Episode Notes

Zack talks with legal tech expert Britt Lorish about the process of selecting and managing technology in large and small law firms. Listen in as they talk about typical pain points, common setups, and how process documentation is the first step you know you need to take but don’t want to. 

Additionally, Zack talks about the hidden side of marketing with Spotlight Branding’s Marc Cerniglia. They discuss how lead nurturing often gets overlooked in a typical marketing plan and how you can extrapolate your nurturing ROI from things like increased referrals. 

Links from the episode: 

Check out Spotlight’s Marketing Plan Template  

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  • 4:24. Check out Spotlight Branding
  • 12:07. Understanding the consulting process
  • 15:47. Challenges of implementing new software



Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts 


Zack Glaser (00:35): 

Hi, I’m Zack. 


Sara Muender (00:36): 

And I’m Sara. And this is episode 509 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Zack talks with affinities Britt Lorish about how Affinity helps clients choose their legal tech. 


Zack Glaser (00:50): 

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Spotlight Branding, and you’ll hear my conversation with them shortly. 


Sara Muender (00:56): 

So Zack, you have an awesome conversation with Britt Lorish in this episode. And I’m curious, because I don’t know Britt too well. She is one of the owners of Affinity, our sister parent company. What would you call us at this point? Sister parent? Yeah, 


Zack Glaser (01:17): 

That’s sister parent. Yeah. No, it’s our parent company. And I guess the company that we technically work for is Affinity. Yeah. Yeah. So Britt is one of the owners and has been helping attorneys with their technology for, I think she says about 35 years. So she knows a lot, and I wanted to interview Britt because of obviously that, but every time I meet with her, she’s a wealth of knowledge and quite frankly in what I do, I don’t find a lot of other people that nerd out on this stuff with me, and she has so much information in her head. I could do this interview so many times, I could interview Brit so much, but she’s busy, so I technically can’t. But yeah, I wanted to talk to her about what she sees in the larger and medium sized law firms and their legal technology and their journey to being efficient. 


Sara Muender (02:20): 

So who’s this episode fotr on a scale of know nothing about tech, don’t have automations in place, know we need to get some things in place all the way to just the Britt level? The Zach level of tech? 


Zack Glaser (02:38): 

That’s a good question because this one was for me, much like some of the other ones. No, but I think that it is a pretty good introduction or lay of the land for any attorney that has technology questions or technology issues or wants to know how to organize their technology. Because I think a lot of times we come into these things and we go, I know technology can help me. I know there’s a platform out there to help me do X, but we don’t know what X actually is. And so more specifically, we don’t know what our processes are. We don’t know how it is that we do things. I mean, we do, it’s in our heads, but we don’t have it written down. And so we’re saying, I want technology to help me be more efficient with my email. Cool. Can you expand on that? And so I think this is a helpful episode for people in all sort of areas in their legal technology journey, because to me, it shows how common and how ubiquitous the idea of just having to sit down and document what it is you do is, 


Sara Muender (03:51): 

Yeah, this will be a good opportunity for people to think through what they have, what they could have, and at the very least, start thinking about, I imagine start thinking about just how to make things incrementally better. That’s what we’re all about here at Lawyerist. 


Zack Glaser (04:08): 

Yeah. Constant iteration. 


Sara Muender (04:10): 

Well, my friends, let’s get into Zack’s conversation with Marc, our first guest, and then we’re going to head into your chat with Brit on tech. 


Zack Glaser (04:24): 

Hey y’all. Zack, the legal tech advisor here at Lawyerist, and today I’ve got Marc Cerniglia with me from Spotlight Branding, and we are talking about the hidden side of lead generation, or I guess the hidden side of lead magnets. 


Marc Cerniglia  (04:37): 

Well, really the hidden side of really marketing. 


Zack Glaser (04:40): 

Okay. Yeah. So we’re talking about the hidden side of marketing. What is that? 


Marc Cerniglia  (04:43): 

Well, yeah, exactly, because I think the thing is about gen, which that’s just a term that you, and I know just to make sure everyone follows. It’s short for lead generation or generating leads. Usually when you do marketing, that’s what you’re thinking, I want to generate leads 


Zack Glaser (05:00): 

More in the better. 


Marc Cerniglia  (05:01): 

Absolutely. And why wouldn’t you want that? But I think there’s an entire portion of marketing. It isn’t about generating leads that gets neglected or ignored. And so I look at that as this hidden piece of marketing. Not every marketing you do is about generating leads. And sometimes these other things, which we’ll cover here in four minutes are things that maybe cost less, sometimes have a better return. But the short of it is, and Zack, I know you’re going to know what I’m talking about here, but to give it a label, it’s things like lead nurturing versus lead gen. What are the things you’re doing to nurture the leads you already have and stay in touch with them? And then branding is another side, like branding and reputation is not lead gen, right? 


