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In The Age of Virtual Law: What Lawyers Can and Should Be Doing to Protect Client Information

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As more firms are going virtual increased risks pose a threat to privacy security. When it comes to technology we as lawyers can tend to be laggards, but this can come at a cost that we can’t afford. In this episode Heinan and I discuss the importance of staying abreast technological advances necessary to preserve the privacy of client information in a virtual era and the challenges law firm owners face when it comes to these changes. 

In this episode, Heinan and I discuss:

  • The exponential growth of technology
  • The emergence of AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Staying technologically current to compete and provide exceptional customer service
  • Using technology for risk mitigation
  • Using AI for transcription
  • Managing how you house your data and your clients’ data.
  • Overcoming the obstacle that is fear of change
  • Adapting to practice management systems
  • The myth of the paperless office
  • The importance of training and leading by example
  • A way to benchmark technology use called the Technology Operational Maturity Level (Self) Assessment, included in Heinan’s book
  • The importance of choosing an IT firm that understands your business and what you need technology to do for you

Allison Williams: [00:00:08] Welcome Heinan Landa to the show.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:00:11] Thank you so much.

 

Allison Williams: [00:00:13] All right. So everyone, I’m really excited about this interview because Heinan has a book coming out that I’m really personally very excited to read, because I think it’s something that law firm owners need to be familiar with. And it’s something that poses a great risk for us if we’re not, which is our technology and our security in our technology. So the book is The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change. And Heinan, can you talk to us a little bit about what prompted you to actually write this book?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:00:42] Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m just thrilled to be here and to talk to everyone about this, because it’s something that’s been sort of brewing inside of me, if you will, for a while. And I think I got really triggered when I was reading a book by Thomas Friedman. It was called Thank You for Being Late. And it was very interesting book if you haven’t read it. And one of the things he talks about is how fast technology is actually advancing right now. So there’s this general feeling that technology is advancing at an exponential rate. So what does that mean, exponential? And he says take a look at a chessboard. Right? And you take a penny and you put it on the first square of the chessboard and then you double it for each square that you just move over to the right. And so the first one is one and then the next one is two pennies. And then you got four pennies and then you got eight pennies. That’s actually pretty easy to follow. Right? And then 16 and 32 and 64. And you can follow it pretty much on the second row, the third row.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:01:49] But where it starts to get ridiculous is in the second half of the chessboard. And he says you cannot even comprehend, your mind, cannot comprehend how big these numbers get on the second half of the chessboard. And what he’s saying and I, it really resonated with me, is that we’re moving into the second half of the chessboard with technology. Like last year, we were talking about artificial intelligence and we were sort of laughing at it. And this year we’re looking at going, hey, wait. Maybe there are some things that artificial intelligence can help me with. It’s starting to move really, really, really fast. So the reason I wrote the book and what was inside of me was that for our clients, especially law firms, I’m worried that they’re not tuned into this really rapid pace and that if they don’t pay attention and put in place some strategies to get ahead of it and really use this technology to thrive, then they really risk, they really risk losing business. They risk losing clients. They I mean, it could be bad.

 

Allison Williams: [00:02:59] Yeah. Well when you say it could be bad, I think that’s quite an understatement because even though now, rules of professional conduct actually require lawyers to be abreast of technological advances that are necessary to preserve information for clients. We are the laggards of most things in the legal profession. So when you talk about this particular issue of technological change in law firms, how do you feel that law firms are particularly challenged when it comes to their ability to handle technological change?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:03:31] Well, I hate to call them particularly challenged.

