How to Hire a Great Consultant for Your Law Firm
If you’ve ever thought about hiring a legal tech consultant, today’s blog post is for you.
We’re discussing everything you need to know before hiring a consultant.
Many things make a good consultant that you should be aware of before hiring somebody. There are also many things you need to know before you actually start working with the consultant you hire.
On top of this, being a lawyer is like being a consultant in many ways. We act as consultants for our clients.
Some of the things we discuss today are things your clients need from you as you provide your services for them. This brings a fascinating perspective to hiring a legal tech consultant for yourself.
So, with that, let’s dig in!
What is a Consultant?
The Oxford Dictionary defines consultant as, “a person who provides expert advice professionally.” This is an extremely broad definition, of course. People, in general, use the term “consultant” very broadly.
However, as a law firm owner, the more we narrow down what we’re looking for and what we need, the more successful we’re going to be in finding the right consultant.
For example, if you need help to better utilize the software in your office, that’s something a tech or software consultant could help with. If you need help building better systems so your operations run more smoothly, you might need a business or process consultant. If you can’t pinpoint exactly what you need, a good consultant should be able to help you determine exactly what it is that you need.
What Makes a Good Consultant
Many qualities make a great consultant and that you should look out for when hiring one. Here is a long list of them:
- Consultants should have an unimpeachable character.
- They should be willing to tell you the things that you don’t want to hear. They shouldn’t only praise you without giving you any constructive criticism.
- Your consultant should be able to communicate well with you so that you’re able to hear and receive their feedback and make changes. They need to be able to listen to you and clearly understand not just your challenges but also your goals.
- Consultants need excellent interpersonal skills.
- You need to have a trust-based relationship with your consultant. The relationship between consultant and client is not unlike the relationship between doctor and patient. Without complete candor, the consultant will be hindered in his or her effort to help your business.
- Consultants need creative problem-solving skills.
What to Know Before Working with a Consultant
After hiring the perfect consultant, there are things you must know and prepare for as the business owner.
Firstly, make sure that you’re prepared to be an effective leader. As the owner of the firm, the team is going to take their cues from you. If you’re not championing and reinforcing the things that the consultant has proposed, it’s not going to be successfully implemented in your firm. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the solutions first before taking them to your team and implementing them.
Secondly, understand that you are going to have to invest in training. Make a plan for who’s going to provide the training, how much it’s going to cost, and the results it will bring. Additionally, training on the new system cannot be optional as new solutions will only work if everyone practices them.
Finally, you are going to have to make some hard decisions when you’re working with a consultant. Working with a consultant means that there will be change and not everyone will respond the same to change. Some won’t respond at all while others will rise to the occasion. You must think through how you will respond to those two different scenarios.
When we have team members who don’t rise to the occasion, we have to decide what we’ll do about it. Is it worth keeping them on the team for their other contributions or do you need to let them go? That is a really hard decision to make, of course. However, if you are committed to your goal of making positive changes in your firm, then you really do need to look at the current people that are on your team and how they fit into that goal. The reality is, some of them may not.
If you want to learn more about hiring a consultant, check out Episode 056: Things to Know Before Hiring a Legal Tech Consultant.