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A selection of articles related to popular and up-and-coming legal technology and its best uses for attorneys at small law firms.

Tag Archive for: Legal Tech

Technology & Small Law Firm Management: Beyond LPM Software

TECHNOLOGY For Small Law Firms

 

In today’s fast-paced, tech-driven world, integrating cutting-edge solutions into your small law firm’s operations can be the difference between thriving and surviving. That’s because harnessing the power of technology can significantly enhance your firm’s efficiency, client satisfaction, and overall success.

In this post, we’ll explore the role of technology in small law firm management, from legal practice management software to virtual employees.

 

Embracing Your Digital Options

Gone are the days of relying solely on paper documents, manual research, and in-person appointments. As a small law firm attorney, leveraging technology allows you to level the playing field and compete with larger firms while maintaining your personalized service. Here’s how:

 

Streamlined Case Management

A robust case management software keeps track of all your cases, deadlines, appointments, and documents in one centralized location. Eliminating the risk of crucial information falling through the cracks and ensuring that you’re able to provide consistent, high-quality service to your clients.

 

Enhanced Communication

Consistent communication should be a top priority for any successful law practice. Automated emails, video conferencing, and secure messaging platforms enable you to communicate with your clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel more frequently and effectively. Staying connected builds strong relationships that foster trust and loyalty. (And helps you avoid a top bar complaint of “lack of communication!”)

 

Time Tracking and Billing Efficiency

Use technology to streamline your law firm’s billing and invoicing processes in order to accurately track your billable hours and generate invoices with ease. Many LPM software options include these features, but there are also standalone products.

 

Virtual Legal Assistants & Paralegals

Imagine having a skilled legal assistant who you only pay for the hours you need. Virtual assistants function like contractors – meaning you aren’t responsible for salary, benefits, recruiting, and employee management. Instead, you’ll pay a flat rate based on hours or minutes.

These virtual staff members provide the qualified and experienced help you need – for a fraction of the cost of an in-house employee! Giving you the ability to focus on what you do best: practicing law.

 

Project & Office Management

Virtual legal assistants can tackle that day-to-day busy work that’s keeping you from your casework:

  • Calendar Management: Scheduling your appointments, blocking off time for casework or court, and canceling or rescheduling for you when you’re overbooked
  • Email Management: Finally – inbox 0. Cleaning up your existing mail and folders and monitoring your incoming email.
  • Finances: Creating invoices for your clients and staying on top of them until payment arrives and meticulously tracking your expenses for you.
  • CRM Management: Entering new leads, updating client information, and creating automated workflows.
  • Client Communications: Updating clients on their cases and appointment reminders.

 

Legal Research

Whether you need case law analysis, precedent research, or legislative updates, virtual legal assistants can conduct thorough legal research to provide you with the information you need, making your job a little bit easier.

 

Document Preparation

Virtual legal assistants can assist with drafting legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, and correspondence, saving you valuable time (and ensuring accuracy!).

 

Virtual Legal Receptionists

Let’s face it: in the legal industry, first impressions matter. Many successful small law firms use virtual legal receptionists as the relentlessly friendly voice of their law firms. Imagine the ability to work in sweet, peaceful silence while virtual legal receptionists deliver an exceptional client experience and maintain your law firm’s professional image.

 

New Client Intake

Virtual legal receptionists handle initial inquiries from potential new clients, screen your leads, gather essential information, and schedule new client consultations. They’ll manage a smooth and efficient intake process while ensuring no call (aka potential new client) slips through the cracks.

 

Call Management

The small law firm attorney’s secret to working in silence. Virtual legal receptionists will answer all your incoming calls, and route them accordingly. Transferring the calls that you want to receive and taking messages or scheduling appointments for less urgent matters.

 

Outbound Calling

Virtual legal receptionists can handle all of your outbound calls for you too. Making following up on your website’s contact forms, rescheduling appointments, appointment reminders, and collecting payments no longer your responsibilities.

 

Embrace the Tech-Filled Future

By embracing the technology available to you, you’ll position your small law firm for growth, increased efficiency, and an enhanced client experience.

So, take the leap into the digital frontier and watch your small law firm thrive in the modern age!

 

Want to learn more about how Virtual Legal Assistants & Receptionists can help you grow your law firm? Schedule a Free Discovery Call today.

10 Ways to Increase Productivity as a Solo Attorney

Increase Productivity As a Solo Attorney

Running a solo law firm is both rewarding and challenging. While you enjoy the freedom and independence of owning your own practice, you also face immense pressure managing every aspect of running a business on your own (on top of your legal work).