 

Allison Williams: [00:03:38] My words, not yours. I’ll own them as one of the legal community I get to say that we are what we are. But go ahead.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:03:46] Yeah, you know, it’s more of the law firm community, you know, the law profession has its roots so far back in the past, thousands of years, really.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:03:56] And this whole technological wave and its advancement is, what, 20 years old? You know, it’s and it’s been moving so quickly that some of the things that lawyers have been doing and has worked very nicely in the past, like even things like word of mouth referral to new clients is starting to fall apart. And it’s starting to fall apart quickly.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:04:22] And so lawyers who’ve been doing this for a while, I want to make sure that they’re really tuned in and saying, hey, did you realize, that I don’t remember the percentage off my head, but it’s 60, 70 percent of people are actually going to your website and they’re looking online and they’re looking at reviews even before they come to you. And so it’s really an awareness thing. Right? And and I think that as we become as an industry more aware of what we’re doing and how technology plays a role, we’ll be able to adapt faster. And there are firms out there that are adapting and have embraced technology. But I don’t know that it’s first order of business. A lot of times lawyers and technology people don’t even see eye to eye.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:05:12] You know, they’re in like different universes. Right? One is using words and and the other is tinkering, you know, but playing and engineering and stuff. And so sometimes they don’t really even see eye to eye. And sometimes they don’t even trust each other because of the different way their minds work and their different professions.

 

Allison Williams: [00:05:35] So, working in an industry where you actually service lawyers who, you know, quite a bit of your client base is law firms. You know, how do you translate what it is that you perceive as a need to advance in technology or a particular risk in technology to a lawyer who may be aware of the need to do something, but may be hesitant to, you know, to step into this new age that we’re in now.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:05:59] I think that the common ground between the tech people and the law firm is actually in the business side of things. Right? So I feel it’s incumbent upon I.T. people to speak to lawyers, actually, all of their clients, but we’re talking lawyers today in the terms of business. What are the risks to your to your practice if you don’t do something? What are the benefits to your practice if you do do something? How can you use technology to attract more clients, to retain your clients, to provide them with better service?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:06:33] And so actually, that’s like the whole middle part of my book starts pulling apart. What if we start looking at this from the perspective of what it takes to deliver exceptional customer service? Right? Because, that’s what we want to do, right? I mean, ultimately, both you and me, we’re both in the service industry and we need to deliver. We’re both providing professional services. And I think that’s the common, that’s the common ground, if I had to guess.

 

Allison Williams: [00:07:03] So that’s how you reach us.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:07:04] Yeah.

 

Allison Williams: [00:07:05] Yeah. So what are some, give us kind of some some key areas where law firms could really consider thinking about their technology differently in a way that’s going to be better for them as a business.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:07:19] So. There’s probably a thousand areas I think I’ve probably narrowed it down to 14 in the book, but let me say, I’ve covered a few of them.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:07:32] So one area that you want to use technology for is risk mitigation. Right? This is something that we’re all going through. You have clients, you have client data, you have your own data, but you’ve got client data. And I know you’re required to keep it secure, but that means different things to different people. And we all need to sort of get on the same page so that we are comfortable. And we know that are client data is in a secure place and that we have really taken reasonable and even better than reasonable efforts to keep it secure because it’s not a place anyone wants to be is when their client data is violated. And that really goes down to what security you have in place for your technology and where you’re keeping those, you know, where you’re keeping your client files and how you’re organizing them and how you’re preventing others from getting them and what sort of policies you have in your firm. And, you know, it really goes to risk mitigation. There’s a whole other side of technology which goes to competitive advantage. Right?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:08:39] Like, what can we do in technology to really bump up our ability to serve our clients and therefore also get more clients and be more successful and be more innovative in the industry. So I don’t know, like you can pick that apart.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:09:01] Look at something like innovation. Right? Which I actually consider part of exceptional customer service. So, yeah, you have to keep track of these trends like A.I. and Bitcoin. And I don’t know, all the stuff that we hear about in the news. But you can take some of that and you can say, hey, maybe there’s maybe there’s some software out there or some “A.I.” I put it in quotes. I’m doing bunny ears here. Maybe there’s some A.I. that can make my process faster so I can serve my clients faster or, there’s a lot of legal stuff surrounding A.I. too. Maybe I want to become the A.I. expert and I want to grow my practice in that area. Right? So those are a couple areas that you could look at the flip side. Right? And see how I could really improve and capitalize on this technology change.

