advertising Policies, Facebook Business Tools Terms, Pages, Groups and Events Policy, Facebook Commerce Product Merchant Agreement, Developer Payment Terms, Custom Audiences Terms as an example.

About our Guest Blogger

Dugald founded 23LEGAL to deliver traditional dispute resolution, restructuring, insolvency and commercial legal services but with a modern-world approach.  Prior to founding 23LEGAL, he spent 10 years working in high-end boutique law firms across Brisbane, specialising in litigation, dispute resolution, restructuring and insolvency.

This extensive experience provided him with a strong foundation to be able to assist you with the most complex of problems and to work with you to resolve it in the best way possible.

As a self-professed tech geek, he is passionate about the intersection of technology and law which can provide new and novel solutions to age-old complex problems.  He recently co-hosted the Sydney leg of the inaugural Global Legal Hackathon in February 2018 and is excited about the current legal tech landscape and the advantages is can bring to modern practice.

LinkedIn (23LEGAL):  https://www.linkedin.com/company/23legal/                   

LinkedIn (personal): https://www.linkedin.com/in/dugald-hamilton-8595b640/

Facebook (23LEGAL): https://www.facebook.com/23legal/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_23Legal

Five things you can do right now to future proof your legal practice

Monday, September 10, 2018

By Fiona McLay, Special Counsel,  Rankin Business Lawyers

If you feel like there is a lot of talk about innovation and disruption in the legal services, but very little actual change in the way lawyers and law firms are operating day-to-day on the coalface, you might be right.

What is changing?

There has been a 484% increase in the number of legal service technology patents globally in the last five years.  In 2017 investment in UK lawtech start-ups was reported to have reached £16m, with 87% of lawtech start-ups aimed at providing legal services to business.

Dramatic changes in processing power and connectivity are making new ways of working possible. New alternative legal service providers, improvements in AI options and increasingly accessible automation tools are bringing irreversible change to the legal market.  

Is it “phoney” change?

A 2018 online survey conducted by ALMPA and Centre for Legal Innovation in Australia found that only half of all respondents identified technology, innovation or disruption as directly impacting changes to their role in the last three years.  Aside from 10% who were not sure, 40% said their role had not changed.

Why are law firms and legal departments not adapting?  Surveyed attendees at the Legal Innovation & Tech Fest in Sydney in June 2018 revealed that the top three roadblocks to innovation were:

  1. Not enough time

  2. Too many ideas, no prioritisation

  3. Not enough money

Getting started – innovation with training wheels

If those roadblocks sound familiar, the good news is that there are often opportunities to implement effective, low-cost innovations in a short time frame. 

1.   Working smarter

Asking “What is the dumbest thing you do?” will turn up bottlenecks caused by manual or inefficient processes.  Look for small ways to eliminate an unnecessarily time-consuming process or double handling. 

Start with the capacity of your existing software.  Are there better ways to use it to avoid common time-suckers like:

  • manage collaboration on documents;

  • manage email;

  • auto-respond to routine requests;

  • use shared calendars to manage resources and avoid scheduling conflicts.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel and pour money into developing a customised, bespoke IT solution. Employ products already designed to solve problems commonly faced by law firms and legal departments which can be used “off the shelf”.

It may also be worth revisiting something that didn’t work very well a few years ago.  For instance, speech recognition products which enable dictation straight to screen have improved greatly.

2.   Legal project management

The Thought Leader Experiment underway in the US suggests that 46% of general counsel surveyed highly value legal project management by law firms.  Using legal project management facilitates more accurate scoping, pricing and resourcing of work. 

Comprehensive process improvement is expensive, but most law firms have detailed records of exactly how many billable units go into the work they do.  It does not require upfront financial investment to use historical billing data to better scope, price and resource repetitive work.

3.   Alternative legal service delivery

McKinsey estimates AI will automate 24% of what lawyers do.  Even if you don’t have the budget to use AI tools, you should get familiar with the capabilities. 

There are a number of reasonably-priced products specifically designed to help Australian lawyers and in-house counsel automate routine document production.  They include products that will:

  • produce comprehensive legal documents from information entered into a responsive series of questions;

  • allow you to automate your own documents using drag and drop elements (no coding required);

  • do an initial review of agreements by comparing them to similar agreements you have used in the past;

  • proof read to detect unused definitions, capitalisation and cross-referencing errors in documents;

  • update authorities cited in support of legal arguments.