Incorporating productivity-enhancing strategies is crucial to maximize your efficiency and make the most of your time. In this post, we will explore 10 ways solo attorneys can increase productivity.

 

1. Delegate Administrative Tasks

Virtual legal assistants can be brought on for a fraction of the cost of an in-house employee, making them a popular choice for solo attorneys. These professionals can handle your administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling, document drafting, client communications, and CRM management, allowing you to focus on billable work.

 

2. Utilize a Virtual Receptionist Service

Another popular solution for solo attorneys is to hire a virtual receptionist service. Virtual receptionists answer your incoming calls, screen leads, complete new client intakes, schedule appointments, answer questions, take messages, and even place outbound calls at your request. Ensuring that your phone is always covered keeps your clients happy and gives you the interrupted time you need to focus on your work.

 

3.  Implement Time Management Techniques

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of work on your plate when running a law firm on your own. Test out different time management methods to see what fits your workstyle and personality best.

Here are some popular techniques:

  • Pomodoro Technique
  • Time Blocking
  • Eisenhower Matrix
  • Getting Things Done
  • Eat That Frog Technique

 

4. Prioritize and Set Clear Goals

Develop a clear roadmap of what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be accomplished in order to channel your efforts more efficiently. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals to stay organized and motivated. Prioritize your tasks based on their importance and deadline.

 

5. Embrace Technology

Utilize tech tools and software specifically designed for law firms. Legal practice management software, document automation tools, scheduling software, and cloud-based storage systems can shave hours off of your workweek.

 

6. Develop Standard Practices

Create systems and processes for routine tasks. Standardizing the procedures that you do on a regular basis, such as new client intakes, saves time and reduces errors. Develop a call flow blueprint (a specific plan that outlines your call flow process for every call that comes into your law firm) to streamline your call handling.

 

7. Automate Everything

Identify everything that you can automate, and automate it. Email templates, appointment reminders, document templates, auto-responses, billing processes, etc. Automation frees up your valuable time and ensures a consistent experience for your clients.

Download Time Saving Automations to Make Your Law Firm More Money for a comprehensive automation plan.

 

8.  Outsource Non-Legal Work

As an attorney, you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of everything that goes into running a business. Consider outsourcing non-legal tasks such as accounting and marketing. You may feel like you’re saving money by tackling everything yourself, but the truth is, you’re going to spend a lot more time for a lot less ideal of an outcome than a professional will.

 

9. Get Involved in the Legal Community

Stay up to date with the latest legal developments and trends. You never know when the next tech that will end up being a lifesaver for your firm will drop. Attend relevant conferences and participate in the legal community by joining groups on social platforms.

 

10. Cultivate Work-Life Balance

It may feel impossible, but as a solo attorney, you are directly in charge of forcing yourself to prioritize your work-life balance. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for your long-term productivity and happiness. Set boundaries, schedule breaks, and take time off. Prioritize your self-care and personal time to help you stay energized and focused, and prevent dreaded burnout.

 

As a solo attorney, maximizing your productivity is vital to your success in the competitive legal landscape. But remember, productivity is not just about working harder, but working smarter.

 

Want to learn more about how Virtual Legal Assistants and Receptionists will be a lifeline for your solo practice? Schedule a free Discovery Call today.

Best Practices for Managing a Virtual Law Firm

Virtual Law Firm Best Practices

 

We’ve seen a significant shift toward virtual work environments as technology reshapes the way we work. And the legal industry is no exception. Virtual law firms offer numerous advantages, including:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduced overhead costs
  • The ability to attract and serve a larger client base

However, managing a virtual law firm requires careful planning and implementation of best practices to ensure seamless operations, effective communication, and optimal productivity. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best practices for successfully managing a virtual law firm.

 

Embrace Technology and Cloud-Based Solutions

To manage your virtual law firm effectively, it is essential to leverage technology and embrace cloud-based solutions.

Utilize secure and reliable legal practice management software that allows for efficient case and document management, time tracking, and billing. (Clio, Mycase, Lawmatics, PracticePanther, etc.)

Cloud-based platforms enable seamless collaboration among team members, regardless of their physical locations. Invest in video conferencing tools, messaging apps, and project management software to facilitate communication and streamline your workflow processes.

 

Establish Clear Communication Channels

Communication is the cornerstone of a successful virtual law firm. Establishing clear communication channels enables seamless collaboration and information sharing without in-office meetings.

Encourage regular check-ins, virtual meetings, and video conferences to keep your team on the same page. Use instant messaging platforms like Slack for quick, real-time questions and updates. Consider setting up dedicated channels for specific cases or practice areas to keep discussions focused.

