16 Dec Partner Podcast: Diving into New Law with DRI – The LeXFactor
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In this episode, Lauren Hoffmann and special co-host Sarah Ruttan-Bates talk with guest Wendy Merrill, Executive Vice President of Growth Strategy & Branding at DRI, the largest civil defense bar association in the country.
The trio discuss the idea of “new law”, the changing legal space and how the status quo is continuously being disrupted. COVID-19 may have forced law firms to embrace innovation and adapt with technology, so DRI and Lexicon worked together and surveyed DRI members on how they feel the legal market has changed since the pandemic began.
Tune into the episode to hear Wendy and The LeXfactor hosts explore how work-life balance has improved, the struggles firms face with converting billable hours, and more.
Learn more about DRI by visiting DRI.org and find out how you can become a Lexicon partner by visiting LexiconServices.com/partner-program.
Lauren Hoffmann: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the LexFactor. It’s your host Lauren here. We have some special guests today. Not only do we have a special co-host – you guys know Sarah Ruttan-Bates, she’s our Director of Legal Operations and Training. Welcome back, Sarah.
Sarah Ruttan-Bates: It’s a mouthful, right? Hey, everyone. Excited to be back.
LH: And we we’re actually doing something fun today. It’s a special partner podcast. So you guys remember Wendy Merrill. She’s with DRI. She visited the show months back and she’s back with us today. So welcome back, Wendy.
Wendy Merrill: Hi, thanks for having me. This is exciting.
LH: Yeah, definitely. I’m really excited to dig in today’s topic because obviously it’s very relevant. We’re kind of digging into new law, but it’s also based off some data that we worked with your members to gather. So we did a survey and we put together a whitepaper and we really want to dig into it today. But before we do that, Wendy, I would love if you could just kind of remind everybody who you are, what you do. What gets you going every day and what you guys are doing over at DRI with your members.
WM: Sure. So I’m Wendy Merrill, as you mentioned, and I am the Executive Vice President of Growth Strategy and Branding at DRI. So DRI is the largest civil defense bar association in the country. We also have international members and so we serve civil defense, and we also have a lot of in-house counsel folks as members as well.
I oversee marketing and sales and communications and publications. So I’m very much in tune with what our members are looking for, working closely with membership and programming to make sure that we are always providing value to our members and education is a really big part of DRI always has been so we’re always looking for ways to share ideas and help our member firms to be more innovative.
LH: We love the education over here.
SRB: Big fan. Big fan, Wendy.
LH: And before we dig in, Wendy, give us a little background on you. How did you get to the legal space?
WM: I’ve been with DRI, formerly as an executive, for a little over a year and a half. Before that I worked with as a consultant. I had a consulting business for about nine years, before I joined DRI, that focused on helping lawyers and law firms to position themselves for the future. So working in particular with growth strategy and also helping firms to prepare their younger lawyers to steward the firms into the future. So I’m not a lawyer, but I spend lots and lots and lots and lots of time with lawyers. I feel like I’m kind of a member of the club without having to go to law school fortunately. Save me a little money, but I just love working with attorneys. I find they face a lot of pressures. It can be a pretty stressful gig. And I enjoy helping them to be more successful, figuring out better ways to do things, and also changing the legal space for the better. So that’s a little bit about me, I’m very passionate about this. And DRI has given me a wonderful opportunity to really dig in and try to help our members to be more successful and therefore also helping their clients to be more successful.
LH: And that’s why we are a partner with you guys. Because we’re on the same page. We’re all about that education. How can we help? I think we all know the legal industry is a little slow to adapt, especially when it comes to technology, new operations or culture, everything. So kind of working towards that same end goal.
SRB: I feel like I want to be Wendy when I grow up. Everything you just said that you do and just working with attorneys and just getting them to see the end, the advancements, really within the industry. In my time I call them the baby attorneys, or the green attorneys. I don’t know. I think I might just love you, though. That’s amazing. I love everything that you just said.
WM: I think it’s a very exciting time to be in the legal space because of all of these changes, which I know is scary for the status quo. But I think that there’s a big push for more diversity and work-life balance, whatever that happens to be and just embracing technology and providing more value to clients and all these kinds of exciting things that, strangely, one of the weird silver linings I think of COVID, is it forced I think everyone to think differently, but particularly the legal space to really embrace innovation because they had to. So I think that there were some good things that have come out of COVID. One of which is technology and firms focusing more on how they can be more efficient and be more supportive even of their staff.
