Which law firms will take the technological lead moving forward

There have been two critical moments in our reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic that have defined which law firms will be on a strong footing as we find our way forward. From our vantage point supporting thousands of law firms nationwide, we’ve had an eagle eye on how things have played out.

The First Critical Moment – Reaction

First came the initial shock of stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Law firms were forced to decide how to react. Was the right course of action to shut down as well or to push forward and find a way to remain productive? Needless to say, the firms who chose to find new pathways have done very well. They’re finding new clients and growth for their firms.

The Second Critical Moment – Revelation

Second came the revelation that none of us were in the story we thought we were in. We entered the pandemic thinking it was a survival story, “How will I ride this out and get to the other side?” It didn’t take long for us to realize that the other side was not going to be a return to the world we knew.

This isn’t about survival. We’re in a story of forced innovation and permanent change, and all of us are searching for the “new normal” that will redefine how we do business.

The “new normal” is still largely unknown, but one thing is crystal clear. It will be defined by technology and those who embrace it. Attorneys who are preparing to manage and market their law firms with an updated tech stack are already claiming the best pole position on the race track to finding new clients.

The Technological Questions Must Be Answered

The choices that presented themselves in these two critical moments are no longer choices. They’re challenges posed by a new world that’s still taking shape.

Before, there were still safe havens where attorneys who hadn’t adapted to new technology and means of communication could find success. Regardless of when it’s possible to meet people face-to-face again or shake hands, it will be the attorneys who learned how to connect with their teams and their clients online who take the lead.

These questions must be answered.

  1. How will you use technology to change your path forward?
  2. How will you use technology to prepare for the unknowns of the “new normal” that lies ahead?

Changing Pathways

Some of the tech success stories we can speak to the clearest are from our own world of providing legal leads for attorneys. A lead is simply someone who is requesting legal help. They submit their request online in different ways including a form filled out on one of our websites or by calling in directly. Then, we route them to attorneys from their region who practice the appropriate category of law. That way, attorneys can overcome the challenges of online marketing and find new clients.

When the shutdowns began, the attorneys who work with us started getting creative and forged pathways to new opportunities.

  1. Law firms seized the opportunity to expand their practice.

We provide leads in more than 40 categories of law with many subcategories within them. Because they already had this technological advantage in play, attorneys began to leverage the opportunity to pivot quickly to new categories and expand their practice to tangential or related categories of law. This allowed them to maintain or even increase their case load.

  1. Law firms seized the opportunity to compete in new markets.

Prior to COVID-19, many of our attorneys assumed that there was a limit to how far they could reach into their region. Their criteria was based on pre-COVID ways of thinking, like “Clients will want to meet face-to-face, and they will only drive so far.” Whether that was true or not, that was the story they were operating in.

Then the world shut down, and almost overnight, video conferencing on online platforms like Zoom became a native language of communications for a huge part of our population. By necessity, video calls were accepted as a proper forum for talking about important things like legal issues.

Attorneys who were open to new pathways took the opportunity to expand their geo-targeting for legal leads to new counties and states. They’re now reaching new people and growing.

The good news is that the acceptability of video conferencing won’t go away. Just as we’re all predicting that many people will continue working from home, the wide use of video conferencing isn’t just a COVID coping mechanism. It’s a paradigm shift. Access to new markets will remain, and the attorneys who jumped on this new pathway got an early foothold.

Preparing for the Unknown

It’s hard to imagine a more acute pain for any business owner than to feel like they weren’t prepared for something important. That’s a pain that so many partners and owners of law firms were feeling when they realized they weren’t prepared with the right technology to empower their team to work from home.

However, here are some great things that are happening.

  1. Law firms are implementing new ways to communicate. Whether by picking up a Zoom account or by moving to a fully-integrated cloud solution like UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) that crosses all devices, more and more attorneys and their staffs are realizing how much clarity is found in seeing each other during a call or sharing screens to literally stay on the same page. They’re discovering tools like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as a solution for getting untethered from the physical office in order to unlock productivity and accessibility for their teams.

 

  1. Law firms are finding new ways to coordinate. There’s nothing like sending people home to work to find the weak links in your internal management systems. Firms are introducing LPM (Law Practice Management) software to their teams and discovering the benefits of everyone having access to the same contacts, calendars, invoicing, time-tracking, documents, and financial data.

Firms are learning to track clients’ progress together and better serve them. They’re improving client intake processes and making sure people don’t slip through the cracks.

  1. Law firms are discovering how many processes they can automate. Many attorneys are beside themselves when they realize how much of their invoicing and financial activity could have been automated!

Law firms are finding out how much revenue they can generate from some simple, automated email campaigns that continue to stay in touch with potential clients. Chat bots on websites and social media are multiplying the capacity of their existing staff to interact with important inquiries about their services. E-signatures keep paperwork flowing and moving forward.

The Real Technological Questions are About Productivity

Many of the tech solutions above were implemented because of the necessity to empower remote work, but the bottom line is that they’re having a far more important effect. Law firms who are updating their tech stacks are becoming more productive, and that’s the biggest competitive edge they’ve gained.

In fact, many law firms who had some of these tools to begin with and were happy to rest on their existing tech stack during the shutdowns may have fallen behind as well. They may have missed an opportunity to update and optimize their systems in a time when there was bandwidth to focus on the task.

It’s never been easier for large law firms to coordinate and for smaller law firms to save unbelievable amounts of time that they used to spend managing the details of running a firm. They can talk to more clients, retain more clients, serve more clients, and grow faster than their competition.

Remote work was merely a catalyst. The prize is a new level of productivity, a level that many law firms could have had long before the early months of 2020. The ones who claim it will take the lead.

You Can Be More Productive in Your Online Marketing

Marketing a law firm online is a highly-specialized, frustrating, technical task, and it constantly threatens to pull an attorney’s focus away from the cases they care about.

That’s where 4LegalLeads fits into your marketing plan. You’re able to focus on the cases you care about while we bring twenty years of online marketing experience and our nationwide presence to the task of driving new, potential clients into your sales pipeline. You can use legal leads to expand your law firm in an affordable, effective way that doesn’t require you to build out a complex infrastructure, and you can easily scale your campaigns for accelerated growth.

Visit 4LegalLeads.com/lawyers to create your account or call (866) 685-0070 to speak to our team directly. Unlike many companies, 4LegalLeads has no long-term contracts, and you are in control of your budget. After you create your account, our support team will customize and optimize your account for you so you can start finding new clients online.

Answer the Technological Questions and Take the Lead!

If there’s good to be found in our current situation, part of it will be the triumph of law firms and businesses over adversity. It will come from the courage of leaders who see opportunity when others see obstacles. We encourage you to find new pathways and prepare for the unknown by updating your technological capabilities. Don’t be left behind in the “new normal” that lies ahead of us all!

About Law Technology Today

Law Technology Today
Law Technology Today is the official legal technology blog from the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC). Law Technology Today provides lawyers and other legal professionals with current, practical and innovative content developed by some of the leading voices on legal technology.

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