 

Develop a Strong Company Culture

Building and maintaining a strong company culture can be challenging in a virtual environment, but the energy and time you put in will be worth it. A great company culture cultivates happiness, a sense of worth, purpose, and being an integral part of something bigger. On the flip side, poor company culture creates a disconnect and sense of meaninglessness.

Encourage regular virtual team-building activities, such as online happy hours, virtual games, or team challenges. Celebrate successes and acknowledge team members’ contributions through public recognition. Foster an inclusive and supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and a sense of belonging.

 

Implement Effective Security Measures

Data security is important for any law firm. Ensure that all of your team members are trained in cybersecurity best practices and adhere to strict protocols. Implement multi-factor authentication, strong password policies, and regular data backups. Encrypt sensitive client information and use secure file-sharing platforms to protect client confidentiality. Stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and invest in robust antivirus and firewall solutions.

 

Prioritize Work-Life Balance

One of the benefits of a virtual law firm is the potential for improved work-life balance. Encourage your team members to establish boundaries between work and personal life. Set realistic expectations for working hours and encourage breaks to prevent burnout.

Flexibility is a key advantage of virtual work. Encourage your team members to find schedules that work best for them while ensuring your clients’ needs are met.

 

Invest in Professional Development

Virtual law firms should prioritize ongoing professional development to enhance their team’s skills and expertise. Encourage participation in webinars, online courses, and industry conferences. Provide access to legal research databases and other resources to support continuous learning. Encourage a culture of knowledge-sharing and mentorship to promote the growth and development of all team members.

 

Maintain Strong Client Relationships

Managing a virtual law firm requires a proactive approach to building and maintaining strong client relationships. Regularly communicate with your clients through video conferences, email updates, and phone calls. Remember – lack of communication is a top bar complaint. Set expectations for when your clients will hear from you… and follow through!

Provide online portals for secure document sharing and case updates. Encourage open lines of communication and ensure prompt responsiveness to client inquiries. Make use of your clients’ feedback and satisfaction surveys to continuously improve client experience.

 

Hire Specialized Virtual Help

Reduce your staffing expenses AND your workload by utilizing specialized virtual receptionist and assistant services. These professionals have legal experience and can handle your administrative tasks remotely, freeing up your time for billable work and keeping your clients happy and cared for.

Virtual Legal Receptionists and Virtual Legal Assistants are a lifeline for small law firms because they provide top-tier customer service for a fraction of the cost of an in-house employee. Plus, there are no recruiting, management, or benefits to worry about either.

 

As technology continues to advance, virtual law firms will become even more prevalent in the legal industry. Managing a virtual law firm requires adaptability, effective communication, and a commitment to leveraging technology to its fullest potential. Embracing the best practices outlined in this blog post will help position your law firm for success in the modern legal landscape.

 

Take the first step toward your thriving virtual law firm today. Schedule a free Discovery Call here.

8 Essential Tips to Manage Small Law Firm Finances & Bookkeeping

Finances & Bookkeeping (for Small Law Firms)

Finances and bookkeeping may not be the most exciting part of managing your small law firm… But it’s crucial for the success of your practice. We’ve put together a list of practical tips to help you manage this important aspect of your business. So, let’s dive in and master the art of small law firm money management!

 

1. Keep Business and Personal Finances Separate

Avoid financial confusion by keeping your personal and business finances separate. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your law firm. This will simplify tracking your firm’s financials and make tax time much easier.

This isn’t to say that you can’t use your personal cash to finance your business. Many solo attorneys and small law firm owners do. If you’ve chosen to put personal money into your law firm, that’s fine, but keep your accounts separate.

2. Create a Budget and Stick to It

Budgeting may not be glamorous, but it’s the foundation of financial success! Create a budget that covers all your law firm’s expenses, from rent to salaries to office supplies.

When creating your budget, it’s important to:

  • Be thorough and realistic with your estimates
  • Regularly review and adjust your budget as needed

That’s right – budgeting isn’t a one-and-done ordeal. It requires continuous review and adjusting to stay on track.

3. Invest in Legal Accounting Software

Make your life easier by investing in legal accounting software. Meaning accounting software that was specifically designed for law firms. Look for features such as trust accounting, expense tracking, and time tracking.

The right legal accounting software will help you to:

  • Automate tasks
  • Streamline financial processes
  • Generate accurate financial reports

Need some ideas? Check out this article from Clio on the Best Legal Accounting Software for Lawyers.

4. Keep Accurate Bookkeeping Records

Good bookkeeping is essential for your law firm’s financial success. It’s important to keep meticulous records of all financial transactions. Precise organization is key.