LH: Yeah, totally agree. Now Sarah, do you, do you love me as well? Because I feel like Wendy got all the love and I’m just sitting here.
SRB: Yes, you’re great.
How the Pandemic Changed the Legal Market
LH: That’s a perfect segue into the survey. As Wendy just said, we worked with the DRI community with their members and we actually sent a survey out to learn more about basically how their lives have changed since COVID. And like you said, unfortunately COVID has been this terrible thing, but it has brought some silver linings to some business operations, law firms specifically. And that’s kind of what we want to dig into today. So what we really want to talk about is how the legal market has adapted and really changed since COVID took place. And so we reached out to I think about 150 DRI members and got some information from them basically around what are their thoughts on the future of practicing law? And so there’s a few key takeaways that we’re really going to focus on today. One, folks have actually achieved a better work-life balance through COVID, which is interesting, and it really has a lot to do with the investments in technology that have been made and all the advancements that actually came from those investments as well.
We’re going to talk a little bit about going back to the office, whether it’s a hybrid approach or being completely remote. And the fact that firms really still struggle with converting expended hours into billable hours. I think we saw a lot of efficiencies over the past two years, but unfortunately, billable hours is one of those biggest struggles that are out there. So how can we really address that and what other adaptations, whether it’s technology or this idea of new law, which we’re going to dig into, can help you bring back those billable hours?
So digging into the survey a little bit, we found that 83% of people actually feel like they have a good work-life balance, which is interesting. It’s gone up from previous years. So I wanted to kind of pick your brains, Wendy, Sarah, what are your thoughts on that work-life balance? I know on our end, Sarah is very in deep with the day-to-day operations of our actual law firm clients. So I’m kind of interested to hear what you’ve seen, Sarah, on that ground level in regards to that work-life balance.
Listen: Recognizing the Current State of the Law Firm Model
Work-Life Balance in the Legal Industry
SRB: I’ve got to say for me, the 83%, though happy to see it in this particular survey, it struck me as high. It really struck me as high. And again, maybe I’m just thinking back to a couple of years ago before COVID, you know, standing in a room, speaking with attorneys and staff and in pulling just different data points myself to kind of drive this point that you really got to have this work-life balance. And it was, I mean, I want to say around 33%. Don’t quote me on that, ladies, but it was pretty low in comparison. But yeah, Lauren’s right. This is something that I really, really, kind of scream from the rooftops that I think the importance of work-life balance, what law firms need to really consider is that if you are not giving that consideration to, may it be an attorney or even legal staff for that matter, in the market right now, they’re going to go find a firm that will. People want to feel like they can come in and do a really great job representing their clients, billing those hours, providing a great level of legal representation, but still get to go home at the end of the night. And if it’s have dinner with your family, walk your dog before the sun goes down, you catch up on, I don’t know what TV shows are out there, CSI.
People want to have that because if they don’t have it, they burn out. They really burn out. But that’s been, my experience personally is it’s been a long-standing struggle that in the legal community and in this environment people feel as if they have to work, you know, 60- 70-plus hours, give up their weekends, give up their free time, and then they look back and go, “Where did my personal life go?” I don’t know, Wendy, what about you?
LH: Yeah, you’re, you’re on the ground floor. These are your members. What kind of feedback are you hearing from them?
WM: That did, did strike me as high. I guess we got a pretty happy-go-lucky group that you surveyed. Listen, I’ll take any positive news in this department. I joked earlier about this, I think that the statement work-life balance is a tricky one because it means something different to everybody. I think that, on one hand, the, the remote work environment has been good and that we can all wear sweatpants. We can look professional on top and sweatpants on the bottom. I’m not going to tell you if I’m wearing those or not. But at the same time, I happen to be a remote employee myself and we work longer. I don’t want to say we work harder, but we really do work hard because there’s no commute to the office.
LH: You don’t take an hour lunch. That’s weird. You’re sitting at home. Why do you need an hour lunch?
WM: Lunch? I don’t know what lunch is. So I think firms still have to be careful and they may think that they’re being very flexible because we’re saying, “Oh, you can work from home.” But at the same time, I still think that staff of all levels would benefit from some sort of structure from their firms saying, “Here’s what our expectations are. We also expect you to take some time off.” The billable hours thing is just, in my personal opinion, I’m not a fan of it. Listen, our folks are litigators, so it’s really hard to get away from that. But I think for a lot of other attorneys, it’s tough, right? Because it’s kind of like everything for the almighty billable hour, and that has caused so much stress, particularly for the younger generation, newer associates, etc.