4.   Talent management

A global survey by Peerpoint in May 2018 indicated that 81% of current lawyers believe that many young lawyers entering the profession will feel that undertaking the path to partnership is not worth it.  Consulting offers an alternative way for experienced lawyers to continue doing challenging work but with more flexibility and variety than the traditional law firm model. 

Employee engagement initiatives are essential in a disrupted industry.  It costs nothing to thank people for effort, publicly recognise employee contributions and involve employees in interesting projects.

There are lots of opportunities for law firms to use new technology to deliver better and targeted training.  Low cost products allow easy creation and sharing of videos and screen recordings. 

Reviewing data can also reveal a hidden need for training or improvement.  For instance, you can check if documents which are not approved precedents are being continually copied and used as a template.

Although it is expensive to develop useful workflows, checklists and templates for particular work types, this is another area where the quality of the available products has improved significantly.  The investment enables junior staff to progress matters more effectively and capitalises on the expertise of senior team members.

5.   Having an authentic and credible digital presence

If you want to be able to engage with clients online you need to adapt to the continuing trend toward mobile devices and video content.  You can establish an active digital presence by regularly engaging with social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook without having to revamp the firm’s entire website.  There is no budget required to regularly share useful information with your network. 

You will need to be able to present complex information visually if you want to compete in an increasingly busy online space.  

“Ready.  Fire.  Aim”

Don’t let hype about Lawtech blind you to the impact of new tools and new ways of working on the future of the legal profession. 

Look for ways to begin a digital transformation requiring little or no capital outlay that will improve client satisfaction, the way your law firm or law department works, and the bottom line. 

Meet the author, Fiona McLay at the ALPMA Summit in September

 Rise of the Machines – The Essential Guide to Future Law Firms – Panel Discussion

Fiona McLay, Special Counsel, Rankin Business Lawyers

Snapshot of the 5 Lawtech Trends You Should Know About: A Guide for Non Geeks

About our Guest Blogger

Fiona McLay is an experienced litigator who acts for individuals and small to medium sized companies in a wide range of commercial litigation matters. 

At Rankin & Co Business Lawyers she helps people resolve disputes, both in their business and personal lives, in a way that minimises the expense and disruption that those disputes can cause.   

She has implemented practice management tools which improved functionality like customisable automation and paper-lite processes.  She is excited about the way technology is helping us to work more efficiently and focus on delivering great service. 

Fiona regularly shares useful info on LinkedIn, @BreakupBusiness on Twitter or @FionaMcLayLawyer on Facebook.

Your super should not be “set and forget” – it’s time to make a statement

Monday, September 03, 2018

By Andrew Proebstl, Chief Executive, legalsuper

With superannuation fund members across Australia receiving their FY2018 annual member statement, now is the perfect time to reflect, review your fund’s performance and make decisions about what you can do to improve your future super outcomes.

Your super account investment balance and working out how much you’ll need for retirement

Understandably, the first thing most people look at when they receive their annual super statement is how much money they have in their account.

This amount will be shown on your statement. Ideally, your statement will not only show your balance at the end of 2017-18 but also your balance at the end of previous financial years. That way, you can see, at-a-glance, the changes in your balance over time.

To help you forecast what your balance total could be upon retirement, your super fund should provide an online retirement planner calculator.  If they don’t, ASIC’s MONEYSMART website provides such a calculator.

Once you have determined your forecast balance using a calculator, the next step is to compare it to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) Retirement Standard.

The ASFA Retirement Standard benchmarks, on a quarterly basis, the annual budget needed by Australians to fund either a “comfortable” or “modest” standard of living in the post-work years.

The latest standard, issued in March 2018, states that, in retirement, a single person aged 65 will need $27,368 per annum to lead a “modest” lifestyle and $42,764 to lead a “comfortable” lifestyle. Couples will need $39,353 and $60,264 respectively. (These figures assume the retiree/s own their home outright and are relatively healthy).

Should you be topping up your super?

If your analysis shows that you could fall short of your desired retirement balance target, you can consider making additional voluntary contributions to your super.

Your super balance includes both compulsory contributions paid by your employer (currently 9.5 per cent of your salary pursuant to the Superannuation Guarantee) and any additional voluntary contributions you have chosen to make.