You should be reconciling your accounts regularly (read: at least once a month). Don’t have time? (Who does??) Consider outsourcing your bookkeeping tasks to a virtual assistant. Outsourcing is a great way to free up your time and ensure accurate record-keeping.

5. Stay on Top of Cash Flow

Make Lots of Money as an Attorney

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, including law firms.

Here’s how to stay on top of it and ensure your law firm’s financial health:

  • Create cash flow projections
  • Monitor your income and expenses, making adjustments as necessary

Be proactive in addressing any cash flow challenges

6. Plan Ahead for Taxes

Don’t let tax season catch you by surprise. Stay ahead of the game by:

  • Keeping accurate records of your income and expenses
  • Setting aside funds for estimated tax payments
  • Familiarizing yourself with tax regulations for small law firms

Taxes can be, well, taxing. Consider consulting with a tax professional to optimize your tax strategy.

7. Review Financial Reports Regularly

Financial reports provide valuable insights into your firm’s financial performance.

To assess the health of your law firm’s finances, regularly review:

  • Profit and loss statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Cash flow statements

Use these reports to inform your financial decisions and adjust your financial strategy as needed.

8. Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

Consider outsourcing some (or – who are we kidding – all) of your financial and bookkeeping tasks to a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can assist with tasks such as:

  • Data entry
  • Expense tracking
  • Financial reporting
  • Client billing

Outsourcing financial tasks frees up your time to focus on what you do best – practicing the law! Be sure to carefully vet your virtual assistant before hiring to ensure confidentiality.

Alternatively, you can work with a virtual legal assistant provider. Back Office Betties supports a range of highly-qualified virtual legal assistants allowing you to hire a new employee… without the hassle of recruiting!

 

Following these essential tips, you’re ready to manage your small law firm’s finances like a pro. Remember, sound financial management is key to the success of your law practice. Stay organized, be proactive, and keep a close eye on your firm’s financials. Here’s to your firm’s financial success!

 

Learn more about how Back Office Betties Virtual Legal Assistants can make your life easier and your law firm more profitable. Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today.

Live Chat for Law Firms: Do Attorneys Need It?

Law Firms without Live Chat Are Missing Out on Potential Clients

The legal landscape is becoming increasingly digital… and law firms (even the smallest law firms) need to adapt to changing client expectations. Live chat is a great first step.

Law firms that have live chat on their websites see the following:

  • Enhanced engagement
  • Improved client experience
  • Increased generation of new business.

What Is Live Chat?

Live chat is a real-time online conversation tool. It allows your visitors to chat with your law firm right on your website.

In this blog post, we’ll review the benefits of live chat for law firms… and discover why more and more attorneys are adding it to their websites.

 

1. Increased Engagement

graph showing an increased in engagement

Client engagement is crucial for law firms. It builds trust and establishes strong relationships. Live chat enables your law firm to engage with potential clients on your website in real-time:

  • Answering questions
  • Addressing concerns
  • Providing immediate support

This creates a personalized experience and a warm first impression for potential clients.

You can also use live chat to offer help and guidance to leads who are browsing your website… but haven’t contacted you. All you need to do is initiate a chat yourself.

 

2. Improved Client Experience

Attorney and Client

An exceptional client experience is essential for generating referrals and positive online reviews.

Live chat improves the client experience by offering a convenient contact method. Your clients can chat with your law firm without needing to make a phone call or send an email. As a result:

  • Response times are reduced
  • Long waiting periods are eliminated
  • Your law firm shows that you value your clients’ time

 

3. Capturing Contact Information

sharing business card

Capturing leads and generating new business is essential for your law firm’s growth. Live chat is an effective tool to help.

You can require your visitors to provide contact information when initiating a chat. Such as:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number

That contact information can then be used to follow up with leads later on. This makes live chat a fast, low-effort way to capture leads that you can nurture into potential clients.

 

4. Increased Website Conversion Rates

meeting to talk about increased conversion rates

What is website conversion rate? It refers to the percentage of website visitors who take desired actions. Examples of desired actions are:

  • Calling your law firm
  • Submitting a contact form
  • Scheduling an appointment

Live chat boosts website conversion rates by offering an immediate way for potential clients to contact you. Many people are more likely to engage in a chat conversation than navigate through your website or fill out a contact form.

Live chat can also help address objections or hesitations in real-time. Allowing you to overcome barriers to conversion and guide leads toward taking action.

 

5. Competitive Advantage

calendar, calculator, a note, coins, and eyeglasses

In today’s competitive legal industry, it’s crucial to stand out. Offering a convenient contact option, like live chat, gives you a competitive edge. It also demonstrates that your law firm is tech-savvy and customer-focused.

