Running a law firm and finding new clients is no easy task. With such an abundance of information to assimilate, retain, and share on a daily basis, it’s no wonder lawyers and other experts in the legal profession are considered to be in the upper echelon of the intelligence spectrum. Of course, any intelligent business-minded person who doesn’t live under a rock knows how beneficial the internet can be for gaining exposure and establishing an authoritative presence in any niche. Nowadays, a law firm without a website is like a payphone – you’d be hard-pressed to find one. With that said, here are four ways law firms are using technology and the internet to expand their client base and improve reputation.
1. Becoming a Resource on Social Networks
Back in the day, when someone wanted to ask a lawyer a question or find out more about a specific law, they’d have to call or visit a lawyer’s office and pay a relatively exuberant fee for a consultation. Now, people can get free advice on Twitter, Facebook, and hundreds of other social sites and forums. Charging for petty consultations doesn’t fly anymore. The days of making people pay for simple advice are gone. Clients who have the money to pay high fees are too savvy and too picky to settle for a service that is stingy with basic information.
Prospects want to know that their lawyer/attorney is both knowledgeable and generous with information, as that is an indicator of honesty and forthcoming—two qualities that many believe to be hard to find among the stereotypical “lying lawyers.” Progressive law firms are setting themselves apart by taking the time to be a go-to source for simple advice, and in exchange they get an influx of referrals and new clients.
2. Blogging About Important Topics
In addition to creating a presence on social networks, many law firms are also placing their websites higher in search engine rankings for topic-specific phrases by using their expertise to blog about topics that prospective clients might be interested in. By doing this, they establish themselves as an authoritative presence online when it comes to a specific area of law. Law firms can use the feedback and correspondence from their blog comments to determine the value of a topic almost as reliably as a retail business would use a bar code scanner to determine the value of a product.
Many practices are also receiving feedback from their blog readers and clients about which topics to address first, or using the inquiries they receive during work hours to conceptualize blog posts each evening. Legal professionals are in the perfect position to know which topics are most helpful to their prospective client base, with a strong focus being on answering common questions. Firms that are taking this approach wind up receiving calls from around the nation and often have too much work to handle.
3. Launching Law Firms Apps
Since about 2012, there has been an explosion of law firms launching their own apps to help streamline the process of communicating with and educating clients. Some apps provide additional utilities, while others are just basic contact interfaces that include access to the firm’s blog. Innovative apps that offer new features like fee/tax calculators are undoubtedly the most popular and most effective. While some firms have chosen to invest in custom app development services, other use simple online app creation platforms to make their own basic mobile interface for clients.
4. Digitizing Documents and Using Online Libraries
Finally, one of the most common ways law firms and legal practices are simplifying their jobs at a fundamental level is by digitizing all documents and utilizing online libraries to access information. Any firm that is still flipping tediously through filing cabinets and using a massive stack of books to look up statutes and laws is clearly behind the times. Digital databases are much easier to search through and obviously take up much less space than physical documents. As such, this is practically a mandatory requirement for any firm that wants to improve efficiency by saving time, effort, and space.
Staying Ahead of the Crowd
Any law firm that has invested a significant stake of its time and funds into online endeavors should understand that staying up-to-date is critical in today’s ultra-competitive technology-driven world. As such, firms should be continually researching and investing in IT assistance, site/app development, social media, and other forms of online outreach and optimization.