 

Allison Williams: [00:09:55] Yeah. Well, adding a different practice area to address the legal ramifications of some of this new age stuff, I think is brilliant. I will tell you, though, you mentioned something earlier. So, of course, I’m going to have to circle back to it about artificial intelligence. And I really never thought about what it was, really never knew what it was until one day I was on a coaching call at a group, in a group event. And at some point in time, I knew that I needed to create transcripts. And so the company that I’ve always used for fast transcripts is called Rev.com. And they turned it around in about an hour. But then I certainly wasn’t married to Rev and said, OK, well, who’s using a resource for this? And someone threw out Sonix dot AI and Sonix, which is S-O-N-I-X dot AI will turn around a transcript for you in ten minutes. And literally, it’s one hour of transcribed data for six dollars.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:10:56] Yeah. Which is incredible. Right?

 

Allison Williams: [00:10:57] Remarkably fast, remarkably cheap and 90 to 95 percent accurate. I mean, you do have to read the transcript because sometimes if you don’t enunciate clearly enough, it catches what used to be a foible. Now it’s a bobble. I don’t know what we call it. We call it something. Right? But there’s something off about it. You’ve got to fix it. But so you spend five, ten minutes fixing your transcript, maybe even up as many as fifteen or twenty minutes. But you save yourself a 90 percent markup or you save yourself that traction at $60 for an hour through Rev and $6 through Sonix. And you know, that type of innovation is going to allow the solo and small law firm owner to really take advantage of some of the things that were only available to larger and mid-size firms even just five years ago.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:11:47] Yeah, without a doubt. I mean, just to key off of that. I was using the service called Speak Right. I don’t know if you know them. But they have, you know, people who take the dictation basically anywhere all over the world. And it’s all via the Internet, but it’s expensive and it takes them between an hour and twelve hours to pull back your transcript. Right? So it’s amazing to use something like Sonix.ai and just have it show up in your inbox 5 or 10 minutes later, almost completely done.

 

Allison Williams: [00:12:18] Yeah. And, you know, it’s interesting because when you use outside vendors, you know, one of the things that lawyers have to concern ourselves with is are they in a apriori relationship with you that you’re not going to get into a problem sharing client information? So if you had a client meeting and you wanted to have it transcribed so that you could use portions of it or send it to your client or even something more adversarial, like a deposition or something like that, you know, would you have to have a certified translator or transcriber or could you use something that is a less expensive, faster option? And what are the concerns about that for protecting client information? Right?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:12:57] Right. Which means all these new technologies you actually have to look at. You have to go into the legal side of it. Right? And that’s very important and you know that a lot better than I do. You know, I can bring you and technology to the table, but you would have to examine it specifically from your perspective.

 

Allison Williams: [00:13:17] Yeah. So, I mean, you obviously help orchestrate all of these solutions for law firms. What do you think is the greatest difficulty that law firms have in terms of preserving their data, especially now in the world of cybersecurity and all of the breaches that we’ve seen in the legal industry?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:13:31] I think probably the biggest issue is that there’s a little bit still. What’s the word? Trepidation in putting your information in the cloud. And I believe there’s still a feeling that, hey, it’s more secure if I’ve got it on my computers in my office, you know. Still, it’s not, I don’t want to say it’s everywhere, but you still feel that way a lot. And so. And the truth is, is that these cloud companies, especially ones that are a bit more oriented towards the legal market, really have their game on in terms of security.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:14:13] And they really put a lot more resources into their security and where they house your data and your clients’ data than you could possibly do in your office. It’s just. And the reason they can do that is because they’re working, obviously with many, many, many different people. And so they can spread the costs.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:14:32] Yeah. Right. So but I’m not saying that people should just throw their data in the cloud. That’s not actually what I’m saying. I do it very carefully. Right? And make sure you vet the vendor, because if you’re going to just put stuff in like Office 365, that might not be much better. You might actually want to put it in a full document management system like net documents or I Manage has just put out a cloud system. So, you know, you’ve got to be very careful. You’re better off going with a legal specific type of scenario. But, you know, that’s probably one of one of the obstacles I’m seeing. And the other obstacle I’m saying is, it’s just a fear of change.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:15:16] It’s just a fear of change. You know, it’s a cultural thing. It’s like we’ve been doing this this way for a long time and it’s been working. And we’re still able to get clients and we’re still able to keep our existing clients. We’ve got great relationships with them.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:15:28] So, you know, and it’s it’s completely valid. I’m not trying to throw that out. Right? Because it is true. It has been working. But I’m trying to just like do a little bit of a call to action here that there’s a tidal wave coming and we want to be riding it, not drowning in it.