Potential clients compare many law firms before making a decision. Stand out by offering immediate support and addressing their concerns on the spot.

 

6. Cost-Effective Communication

a hand getting money from wallet

Is there a cost-effective way for law firms to implement live chat?

Absolutely!

Legal virtual receptionist providers, like Back Office Betties, can handle your live chat services for you. You’ll provide instructions on how to handle conversations. And professional legal receptionists will represent your law firm in real-time.

Moreover, live chat streamlines communication and reduces the back-and-forth that comes with email. Meaning you’ll spend less time on non-billable work and see a faster path to inbox 0!

 

Conclusion

In today’s digital age, live chat is increasingly valuable for law firms:

  • Improving client experience
  • Capturing valuable leads
  • Generating more new business
  • Providing a competitive edge in the legal industry

Long story short, it’s time for attorneys to embrace the power of live chat!

 

Schedule a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist today. Learn more about professional, legal live chat services and how they can help your law firm.

Save Time & Sanity by Turning Your Practice into a Self-Service Law Firm

The Self-Service Law Firm

Running a law firm is a little like juggling while riding a unicycle. Oh, and the pins you’re juggling are on fire.

You’re probably going to wind up exhausted, a little bruised up, and possibly burned.

Between handling the day-to-day logistics, client acquisition, and billing headaches, there’s not a whole lot of time left to actually, you know, practice law.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. More and more law firms are offering self-service options that enable clients to do a lot on their own. These options can help you save time, money, and sanity.

 

What tasks can a self-service option handle?

Automation and self-service portals can handle a lot of tasks that may currently be overwhelming you and your staff. For example, think of the time involved for your staff to take a client’s name: it needs to be spelled and then verified. Why not just have the client enter their name themselves? It’ll be quicker for everyone involved, with less risk of error.

Some of the tasks that could benefit from a self-service option include:

  • Scheduling. Although many people will still prefer to call your office to schedule, there are also many who will prefer to choose an open time from your online schedule.
  • Intake. This can be offered during the scheduling process or later on. Allow your clients to fill in their own information to increase accuracy and decrease the amount of time your staff spends on this task.
  • Client Portal. Setting up a client portal allows your clients to access documents and bills directly from their computers or devices.
  • Client Education. The use of a client portal also gives you the option to provide educational materials to your clients, thereby potentially decreasing the amount of introductory education you need to provide during in-person consultations.
  • Online Bill Pay. Reduce the amount of physical mail that needs to be sent, received, and processed by offering online bill pay.

 

Benefits for attorneys

The benefits of self-service options for law firms are immediately apparent. You’ll potentially be able to:

  • Reach more clients.
  • Collect information with more accuracy.
  • Reduce the amount of time your staff has to spend on data-entry tasks, making them available for more important work.
  • Be able to collect testimonials and reviews more easily and consistently.

 

Benefits for clients

Many self-service tasks will benefit both you and your client. Potential benefits for clients include:

  • The ability to access their client portal from wherever they are.
  • The convenience of online billing and bill pay.
  • Providing education, making clients more confident in the legal process.
  • Increased satisfaction with their experience from start to end.

 

Improve the Experience for Everyone

Self-service tasks will increase productivity on your end and satisfaction on your client’s end. Some lawyers worry, though, that they don’t have the knowledge or ability to implement these solutions. But your firm is probably already using software like LawPay, Clio, or AcuityScheduling — so you may already offer your clients some self-service options.

Remember, you don’t have to build everything all at once. You can make changes and add services as the need arises.

 

Curious about how to structure and implement self-service offerings? Download our free e-book to see how automation can improve your service and give you time for more important tasks (and billable hours).

Turning Passion into Practice

Make a Difference Doing what you love

Would you quit a job you enjoy to start a new venture you’re passionate about?

Alene Anello, a graduate of Harvard Law School and president of Legal Impact for Chickens, faced this very decision. Eventually, she used her entrepreneurial spirit to found a litigation nonprofit that married her passion and purpose with her experience as a lawyer.

Originally inspired to learn about industrial animal agriculture thanks to her beloved pet chicken, Conrad, Alene has turned her lifelong love of animals into a career.

Find out how Alene decided to establish her own organization, what drives her work, and the one tech tool she couldn’t live without as a solo practitioner.

Making Life-Changing Career Decisions

Looking back, Alene’s career path wasn’t much of a surprise.

“My story was basically just that I’ve always been very opinionated,” says Alene.

“I was passionate about animal protection even before law school and I just wanted to keep doing animal protection in some way, Alene shares. “But I never envisioned being an entrepreneur.”