Zack Glaser (05:51): 

But those things are hard. Those things are hard to measure, hard to figure out how to put an OI on it. They are, I think people know, yeah, probably mining my own people is good, but how do I put a number on that? 


Marc Cerniglia  (06:06): 

So in order to answer that, I think sometimes you first have to also identify what are some of those marketing activities that are more on the nurturing side than they’re the lead gen side. And we’ve talked about them before in past episodes. We’ve done together a lot of it’s content marketing. So a lot of it are things like social media, blogging videos, and really those are great examples because those things could generate leads, but generally speaking, they’re not. And that’s why a lot of lawyers are disappointed with the ROI from social media and things like that because they go into it hoping it generates leads when really, I would argue the benefit of some of those marketing activities is more this hidden side we’re talking about of nurturing, helping you stay in touch with your existing network. You used the word mining, which is great because another area of content marketing is email marketing. 



So the idea of sending an email newsletter to your existing list, but to answer your thing about it being hard to measure it is because it’s more correlation. But there are ways to still measure it. The more lead nurturing you do, you’re going to see an increase in referrals because you’re staying in touch and you’re mining your network better. So you’re going to see more referrals, you’re going to see more repeat business. And then one of my favorite areas that shows up in is better clients. So we’ve seen a lot of situations where maybe you’re getting higher paying clients or you’re getting more of your preferred case types, 


Zack Glaser (07:36): 

More informed clients. 


Marc Cerniglia  (07:39): 

Yeah, I’ve seen that. Exactly. Sometimes the consultations are more efficient because you have a pre-educated client. So there is this whole other side of marketing where it’s not just about getting more leads, but might, I mean, I’ve seen people double their referrals from their existing network. So I mean, technically a referral is a lead, but I think when we think about lead generating leads, we’re thinking about running ads or finding me on the internet, right? 


Zack Glaser (08:05): 

Yeah. And I like that because a lot of times I talk to attorneys and I start talking to them about what type of marketing they’re looking for, and they’re like, I don’t need to do marketing, Zack. My entire thing is based on referrals. 


Marc Cerniglia  (08:17): 

Yeah. Well, I, and we’ve talked about this before, so if anyone’s listened to us before, they probably know what I’m about to say, which is that no matter how many referrals you’re getting, there are so many studies to show that you’re probably only getting a third to a half of the referrals you could be getting. And a lot of that has to do with there not being enough nurturing, they’re not being enough, staying in touch with people, and that’s just referrals. The same thing exists around repeat business. If somebody hasn’t worked with you in a few years, they could easily forget about you. And then there’s also just leads that you have generated that don’t become clients, but they could six months later, 12 months later. So listen, I want to say this real quick. We’ve offered this resource before to your listeners, but we have a marketing plan template. If they want to download it, they can go to spotlight branding.com/ Lawyerist marketing plan. Okay. So slash Lawyerist marketing plan, no spaces or anything 


Zack Glaser (09:09): 

Easy enough. But the 


Marc Cerniglia  (09:10): 

Reason I wanted to share that resource today is because when you’re building your marketing plan, this is what you want to consider. Some of your marketing activities are generating leads, but other marketing activities are more around nurturing, mining, attracting better clients. And so when you’re building your marketing plan, and our template can help you do that, you want to think through the fact that there’s multiple facets to the outcomes you’re looking for. 


Zack Glaser (09:36): 

Yeah, that makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. Well, mark, we will put a link to that, and again, it’s spotlight branding.com/ Lawyerist marketing plan in the show notes, and I really appreciate you talking about the hidden side of marketing with me. 


Marc Cerniglia  (09:51): 

Yeah, I hope everyone got something out of it in six minutes. 


Britt Lorish (09:59): 

Hi, I’m Britt Lorish. I am one of the owners at Affinity Consulting Group. I work with clients on a pretty wide variety of things, but some of my specialties include software selection and process analysis and improvement. So I spent a lot of time helping our clients with practice management systems, billing and accounting systems, whether it be getting the most out of what they already own or helping them find a product that better suits their needs. 


Zack Glaser (10:21): 

Brett, thanks for being with me. I really appreciate it. You do what I kind of consider a supercharged version of what I do for a lot of small firms sometimes. How long have you been helping law firms choose their software and it’s beyond choosing their software, kind of get their stuff in order, get their ducks in a row? 


