Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Firm owners should prioritise ‘deploying technology’

Despite legal technology being commonplace within Australian law firms, this CEO has seen a “lag” in firms and emphasised that prioritising tech will help them save time and money.

user iconLauren Croft 28 March 2024 SME Law
expand image

Paul Psaltis is the global chief executive of Settify. Speaking on a recent episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, produced in partnership with Settify, he discussed the spike in separations in recent months and how family lawyers can evolve in the current market.

Settify data indicates that globally, there has been a 40 per cent spike in inquiries lodged with legal practices in the first quarter of the year.

In light of this spike and the current market, Psaltis said that there are a number of questions practitioners in this space can and should be asking themselves.


“The first question is, how can I get the best outcome for my prospective client, but also give them the best experience? I think now you’re looking at the average ages of those divorcing. For a man, it’s 42, for a woman it’s 39. So, you’re looking at people around that 40 age, who have grown up in an age where they’re probably considered digital natives or maybe Millennials, and they’ve grown up in and around technology. And when you throw COVID in the mix, there’s now not only it’s commonplace for people to use technology prior to meeting someone face to face, but almost an expectation that the technology should be there,” he said.

“And so, one of the first hurdles that lawyers need to overcome is in providing an initial great first impression, and great new client experience is giving their clients access to those technologies. And, for example, people in this day and age are very adept at using their handheld devices and a lot of people will inquire as to what their matter looks like online on a handheld device, normally outside of business hours, and they want some form of engagement. When they lodge that inquiry, they’re less inclined to skip lunch and walk into an office like they used to.”

And, particularly as the “older, more traditional practitioners” start to retire, more and more lawyers are adapting to using tech every day – although Psaltis admitted there is still somewhat of a lag.

“Technology within the practice is quite commonplace now, so almost every practice will have a practice management system. They need electronic trust accounting, it’s mandatory, and other things which make their life easier. But there’s a little bit of a lag with practitioners having something on their website which better engages their customers initially or their prospective clients initially. A lot of them still have a very basic website, maybe with a web form which gives them a phone number, an email address and something like that,” he explained.

“And often we’ll ask legal practitioners, how do you then engage with those prospective customers? And the common response is, ‘We’ll send them a word document or something in which they can manually fill’. And I think in this day and age, that makes people feel like they’re going to a doctor surgery or a dentist, where the very first time they hand you a clipboard and you fill out all of that mind-numbing information, whereas using something like Settify, it actually engages those prospective customers 24/7 on their website.

“So, by the time they meet with you as the practitioner, they’ve almost felt like they’ve had a conversation with you or a member of your practice. So then that first meeting is more about their matter and the likelihood of success and setting that expectation, rather than going through that objective information.”

However, many smaller firms within the family law space may be struggling to find time to properly evolve their practices and tech capabilities.

“A lot of these small business owners are incredibly busy. They probably just lack the capacity to think about these things because they’re flat out dealing with the work that’s coming in the door. And often we’ll hear that feedback as well, where we’ll talk to them about deploying technologies to help them in this space and they’ll say, ‘Oh, look, I’m just flat out dealing with my caseload.’ Another element of it is a lot of practitioners are brilliant at plying their trade and are brilliant at legal practice, but not always the best at managing their business,” Psaltis said.

“It’s difficult and challenging to manage staff, particularly in the small and medium space. And so often things like deploying technology, which isn’t mandatory, sometimes just becomes a little lower on the priority list, which is a shame because it should be higher up because technology like this actually makes their life a lot easier, saves them hours of time, and that’s why it should be bumped up a little higher.”

By prioritising technology and evolving practice methods, firm owners can make their lives easier long-term, emphasised Psaltis.

“The biggest challenge when engaging with practitioners is not only that they’re time-poor, but selling the vision of something which isn’t tangible. Explaining and convincing people that that technology will save them time, save them billable hours, save them overhead, save them having to employ additional administrative staff, which is a bonus, can sometimes be a little more challenging. And the best way to carve out time is to just see it for yourself,” he added.

“And legal technology is quite commonplace now, particularly in Australia, which is really at the forefront of legal technology globally. And so, businesses that provide these services are very adept. Most of us that work in these businesses are from in and around the industry, so we understand deploying, rolling out and giving training. We make it as seamless as possible. So, it’s not like it’s a huge disruption to your business. And so, we encourage that mindset of, it’s not really change, but it’s more just growth and adding value to your business.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Paul Psaltis, click below:

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!