Alene began writing down her ideas and how she wanted to approach cases differently from what she was seeing. Eventually, she had listed so many things that she realized it was time to branch out as a solo practitioner.

The first step? Leave her good job.

“It was almost like my dream job…except I kept having these ideas,” says Alene. “It’s been really scary and really wonderful and exciting.”

How Consumers Can Help

We asked Alene what the average consumer can do to help the cause of Legal Impact for Chickens. She shared that “there are a lot of different things you can do; that depends on what feels right for you.”

People interested in supporting the ethical treatment of the animals should consider:

  • Trying vegan products that act as meat-free chicken alternatives
  • Advocating for better treatment of chickens by support organizations like LIC
  • Researching food companies they purchase from and asking them to pledge to improve the treatment of chickens
  • Researching how to interpret food labels to find the most ethical products

“I think it’s all about thinking about what feels right for you,” Alene explains. “There are a lot of really easy things you can do to improve animal lives. It should never be something that feels really unpleasant because then you’re not gonna stick with it, but something where you feel good about it. That’s the kind of thing you’re gonna do over and over again.”

The Tool You Can’t Live Without

When Alene was starting Legal Impact for Chickens, she was at first overwhelmed by the many different things that she had to do. She wanted to save money, so case management software was off the table. After trying to track her tasks with a notes document on her computer, Alene started to feel stressed out—until she found the perfect tool.

Now, when it comes to getting things done (and as an entrepreneur, there is a lot to get done), Alene swears by the task management app Todoist.

“It’s basically just like the best to-do list ever,” Alene explains. “You can just set a list of things to do with dates. Then when you’re done with them, you can click them off and it feels very satisfying.”

Stay in Touch With Legal Impact for Chickens

If you’re interested in keeping up with Alene and her work with Legal Impact for Chickens, visit legalimpactforchickens.org and follow LIC on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Putting the Client Experience First

FOCUS ON CLIENT EXPERIENCE (Stop Wasting Your Marketing Dollars)

How can firms stand out in a crowded online space and make meaningful connections with clients?

This is the question that drives Gyi Tsakalakis, President of AttorneySync, a legal marketing agency that helps leading lawyers grow their practices through digital marketing. Gyi shares how solo law firms should approach marketing, the client experience, and their digital footprint to gain a competitive advantage.

 

They Don’t Teach You This in Law School

When it comes to running a firm, most lawyers aren’t prepared for the marketing side of things.

I’m a licensed lawyer, even though I’m not practicing. And I can tell you when I went to law school, they didn’t teach marketing and business stuff,” says Gyi. “Especially now with all the tools and technology and social networks and all this internet stuff—lawyers get overwhelmed,” he adds.

You went to law school to learn the history of law, not to learn how to create Facebook ads, right?!

“Unless they came from that background or had been an entrepreneur in another context, why would we expect them to know anything about running business marketing, especially when it comes to digital?”

Yet marketing can help attorneys establish a larger client base and grow sustainably…when done right. The key to marketing a solo firm, says Gyi, is looking at the big picture: client experience. This encompasses client engagement, client intake, and client service. If a firm has poor client experience, all the marketing in the world can’t help them grow.

Gyi particularly focuses on the importance of handling client intake, which sets the stage for the rest of the client experience.

 

An ineffective client intake process might look like this:

  • A website visitor clicks on the chatbot and asks a question and never receives an answer.
  • A referral emails the firm using the primary email and doesn’t receive a response for 2 weeks.
  • A potential client finds the firm’s phone number online, calls, goes through an automated answering service, and gets frustrated when they can’t speak to a person.
  • A potential client calls the firm and leaves a message, and does not get a call back until the next week.

Despite all of the work done to get clients through the door, this unpleasant client experience will cause drop-offs at an early stage of client intake. “You’ve got to fix that stuff first before you actually spend a single dollar on marketing,” Gyi explains.

 

How to Stop Wasting Marketing Dollars Through Client Experience

Get more bang for your buck by focusing on the client experience. This approach will help you retain the leads coming in, ensuring that your marketing is pulling in leads that convert rather than leads that drop off during intake.

How can a solo firm put this into practice? First, think about every experience that a potential or current client has with your firm.

Try asking these questions:

  • What does a potential client see when they search your name online?
  • What do they see when they arrive at your website?
  • What happens when they call you?
  • What happens when they email you?
  • Where can they reach you?

Everything you set up has to be viewed from their perspective, not just what’s most convenient for you.

The answers to these questions can guide solo law firms in creating client-centric processes. Ultimately, the real goal is to answer client questions and help them identify if your firm is the right fit for them right away. That’s not always realistic, so the next best thing is to set their expectations and stop their search.

