Seeking a Law Firm Trainer? (aka “How to Hire a Jack of All Trades”)
I work with technology trainers every day. As in every profession, there are outstanding trainers who are passionate about what they do and there are sub-par trainers who either don’t possess the skills to teach others (at best) or don’t care (at worst).
Seeking a technology trainer for a law firm is like finding a needle in a haystack! The law firm industry is rife with its own lingo and culture, as well as its own technological demands. In fact, the tech changes affecting the law industry today are like an avalanche bearing down on a mountain town! The changes are coming fast and furious whether you like it or not. (And if you ignore them, you’ll be buried.)
Law firm technology trainers should see it as their job to guide their firms through the constant changes and advancements with the enthusiasm of a high school football coach!
I recently ran across a law firm trainer job description, which got me thinking… How would I describe the unique qualities of some of the best trainers I know? (I know many awesome trainers. Call me if you need leads!) I thought I’d put together some thoughts on the traits you should seek in your next law firm technology trainer.
Teacher: At its heart, the job of a technology trainer is to be a teacher. This person has to understand how to teach people, which is far more complicated than simply answering help desk questions. A trainer has to teach people how to be continuous learners.
Coach: As in my analogy above, the trainer is a lot like a high school coach: part passion, part disciplinarian, part teacher, part cheerleader. You need someone who is enthusiastic about teaching others and who inspires people to do their best.
Lifelong Learner: The tech industry is constantly changing. Therefore, your trainer needs to be someone who geeks out on all the new features and programs coming down the pike.
Team Player: Typically, the trainer in a law firm must work across many departmental lines, from HR to management to legal practice areas to IT. It is not this person’s job to make everyone happy, however. It is this person’s job to help advance the firm through the efficient deployment and use of technology.
Creative Cat: Because this person will likely be designing and delivering training across multiple platforms (one-on-one, in class, mobile, webcasts, etc.), they need to possess skills to creatively keep people engaged. Not only does this mean that their personality must be engaging, but they should know how to entice/motivate people to take risks and learn more.
That’s quite a list of skills and traits that you need in your tech trainer, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the commitments that your firm needs to make to your trainer in order to set him/her up for success:
Culture that supports learning: If you don’t encourage and reward employees who seek to advance their skills through training, your trainer cannot be successful.
Demand accountability: Use the HR performance review to reward those who advance their skills and to deny rewards to those who don’t. (They will be much more likely to give your trainer their attention with a carrot dangling in front of them.)
Professional development: Make sure your trainer is also able to access professional development resources such as attending ILTA conferences and chapter meetings.
If you are having a hard time finding the perfect technology trainer for your law firm, give me a shout! I’d love to help you find the perfect fit. Doug@SavvyTraining.com