System of a Down: How to Reverse Engineer a Law Practice

When you build a law practice, sometimes it comes out looking like one of those old Volkswagen kits: personally beloved by the builder, while others looking on are just like, ‘What the actual fuck?

I do think that the vast majority of solo and small firm lawyers have a good sense of how to run a business.  The failure is often in the execution.  Development usually does not go beyond the business plan stage, if it ever even gets there.

Businesspersons often think of creating systems, and then choosing programs to run those systems.  The question is usually not asked in the reverse.  Hence, ‘here’s my paperless workflow, what system should I use now’ is a more common application than ‘I bought Adobe Acrobat, let me build a paperless workflow around its functions’.  I would submit that the second arrangement might be the better formulation.

If, in defining your law firm’s communication methodology, you based that determination on how you would use Slack, as an internal and external conversations driver, you might discover a more seamless approach than if you stumbled upon it later. If it’s true that a law practice management software is the most important product a law firm can invest in, doesn’t it make sense to choose that anchor software first, and then create your workflows based on its features?  Isn’t this a better approach than choosing the same old software, because you don’t want to test anything else, and then complaining, after you start using it, that it doesn’t do what you want it to do?  One of the reasons lawyers don’t like to adopt new technology (even when it’s better) is because they don’t want to undergo a learning curve.  Selecting a software product with a full understanding of its features, and building your practices around that, reduces or eliminates that learning curve.

With the current focus on attorney competence related to technology, taking a more proactive approach to software choice and implementation not only makes sense from an efficiency perspective, it may also be a new and improved way to ward off malpractice.

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Liner Notes

Keep on Tryin’’ by Timothy B. Schmit