Establishing a solid client experience could mean the difference between keeping a lead in your funnel and a lead heading back to Google to find the next lawyer to work with.

 

The #1 Marketing Tool Every Lawyer Needs

 If there’s anything that Gyi wants lawyers to take away from marketing it’s this: you absolutely must sign up for Google My Business.

This goes back to his approach to the client experience. “People are gonna go look for information about you online,” Gyi explains. “Google has the lion’s share of search traffic.”

How you appear in Google is going to make a big difference for those searches. If your firm doesn’t show up on Google, for instance, it’s likely the search will stop there. However, if your firm shows up with a website, reviews, and a phone number, they are more likely to get in touch.

Think of Google My Business as the website before your website…and it’s free! All you have to do is claim the profile and fill it out. This boosts your digital presence and legitimizes the firm for clients. You wouldn’t have a law office without a sign on the building, and you also shouldn’t have a law firm without a digital presence.

 

Enlist a Marketing Expert

Solo practitioners have a lot on their plate, and running a firm can mean learning on the go. You can’t master everything at once! Get the most out of your marketing with a strategy that maximizes marketing dollars spent by building a digital presence that brings in leads for your firm and turns them into paying clients.

If you’re ready to amp up your digital presence and stand out in a crowded market, you can reach Gyi at attorneysync.com, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter.

The Top 5+ Mistakes Attorneys Make In Running Their Practice

Don't Let These Mistakes Attorneys Make Hinder Your Law Firm's GrowthMistakes are inevitable. Especially for small law firms that are just starting out. The good news is that overcoming these mistakes is possible and doing so will get your firm back on track for growth.

Below are the top mistakes attorneys make in running their practice and ways to avoid them.

 

Mistake #1. Failing to Communicate With Their Clients

The #1 bar complaint is lack of communication.

So why is failing to communicate with clients such a common mistake that attorneys make?

 

Short answer: They fail to view situations from their client’s perspective.

Your clients want to know what’s going on… even if there’s nothing going on. You might think you don’t have an update, but you do:

  • There’s no news yet
  • I’m still working or waiting on paperwork
  • Etc.

Set expectations for when your clients can expect to hear from you – and follow through!

After speaking with a client, tell them when you’ll be in touch again. And reach out when that time comes. Keep your clients in the loop to relieve their anticipation.

 

Mistake #2. Not Setting Up an Effective Intake Process

Not completing intakes on the initial phone call is likely the most common mistake attorneys make regarding new client intakes.

 

Your firm should be completing new client intakes on the first call.

 

It’s important to hook potential clients right away – they will be calling through a list of attorneys to find someone they connect with.

Potential clients feel like they have already found their attorney and begun their process when an intake has been completed.

If your competition is taking messages and letting calls go to voicemail while your firm is completing intakes on that first call, there is no contest.

 

What is an effective intake process?

Effective intake processes are streamlined and easy to follow. They ensure that the same information is collected each time and that nothing gets overlooked.

The #1 intake secret is building a script that establishes a streamlined process and leaves your callers with a competent and professional impression of your firm.

 

Not developing an intake script is a common mistake that attorneys make.

 

Mistake #3. Not Settling Into a Niche

Potential clients search online for exactly what they need:

  • “Divorce lawyer in Austin, Texas”
  • “Lawyer for bankruptcy Phoenix, Arizona”

 

Very few people are searching for:

  • “Lawyer”

And if they do… “lawyer” covers EVERY ATTORNEY in your area.

 

People want to hire a legal expert who specializes in their case type. The same way they want to see a cardiologist for heart disease, not a general practitioner.

Furthermore, finding a niche allows you to simplify your law firm’s operations. Focusing on the same type of cases will eliminate the back and forth of moving from case type to case type.

 

Mistake #4. Not Paying Enough Attention to Customer Service

Satisfied customers are the most valuable element to growing your law firm.

And once you’ve narrowed your competition by settling into a niche, how can you differentiate yourself within that group? With excellent customer service.

Too often, attorneys overlook the importance of empathizing with their clients and connecting with them on a human level.

Avoid that by doing the following:

  • Ask for feedback.
  • Keep your clients updated.
  • Ask them how they’re doing (Genuinely).
  • Make sure your receptionist is utilizing friendly verbiage.
  • Set up a referral program.
  • Use layman’s terms and check in to confirm your clients are understanding often.
  • Make them feel taken care of.

It can be embarrassing for clients to admit they don’t understand the terms you’re using or scenarios you present which can leave them feeling out of control and lost.

