The Limits of Legal Tech's Impact on Firm Culture

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 03, 2019 3:04 PM

In the near future, you'll be able to change your firm's culture with a mouse-click. And if you believe that, we have a pair or ruby slippers to sell you. That's right, Dorothy, you're still in Kansas.

Technology can do a lot, but it isn't going to save your company culture. That takes a fundamental change in human behavior.

Technical Assistance

Legal tech can help with human resource challenges. For example, some platforms can filter out gender bias in the hiring process. Others can train workers against harassment and discrimination. But technology alone is not enough to change a culture. FastCompany says business managers need to understand their culture and then choose their tech, not the other way around.

Ilya Tulvio writes, "you have to fix your culture before you change your technology." Businesses leaders can start with personal interviews, a type of personnel inventory. For example, ask key managers:

  • What are the major cultural problems?
  • How can the company address them?
  • What can they do personally to help?

After assessing the issues, firms should look for practical and technical solutions. If discrimination is a problem, for example, training and technology can work together. In the right hands, artificial intelligence can help eliminate implicit bias.

Implicit Issues

Recognizing implicit bias is hard to see in yourself. It's like looking in the mirror; it's not easy to see the back of your head. Seeing your implicit bias requires extra-ordinary self-awareness because everybody has implicit biases. But self-awareness is good for people and businesses. Programs can help, but only training can eliminate behavioral problems. At a minimum, management should be required to take a relevant training course to recognize problems. Employees -- especially if they exhibit problem behavior -- should also be educated.

The best place to create change in the overall culture, however, is at the hiring, promotion, and firing stages. By using multiple reviewers, managers can ensure they are fair and not biased towards workers. And by carefully reviewing them, the company can implement changes needed for a better culture.

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