Go to any legal industry publication and there is always a plethora of articles on any given day about new technology for our industry. There are stories about artificial intelligence taking over, and there are plenty of blog posts which explain how the legal industry should be using data.

In March 2019, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory Division conducted a survey and published their findings in a report entitled “The 2019 Future Ready Lawyer.” The report comes to this conclusion:

“Leveraging technology as a strategic advantage is characteristic of high-performing businesses and professionals around the world. The same is true for the legal sector. Technology is a differentiator, and will become even more important as legal professionals recognize and leverage the unprecedented insights, capabilities, and efficiencies that technology delivers.”

Legal marketers and law firm leaders cannot afford to discount technology and data. In fact, the amount of data created on a daily basis is staggering. According to the sixth annual research report by Domo, a provider of a cloud-based operating system for business which helps companies interpret data, they found:

“Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and it’s only going to grow from there. By 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.”

While that sounds overwhelming, and it is, it may not resonate with you because, if you are like me, you might not understand how much data that truly is. Putting it into a different context may help you understand this better. Domo has developed an infographic that shows just how much data is being developed and used for every minute of every day, for example:

  • Google processed over 3.8 million searches
  • Uber users took 1,389 rides
  • Amazon shipped 1,111 packages
  • YouTube users watched 4,333,560 videos

And this was per minute!

It is no wonder that data has not only become big business, but that as legal marketers and law firm leaders, we are constantly referring to it. This is not unusual. Prior to data being so readily available, marketing and business development departments of law firms were only seen, by the attorneys of the firm, as a drain on financial resources. When money became tight in law firms, the first place to cut expenses was in the marketing department. Now, we have the ability to use data and analytics to prove that using marketing and business development tactics and platforms makes good sense.

Data is taking over our lives. And preceding that is all of the applications and technology that exists that helps us measure that information.

But technology and data are not going to be the only growth drivers of a firm in the future. In 2016, I wrote a blog post entitled “When AI Takes Over Law Firms EI Will Be Paramount” in which I said that “what’s going to become most important in the face of the technological changes that are occurring in law firms is a lawyer’s ‘soft-skills.’”

Emotional Intelligence or “soft-skills” include (but are not limited to):

  • Being able to communicate effectively;
  • Having empathy and sympathy;
  • Resiliency;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Flexibility and adaptability;
  • Creativity;
  • Teamwork; and
  • Leadership skills.

Lawyers are still in the people business. Regardless of whether they are working on a business issue or a personal issue, lawyers are still working directly with other human beings. And there are certain considerations that human beings need from a psychological standpoint. One of the main elements may be just the need to be understood; emotional intelligence abilities and skills will help lawyers understand others as well as be able to be understood by others.

Yes, clients want attorneys who can advise them with their issues on a cost-effective basis, but they still want to like their attorneys. Clients want to know that they are not just a bill. However, we are so focused on the numbers and analytics, the technology and the devices, that we are forgetting the skills necessary to create relationships — with clients, referral sources and other attorneys. Many of the associates who are entering law firms today are missing these critical skills and they know it. They have spent most, if not all, of their lives on computers and smartphones and do not know how to interact with each other one-on-one or in a group. In 2018, in one of the largest studies of its kind, Deloitte surveyed 10,455 Millennials and 1,844 Gen Z respondents from across the world. In this report, the participants self-identified that “employers are falling short in developing (their) soft skills,” particularly interpersonal skills, confidence and motivation, effective time management skills, and emotional intelligence, just to name a few.

The most important thing to realize is that each of these skills can be learned. And if they can be learned, they can be taught. This is where law firm leaders and legal marketers and business development professionals can assist. It becomes incumbent upon us to help our attorneys not only know specifically where they can find new clients using data and how to help them efficiently using technology, but also to teach them the skills they need to create the relationships.

Legal marketing and law firm leaders can learn to teach these skills or bring others in who can. You can recommend books, seminars and webinars that will help your attorneys hone their soft-skills and how to use them effectively in business development.

Seth Godin, one of my marketing gurus, sums this up on one of his recent blog posts:

  • The throughline of the last twenty years of tech has been new ways to speak up and connect.
  • We’ve built platforms for email, video, writing, short fiction, daily updates, chat, discussion, classes.
  • But what if you don’t have anything to say?
  • It’s difficult to find a tech solution for this problem.
  • … If you’re unable to influence one person in a face-to-face meeting (emphasis added), all the tech in the world isn’t going to help you change a million people.

“On finding something to say,” Seth’s Blog.

*****

Jaimie B. Field, Esq. is a rewired attorney who has found passion in teaching attorneys how to become Rainmakers and build big books of business ethically. Using edutainment to motivate attorneys to learn Rainmaking and Soft Skills, Jaimie educates and entertains attorneys by presenting in-house CLEs (with Ethics credits), public seminars; She coaches attorneys in groups and one-on-one, and provides training to attorneys in workshops and classes which combines self-directed learning with live coaching. She can be reached at info@marketingfield.com or 201-264-6040.

The views expressed in the article are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of their clients or other attorneys in their firm.



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