Technology has completely transformed how we do business. IT has changed how companies connect and communicate with their clients, and a company’s “storefront” online is now just as important as its physical office space. This is just as true for law firms as it is for any other business. Modern applications of technology can bring in new clients and help with expanding clientele, increasing revenue, and even improving internal engagement from your own team. Here are 5 great ways to use tech to generate new business and improve efficiency at your law firm:
1. Build a client portal
Static websites are old news. To optimize legal business today, you need to offer your clients this critical business tool. A portal allows clients to login to a customized section of your website where they can view, change and manage current and future projects. You determine what your clients have access to and when they have access to it. For example, a portal can include meeting calendars, document sharing, contact management and private messaging services.
Tip: Adding a client portal to your website makes collaboration easier and provides 24/7 access for your clients.
2. Write a blog
Become a resource for potential clients. Law firms are setting themselves apart by establishing a knowledgeable and impressive online presence. By covering important issues and addressing relevant or newsworthy topics, you can engage new readers and expand brand awareness for your firm. High quality original content will increase your visibility as your readers do the marketing for you by sharing it on LinkedIn, Facebook or via email. As more readers turn to your blog for answers and advice, some will inevitably bring in new business – either via referral or by becoming new clients themselves. And from a technical perspective, the more you blog, the more pages and links will be indexed by search engines – which increases the chances of your firm showing up on page 1 of online search results.
Tip: If your firm starts a weekly blog, after 1 year you can expect your website traffic to increase by 53%.
3. Create an app
The days of handing out flyers and printed ads are coming to an end. Today, the best way to communicate with your clients is through their mobile device. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own smartphones – and the time we spend using them is up to 5 hours per day (that’s more time than we spend watching TV). If your firm doesn’t have a mobile interface, you’re missing a major opportunity to communicate with existing and potential new clients. You can start by creating an app with a simple menu – e.g. background information on the firm, contact us page and access to the firm’s blog. From there you can get creative and build out all kinds of innovative new features. For example, a services page with a fee calculator or a community page for legal questions and comments – the possibilities are endless.
Tip: Annual maintenance costs of a published app can be around 20% of your app’s initial development costs.
4. Accelerate review
Most major law firms already rely on e-Discovery software, such as kCura’s Relativity platform, to accelerate review and manage large volumes of data. These programs can assist with matters related to litigation, internal investigation, compliance, etc. You can get more out of legal software by utilizing the available plug-ins. For example, Morningside’s Language Connect plug-in helps expedite the translation of foreign language documents by allowing users to instantly send multilingual files for evaluation and translation without leaving the Relativity environment. Human, machine or hybrid translation services are available in more than 100 languages through Language Connect.
Tip: IBM has built an AI program named “Ross” that you can hire to do legal research for your firm.
5. Streamline compliance
Use certified eLearning training programs to take the place of in-person CLE or CPD seminars. These online courses are much more convenient for lawyers and their staff. As long as they have internet access, eLearning can be done anytime, anywhere, and in any language. By providing automated, easy-to-access and interactive training courses, employees are more likely to retain new knowledge and compliance officers can more easily track and monitor course completions.
Tip: If you are a multinational firm with a global workforce, translating onboarding and compliance materials often yields higher profits for the firm.