Britt Lorish (10:41): 

I’ve been a consultant now for 24 years this month actually. Wow. It doesn’t even seem, I know, right? I started my business in 2000 before merging with Affinity. So yeah, it’s been 24 years. And prior to that, I was in a law firm for almost 10 years, so I guess I’ve been helping for almost 35. Wow. I’m old. 35 years. It’s really a long time. But yeah, that’s how long I’ve been in the legal environment. 


Zack Glaser (11:07): 

Yeah, it does. And it doesn’t, especially in the legal field. Legal tech area, 34 years is in some ways huge changes and in other ways, not many changes at all. 


Britt Lorish (11:20): 

Yeah, surprising. You’re right. You’re right. It’s funny. 


Zack Glaser (11:24): 

So I wanted to bring you in here, and you and I have discussed a lot of things about helping law firms connect with their technology many times, but I wanted to bring you in to talk about the process of, I guess, large ER firms. I use the ER because I don’t want to really define it too much, but large ER firms getting connected with or getting better technology. So we wanted to start with where do we start? Where do most people start? Where do most firms kind of recognize, I guess, that they need somebody to help them, to assist them in making these changes or even determining if they need changes? 


Britt Lorish (12:07): 

I think there’s a lot of firms out there who in some way, shape or form recognize they have pain points. They recognize, wow, our processes are not efficient. Our users are not leveraging what we own. Well, maybe they’re not properly trained. Maybe we just can’t get the reports we need, or we can’t do the things. We know other firms that are in our competitive market space are doing better, faster, easier, and there is more pressure to be efficient. There’s a lot more pressure to go flat fee and alternative fee arrangements. There’s a lot of pressure on firms to be competitive. So I think in some way, shape or form, someone in the firm says, we need to do something, we just don’t know what it’s, and so that’s usually when they’ll reach out and say, we need help. We’re not sure maybe the help we need, some of them are very clear. They know they need a new billing and accounting system because theirs is being sunsetted, or they know there’s a particular need that they have and they can identify it very clearly. Others do not, and they need a little help understanding where they need to go. 


Zack Glaser (13:11): 

Again, I deal with smaller firms a lot of times, so usually it’s the lawyer that calls me or that connects with me. Who is the party making these decisions? Who is it that is interested in this? 


Britt Lorish (13:24): 

It depends on the firm, and sometimes whether it’s a midsize firm or larger firm, et cetera, the larger firms tend to have things like executive committees, technology committees, something along those lines where there’s a committee of some form or fashion that is saying, we need to do something about it. A lot of times the firm administrator is very much in tune with, we have a problem that needs to be solved. Sometimes there’s partners and shareholders, but I would say a lot of the time it’s a committee where there’s a representation of partner shareholders, someone from it, the firm administrator, et cetera, and they’re kind of collaboratively discussing the problems and saying, we really need to move forward in a different way. 


Zack Glaser (14:04): 

Oh man, that breaks my brain, the committee aspect of that, because I have a tendency, again, to work with smaller firms that are very, very able to pivot quickly, but are those the people that need to be involved in this? Do most people come to you with the right people? 


Britt Lorish (14:23): 

Not always. I think in a lot of cases they do. I think there’s usually a team, and again, it may not be even a formal committee, but a team of people who are trying to move the ball forward, they’re trying to make improvements at the firm, and usually there has to be a decision. Somebody with authority involved their rights, and usually the people with authority in those firms are firm administrator and shareholders and things like that. So it makes sense in that to have those people involved. That doesn’t mean those are the only people involved in the process and getting to the end result, because while those people might be spearheading the project and saying, we need to move forward, we don’t just speak to those people, the stakeholders, we speak to a lot of other people in the firm about what their challenges are, understanding how they get their work done, where they’re inefficient, where they spin their wheels, all of those things. So while the stakeholders are that initial group of people getting the ball rolling, that’s not ultimately the only people who help in this process. 


Zack Glaser (15:29): 

Right, because there’s a lot of moving parts that we’re talking about in these things. So for sure. Along those lines with what I think most people call the tech stack, what does that usually look like in a mid-size to a larger firm? If we can even kind of paint with a broad brush? 