If your Super Guarantee contributions are less than $25,000 per financial year, then you can choose to make additional voluntary contributions to super up to the $25,000 limit. These additional contributions (known as concessional contributions) are taxed at a concession tax rate of 15 per cent compared to your marginal tax rate, which in most cases will be higher.

If you decide to pay voluntary concessional contributions it is important to first check with your super fund to ensure these additional contributions do not lead to you exceeding the $25,000 contribution limit.  Contributions in excess of this limit can be taxed at a higher rate.

As well as making voluntary concessional contributions up to the $25,000 cap, employees can also make what are called non-concessional (after-tax) contributions. While non-concessional contributions are taxed differently to concessional contributions, these types of contributions also carry attractive taxation advantages. Your super fund can provide further information.

The current after-tax non-concessional contribution cap is $100,000 for each financial year. However, people under the age of 65 on 1 July in a financial year can contribute in excess of the $100,000 cap up to an amount of $300,000 in a single financial year pursuant to the “bring-forward rule”. This can be a valuable and significant way to boost your savings for retirement.

As the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) MONEYSMART website says: “If you can spare the money, you can really boost your super savings by making after-tax contributions. You will usually save more by investing through super than by investing in the same assets outside super.”

Investment options through super

One other significant aspect to consider when reviewing your current and future balance is the investment option in which your balance is invested. Your investment option will be shown on your member statement.

Most members are invested in their funds’ ‘default’ investment option. Speak with your fund to determine whether it is time to make a change. Often, younger members choose “aggressive” or “assertive” options (e.g. more highly invested in shares and property) while those nearing or in retirement choose a “balanced” or “conservative” approach (e.g. more highly invested in fixed interest and cash).

Insurance types and levels

Just as there are benefits in reviewing your investment options, it is also worthwhile reviewing each year the types and levels of insurance. Your circumstances will change and the appropriate level of death, disability (TPD) and/or income protection insurance for you and your family will therefore also change too.

Also, as part of looking after your dependents, it is well worth checking to ensure you have nominated a beneficiary for your super in the event that you die, and that you have indicated whether this nomination is “binding” or “non-binding”.

Fees and charges

There has rightfully been a spotlight in the media recently on the fees and charges some super funds charge.

Most super funds will have competitive and fair fees and charges and will readily be able to explain the basis for the levels at which these are set.

To help you evaluate the reasonableness of the fees and charges described in your annual member statement, the ASIC MONEYSMART website provides an excellent introduction to this.

Check your contact details and contributions

Each time you receive your member statement you should always check your contact details to ensure they are up-to-date, complete and correct.

At the same time, make sure that your employer has contributed the full amount required under the Superannuation Guarantee. Sadly, some employers, either through deliberate omission or oversight, fail in this regard. If you are not sure how to review your Superannuation Guarantee contributions (and other contributions such as your salary sacrifice contributions), your super fund will be able to assist.

Your fund’s performance

With superannuation being the bedrock for retirement for almost all Australians, people are entitled to know, and should want to know, how well their fund has performed compared to other super funds.

One independent superannuation ratings agency is SuperRatings , which reports that in 2017-18, the median MySuper investment option returned 8.7 per cent. By comparison, legalsuper returned an impressive 9.4 per cent during this period.

As part of your review of your annual member statement it is well worth checking to see if the statement provides investment performance information for your fund, including how your fund performed compared to other funds.

If your fund does not provide this information, or if they have not met or exceeded the median performance level, ask them why. If you are not satisfied with their response, it may very well be time to think about changing super funds.  Even small differences in return can make a material difference over time.

About our Guest Blogger

Andrew Proebstl is chief executive of legalsuper; Australia’s super fund for the legal community.  Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant while working with Arthur Andersen, Andrew has broad experience across the superannuation industry with fund administrators, investment managers, custodians and other superannuation funds.

Andrew is a member of the Policy Committee and former Director of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. He is also a former member of the Victorian Executive of the Associations of Superannuation Funds of Australia.  He regularly presents at superannuation industry conferences and writes regular superannuation columns for law societies across Australia.  He can be contacted on ph 03 9602 0101 or via aproebstl@legalsuper.com.au

Better together - 10 reasons why collaboration in your firm is a good idea

Sunday, August 26, 2018

By Joel Barolsky, Director,  Barolsky Advisors

A vast majority of law firms are highly collegiate. Only a few are deeply collaborative.