So I think that firms are definitely more aware. Now, I do think that they are thinking about culture. It’s one thing to talk about it. It’s another thing to actually walk the talk. But as you mentioned earlier, in today’s labor market, there is literally a war for associates happening right now. And firms need to understand that it’s not just about throwing more money at people. That’s not how you get them to stay. It’s how you get them to. But they won’t stay for that. The way you get them to stay is to build culture, make them feel appreciated, recognized, and also make sure that they received the support, whatever that looks like, from their firm that they need.
LH: Definitely. Because, at the end of the day, that salary that you’re looking for, it’s ultimately setting you up for your future. So you can find an employer, a firm that has that culture that you’re looking for, but say, “Hey, I was making this much at my last job, you need to obviously beat that.”
SRB: Something else that I’ve heard just from speaking with recruiters again in the legal field, the money is actually not top priority. A lot of them are saying, again, to the point that we’re discussing right now, the flexibility, the balance, Wendy, to your point, there have been a number of candidates who have turned down offers because they say, “You know what? I could actually make that or even a little less, but have a smaller or lower billing requirement.” You’re right. It’s the whole big picture, right? It’s all these little pieces that really make up truly that bigger picture and that culture. Another thing I’ll just note is what is the investment in the employee from a training state, an educational standpoint, things of that nature. It’s a lot of little things that make the big complete package for these individuals.
WM: I want to make a comment about what you said about training. Before I joined DRI, my focus was on professional development and leadership training, etc., for associates junior partners. And the challenge that I ran into for many years was that firms were reluctant to invest in their people. They were scared, frankly, of throwing too much money and time and energy into training their people for fear that they would grab the clients and ride. Well, that was short-sighted because as we now know, had they made some of the investments in their people, they actually would have retained some of these folks as opposed to losing them.
So while I completely understand, because there are no non-competes in the legal world, that people are afraid of losing clients, at the same time, to your point, if your most promising rising leaders feel valued and feel that the firm shares their values and feel like they belong somewhere and they’re appreciated and they’re seen, they will stay and they will join the leadership queue and they will be your future partners and managing partners. And that’s what you want.
LH: And I think a lot of people fail to make that connection that if you have happy clients or happy employees at your firm that actually translates to happy clients. If your law firm attorneys, paralegals, admins, whoever, if they’re happy, if they answer the phone with a chipper voice, if they’re excited to give service to their clients every day, because they’re in turn happy at what they do, that client is going to be more happy. They’re going to have a better experience. They’re more willing to review you online. They’re probably more likely to pay in full and pay in a timely manner. And so there’s a lot of that connection that people don’t realize just because you have a happy culture, it doesn’t just stay within the firm. It translates externally to your clients as well.
And I think going back to the fact we mentioned 83% of attorneys in this survey said that they have a good work-life balance. This is really telling, too. So the next fact that kind of supports that number is that 81% of those same respondents actually said that they currently work between 40 and 60 hours. So the funny thing is, if I’m wrong, correct me, but 40 hours is your traditional work week. So the fact that they are working between 40 and 60 hours, but are still saying that they have that good work-life balance, I think that’s very interesting as well. So maybe they’re working those long hours, but maybe they’re happier. Maybe they can work from home and in the middle of the day they can go and pick their child up from school, take them out to lunch and come work again. So maybe it’s not the fact that they’re working less hours, but the way that they’re working is allowing them to incorporate their personal life a little more.
What Technology Are Law Firms Utilizing?
SRB: It kind of leads into your next point here. And I don’t want to steal the thunder for it, but it makes you question, though, what technology are they using? I think back to many, many, many years ago when I was in the law firm, billable hours were tracked with your handwritten notes on a piece of paper. So you were jotting down everything that you were doing, and then allocating your time that you just track to the tasks that you just performed. Can you imagine how much extra time that manual process adds?
LH: Could you track time for the time it took to track time at that point?
SRB: That is non-billable. Lord. It makes me think, OK, so what other things are making this easier for them and making it more accommodating to still work those 40 to 60 hours, but they feel like they have that balance and it’s got to be more than just the flexibility. It has to be. So let’s talk technology.