 

Allison Williams: [00:15:47] That’s a wonderful way of putting that. And I think one of the things that probably I’ve seen in the area of legal tech that has really kind of become almost customary now, I think you find it with every practice management software is the client portal. And so now that people are able to upload documents for their clients to have perpetual access or at least perpetual during the term of the attorney client relationship. (Right?) Access to their file. A lot of the ways that we used to transmit information that used to be a little less secure like unencrypted email or even mailing documents through the postal service are now out of vogue. Are you seeing a lot of trend?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:16:22] Thank God, Thank God. As a client. Thank God.

 

Allison Williams: [00:16:26] Thank God it’s not a yes.

 

Allison Williams: [00:16:27] Thank God we’re adding these things that make it easier for clients and safer for clients. But are you seeing technological problems for clients or your clients, really, the law firms, in terms of getting themselves onboarded onto this new way of doing things where you have to create systems around it so that it runs smoothly for the clients experience?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:16:49] I’m seeing some people resist it. Right? But I don’t see any technical problems once people actually commit to it. You know, these are, look at every single scenario comes with its own glitches. I mean, anytime you move into a new technology platform, you have to be very, very careful and you have to make sure that you’re doing it according to best practice.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:17:19] And I know that a lot of these practice management systems that do have these portals and the document management systems that have the portals and all that kind of thing, they have really thought this through. And a lot of them have thought through very well for the solo and small firm practices to really kind of onboard you and guide you into it easily and smoothly. But then you just have to be careful about what you’re doing and you have to stick to it. That’s usually the hardest part. Right? Because once you’ve decided, hey, I’m going to put all my client documents in this portal for them and then they access it that way. Well, then you’ve got to stay on top of it. And then you can’t just go around it and email something to the client, because then you’ve got your documents in two or three different places and you start losing track of where it is. And then the value of that portal diminishes and the things become less safe again.

 

Allison Williams: [00:18:14] Yeah. Well, I think that’s an excellent point. When you talk about the idea of you educate your client the way to do things and then you can un-educate them or mis-educate them if you start deviating from your own policies, which kind of brings up a bigger issue, which is what do you do when you’re an institution, right? When it’s not just you and your secretary, but you start to add more bodies to your law firm and you have a culture now and you want to move from being a traditional law firm that has everything on the computers or in the office in a physical file to being a paperless office.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:18:46] So there’s a big myth on the whole paperless office thing. Let me just put it out there. This whole paperless office idea has been running around the I.T. world and the legal world for years and years, ever since we started out. Since we had IBM PCs like XTs in 1981.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:19:06] So and what we found is that what we see is that when you have printers, we just print a lot more paper and there’s just no such thing actually as the paperless office. But. Your question is totally on point. How do you take not just one or two people, how do you take five people, 10 people, 20 people or more, and move them into a new technology platform? Well, when I was first starting my company, what was it, twenty eight years ago, I guess, you know, I could just say, hey, we’re doing this. And then the two people around me would say, OK, let’s go do it. Right? Now, every change that we implement, we have like around forty five people in my company. And every change that we implement has to have a project around it. Right? There’s the technical implementation, which is all fine and good. But then there’s this idea of adoption. And adoption means exactly what you’re saying. How do we bring this into the culture so that everyone is using it? And there’s some tips. Right? Here’s some practical tips for you. Number one: Training. Training. Training. Training. Training.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:20:20] Wait! That could have been like 30 of the tips.

