Law professor William Henderson spoke at Wolters Kluwer's ELM User Conference about the importance of reassessing expectations and collaborating on solutions.

Although the complexity of managing legal services has dramatically increased over the last few decades, clients are increasingly demanding curbed costs. William Henderson, professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, spoke to attendees of Wolters Kluwer's ELM User Conference on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida, about the importance of having "structured conversations" in managing expectations for both legal service providers and clients across this increasing divide.

Henderson highlighted a few things that can help law firms through these "structured conversations" in creating workable compromises.

1. Rethink the word "technology": Focus on creative thinking.

Henderson encouraged legal professionals to change what they consider to be "technology."

"We think about technology as something that's computerized or robotic," Henderson said. "We need to relax this assumption."

Rather, he proposed, innovation and creative thinking should be part of law firm technology strategies. Generating efficiency and productivity isn't necessarily a matter of digitizing or automating all processes, but might be more about shifting mindsets.

Henderson quoted tech investor Peter Thiel in saying, "Any new and better way of doing things is technology." Alternatives can come in many forms, he said—trying to purchase the right software isn't the only way to stand out.