Why Midsize Firms Are Ramping Up Tech Investments After Clearing the Hybrid Hurdle
The article highlighted how Herrick was already ahead of the technology adoption curve when the pandemic hit. In 2012, the firm was forced to briefly close its New York office when Hurricane Sandy hit. Barbaros recalled how, "We couldn’t go into the office for a week and a half. That was a pivotal moment to look at having safety nets and fail-safes. That’s when we decided we needed to invest in more technology."
Despite prior technology and adaptations that Herrick put in place in 2012, when the pandemic came in 2020, Herrick quickly discovered that a number of its lawyers and staff weren’t comfortable using its existing technology. Barbaros further noted, "Lawyers are creatures of habit, they’d rather focus their energy on X, Y and Z than technology, even if it’s available. But with the pandemic, you had to learn. Our attorneys went through a crash course in technology."
The article further stated that mid-size firms like Herrick have an advantage when it comes to implementing new technology. Barbaros noted how the cost of new technology is frequently tied to the number of users a firm has. Barbaros went on to say, "We don’t need to buy software [or provide training] for 1,000 lawyers in six countries. We're more nimble because we can get everyone on the same page faster."
Barbaros quantified how the technology investments Herrick made are already paying dividends. He recalled how in recent years Herrick increased its technology spend by about 25-30% more per employee, which in turn resulted in a clear reduction of other expenses, Barbaros said. For instance, 10 years ago, Herrick had averaged about one staff member for every attorney. It is now closer to 1.4 attorneys for every member of its support staff.
"That’s a significant shift, and we have simply become leaner and more efficient from top to bottom... Our attorneys are more self-sufficient, our support staff is more effective and we have embraced a modern office environment. All of this has had a substantial impact on our bottom line. We have no regrets investing in technology and feel that money spent there comes back tenfold," he added. "For us, it wasn’t a difficult decision. Everyone appreciates a pretty office. But when you look back at what has happened and where we choose to invest our money, it’s the best money we ever spent."
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