LH: I think what we learned, and I don’t have the number handy, but I think around 76% of firms have, and this is nationwide, not just looking at DRI members, are using some sort of technology at their firm, which is the majority. But if you think about it, that’s still almost a quarter that aren’t, which is still a pretty big number, regardless of the fact that it’s not the majority. So in the past year, we’ve really seen a lot leeway when it comes to document management, practice management software and legal research tools. So those are the key areas that people are really adopting technology. And if you think about it, with the majority of firms maybe not being in an office the past two years, those are really the things that are going to keep your business going. You have your practice management software, which is going to literally allow you to manage your clients in cases from anywhere. We all know firms are document heavy. So the fact that you can have something to support that collaboration and creation of documents, whether you’re at home, at Starbucks, or in the office is big. And then, obviously, legal research tools, because that is such a huge part of managing cases in itself. So that’s where we’ve really seen some headway over the past two years when it comes to adopting technology.
SRB: I think back to the days, and Wendy, maybe you even chime in from your experience, but I’m so used to law firms being, as Lauren said, paper-heavy, but those physical hard files. You think about kind of that work-life balance and everything going on with COVID, and I don’t know, in my head picture like a cartoon attorney walking out with a massive armful of file folders, piles of paper flying everywhere.
LH: Wendy, what are your thoughts with working with your members, I know you guys are so close to them, what kind of feedback have you gotten from them from a technology standpoint? Have you seen what is really working for them? Are there certain things that a lot of your members have adopted over the past couple of years? Or maybe even struggled with?
WM: One way they’re embracing technology, we’re a big CLE operation. So we provide a lot of virtual CLEs as well, especially during the pandemic. So firms are definitely investing in online, CLE training, more of that for their attorneys. It’s a space where we have a big presence, but it’s a very competitive space because there’s lots and lots of providers out there, but I think that’s where we would be closest, where we would see that, that our lawyers are attending. They’re doing online CLEs and they’re also attending our virtual seminars.
LH: It’s definitely made it a lot easier to get that education. And I’m really glad you glad you brought that up because we talk a lot about the efficiencies that technology can bring to law firms. But there is that other side, too. There are other things that are required when you’re a lawyer. It’s making sure that, as an attorney, you have an opportunity to get the education you need to keep practicing law and technology makes that easier, too. I think at this point, there’s no going back. Virtual CLEs are always going to have to be an option. It can’t always be in person. It’s become so easy for lawyers to get their credits.
SRB: Well you think about, as far as I know, just thinking back, in my 16 years there’s always been the here-and-there kind of online option, but it certainly wasn’t what it is today. But you think and again, this was another thing that was probably trending prior to COVID, but it was just really forced into it, if you are mandating in person, you were pulling that attorney away from their clients. Whereas, I understand from an engagement standpoint, potentially, it might be better for some to be in-person, but if you can still offer that information, that education and that knowledge, and the ability for them to get their bar required credits to keep their license current, it’s a win-win for everybody. It really is. I think that the whole CLE component and the education is another big one and it’s staying. It’s absolutely staying.
I think legal research, to add to that real quick, legal research used to be publications. They were books, and they still are. They still exist. Don’t get me wrong. And that’s another one, a lot of attorneys like to physically have the book. And I’m going to be the first to tell you, I’m a physical book kind of person as well by books. When you have law firms, though, where you have multiple people needing to share the same publication to research and look up laws and whatnot, that’s challenging. Whereas now there are just so many platforms where they can do all of that research either free, or they can pay to have a deeper dive. But it’s all online and they can bookmark and they can print and they can pull it up on their iPads when they’re in court.
What Should Law Firms Outsource?
LH: That’s a great point, too. So technology, it’s just, it has made everything so much easier, whether it’s actually practicing law itself, educating yourself, staying in touch with your coworkers, even having a one-on-one zoom meeting and seeing your coworkers face as opposed to having to pick up a phone and call them. Across the board, technology has been amazing and a huge part of our growth over the past two years. Which kind of leads me into our next point, which is really interesting because I don’t at all want to downgrade the importance of technology because we know how far it has brought us over the past two years, but at the end of the day, it’s not everything. There are still inefficiencies that need to be solved in other ways, too. And I bring this up because through the survey with the DRI members, we found out that 78% of the respondents actually bill 75% or more of their time, but that’s versus 81% of just a few years ago. So at the end of the day, the amount of hours they’re billing has actually decreased over the past two years. So we’ve introduced all these efficiencies, but what else is there that’s missing? And that’s kind of how we move into this idea of new law, which is really leveraging technology, leveraging other service providers to provide those legal services in new and novel ways.
SRB: I just want to ask a follow-up question, and I don’t know if you ladies even have this answer. So is the takeaway there that the respondents are billing 75% or more of their time versus it was previously 81. Is it because they’re just getting so busy with all of these other tasks and responsibilities and getting pulled away? I like to call it leaving billable time on the table.
