The legal industry has seen some significant changes since the turn of the century. What used to be a primarily transactional industry now relies mostly on the client experience. Instead of maintaining a strong hold on the law and it’s direction, lawyers are dealing with a more informed, post-recession clientbase. In fact, according to this 2018 Forbes article, the general public are becoming more and more savvy when it comes to their knowledge of law. Due to greater access to legal information (including the help of paralegals, associates, etc.), as well as a general unwillingness to pay for legal services with the advancement of technology and non-legal retailers, clients have taken control of the legal market.
Where does that leave you and your practice? Here are five ways in which your practice can keep pace with client needs:
1. Choose Your Clients Carefully
The number one priority when consulting with a potential client is whether or not you are the right fit for their legal needs. This issue is best suited by understanding your ideal client (make a list!) and considering the situation based on the client's’ desired outcome. If it’s not a fit, don’t try to make it work. You’ll be saving both you and your prospective client time, money and effort.
2. Have an effective and personalized intake process
Just like writing down your ideal clients’ traits makes a difference in who you take on, your intake process should reflect your individual practice. Lexicata’s Aaron George prescribes these tips for streamlining your intake process:
- Use Your Website for Marketing, Not Managing Intake
- Automate Your Follow-Up with Drip Emails
- Utilize Online Questionnaires to Streamline Administrative Work
- Offer E-Signatures For Retention and Improve Conversion Rates
3. Reduce Unnecessary Bottlenecks and Manage Your Practice Efficiently
With the startup era, consumers are finding business acumen to be just as important as legal expertise when consulting an attorney. When you find ways to cut time and money from their outcomes, you can further cement your professionalism in their minds. Some ways you can do so are:
- Keeping your client in the loop (Communication at every step)
- Establish a timeline for their legal process
- Utilize technological help when it doesn’t sacrifice quality
4. Develop and maintain a personal connection to your clients.
This list has addressed efficiency for effective client intake, however, attorneys must always keep in mind: the process of choosing an attorney is emotional. Many sales and marketing models are built on the idea that every decision is emotional. Build connection with potential clients into your strategy.
5. Make client feedback central to your client service
Any intake process worth its salt will rely on the feedback from the client experience. In your practice management, put together a comprehensive survey to determine where you can improve and what aspects of the intake process your clients appreciated most. You may have an idea on what works best for you and your clients, but their feedback will give you the answers on how to keep your practice thriving.