5 steps for digitally transforming the legal profession

In the minds of many, the legal industry is all oak-panelled offices and decisions made at a glacial pace. It isn’t, however, known for its innovative workspaces and modern technologies.

A man, a woman, and another man lingering in the background holding a Surface

This appearance does more than just solidify a client’s misconceptions of the sector; it has a major impact on the internal culture. If the way a firm operates remains traditional, the service it delivers falls back in comparison to more modern competitors.

As such, transforming the customer experience demands transformation of the internal culture. Encouraging collaborative, flexible working practices that chime with the needs of both employees and clients alike. While tradition, precedence, and formality has stymied the sector’s ability to innovate, new technology is starting to build the foundations that help transform the experience you deliver customers.

Where to start a transformation?

The question many in the legal sector face when wanting to transform their workplace is…

Where do I start?


Step 1 – Get a technical infrastructure in place

Pivotal to the modern IT experience is an updated back-end and cloud-based workloads. However, these ‘transformations’ are invisible to the end user – rare is the employee that compliments an employer for moving their mailbox to the cloud.

Take advice whenever necessary. For many in the legal sector, upgrading systems is a new and exciting task, but not one with which they’re au fait. Successful implementation doesn’t happen overnight. It often requires consultation with those in the know in order to determine the infrastructure and complementary hardware that’s right for your business.

A major consideration at this stage is security. Choosing a system  and devices tailor-made to protect and defend your law firm from cyber-attacks doesn’t just offer peace of mind (and keeps you focused on what really matters). It also ensures you can maintain the integrity of your client records, and any private, personal, and sensitive data within.

Part of this transition will see you bring legacy and paper-based data to the cloud. Immediately, this is a revolutionary move. No longer are client records stored away in filing cabinets, lost, or forgotten. Secure in the cloud, they’re easily accessible to your team.


Step 2 – Bring employees on the journey

Group of people working on Surface devicesInternal buy-in is critical to transforming the way you work. The customer experience can’t change if employees are unwilling or unable to move to a new way of working.

Start by explaining what you wish to change, and how you intend to do it. This is the stage when most companies stop – it’s the end of the journey. Yet this is really the beginning. Now, request feedback from your team.

What issues do they face and how will a digital transformation help? What do they want from a new system and devices? How can these be used to improve service delivery?

During your ‘exploration phase’ – that is, when considering all the systems and devices that will help you alter your working ways – place employee experience at its heart. Your team wants an interface and device that makes it easy to do their job and offer an exceptional customer experience. Give it to them.


Step 3 – Choose a device that offers a good work-life balance

A man in a suit working on a SurfaceYour team needs to be at the top of their game – it’s one of the admirable hallmarks of the legal sector. Salaries can be matched. Perks can be offered. But nothing beats an employer that supports true investment in employees.

This is at the crux of creating a modern digital workplace.

By changing the way your team works through technology, you help encourage a healthy work-life balance. Today’s cloud-connected law graduates are used to the flexibility that modern technology affords; they’re adept at working remotely and collaboratively.

A senior associate from one Surface-enabled firm said, ‘I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility that comes with our new Surface laptops. It took an hour or so to get set up. Then, I was able to work from home within the first few days without disruption. The whole process of starting up for the day and getting going with work is so much quicker.’

Devices that deliver on the promise of the modern workplace keeps staff more engaged and productive than ever before. And they appreciate that, as an employer, you understand that life doesn’t simply stop once work starts. With an employee experience like this, it completely alters the level of service offered to clients.


Step 4 – Embrace collaboration

We’re creatures of habit. Because of that, it can be challenging when trying to encourage people to work in new, more productive ways.

Put something new and exciting, like a Surface, into their hands and suddenly it ignites enthusiasm. They find themselves able to work differently. Because the technology’s there to streamline and enhance collaboration, they begin having more video conferences with clients and other solicitors; they draw their ideas; they embrace the hot-desk mentality, when necessary.


Step 5 – Encourage diversity, inclusion, and accessibility

The more diverse and inclusive a team is, the more creative and productive they are. And that can only be a benefit to your law firm. Part of that means ensuring your workplace and the tools within it are wholly accessible for those with disabilities.

As part of this drive to be diverse, inclusive, and accessible, Surface features a number of design choices that enable a better experience for all. For instance, the power and volume buttons can be managed with one hand. The device’s microphones make use of extremely accurate Closed Captioning. Use a Surface pen, and your team will discover one of the most natural digital writing experiences available to them. Ultimately, these features help your team to work better than ever before.


Technology is changing the way we communicate, creating a modern digital workplace. If your legal organisation wishes to make a statement and cultivate a culture that empowers every employee, it starts with the user. Connect your team with the devices that help them work smarter, and support your digital transformation.

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About the authors

Alex is a Modern Workplace Solution Specialist working closely with our Legal and Professional services customers to transform the way they work; making them more agile, productive, mobile and empower their employees to achieve more. Watching the transformation of workplaces like the legal sector, and the people working in them, has been incredibly rewarding.

Will is a Surface Specialist at Microsoft helping Professional Services organisations realise the full value of Microsoft Surface devices in their business. He enjoys working with customers to embrace advances in technology that create a new world of work – where technology empowers people, data and systems to connect, collaborate and communicate in new innovative ways. 

Rachael is a Surface Specialist focused on the modern workplace. She loves to help customers transform their ways of working to embrace mobility and new devices that increase their productivity and enhance their work life balance.