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| 2 minutes read

Driving Digital Transformation at a Law Firm - Advice from the front line

"Align Digital Transformation Strategy with your firm’s overall growth strategy"

This was how Phillip McGowan, Global Marketing Director at Reed Smith kicked off Passle's Q2 Insiders Club event yesterday.  Hosted by my colleague Eugene McCormick, Phill raced through 20 minutes of clear advice on how to successfully drive digital transformation at a law firm.  Below is my summary of his advice....

1. Align your project with the wider goals of the firm

Does your project align with the wider strategy of your firm?  Know how the change you are driving plugs into the wider team strategy.  Your team and the lawyers want to do significant things.  They want to do exciting things.  At Reed Smith for Phill this is about meeting clients where they want to be.  That is where digital transformation obviously fits.

2. Ensure you have the right team (however small the team)

If you are like most marketing/comms team at a law firm you probably do not have the ability to employ new people. Therefore, your team must adapt, process, onboard and execute.  Advice from Phill - employ folk who can adapt and have can-do attitude.

Most importantly Phill said “You need to have Business Development in your corner to drive Digital Transformation."  Business Development has that personal relationship with the lawyers.   They understand their goals, their market, and the lawyers they look after personalities.  Comms and Marketing have to 'sell' through the Business Development team to drive change with lawyers.

The good news came in the second session we had yesterday with Alex Williams, Business Development Manager at Baker McKenzie where he stated that if done right - with the right technology and process - digital transformation makes life easier for the Business Development team.  It is in their interest.

3. Ensure you have the right leadership

As always with any change the leadership is key.  Both on the fee earner and fee enabler side.  Phill was very clear that you need to balance listening to your team and driving the change you want.

You cannot outsource direction to your team – you cannot outsource leadership. 

4. Build a realistic timescale - and execute

Leadership is of course all about timelines too.  When it comes to change Phill stated you need to indicate and layout markers for success.  Set mile markers but understand that change takes time and you must be realistic.

Your people need to understand when and how.  Do this collaboratively around the things that matter.  Bring your team together - not by email but by building meaningful engagements with them.

When it comes to the lawyers do not approach with a scattergun plan.  Who are the early adopters?  Who are the evangelists?  Where is the leadership within the team of lawyers who understand your plan and want to help drive it?  Take them first.  Build from a solid foundation.  Always keep on assessing success and do it early on – do not wait until you are halfway through to realize you are on the wrong track.

5. Invest in the right technology

Finally, Phill was clear that more and more is Digital First.  Each law firm is its own publisher. 

Again - meet your clients where they want to be.   The question to ask is “How do we meet clients at a time and place of their choosing and in a format that they want?” 

There need to be layers of the information available – some clients want some quick info on a lawyer but others want to do a deep dive.  Ensure you have what is needed when it comes to content - timely, client-relevant in different formats.

Check out how Phill and the team are using Passle to drive their digital transformation here -

"Align Digital Transformation Strategy with your firm’s overall growth strategy"


e2e, professional services, marketing, best practice, legal, leadership