The Group Legal Services Association’s (GLSA) annual meeting was held May 17-20 in Scottsdale, AZ. A theme of the conference was how to do more for less. Solos in particular can leverage technology for existing clients and to increase potential new matters.
Five trends and tips from the CLEs provided over the three-day conference:
Whether consumer or business, educate clients on the needs and benefits of using an attorney rather than marketing based on fear. Technology can both assess clients’ needs and provide basic information to bridge that education gap. Triage tools like expert systems or chat bots can provide a roadmap and spot client issues without any time spent by the attorney. Gone are the days where if you build your practice, the clients will come.
Practice Management Technology
The discussions moved past whether attorneys should use technology and the cloud to several presentations on enabling technology work that works for you. Also, it’s important to ensure that all the systems are securely integrated with your laptop and phone. The practice management system is the starting point or core solution. Ensure that any other systems will communicate and work well with each other, keeping the practice management system at the center of your technology plan.
Although key performance indicators (KPIs) are being used more regularly, it’s important to create a framework to organize and coordinate the metrics. The first step to choosing metrics is to focus on your firm’s challenges or problem areas. Take the time to examine all your data sources and ensure good date, otherwise the results can be false indicators. Solos have the most to gain from zeroing in on a few measurements for client satisfaction and new client development plus a metric to ensure prompt collections.
Chatbots, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are not going away. And like other technology, these solutions will bridge the education gap and help triage clients’ needs. Some of the routine non-legal tasks will be replaced by technology but that is okay because clients today expect lawyers to use technology. The future of legal services will include AI but, again it’s not the replacement of lawyers, instead AI allows more affordable and robust legal offerings.
All attorneys should be open to doing things differently or should not invest in technology or new systems, including KPIs. Whether it’s technology, outsourcing administrative tasks, or new approaches to firm management, all free up attorneys to provide legal services. However, simply purchasing a solution without examining work flow and processes for improvements is a waste of resources.
From the state of the industry panel to the closing CLE presentation on the future of legal services, the conference’s common theme was freeing up attorneys to practice law and provide affordable legal services to more clients. #onwards.