In an environment of increasing competition, law firms are under immense pressure to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Furthermore, firms are also increased pressure to provide value for money legal services with transparent pricing models, and new fee structures that move away from time-based billing from their clients.
On the surface, it might seem like a daunting task for a traditional legal firm to adapt to these new client demands. However, there are a few technological solutions that all small firms can utilise which may help them to adapt to the changing demands of clients.
Some legal practitioners may be reluctant to use social media due to the fact they may be risk averse, and also by using social media, may open up the possibility of reputational damage. However, when used properly, social media can be an invaluable tool that may provide networking opportunities, lead generation, and can position a firm as a progressive thought leader. Using tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs, can enhance the firm’s brand and generate new clients and opportunities.
Document Management System
Having all of a client’s documents neatly organised and easily accessible is essential for proper risk management. In this way, document management systems have the dual function of acting as a risk management tool, as well as enabling lawyers to keep a close track of how each matter is progressing, while also improving client communication. A good document management system can also mean that conflicts are easier to identify, and avoid.
In an age where everything is increasingly being done online, having a website presence is essential for any firm wishing to attract new clients. Websites are an important tool for reaching potential clients and establishing a firm’s brand. It is important that websites reflect the image of the firm while also differentiating itself from the competition. For example, content such as articles, case studies, and examples of success stories can be useful in demonstrating the unique capabilities of the firm.
Precedents and Workflows
Lawyers, who are looking for a tool that will provide the most value for money, can’t go past precedents and workflows. Precedents save time by automating routine tasks, which then frees up time to concentrate on and add value to the more complex aspects of the matter. Similarly, workflows provide an easy step-by-step guide to conducting a matter, and will prompt lawyers to create documents as needed, and will also ensure that lawyers avoid missing deadlines. Furthermore, precedents and workflows also provide an excellent training tool for new or inexperienced paralegals or practitioners who require some guidance in the process of conducting matters of that nature.
Time & Billing Software
Time and billing software not only makes keeping track of timesheets infinitely easier, it also provides meaningful data that enables lawyers to understand their firm’s performance. Reports on things such as profitable practice areas, debt collection data, and costs associated with producing work by matter type can provide invaluable insight into the profitability and inner workings of a firm. These tools can also be used by firms looking to introduce alternative fee arrangements, and also to assess whether alternative fee arrangements are generating profit for firms which already have such software.
Adopting some of the aforementioned technological solutions will save lawyers time and will enable the firm to operate more efficiently, ultimately, making them more competitive in this ever changing legal market.