Britt Lorish (15:47): 

Yeah. I mean, obviously it’s going to vary from the size of firm and are they a, what kind of areas of practice do they service? All of those things will factor into it, but there’s always the fundamentals. So your Microsoft Office suite, your PDF software, your spam filtering, your av, all, that’s a fundamental part of the tech stack. But above and beyond that, every firm has to have a reliable accounting system. And if they’re not, unless they’re contingency, they also need a reliable billing system. So time billing and accounting, 100% is one of those core components. They want to be able to make smart business decisions. And all of that is part of it. I would say after that document and email management is really, really high on the list of priorities. So most firms of any size are going to have something like an iManage, a net docs or something that they use for document management, even if it’s part of a practice management system. So I call, there’s sort of two types of document management. There’s best of Breed, which is a full-blown document management system in that docs or something. And then there’s mini document management, if you want to call it that, which is the type of document management that comes built in often with a practice management system. So the main purpose of that system or that practice management system is more contact management, task management, all those things. But there’s maybe a component of document management in that as well, 


Zack Glaser (17:13): 

A tag along to, right. Yeah, because if you’re already managing the client and the information in that file, you kind of have to manage the documents in that file too, 


Britt Lorish (17:25): 

Right? The documents and the emails. Yeah, for sure. So it just depends on, again, how large the firm is, what features and functionality they want in that document management. So there are a lot of firms that use the practice management component as sort of a mini document management, but of course, most of the good practice management systems can integrate with an net docs or an iManage or whatever anyway. So even if it’s not part of the same, there’s a definitive integration there. Where you tend to struggle with that more is when you have practice area specific software. So if you’re a boutique intellectual property firm or a real estate firm or something where you’re using very specialized software for IP or real estate or whatever it might be, those are the products that tend not to integrate in our more standalone products. And we do get asked for help with those things as well. But a lot of the time we’re being asked for more of the time billing and accounting, practice management, document management, those types of things. 


Zack Glaser (18:23): 

And that makes sense. That is kind of the core of everything. So that kind of leads me to my, I guess the thing that I’ve been playing with in my head for a couple of years here is project management in a law firm. I think a lot of lawyers, at least ones that I talk with, struggle with the actual time management, project management. We’ve got case management software, and that’s how do you keep track of your cases? How do you keep track of the information in your case, even calendaring in that 


Britt Lorish (18:53): 

Task management? Big time. 


Zack Glaser (18:54): 

Yeah, task management. And then project management is more like, how do we move a bunch of things through this system? Do we have information kind of come back to us saying, Hey, this is done. Being able to organize the people that are helping us with projects. Do you have any thoughts on that? I guess is there software out there that some of the larger firms or mid-size firms are using in that way? Or is it Outlook? 


Britt Lorish (19:21): 

Well, I mean, I would say if they have a practice management system, they tend to use that more because obviously you can do the task management, you can do some collaborative work with both the clients and your internal people on that. You can send data back and forth. So I think that probably the firms that have practice management systems are using that more than a separate tool. But I have seen some firms using things like Asana and other tools. The problem is that they don’t integrate with their legal specific products. And so that’s where I think it becomes a little tricky because then they have a lot of disparate products that they’re trying to tie together, which can be sometimes a little bit challenging. 


Zack Glaser (20:05): 

And I think that’s, in my experience, a lot of the challenge in a legal tech stack is getting these things to work and play well together to potentially talk to each other. In a way 


Britt Lorish (20:19): 

It’s a challenge. 


Zack Glaser (20:20): 

So when somebody comes to you or a firm comes to you and wants you to help them on their journey here, where do we usually start? What’s kind of the first step? 


Britt Lorish (20:31): 

So we have some, obviously once they agreed to, we give them a proposal obviously and say, here’s, identify what your needs are and let’s tell you what that process is going to look like and how much that’s going to cost, et cetera. But once they commit to the process, we really do have some logical steps that we go through. We first get a 30,000 foot view of what they’re doing now. So what is their current tech stack? What are their current major pain points? Where are they really struggling? Where do they want to improve? Where do they see themselves in five years? All those good things. We really try to get the 30,000 foot view of where the firm is and where they want to be. And then once we do that, we really start drilling down. So we might survey all the users to get, again, a sense from everyone, not just the stakeholders, but everybody from the legal assistants, paralegals, associates, everybody in the firm. 



How do you guys get your work done? Where do you spin your wheels? Where do you say, oh my gosh, there has to be a better way. And we really want feedback from everybody, and we really want to hear from everybody where they’re struggling. And then once we kind of say, okay, we see some trends here. We see some key areas that we need to hone in and dig deeper on. So then we have what we call working sessions sometimes. Sometimes they’re groups of users. And we really try to understand the processes. How do you get from point A to point B? How do you open a file? What are the steps to get a file open? How do you generate your documents? How do you diary follow up? How do you get your bills out the door, whatever it might be. We have all these processes that we dive into and we really go, okay, wait, that’s taking eight steps and it should only take those types of things. 



