Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a Legal IT conference having been invited to sit on a panel that included Pinsent Masons LLP and Addleshaw Goddard LLP. Much of the conversation was focused on how technology can be used to improve client relationships.
Among the many interesting insights, there were a few key points that clearly resonated with the audience, one of which was the issue of having to remember various logins for multiple websites that lawyers use every day. This raised a knowing chuckle among the audience who clearly identified with the problem of not having one central hub to access all their online processes. So why did the audience find this amusing?
Well, it’s due to our attitudes changing over the years, bringing new expectations. I believe that now, more than ever, people are conscious of which technologies are creating efficiency and making their day to day lives easier and which are not. Nowadays technology has become completely embedded into society in a variety of ways, and we now expect to be able to use technology in every aspect of our lives – personally, socially and professionally.
We are also more astutely aware of those technologies, which we genuinely enjoy using in our personal lives. Thus, it is only natural that we would come to expect a similar standard of this convenience in our professional lives too. Particularly with the advent of the internet, it is clear that our attitudes and expectations are continuously evolving with regards to technological change and that there will continue to be an increasing overlap between our professional and personal worlds.
In my opinion, one of the biggest changes to behavior over the last 20 years has been the result of technology changes. We have come to expect ‘instant gratification’, or our need for everything to be easier, faster, flexible, and efficient, and to be at our fingertips. Some may argue that technology has turned humans into a lazy, lethargic species. However, I would counter that it is simply a shift in attitude, in that we now know there are smarter ways to achieve our goals, whether that’s at home or at work.
It used to be that we had to learn to adapt to technology, but today, technology is built to adapt to us. You will find it permeates our lives everywhere you look– just think smart thermostats that conserve energy, online shopping sites that tell you what other products you may ‘also like’, navigating a foreign city using Google maps, or even setting up automatic payments through online banking. So why wouldn’t we naturally expect this in our working lives too? We now co-exist with technology and going forward, we must adapt together to ensure a smooth evolution. Once this co-existence is noted and implemented in professional environments, the results will show why employing intuitive technology in the workplace is so essential.
This is why I believe that real estate attorneys must also evolve with technology, and that those in management must focus on satisfying the needs of those at the coalface to make their work lives easier and get staff working smarter, not harder.