 

Allison Williams: [00:20:23] I was going to say, is that like one or is that forty-one?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:20:26] You want to train people ahead of time. You want to train them during the transition. You want to train them after the transition. You can do training in so many different ways. You can do online training. You can do video training. You can have actual physical people in your office running around and taking care of your V.I.P.s. You know, there’s getting people to really understand the benefits and the values of this. There is a wonderful idea of having a pilot group in your office. So you take a few people, five people, maybe three people from different areas of your firm, and you bring them in to be like pilot testers.

 

Allison Williams: [00:21:07] Or test dummies as we call them.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:21:09] Test dummies. Yeah. You really want to find people that actually have some influence in your organization. Right? People like loud people. I mean, I know you know what I mean, that can really give whatever this new software is like a good workout and can also give you good feedback, but then can become champions of it as you’re trying to adopt it in your organization, trying to get it adopted. And the last thing I’ll say on this, I can give you a great example if you want, is you have to get the leadership of your firm to buy in first. First and foremost, because if your senior partners aren’t 100 percent in this to do it and they find exceptions and they, which you know, is very common. Right? Oh, we’re going to use this new cloud platform.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:22:01] No,no, I’ll just keep working on my, keep working on word perfect five one, which was, by the way, I acknowledge one of the best programs ever put out. But still, you know, if the partners are making exceptions for themselves, then everyone in the firm is going to feel the need to make exceptions for themselves. We started using this program like a couple of years ago called Slack. (Oh, I know Slack.) Oh, yeah. OK. So I love Slack. And what was happening was everyone in my firm was getting so many emails that, I mean, we were literally batting around 300 emails a day on a regular basis. I could not get my inbox under control. And you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. Right? You’re just going and going and churning and deleting and moving and foldering. And I don’t know what to try to get through your emails. So we said, we’ve got to stop this. We’re going to move to Slack. We said to ourselves, we’re gonna do this in a way that there’s no turning back. We’re going to burn all the bridges. We’re gonna do it right like we would do it for a client. And we did. We set up a pilot group of a good 10 people.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:23:13] We had like two big pilot video conference calls to try to collect feedback from people. We have a pretty fun company. And one of the great feedbacks that someone gave us was, you know, hey, we really like to use, you know, little emojis and fun little gifts. How come we can’t do that in Slack? And so while we were on the phone, one of our engineers turned it on. And now all of a sudden, we can all do it, you know.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:23:37] But it’s that kind of feedback, right, that you want to have and you want to put in. Like for our company, the kitchen is very important. We cook there. We have meetings there. We give breakfast there, you know, everything. And so instead of having just a general chit chat channel, we created a kitchen channel so that people who weren’t in the office could feel like they were in the kitchen. So all those sorts of things came out of the pilot group. But then when it was go live, when it was that day that we went live, all of our senior leaders, we stopped sending emails internally. We moved ourselves fully into Slack. We turned off the other instant messaging stuff that we were using in the past. We had seven video training sessions that we spaced out over a week that we did for everybody. And now we are like some of the biggest Slack users, I think, in the universe. I think Slack technical support freaked out when they found that we send over forty thousand messages to each other a week.

 

Allison Williams: [00:24:39] So when you say this, I mean, it sounds like such a great success story, but I could easily imagine that one person saying, oh, I don’t know how to find what channel I need to go into and I don’t have time to call the technical support. I don’t want to go phone a friend. I’m just going to shoot an e-mail out. (Yep.) So what do you do with that first little risk of noncompliance? Because, you know, if you don’t nip it in the bud right away, it becomes prolific and then it’s all over the place.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:25:06] Yeah. And we would send him back an e-mail. I don’t want to say who. We would send him back an email with the link to the channel.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:15] Ah ha ha ha. We refuse to answer your e-mail. We divert you over to Slack. It’s like a detour.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:25:23] Right. And then as the second level, we started calling people who didn’t go into it. We started calling them Slacktards.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:33] Ok. Not politically correct. Right?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:25:35] Not at all.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:36] Then they’d be Slack cognitively impaired.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:25:39] That’s what I meant.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:39] But some type of word like that.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:25:43] It was only internal. I probably shouldn’t even share it. But there you go.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:47] Well, it’s out there now. Right? So everyone listening to the Crushing Chaos With Law Firm Mentor Podcast now knows about Slacktards.