We really are able to identify and drill down in and say, we can identify some really key places where we know there’s room for improvement. And it’s tough. You have to draw people out. You have to build a little bit of rapport with them and trust with them so that they feel free to open up to. And we make sure that the users all know that there’s a sense of anonymity. We’re going to tell the firm as a whole what we found, but we’re not going to say, this person said this and this person said this, right? We want them to be open and honest in their communication with us and really say, look, this firm has a problem here, here and here. There’s a better way to do things and they just aren’t doing it. So we really try to develop that trust, that rapport, and draw people out and figure out what they’re doing that can be improved. So that’s a little bit of how we start off. Anyway. 


Zack Glaser (23:11): 

I love that anonymity slash trust concept there because I remember going through my office and trying to write down my new processes, and as your office grows, it stops being something that I even wrote out from the beginning. My assistants or paralegals have taken on tasks and they know how to do something and they just do it. And then when you go and ask them how to do it, they many times could feel questioned or really looked at and well, if I’m not doing this the most efficient way, then they’re going to get mad at me. And really all you want to know is what is it without any judgment. And so I think it would be tough for internal teams or I think it might be a little bit easier for an external company to come in and say, listen, we are trying to help write these things down. We’re trying to help get these processes put together without any judgment, without any worry. You’re not getting fired if we’ve got eight steps instead of four steps because things have been getting done, just things can always be done more efficiently. 


Britt Lorish (24:18): 

Well, and keep in mind that half of these people have been trained by somebody else and well, this is the way we’ve always done it, and this is how, so-and-so trained me to do it, so that’s the way I do it. I might’ve questioned, is there a better way? Is there a faster, easier way? But I was told this is the way we do it. And so that’s the way I do it. So it’s not always their fault either. Right. 


Zack Glaser (24:40): 

Yeah, that’s a really good point. 


Britt Lorish (24:42): 

I think there’s also a lot of, particularly the staff, they’re not involved in billing and accounting and things like that. They don’t necessarily see where there’s a financial impact to the firm for that for inefficiency. Right. I’m going to give you a great example. I used to be an insurance defense, and every insurance carrier allows 0.16 minutes to be billed per subpoena. It is literally impossible to issue a subpoena in six minutes and get it out the door. Without automation, it’s not possible. But the staff doesn’t necessarily, the paralegals that are issuing these subpoenas, they don’t necessarily realize this is a loss leader that literally every subpoena going out the door is losing the firm money. So if we can identify how are you doing that? So it’s taking us 15 minutes to get a subpoena out the door, and we need to get it under six minutes by automating that, and now suddenly, suddenly we’re not losing money. We’re either breaking even or making money, and it’s no longer a loss leader. They’re not necessarily in tune with that. And so we’re trying to sort of that out all those little things that we can find that will not only make everybody’s life easier and better and more efficient, but that will actually make the firm more profitable as well. 


Zack Glaser (25:55): 

I like that one. Unless you were in that, you wouldn’t notice that. And like you said, the people who are doing the subpoenas, they know they need to do the subpoenas and they’re doing it as efficiently as they were taught or know how, and they don’t necessarily understand, and it’s not necessarily their job to understand that there’s a benefit to finding a faster way here. So I was going to ask you, are there common issues you run into as you go through this? And I still would be very curious about that, but it seems like it’s just common that there’s going to be issues, that there’s going to be some places here. 


Britt Lorish (26:32): 

Yeah, there’s definitely common issues. I mean, one of the most common issues is that people aren’t properly trained on their existing technology, or if they were back in the day when they first joined the firm, there was no supplemental or ongoing training that’s been done. So as new updates come out with new features to their software, no one’s taking advantage of them because nobody knows about ’em. And you’d be amazed how many users don’t even know how the basics of Microsoft Office and things that could save them huge amounts of time. So that’s 100% probably the most common issue we run into. But also people just stop. It’s a real thing that people don’t really stop and think about how they get their work done. And when you put ’em on the spot, they often can’t think of examples. So I’ve actually taken to telling people, Hey, I know I’ve put you on the spot with some of these questions. 



