In matters of law, client relationships are the single most integral component of the trade. Becoming essential is the ability to utilize technology and incorporate it into information collection and sharing, research and case development, office culture, relationship building, and finally, communication. This need is vastly overpowering methods of old. In order to experience growth and prosperity in today’s market, law firms would benefit greatly by adapting to the changes in client relationships through advances in technology.
In the last article, we covered a general overview of how using technology as a means of communicating with a client can help to transcend generational gaps, and further streamlining the communication process as a whole. Here, we will breakdown this overview, and get into specifics.
A general hypothesis is that the more technology is used, the less labor is needed. With less labor, costs associated with the work involved becomes cheaper, thus, money is saved. However, through the use of technology, volume can be increased. Therefore, a higher profit margin becomes more probable. This same hypothesis can also be applied to client communication. The more technology is used to streamline communication, the faster each step can be taken to settle a case. This basic concept should be prevalent throughout law practices. However, this principle is not being practiced widely, believe it or not, even in today’s rapidly changing technological world.
Postal delivery, even UPS or FEDEX, is considered by many to be versions of “snail-mail”. This also wastes valuable time in receiving signed copies of urgent documentation, hindering the law firm’s ability to proceed with a case. This may further prohibit how many cases can be worked on at once, or how many clients can be taken on at a time. By simply employing the use of scanners and email, combined with the acceptance of electronic signatures, sending documentation and receiving signed copies back can eliminate weeks of wait time.
Email can and should be used for not only sending or receiving documentation, but for sending and receiving confirmation of delivery and receipt. This medium can further be used as a platform for all communication, quick notes, updates, etc. Creating folders can assist in keeping every communication organized and verifiable. Even phone calls or text messages should be followed up with an email verifying the context of the conversation to ensure that everything is understood. More importantly, it ensures that everything discussed is in print! This can be referred back to in cases where there is an area that is contested, or claimed to have been misunderstood. It is an unfailing line of protection for both you, and the client.
Emails only take a few moments to write up and can save valuable time, labor costs, office supplies, and also provides a measure of security and understanding for both the law firm, and the client. This streamlining of communication through email allows a law firm to settle cases faster, streamline work processes, and creates a clear and easy path for relationship building with the client.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.