A collegiate firm is one where the partners and legal staff enjoy each other’s company and are happy to cross-sell when opportunities arise. A deeply collaborative firm is where all practitioners and business service staff are committed to win and deliver together. Clients are ‘owned’ by the firm, the primary focus is on integrated cross-team solutions to solve clients' problems.

Recent research from Harvard and elsewhere points to 10 key reasons why better collaboration in law firms is a good idea.

#1 Collaboration helps reconcile the tension between provider specialisation and breadth of client problems

There are two megatrends in the world of professional services that are moving at 90 degrees to each other.

In the pursuit of differentiation, advisers are becoming more and more specialised and focused on narrower areas of expertise.  At the same time, many client problems are getting broader and more complex. For example, a client issue like cyber-security may require expertise from legal, technology, change management, marketing and risk perspectives.

Better intra- and inter-firm collaboration is one of the few strategic options available to reconcile these two trends.

#2 Collaboration helps make the whole more than the sum of the parts

The past decade has seen a massive growth in the number of specialist freelance lawyers in Australia and New Zealand. Many freelancers are Tier 1 refugees or experienced practitioners seeking more flexible lifestyles. Their ability to set up shop has been enabled by new inexpensive and powerful cloud-based software.

In the battle between a ‘solo specialist’ in a high fixed overhead law firm and independent freelancer, the latter will almost always win. They simply have far greater price-setting discretion.

Conversely, a collaborative firm that pools its capabilities will usually outmuscle the one-(wo)man-band. In this instance, the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

#3 Collaboration fosters cognitive diversity which yields more creative solutions and better client outcomes

There is a saying that ‘two brains are better than one’. The truth is, if the two brains think in very similar ways and/or have very similar knowledge, then the benefits are marginal. In contrast, research shows that cognitive diversity yields far better results than cognitive similarity, as measured by the speed of problem-solving and the creativity/quality of the solutions.

A collaborative firm that brings diverse perspectives to solve client problems will outperform its peers over time. This collaboration includes involving business service professionals from HR, IT, marketing and finance.

#4 Collaboration is strongly correlated with higher client loyalty

There is far greater client ‘stickiness’ when you have three or more practice groups collaborating to service a particular client organisation. This multi-practice glue is based on:

  • The firm’s knowledge of the client leading to better understanding of needs and more opportunities to add value;

  • Lower transactions costs; and

  • More hooks or connections with ‘many-to-many’ personal relationships, as compared to one-to-many or one-to-one models.

#5 Collaboration yields higher revenue for individual partners

A recent Harvard study indicated highly collaborative partners out-performed comparable solo-specialists in the same firm by a factor of four – see Exhibit 1. While the study is limited by not being able to identify and compare two identical practitioners, it does point to the benefits of those willing to span boundaries and network widely across the firm.

Source: Smart Collaboration, Heidi Gardner, Harvard Business School Press, 2017

#6 Collaboration means higher margins

Complex multi-disciplinary problems are at the other end of the commodity continuum. Clients are far more likely to pay a premium when they’re getting a highly tailored solution to address a critical issue in their organisation. What’s more, an integrated bespoke solution cannot be easily compared to offers from other firms.

#7 Collaboration means better lateral hire integration

When a lateral hire joins a firm, they typically face two types of journeys: [1] they are invited onto incumbent clients’ matters and they share their clients with their new colleagues, or [2] they’re not.

Recent research indicates that those that experience journey #1 tend to remain within the firm and become highly successful partners within three years. Those that experience journey #2 become isolated, unproductive and often leave.

#8 Collaboration facilitates higher employee engagement

Generally, professionals will jump out of bed and rush to work if they feel like their work matters and they’re mastering their craft.

Working on complex multi-disciplinary client problems is messy but fun. Ask any lawyer in your property team if they’d prefer to process another simple lease agreement or join a cross-practice team exploring rental yield optimisation across a large industrial park portfolio?

#9 Collaboration can improve utilisation

It is common practice in many firms that mid-level and junior practitioners stick almost exclusively to one practice team. Resources are tightly held and protected within a practice.

In highly collaborative firms, resources are shared more flexibly to optimise overall firm capacity utilisation, to even out workloads and to lower cost-to-serve.