LH: And that’s something that I definitely feel strongly about. We know, and I hate to use this number because it sounds so fake, but literally over 99% of the firms in the U.S. are actually solo or small. And so you’re running the shop by yourself. Are you answering the phones? Are you sending out all your invoices? Are you spending time recruiting, writing, job descriptions, posting them interviewing? Are you doing the tasks that a paralegal would do? There are things that are pulling you away. You can have all the efficiencies in the world from technology, but there are still things that are pulling you away from doing your job, AKA bringing in those billable hours. That’s what I think. Wendy, what are your thoughts on that?
WM: Well, my question would be more around not necessarily billable hours, but whether or not what their realization rate is, because they may be billing, but it doesn’t mean they’re collecting. That is a huge, huge problem for law firms, and particularly for small to mid-firms. So I think that any technology or advisory services that can help firms to better realize a return on their investment of time and to be more profitable, that’s where lots of lawyers are struggling. So I think that, and I know my personal experience when I’ve had this conversation with the attorneys and asked them what their realization rate is, they kind of look at me blankly. They don’t really know what that is. And I’m like, well, if you don’t know what that is, we need to talk about it because you know how much of your time are you writing off and why are you writing? And by the way, how much of your associate’s time are you writing off and why?
LH: That’s a great point. I know we did a webinar on that before, but it, it amazed me when we were doing the research. Like you said, Wendy, how many people actually don’t know what that term is? And we do focus on billable hours all the time, but at the end of the day, you have to take it a step further and you actually have to collect on those dollars as well. So it’s great that you have more billable hours and you’re cutting back on the stuff that you can’t bill your client for, but if you’re not collecting on it, it doesn’t matter. So that being said, there are really a few things when it comes to adopting new law, that can help with the billable hours. It can help with really deciding what you should keep doing at your firm versus what can you outsource? So think about this, how important is the function to the firm itself? And then you think, what is the cost of the firm doing it versus actually outsourcing it? I think a good example is hiring someone to be your receptionist. Maybe you pay them $45,000 a year. They get benefits. They get PTO. Maybe they take on a few tasks here and there, but at the end of the day, you’re a solo firm and maybe you have 20 calls a day. All right. So you’re paying this person $45,000 to take 20 calls a day. Whereas you outsource a virtual receptionist, you don’t pay any of that. You literally only pay by the minute. So when a call comes in, you’re paying for however long that virtual receptionist is on the phone with your client. Other than that, you’re not paying salary. You’re not paying PTO. You’re not paying benefits. So that’s quite often an area that firms do look to outsource because the cost is obvious how much you’re saving in the long run for a position like that.
WM: I want to throw something else in there where there are savings, where there’s a benefit that’s not so obvious, which is most lawyers I know don’t really want to spend time managing people. They just don’t. I don’t think anybody does. It’s a struggle for them and it’s hard. And anytime you have an employee, whether it’s a receptionist an office manager, anybody, it requires time to manage that person, it requires HR. So if you’re in a small, mid-sized firm, it’s not just the actual cost savings, it’s also the time. And frankly, the, the potential frustration, on the other hand, not to say that people shouldn’t hire, because I don’t think outsourcing is the end all be all for everything. But I do think that for today’s and tomorrow’s law firm, it should not only be an option, it should be sort of just the norm.
LH: I totally agree. And I’m glad you brought that up. It kind of leads me into the next area of consideration. So how good are we as a firm at doing this? So not necessarily just how good are we, but do you like doing it? Do you want to manage people? But how good are you? If you need to write a job description, you’ve never done that in your life. This is your first hire. Is it worth the amount of time that you’re going to take to write a job description, do the research to understand what the salary should be, compensation, what the benefits should be interview people, learn how to interview people, if you’ve never done it before? Or, like Wendy said, maybe you just don’t like doing it. So maybe it’s something like that that you’re like, “Hey, this is another good area that I could outsource.”
SRB: It sounds like a lot of time on Google. And you think about it, if they’re spending that much time doing the research, trying to figure it out, because they’re not, let’s just say a subject matter expert there, they don’t like it, it doesn’t always mean they’re going to hit it out of the park. Because Google and all of your online research, it’s so flooded.
So real quick, if I could just circle back, you were talking about the virtual receptionist, which again, huge fan, there’s so much that they can, they can do for attorneys. Virtual paralegal, that’s another one, Wendy, when you were saying that so many attorneys just don’t like to manage people, that is just a fact. You are absolutely correct there. Virtual paralegals, another one though, because oftentimes, attorneys truly do need that support and they need that assistance. Maybe they don’t want to manage the individual or individuals. They maybe don’t want the overhead cost of the salary hitting their books, the benefits.