It’s fine. How about you keep a document on your computer desktop, or even if you’re a paper person, put a pad of paper next to your desk. I don’t care however you want to do it. I encourage them to pause during their workday over the coming week or two weeks or whatever. And as they are doing their work, stop and jot down anything that seems inefficient. If the thought comes across their brain that there might be a better way to do this, or, man, this seems to take a lot more steps than maybe it should, I want them to stop and write it down and share it with me. And it’s really sometimes hard getting them to just stop and really consider that, but when you do, they’re like, wow, I didn’t think about it. And so I think that’s really everybody kind of living in their own little bubble, getting their work done and kind of making them stop and pause is sometimes challenging. 


Zack Glaser (28:05): 

Yeah. Well, so one of the ways that I advise people to get their processes written down, because the big issue or the big takeaway here is really get your processes written down, know your processes. One of the ways that I advise smaller firms is to take a particular amount of time every week and just have your people set aside an hour every week and go through and write these things down. And that seems like time that you’re never going to get back. Okay, Zack, I know that this is going to be efficient. I know this is going to be better down the road, but I can’t really pin it down, but it really seems like they’re going to find those inefficiencies, 


Britt Lorish (28:47): 

And you want to encourage ’em, tackle it one thing at a time, right? Yeah. Hey, let’s start with your file, your intake process. Let’s just start somewhere, right? That’s the best way to start. I mean, let’s start from when that file comes in the door or when a potential new client comes in the door, how do we handle it? What are all the steps we go through to get them retained and to conflict check them and to get the file opened in all the software, et cetera. And you just kind of walk them through one process at a time. And obviously not everybody’s involved with file opening, but I use that as an example, 


Zack Glaser (29:16): 

But file opening is involved in every case. That’s what I like about that one. Yeah. 


Britt Lorish (29:23): 

Same thing with file closing procedures. What is your file closing procedure, whatever it might be. I mean, there’s so many different processes that you can walk through, and I think it’s great just to chop one down at a time. You just one by one, make your way through those. What’s your check request procedure, your expense reimbursement, what’s your billing procedure, whatever it might be. And it depends where in the practice you’re trying to automate, but yeah, things just one at a time. 


Zack Glaser (29:51): 

Yeah, just constant iteration, just over and over. I like to make sure people know that that document that you’re creating, that process is document is a living document. It’s never going to be done, but it’s not supposed to be done. You’re not failing. If it’s not done, you’re not failing. If it’s only 50% done all the time, that’s fine. You’re 50% ahead of most people if 


Britt Lorish (30:12): 

You have a continual improvement. It’s all about that continual little bite-sized improvements. And I was actually working with a new product, well, it’s not a new product, but a product called Scribe where you can really kind of automate that documentation process where you walk through and it records it, and it not only takes the screenshots, but it actually creates the text for you of the process. You just walk through. And I was like, wow, that saves so much time. And just trying to build that documentation, right? 


Zack Glaser (30:39): 

Oh, it’s amazing. And there are other products out there. I will say on Scribe specifically, and I know you know this too, but I want to just kind of put it out there that you need to grab it as an HTML as opposed to making a shared link because there’s a public aspect of your processes. Sure, 


Britt Lorish (30:55): 



Zack Glaser (30:56): 

But that is an amazing tool, and we in Affinity got that through our tech stack, brought it into our tech stack, made sure that it’s safe and learned to use it the correct way because it’s that good of a tool. 


Britt Lorish (31:11): 

It is. Yeah. I’m working with a little large firm now, and we’re trying to do their documentation for an implementation, and it’s three cloud, and it’s a really cumbersome product, and there’s so much to know and so much to document. And so we’re trying to build their processes out using that, and it’s been really great, very effective. 


Zack Glaser (31:30): 

I wish they would sponsor this episode, then I could say more about them. Right? Yeah. So getting away from Scribe, which is very good. How long, I guess, does a typical job helping one of these law firms get their ducks in order? How long does a typical job take? 


Britt Lorish (31:50): 

Well, I don’t know that there’s a typical, I think it depends on so many things. The size of the firm is going to matter because how many people we’re talking to and interviewing and surveying and all the rest of it. So we do that 30,000 foot view, then we do the survey, then we do the working sessions, and depending on how many working sessions we have to do and everybody’s schedule, how tough it is, trying to get through 40 interviews or whatever it might be. So that can take obviously a pretty lengthy amount of time, but we build then a functional requirements document and we say, here are all the things that this firm needs in a new system. And we identify what are the must haves, the deal breakers versus the, I’d like to have it, but it’s not the end of the universe if it doesn’t. 