While allocating solicitors to specific practices helps with building specialist skills and experience, some resource fluidity could have enormous benefits for the firm and the individuals involved.

#10 Collaboration is key in a legal world moving towards open networks and ecosystems

Working collaboratively can be thought of as a strategic capability or an organisational ‘muscle’. In most firms, the collaboration muscle starts out weak and with little stamina. Collaboration is clunky and takes effort. It goes against the grain of most lawyers who place a premium on their autonomy. It’s often easier to get things done when there are far fewer people involved.

However, building the muscle or capability to collaborate within a firm will often result in a greater ability to partner with others outside the firm.

There is much evidence that the legal world is moving to open networks and ‘ecosystems’ involving multiple parties. These include competing law firms, in-house teams, legal process providers, law companies, legal technology providers, multi-disciplinary firms, consultants, freelance networks, the bar, the judiciary, legal educators and regulators, to name just a few.

It is now not uncommon to have up to seven different entities collaborating on a project to solve a client problem or to realise an opportunity.

In conclusion

There is little doubt that strengthening and conditioning your firm’s collaboration muscle will become a critical success factor. It’s time to hit the gym.

Meet the author, Joel Barolsky at the ALPMA Summit in September

Smart Colloboration in Law Firms

Joel Barolsky; Director of Barolsky Advisors, Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne and Creator of the Price High or Low app

Being collegiate is just not enough these days. In order to grow, firms need to break down internal silos and become deeply collaborative with everyone working seamlessly to solve clients’ problems.

Professor Heidi Gardner of Harvard Business School recently completed a 10-year study into collaboration in professional firms. Her findings indicated a 7-fold revenue difference between a collaborative approach and a cross-selling collegiate model.

This presentation will define ‘smart collaboration’, share the results of Gardner’s study, identify the common barriers to collaboration, outline various strategies and tactics firms can adopt to become more collaborative and provide pointers for successful implementation.

About our Guest Blogger

Joel Barolsky is Managing Director of Barolsky Advisors, Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne and Creator of the Price High or Low smartphone app designed to help you with pricing your projects.

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/joelbarolsky/ 

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/Barolsky  (@barolsky)

5 innovative strategies to help you build and retain the workforce of the future

Monday, August 20, 2018

By Kim Seeling Smith, CEO,  Ignite Global

Firms thriving on 'perfect' conditions proclaims the AFR headline from June 28. The article reports that their 2018 Law Partnership Survey finds that, after several lean years, both revenue and profits are strong and the future looks very bright.

Unfortunately, this normally great news for the industry is matched by less than optimistic predictions about the second major trend reported in the AFR on the same day - disruption. This reporting is taken from the 2018 Emerging Legal Professions Survey conducted by ALPMA and the Centre for Legal Innovation (CLI) at the College of Law.  

According to this survey, law firms are under-prepared for the disruption that we are already seeing from smart contracts, cloud computing, the expansion of in-house legal teams, increased competition from both boutique, specialised firms as well as the re-emergence of a legal presence within multi-disciplinary practices such as the Big 4 accounting firms.

Your success as a Practice Manager will be predicated on your ability to build and retain a future-focused workforce during this period of unceasing change. This workforce will include traditional roles such as specialist lawyers, paralegals and business support and operations people - as well as an increasing number of non-legal professionals required to deliver new services or existing services in a new way.

Unfortunately, this challenge is happening in parallel with a dire skills shortage.

The growth in the working age population in Australia over the next four decades is only about 15% of what it has been over the last four. And while market and technological disruptions require that we hire new skills, many Australian employers worry that our education system is not adequately equipping the workforce with the skills they need.

So, not only will we have fewer workers available to fill our jobs in the future — many of those who are available will not possess the required skills to do these jobs successfully.

The combination of these factors has led the Australian Bureau of Statistics to predict that we will have up to 1.4 million jobs for which we cannot find suitable candidates by 2025.

Here are 5 innovative strategies you can begin to apply immediately to help you build and retain the workforce of the future:

1.  Treat prospecting for candidates like prospecting for new clients

  • Use workforce and succession planning to forecast future hiring and promotion activity.

  • Identify top talent in the market for all key roles in your firm and begin to develop relationships with them to recruit when the needs of your firm intersect with their career goals.

