As the American Bar Association’s 2016 Legal Technology Survey Report notes, law firms continue to successfully incorporate technology into their everyday duties. For example, cloud usage grew more than 20% from 2015 to 2016, especially among solo and small firms.
There is no doubt that technology is here to stay in the legal industry and that it is helping law practices become more productive and better at client service. Below we will explain the three most popular ways that law firms use technology nowadays—to facilitate communication, automate attorney marketing and client management, and attract more prospects and leads—in order to showcase how technology can become an integral part of your practice.
- Facilitating Communication
Streamlining Collaboration Among Team Members
The typical professional spends approximately 3.2 hours per day answering work emails, according to one online study. That’s a lot of time spent on back-and-forth communication, much of it on tasks like collaborating about legal marketing strategy and approving content.
Top law firms aren’t willing to waste that much time; they streamline their communication and attorney marketing collaboration by moving from email to a more efficient system, such as the Google Suite of tools. This includes:
These tools can save hundreds to thousands of dollars each month on wasted time and expensive collaboration tools, while increasing productivity. For instance, Google Docs enable real-time collaboration among team members from anywhere around the world—all they need is an internet connection.
Cutting Down on Paper Clutter
The American Bar Association reports that some legal practices use up to half a ton of paper per attorney, per year. Not only does this add up to a significant expense, but it also damages the environment, clutters up office space that could be put to better use, and wastes money and time on extra administrative work.
Follow in the footsteps of “green” law offices and use technology to solve these issues.
- Use PDFs rather than printing and scanning documents
- Switch from fax to email only, or an electronic fax provider that sends and receives faxes electronically
- Upload all documents to a central, secure cloud account to make searching for any document fast and easy (no more going through filing cabinets or losing documents, and wasting billable hours)
There are countless ways to reduce your paper usage and make operations more efficient. Analyze where you can make the biggest reductions, and then experiment to see what works for your law firm.
- Automating Attorney Marketing and Client Management
CRM for Client Management
A legal CRM, or a client relationship management system, is the best technological tool that law firms have to automate their marketing efforts and support clients. The James Legal CRM, for instance, helps to:
- Automate prospect follow-up and review solicitation
- Monitor marketing efforts and telephone follow-up
- Send prospects valuable content like a 100-page branded book
- Decrease marketing, business, and tech spend
According to an analysis of case studies by Nucleus Research, law firms can expect an average of $8.72 per $1.00 spent on a CRM. This is supported by results from the James Legal CRM as well; after a comprehensive cost-saving audit conducted by James Publishing and ClientTech, and implementing the James Legal CRM, Orange County probate attorney Phil Lemmons now saves more than $14,000 per month in previously wasted attorney marketing and business spend.
In addition to saving money, the biggest perks of a legal CRM are freeing up more time that was spent on micromanaging legal marketing tasks (such as sending email campaigns), and increasing client satisfaction. For instance, Blue Hill Research determined that smaller general practice firms that implemented legal CRMs experienced 12% higher rates of client satisfaction.
- Attracting More Prospects and Leads
Online Reputation Management
Search Engine Land reports that 88% of your prospects trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member. That means that every review—positive or negative—heavily impacts the probability that prospects will consult your legal practice.
The best law firms use this to their advantage and prioritize online reputation management as a legal marketing strategy. With the James ORM (online reputation management), law practices can automatically collect positive reviews and mitigate negative ones. The software routes clients to the review site of their choice if they indicate that they would like to leave a positive review, and routes them to a private feedback page if they indicate that they would not recommend your services.
Loren Etengoff, a personal injury attorney in Vancouver, Washington, has more than doubled his caseload and reports that 90% of his new clients contact him due to the positive reviews generated by the James ORM.