So we build that functional requirements, document that, taking in all the information that we’ve gleaned from this process. And so that takes a while. And then we then have to say, okay, now that we know what all those functional requirements are, what are the products that best match those functional requirements? What’s going to have the largest number of must haves as well as priorities? And then we line up demos of those products. And depending on how many demos, usually there’s an overview demo, and then there might be some deep dive demos to try and get down into the weeds of, okay, we like this. We don’t like this. We build scorecards for anyone attending those demos so that they can really give us meaningful feedback, not only ranking different features, but commenting on it. And then we kind of tally all the results of those. 



And then we narrow the field to two to three products and clearly identify what functional requirements are included and excluded in those products. Because there is no perfect product, just clean it out there. It doesn’t exist. There’s no unicorn out there people. But once we’ve sort of narrowed the field, then we say, okay, now let’s find out all the costs associated with implementing that product. And we do a cost benefit analysis. So not just for that initial year of implementation, but over a five to 10 year period so the firm can truly see the total cost of ownership and factor that into their decision. So that includes the software cost, the conversion of your existing data, any integrations or customizations that might be needed, the training. All that goes into that cost benefit analysis. And so once we have all of that, then we sit down and discuss all the pros and cons of each product and allow the firm to make the most educated decision possible. So when you say, how long does that take? Well, for a small firm that’s maybe a family law firm and only does one area of practice and only has a handful of people, it could be as little as two months to get all that done. But for a larger firm with a lot of people and a lot of information to acquire and put together, it could take eight months. It just depends. Yeah. 


Zack Glaser (34:39): 

My father used to say, when I would ask him questions like that, how long is that going to take? He would say The whole time, 



It’s going to take the whole time. While you’re describing that process, it’s interesting. When I was practicing, I used to describe myself, describe my company as the most reasonable person in the room. A lot of times we were paid to be the most reasonable person in the room, most thorough person in the room. And this process sounds like that. It sounds like coming in and saying, you know, need to do this. If you sat down and thought about this, this is probably the process that you would take to do all the little things. But it really is all the little things. I love that scorecard. Love the idea of the scorecard of, Hey, you’re a person that we’ve deemed is going to do these demos. We want to try to be able to normalize these demos across people. And so tell me what’s good, what’s bad about it, but don’t just give me this long diatribe of, I hated it because it was blue, or I hated it because it was red. I don’t want to hate on any particular blue or red products. But that kind of also gives people a framework. 


Britt Lorish (35:47): 

It does. You can see how they stack up. And what we do on the scorecard is we make sure that scorecard includes all of the things they said were must haves, and then some other top priorities of the would like to haves. So document assembly may not be a must have, but we’d really like it. It would make a huge difference in our efficiency. So we would put that on the list and say, how does this rank? And we weight them, so the must haves are weighted higher than the would like to haves. And then we say, okay, now that we’ve tallied it, rank it, whatever, one to five or one to three or whatever it is. And then there’s a formula in the scorecard and it actually tallies the results. And then we amalgamate all that information from all the different users and come up with a, this one ranked first, this one ranks second, this one ranked third, whatever. So it’s very helpful to see, 


Zack Glaser (36:35): 

Brett, every time I meet with you, I ask you if I can look at another Excel spreadsheet that you’ve made every single time you tell me about a spreadsheet that you’ve made, a scorecard or informational spreadsheet or something. And I’m like, I want see that. And that’s one of those. 


Britt Lorish (36:54): 

The cost benefit analysis is another one that when people see it with, when they see those numbers in black and white, and not just the first year, because it’s very easy to get a proposal from a vendor that says, here’s the cost of the software, here’s the cost of the training and the conversion. But I’m like, okay, but what about the ongoing annual maintenance or subscription? What about, are you going to have other factors? Is the server based? Are you going to need to maintain a server? Is it browser based? What are all those things that go into total cost of ownership over a five to 10 year period? Because face it, you’re not doing this every few years. You’re doing this every five to 10, maybe max. Your hope is you’re not doing it any more frequently than that. 


Zack Glaser (37:33): 

Yeah, hopefully it’s a while, 


Britt Lorish (37:35): 

Right? So understanding, because sometimes you’ll get a proposal that looks, oh, this one, it looks way better than this one. But then when you look at total cost of ownership, it completely flips that on its head. So I think that that’s super important. And when people see those numbers in black and white, it gives them a different perspective a lot of the time. 


Zack Glaser (37:55): 

So I’ve got an answer to this in my head a little bit, but I’d like to know your thoughts. What is your superpower in this process, do you think? 