LH: That’s another great one that is project-based. Maybe you literally only need them for one major case that you’re taking on.
SRB: And that’s the perfect time to use them, really. Which again, the long-term, it’s there as well, but let’s just say you’ve got a big trial coming up. Not to get too specific, but things like the product liability industry, if you just need a medical paralegal to look at some medical records, things like that. It’s a very, very streamlined option for outsourcing.
LH: And what I like about what Wendy brought up earlier, it doesn’t always make sense. So outsourcing could literally be a saving grace for your firm, but also it depends on what you do as a firm and what your clients are like. For example, a firm that works with primarily more wealthy clients, they may prioritize actually having full-time staff in house because they want to deliver more of that white glove service. Whereas maybe you’re a solo firm and you’re just doing P.I., it’s a little bit more OK for you to be able to outsource everything because it’s a different clientele. You’ve got to think about that, too. So there is a lot to consider and really that last area to think about when you’re exploring the idea of new law is thinking about do we have the right people in those roles or could we use outside experts? So I think we talked a little bit about that already, but do you have someone in house who truly is the expert? They know how to do this and they know how to do it well. Maybe marketing is a great example. Are you going to buy a billboard and you think you can handle it all yourself, get a good message out there, get good creative, something that really resonates with your target market if you even know who that is? Do you have that person in house? Or if you’re going to spend as much money as a billboard costs, does it make sense just for you to outsource it and find someone who really knows what they’re doing?
SRB: Speaking of the whole marketing component. I think something that is still new to the legal industry is a social media.
LH: A lot of industries, you know, it’s been around for what, 15 years now, but it changes so frequently. It’s not easy to understand.
SRB: But building your platform out there on social media, which takes time, right. You have to have a presence and somebody managing all of that, but that ties back into your marketing. So again, having potentially an expert in that area, because I just don’t have time to sit down and just build a social media platform. I don’t have time to build my own. I just share other people’s stuff. I’m like, just turn this off. I can’t maintain.
LH: But, you know, I think at the end of the day, I know we’re, we’re getting close to the end here, but take time to understand what works for your firm and what doesn’t work for your firm. There may be some key areas that it just makes sense to have someone else do it. It’s going to help you drive those efficiencies internally, save some money most likely, and focus on your clients in those billable hours and ultimately those realization rates. Technology, services, what can you adapt internally? What can you do different internally, but where are areas that you can outsource too? And it’s OK to do that nowadays. It’s becoming so frequent that if you don’t start having these conversations internally, you’re already behind. I think my No. 1 takeaway today is really just start having these conversations at your firm. Are there things that you can do differently? Is there a technology that would make your life easier? I know it’s a hard conversation sometimes if you’re fully staffed, but are there areas that you can maybe outsource and save some money and do a little better?
SRB: I think my takeaway is very similar to yours, just some different wording. Don’t be afraid of change, which is hard in this industry. It is. I truly say that and I’m coming from a really good place. Don’t be afraid of it. In my opinion, the firms that are out there and they’re willing to take those leaps and try something new, and it doesn’t mean you’re always successful, but you’re willing to try and grow and expand. Those are probably the firms that are going to be more cutting edge and potentially see the long haul, if you will.
LH: Wendy, what are your closing thoughts here?
WM: I think you said don’t be afraid of change. I love that idea. I think I’m in the minority that I actually welcome and embrace change. I don’t know. It’s exciting to me. But lawyers, generally, don’t like change. We have realized this. It’s been difficult to navigate a membership organization throughout COVID. Because it’s certainly forced a lot of changes and our members have encountered a lot of changes in terms of just how we do things and it’s a delicate balance and I think change is inevitable. But I also think that it’s essential to make sure that change is communicated well. That’s what we’ve learned about our members. And I think what you’re talking about is if Lexicon is in a position to help attorneys, whether it’s your technology or consulting or what have you, I think the communication is critical and understanding your audience and understanding that they may not be super tech savvy, or they may not be used to outsourcing services and doing a little handholding, it goes a long way.
LH: That’s a great point. Change is obviously very important and I think start small, find one little area you can consider and see how it impacts your operations. But like Wendy said, don’t forget to communicate it. You can’t just implement a new software platform and things are golden. You have to make sure that your staff understands it, that they understand the benefits, they know how to use it and they love using it and they see that benefit at the end as well. So don’t forget to communicate.