Posted by John Espley, chief executive of Legal Futures Associate LEAP UK
If a customer wanted to see a lawyer 10 years ago, then they would have had to call the firm’s office, talk to a receptionist and wait for an appointment at the lawyer’s convenience. The customer would have no idea how much the lawyer would charge and the whole process was overshadowed by fear and doubt – not the best start for any business transaction or relationship.
A decade on, more and more law firms are implementing technology to give their clients an improved and more efficient customer experience. The legal market is becoming dynamic and more vibrant. This change is in part driven by other industries and the gig economy with the rise of players such as Booking.com, Uber and Deliveroo. These have forced change in the expectation of customers and how they utilise technology when carrying out transactions.
Customers want to buy NOW. They don’t want to wait and they want to be in control of the transaction. They want to book and change their appointments online, they want to know how much they are going to pay and they want to be able to oversee their transactions online.
Law firms have to give a much better and more immediate service. Technology now allows them to provide services such as web portals that help with price transparency, onboarding and booking capabilities for their clients and prospective clients. So, what should you look for from legal technology in 2020?
You need software that helps you to run your practice, software that is easy to use, that speeds up your daily tasks, eliminates the time and often mistake-ridden double entry of information.
The cloud is where it is happening. Expensive to purchase and then maintain, servers are becoming a relic of the past. The cloud delivers immediacy and flexibility, the capability to work on any device anywhere at any time, ensuring that you have the latest versions of software and legal forms.
Choose a system that is truly cloud-based, one that uses a secure backup provider such as Amazon Web Services and one that securely encrypts data, giving automatic data back-up and synchronisation between files.
Good legal software will save you time and money, make your practice more efficient and profitable and let you get on with doing what you do best – practising law.
You need a system which can automatically produce timesheets and invoices and one that your clients can make transaction at their convenience which also helps your cash flow.
Law firms need software that improves customer service and makes it faster, more intuitive and more secure. As technology advances so does the need for better user interfaces. Software needs to be intuitive and reliable to compete within the modern legal profession.
Promoting your practice
Make your website work for you 24/7 with the advent of the price transparency revolution. Display your pricing to your advantage on your website. The Web Portal from LEAP, for example, allows your customers not only to see your pricing but also book an appointment or pay a bill at their convenience, from a smartphone, laptop or computer, at any time of the day or night. A recent study showed that 40% of online appointment scheduling occurs after hours.
Quality of life
Access all your matter information at any time and from any device. Be in total control in and out of the office. There is no longer a need to stay in the office long after the end of the traditional working hours. Being more efficient means that you spend less time working and more time on your clients’ work, looking for new business or at leisure.
Let your staff work where they want to, whenever they want to. This will help you to attract and retain higher-quality staff.
According to the Law Society, there is a growing awareness that legal technology is important and that law firms which adopt technology will have a competitive advantage over those that do not. Don’t be left behind. Make sure your technology is working for you.