Britt Lorish (38:04): 

I don’t know that I have any superpower, but I have been working almost 25 years in legal tech now. So I would say I’m very familiar with the pros and cons of most of the products in the market space, particularly when it comes to billing time, billing, accounting, practice management, and to some degree document management as bond document assembly. But I’ve worked with firms of all shapes and sizes, wide variety of practice areas. So I know a lot of the pitfalls that firms fall into and what can make or break implementation of a new software product. And I try to be really mindful of those things in order to help our clients avoid those problems and make sure that each firm goes in eyes wide open to any potential issues. Because again, no perfect product. Remember that the unicorn does not exist. So we’re just trying to make sure that the firm gets a really good return on their investment and that they go in with realistic expectations and understand what, it’s not just what the vendor needs to do to make that implementation successful, but what they need to commit. 



They need to commit the proper resources to the process, not just money, but the time that needs to be invested by their key people in their organization and how important it is to manage that whole change management, how critical training’s going to be, because it’s only going to succeed if all those things are factored in. And also that it needs to come from the top down, so everybody needs to be on board and rowing in the same direction from the top down. Because there’s a lot of firms out there who have come to me and said, we want the associates and paralegals to do this. I’m like, hold up. What about the partners? 


Zack Glaser (39:43): 

We’re partners, Brett, we can do what we want. 


Britt Lorish (39:46): 

And I’m like, but this is going to fail if everybody’s not on board and rowing in the same direction. And so, yeah, I don’t have a superpower, but I think sort of looking at that holistically, the whole big picture and how all those parts and pieces tie together, I guess is one of the things I do best. 


Zack Glaser (40:04): 

I mean, I think that would be a lot of what people are looking for as well, hopefully. Well, so speaking of realistic expectations, and I have to ask people about this subject in every, I think it’s in my contract now. How do you see AI fitting into the legal tech stack in the near term and then potentially even in the future? 


Britt Lorish (40:25): 

I think it’s going to be super interesting to see how it all plays out and how there’s no question. All these products are sort of scrambling to go, how do we integrate ai? They’re all out there doing it, obviously. I think the most common thing we’re going to see first is the whole Microsoft copilot, right? That’s going to be a big transformative tool, a huge time saver, and just day-to-day tasks, like drafting documents and emails. I think there’s no question that’s going to be a big deal, but we’re already seeing products like NetDocs working, integrate AI with their ND Max products. I think that’s a great example, and people are going to be able to harness the information in their own document repository using ai, which I think is really exciting. I think there’s a lot of other products that have huge potential. I was researching Legal Mason for one of my clients recently. That’s a great product for drafting responsive pleadings, discovery responses, all that type of thing, which is, again, it’s one of those repetitive tasks that is time consuming, but could be expedited using ai. So I think each firm’s going to have to really identify where AI can be the most useful to them and save them the most time, and hopefully find the right product to match those needs, but make sure it’s being used properly and ethically, obviously, because there’s quite a few stories out there of where it hasn’t been 


Zack Glaser (41:37): 

Every day a new one. Yeah, every day a new one, 


Britt Lorish (41:40): 

But they’re coming out so quickly right now. I think it’s a challenge to keep up with it all. I mean, I spend so much time trying to keep up with all the products in the market space, and now, hey, let’s throw another batch of products into the mix. Right? It’s like a full-time job just keeping up with ’em. 


Zack Glaser (41:55): 

Oh, yeah. Well, Brett, I appreciate your full-time job. I appreciate what you do in all this, and like I said, every time I talk to you, I find a new thing that I want to dig into in your bag of tricks. Thanks for talking with me about all this. 


Britt Lorish (42:08): 

Absolutely. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. 


Zack Glaser (42:10): 

Awesome. We’ll see you next time. I hope to have you back on. 


Britt Lorish (42:13): 

Thanks so much. 



This podcast is edited by Brittany Felix, are you ready to implement the ideas we discussed here into your practice, wondering what to do next? Here are your first steps. First, if you haven’t read the Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the initial chapter for free at Lawyerist dot com slash book, looking for help beyond the book. Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities are right for you at the Lawyerist dot com slash community slash lab for more information. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.   

Your Hosts

Zack Glaser

is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.

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Britt Lorish

Britt specializes in law firm financial management, including time/billing/accounting, and practice management systems, but she always strives to look at the full scope of a firm’s needs. In particular, she enjoys identifying and automating inefficient processes. Britt was pre-law, but decided to paralegal before law school. Her firm split, and the new firm focused heavily on automation. She became the firm’s network administrator and customized, implemented, and trained all technology at the firm. Britt started her own business in 2000, focused on legal technology consulting. She joined the other Affinity partners in 2007, and eventually merged her firm with Affinity.

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Last updated June 20th, 2024