 

Allison Williams: [00:25:55] But in all seriousness, though, I love the idea that you have a process put in place for getting people from where you were to where you are. And you really seem to be very committed to the process. Like, you know, this is what we’ve decided to do. We’re not deviating from it. You know, here at Law Firm Mentor, we very much preach that the notion that systems need to be involved in everything that you do in your business so that things run seamlessly. And I know that technology is one of those areas where you can have a lot of hiccups. So when you’re working with a law firm client, how do you, how do you go about advising them about what technology would work best for them if they are a firm that’s, you know, a little bit older, a little bit slower to adopt new technology and just aren’t quite there yet? And they’re scared about making that leap into all of a sudden adding practice management software and new technologies and systems that they’re not familiar with.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:26:47] So often I find with lawyers especially that if you can put together like a system, to move through this this sort of jungle, it’s gonna help a little bit. And so for our clients, we have done analysis like strategic analysis that say, hey, look, here’s where you are now and let’s benchmark it.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:27:12] Let’s look at where your areas of weakness are and where there are areas to improve. And then let’s sort of lay out a one year a two year or even a three year plan, because you can’t do too much more with technology because it moves so quickly. And then you just very slowly and surely, you get the budgeting in place and you move through a project and you try to prioritize them in ways that give you some easy wins first.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:27:39] So, for example, if you’re going and visiting clients a lot and you think that maybe you could include some video conferencing to sort of calm down the travel, the great amount of traveling you’re doing and make you, you know, give you some more billable time and just all the advantages of video conferencing. Well, maybe you kind of put in place a video conferencing platform as one of your easy wins upfront. And if you can do that in an organized way that works and people start going, hey, they made a technology change and it didn’t bring the system tumbling down all over our heads. Well, then maybe you’ll get some momentum and then you can make the next change. One of the things I’ve done in my book is I’ve sort of developed a way to benchmark this and it’s called the Technology Operational Maturity Level Assessment. And the book has actually a self-assessment in it. And then it actually takes that and helps you see where you’re at. Well, I want to get too crazy in it, but it’s like 14 different elements of technology and you can actually rate yourself one, two and three on each one of these 14 vectors. And then you can sort of see, OK, this is where we are. And you can sort of put together your own plan of this is where we want to go and start tracing a path over there.

 

Allison Williams: [00:29:11] Yeah. Well, it’s interesting you said that you don’t want to get too deep into it because frankly, that’s where I’m in my happy place.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:29:18] I’m happy to do it.

 

Allison Williams: [00:29:19] So The Modern Law Firm, your book is going to have, like you said earlier, those 14 key areas for technology. And we don’t want to necessarily go through all of them. And you named a couple of them earlier like risk mitigation and competitive advantage. But when somebody is trying to assess their own law firm or the areas where they could be weak and could need to advance, what I could envision from not only my own client base and myself, but also other lawyers I know is that there’s not always necessarily a true understanding of how far someone is off in terms of their their level of competency at something. Is this kind of a checkbox? You know, ABC, one, two, three kind of thing, or does it require you to have a little bit of more sophisticated knowledge to be able to assess how far off the mark you are and what you need to do to advance?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:30:12] This is pretty easy, checkbox. I’m not I didn’t write this book for anyone expecting them to have any level of technical understanding, for what that’s worth. (Great to know.) Yeah, it’s more on a business level. And what I did with this, this model was for each one of these 14 traits, I gave an example of what it would look like for a firm who is high functioning. Right? And I gave like, you know, let me see if I can give you a nice example. Let’s look at. Let’s look at your routine I.T. processes, right? So processes is a core concept and the idea is how smooth are your routine I.T. processes?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:31:01] And so then I have given like know six or seven bullet points. I won’t read all of them to you, but six or seven bullet points that this is what a top level firm looks like when they’re doing it. So one of them would be we have well-documented I.T. processes to keep our systems secure and running well. That’s one of them. Our processes include daily, weekly and monthly checklists that are followed by our I.T. team. Right? So very simple stuff.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:31:26] It’s either a yes or a no. Right? Not too complicated. Like we have clear on-boarding and off-boarding procedures when we hire and fire. I mean, hire and separate employees. So your firm either exhibits all of these, in which case you get a three, you exhibit some of these, you get a two or you exhibit none of them and you get to one. Right? This is a easy way to just run through this list of 14 and get yourself a score and also see where you’re falling down because it’s giving you all the examples right there.