  • Identify and develop multiple, alternative sourcing strategies.

Doing this will give you access to more and better candidates and will ensure a steady pipeline of top talent. You’ll be able to choose from the best in the market - instead of the best available at that time, resulting in less stress for you and better utilisation for your teams.

2.  Update your hiring process 

A study by Hudson recruitment found that 44% of Australian hiring managers rated their last hire as “not good.” This isn’t a surprise since many hiring managers try to match a poorly written job description to even more poorly written CVs and end up going with their ‘gut feel’ - which can lead to a stomach ache for you! To update your hiring process:

  • Write compelling descriptions including an evocative purpose and outcome based, measurable KPIs.

  • Use these to structure and conduct Evidence-Based Interviews™.

  • Go beyond traditional interviews and utilise innovative hiring strategies such as real-life or scenario-based assessments, video pre-screens and gamification.

The cost to replace people ranges from 50-200% of their annual salary. Hiring the right person the first time will directly add to your firm’s bottom line.

3.  Generate engagement day 1

22% of employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of employment. To make sure your new hires are not part of that statistic:

  • Begin on boarding immediately when they sign the contract.

  • On board the person, not the process:

    • Help them become as productive as possible as soon as possible, and

    • Help them become part of the team immediately upon joining.

Doing this will tangibly affect their engagement and productivity - and your retention figures.

4.   Build a healthy workplace culture

Mental health issues in the workplace are becoming more common and companies are spending considerable money on wellness initiatives. But the most effective wellness initiative is free:

Identify and rectify toxic teams and toxic managers immediately.

Look no further than glassdoor.com to see how toxic cultures increase employee turnover and decrease employee engagement. This isn’t a quick fix, but the lasting impact will decrease everyone’s stress levels - including your own.

5.   Talk to your staff regularly about what matters to them most

In January 2016, The HBR published the results of a 10-year study on what, “Great Executives Know and Do.” This study shows that the most important characteristic of leaders at all levels is a deep connection with their direct reports.

Connection begins with conversation, but most managers don’t talk to their staff enough, about the right things or in the right way.

5,000 exit interviews teach us that your staff prioritise only 8 things. We call these the 8 Currencies of Choice™. Use this wheel to conduct regular, meaningful conversations about what they need to be fully engaged and productive and deliver on those needs - or manage their expectations when you can’t.

Implementing these 5 strategies will help you build and retain the future workforce you need to confidently help your firm navigate this period of tremendous disruption - allowing you to take advantage of the ‘perfect conditions’ heralded by the recent AFR survey.

These strategies will also greatly enhance your own personal brand and career opportunities as you become known as an innovative, future-focused practice manager who helps build revenues, save costs and creates a happy, engaged and productive workforce today, tomorrow and beyond.

Meet the author, Kim Seeling Smith at the ALPMA Summit in September

The Future Workforce in the Future Firm

Kim Seeling Smith – CEO, Ignite Global

Blockchain, smart contracts, cloud computing, the expansion of in-house legal teams, and increased competition from both boutique, specialised firms as well as the re-emergence of a legal presence within multi-disciplinary practices such as the Big 4 accounting firms.

These pose both opportunities as well as threats for today’s legal practice management teams. In order to leverage these opportunities and manage the threats we must be able to attract, engage and retain a workforce that is agile, innovative, creative and solutions oriented.

In the midst of an increasingly competitive ‘War for Talent’ brought about by changing demographics and shifting required skills. Ignite Global’s proprietary, LIGHT Up Your Workforce® model will leave you with 5 key strategies to embrace these new paradigms and to help you build the workforce of the future.

About our Guest Blogger

Kim Seeling Smith has personally conducted over 5,000 exit interviews. She knows why your staff leave -  and what you can do to keep your best and brightest.

Kim is the CEO of Ignite Global, the employee retention specialists whose work has been recognised by Richard Bransons 100% Human at Work Initiative. She is the author of Mind Reading for Managers: 5 FOCUSed Conversations for Greater Employee Engagement and Productivity and has appeared in the BRW, HR Director and Forbes Online.

Kim has judged 4 international HR awards and has worked in 8 countries across 30 industries.

Web:   www.IgniteGlobal.com

LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimseelingsmith/ 

Twitter:   @LtUpYrWorkforce

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