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Founded in 1910, Ice Miller has more than 300 lawyers, 40 paraprofessionals and approximately 105 legal secretaries located in offices in Chicago; Cleveland; IL; Indianapolis; New York; and Washington, D.C. Ice Miller offers a broad array of legal capabilities including corporate, patents and trademarks, bankruptcy, lobbying, labor and employment, litigation, employee benefits, environmental, tax, trusts and estates, real estate, municipal finance, public affairs and government law. The firm has a nationally recognized reputation in many of its practice areas. The Technology Training team consists of two trainers and a manager.
Ice Miller recognized the need to keep technology skills current and relevant by improving and expanding these skills in the firm. A team with representatives from HR and Technology Training was tasked to develop a technical core competency program for the firm’s legal secretaries. A second challenge was issued to the team to focus on developing people and defining learning paths to progress. Additionally, the plan had to respect the experience of the secretaries while developing new skills. If the firm was going to implement accountability for developing firm standards, it was critical that the secretaries be able to complete tasks using their preferred methods. That concept led the team to search for a solution that would be customizable to reflect the tools used by the firm and how work was being done at Ice Miller. This was achieved with the consultative guidance of the Intellek team.
A successful business case for the firm to join LTC4 to leverage standards that had already been created by the legal community gave the program a head start. As the team evaluated options, they encountered a few obstacles. Some solutions had strict frameworks and wouldn’t allow Ice Miller to make all the changes they wanted. Ice Miller was looking for a solution provider that would help them create the custom assessments while the trainers provided education and support. Ice Miller was already enjoying a successful relationship with Intellek when they requested a demo of the Intellek Create and custom assessments solution. The firm was already using the Intellek LMS and eLearning courseware.
Ice Miller selected Intellek’s custom assessments, developed with Intellek Create. This tool creates assessments for users to undertake in a live application. Ice Miller’s training team also have access to click-by-click reporting through the Live Content Studio Results Viewer, showing granular detail of how each user has completed the assessment workflow. This detailed reporting, enables further targeted learning and support from the training team.
As a vendor member of LTC4, Intellek collaborates with clients to ensure the skills reflect both the LTC4 competencies and the firm’s unique workflows. At the time of the interview, the Ice Miller and Intellek teams had completed four of the six assessments, with the next two scheduled. The assessments were designed around real workflows unique to Ice Miller, allowing them to use their existing knowledge and workflows to complete tasks.
While the Intellek team built the assessments using Live Content Studio, the Ice Miller team curated the training content to support the learning requirements of the workflow being assessed. The team gathered together a blend of content types including Intellek Learn.
Another significant part of the team was the pilot group of legal secretaries that helped ensure the assessments focused on the right skills and training materials. The pilot group took an active role reviewing the assessment scripts and were the first to take them. With a plan to roll out a new assessment every other month and an awareness by the training team that workloads and timing affected the secretaries, the pilot group was expanded.
To increase engagement, the team felt it was important to communicate, share information and stay on point with the program’s goals. While most of the communication came from HR, training and management were included for a blended communication strategy. The training team set aside a site on the Ice Miller intranet to share information about the program.
The assessments were uploaded to the Ice Miller learning management system. The team took advantage of the Intellek LMS’s automatic deep linking feature to easily capture links to deliver the assessment on the firm’s intranet. The end-user was given the option to take the assessment first or review the learning material and then complete the assessment. Recognition was given for completion of units including notifying assigned attorneys of the secretary’s success and a nominal prize was awarded.
The Results Viewer provides the team access to click-by-click details of how the user interacted with the application to complete the tasks. This continues to allow the team to provide accurate and direct guidance when the scores are viewed.
Ice Miller noted that the custom assessments are ensuring that learning is now happening. The goal of the program is to build a culture of learning so that people are expanding their skills to more efficiently and effectively use the technology available to them. Learners reported that they gained insight into new and different ways to accomplish tasks and learned more about the tools used by the firm.