 

Allison Williams: [00:31:58] Yeah, well, it sounds like it’s very user friendly and easy for anyone to be able to understand. And of course, we know that that’s one of the things that people really need in order to take action on something that’s foreign and uncomfortable, things we may not have any familiarity with, such as technology.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:32:14] Yeah.

 

Allison Williams: [00:32:16] Yeah. (Exactly.) So, as we’re winding up the day, I just want to ask you one last question, which is really about people that are struggling, law firms that are struggling with technology. So if you could tell all the law firms that are struggling with technology out there, two things to do today, what would it be? What do they need to do right away other than, of course, go out and get The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change by Heinan Landa. Other than that, what are the two things I’ve got to do?

 

Heinan Landa: [00:32:47] Go immediately to my website. Modern Law Firm Book dot com. No, the um. There’s one thing that I would recommend that you you start with. And I hate to say it because it’s sort of a mea culpa on the industry. Make sure you’re working with the right technology partner. I know. You know, I’ve been around a lot. I’ve seen all sorts of different I.T. companies. Some of them are professional and provide phenomenal service. And a lot of them, maybe they’re, I don’t call them unprofessional because I know a lot of them are trying very hard, but maybe they’re just not quite mature in what they’re doing. And the legal industry is a highly professional industry and technology means a lot to you, it really you… it’s very, very important for you.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:33:47] It’s one of the reasons I love working with lawyers because we both share our passion for making technology work. And so I think if I had to pick one thing, it would be make sure you’re working with a company who understands how important the technology is to you and understands what you need to do with it, both on the uptime and reliability and security, all the standard stuff to keep it all running and safe, but then also understands that you can actually use it as a competitive advantage and move it forward.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:34:22] So I don’t know if that fully answers your question, but that would be the first thing. I’ve come across a good set of folks who are very nervous about their existing I.T. team, and that’s whether it’s internal or external. And they sort of feel like they’re being held hostage. (Mm hmm.) And I. And it makes me very sad because it’s not a good place to be from a business point of view. And it’s usually not even the case because they just don’t… Neither party understands what the other party is trying to say. (Mm hmm.) Go find another partner. There are people there that can take you out of these situations and make it work for you.

 

Allison Williams: [00:35:03] Well, I think that is exceptional advice, because having been in the situation of needing to grow into a more sophisticated I.T. partner, I do know that that is something that we have a lot of fear about. Right? This person holds the keys to the kingdom. And if you are like most solo or small law firms, you probably don’t have perfectly documented I.T. systems. If you were working with John, the I.T. guy from down the street as opposed to a company. So a lot of this is very enlightening Heinan. And I just want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. I think you’ve shared a lot of great nuggets with our audience. Everyone, I want to again recommend that you pick up a copy of The Modern Law Firm: How to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Technological Change by Heinan Landa. Everyone, including Heinan, thank you again. And have a very nice day.

 

Heinan Landa: [00:35:54] Thank you.

 

Allison Williams: [00:35:55] Bye bye.

About Heinan Landa

Heinan Landa is the Founder and CEO of Optimal Networks, Inc., a globally ranked IT services firm. After earning his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University, Heinan went on to receive his MBA from The Wharton School of Business. Featured in Legal Management, Legal Times, Chief Executive, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, CIO, and with regular appearances on WJLA-TV, WTTG-TV, and WUSA9, Heinan is a trusted leader in the legal, technology, and business spaces. 

To contact Heinan

Email:  hlanda@optimalnetworks.com

Website: www.optimalnetworks.com

Website for Book: http://www.modernlawfirmbook.com/

Phone: 240-499-7900

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