D. Casey Flaherty of Kia Motors has attracted the attention of law firms by publicizing an associate technology skills audit. The audit tests the ability of an attorney to achieve solutions using standard tools like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Adobe Acrobat. Here's an article about the audit and a video discussing the use of technology to reduce cost.
So how do we encourage lawyers to use existing technology or adopt new technology solutions to deliver client services? Flaherty proposes the stick approach - imposed hourly discounts until proficiency (or minimal viable efficiency) is established. This is justified because his point is that he's being overcharged by tasks that are demonstrably taking too long to complete compared to completion time using standard application features. To me, this revolves around the billable hour again and again. Until the billable hour is de-emphasized, as a way of thinking and considering legal services, the search for better processes will lag, rather than lead, management decision-making.