 

And remember that it’s never too late to fix mistakes. Poor customer service leads to bar complaints, negative reviews, and a lack of referrals.

Customer Service Recovery Paradox

 

Wow your clients with great service and they will send their friends and family to you

 

Mistake #5. Avoiding Technology and Automation

Many law firms seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to technology and it’s one of the biggest mistakes attorneys make.

But there are so many tech tools that can help you run your firm.

 

CRMs and Practice Management Software

A good legal CRM and/or practice management software will transform your law firm.

  • Keep your clients and leads organized and connected to their cases, paperwork, correspondence, appointments, and billing.
  • Automate emails and track referral programs to save you and your staff time and headaches.

 

Payment Processing

As Above the Law so eloquently states:

“Today, if you ask anyone under 35 for payment via check, you might get a perplexed look and a response like this:

‘Uh… I don’t use checks. Can I Venmo you instead?’”

 

While Venmo might be a little difficult for law firms to navigate, credit card payment is an option for almost all firms. You may have to pay fees or pay for a software subscription but it is well worth it.

Both receiving and making payments will be more reliable and painless. Resulting in a win-win for you and your clients.

The easier it is for your clients to work with you, the more likely they are to leave good reviews and refer you to friends and family.

 

Mistake #6. Spending Too Much Time on Administrative Work & Not Charging Enough Billable Hours

Lawyers report spending only 2.5 hours per day on billable work.

That number is painful, but surely not surprising. Every small law firm struggles with finding enough time for billable work, making this one of the most common mistakes that attorneys make.

 

Administrative work is TIME-CONSUMING and tedious. And frankly, there is no reason that you should be doing it.

The money spent paying someone else to do your administrative work is substantially less than your hourly rate. The misconception that answering phones and completing administrative work yourself saves money is one of the most common when law firms are first starting out.

This is because it costs you in the long run and prevents your firm from taking on more business and growing.

 

The misconception that answering phones yourself saves money is a common roadblock for small firms looking to grow.

 

Furthermore, if you have your paralegal or office staff taking your calls, consider hiring a legal-specialized virtual receptionist service. (Back Office Betties is a great choice, wink wink).

Your time is valuable, but so is your paralegal’s – let them take some of the more complicated administrative work off your plate and stop wasting their paycheck on calls. The only person that should be answering your everyday phone calls is a dedicated receptionist or receptionist service.

 

 

Is your firm making any of these mistakes? Request a call with our Growth Solutions Strategist to strategize the best route to growth for your law firm.

 

The Giant List of Tools That Run Back Office Betties (That Can Help Run Your Law Firm Too)

Virtual Tools to Run Your Law FirmThe number of virtual tools you can find online is nearly endless.

It’s hard to sift through everything and find the tools that are worth your time and will actually help run your law firm.

Luckily, we have a full toolbox and we’re going to share everything that helps us run Back Office Betties with you!

 

1. Officevibe

Officevibe is an online tool that enables you to keep track of employee morale through anonymous feedback.

You can create custom surveys with polls and text-based questions or use Officevibe’s pre-made templates. Surveys are sent to employees by email and are answered anonymously. For text-based questions, however, you can give your employees the option to answer anonymously or not.

This tool helps management stay aware of employee morale and the effects it has in the workplace. Allowing your team to speak candidly about problems and experiences makes for better employee retention and relations.

Track responses and engagement rates over time, broken down into 10 key metrics. Officevibe also allows you to schedule 1:1s and provides guidance for managers on responding to feedback and growing within their leadership roles.

Pricing: $4/user/month

 

2. Snagit

Snagit is a screen capture and recording software.

Snagit is a great tool to create video tutorials and how-tos. You can record your screen and audio or take and edit screenshots. Their editing features include drawing tools, text boxes, arrows, directions, etc. Use their templates to transform your screenshots into step-by-step instructions or manuals.

These features save you time and confusion explaining processes and training new employees. New employees, especially, take in so much information that it’s impossible to remember every detail. Video and image tutorials make it easy for them to go back and review. (And you won’t be interrupted with questions either!)

Pricing: One-time fee of $49.99/user with discounts for more users.

 

3. Screencastify

Similar to Snagit, Screencastify is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to record your screen and create instructional videos.

You can record your tab, whole screen, or webcam only. A great feature is the ability to embed your webcam anywhere in the recording. (Hello to your talking head in the corner.) Screencastify also has great annotation tools such as mouse spotlighting, a drawing tool, and click highlighting.

The videos are easy to share and save. Recordings auto-save to your Google Drive, and you can export them as MP4, MP3, or even animated GIF! If you want to upload directly to YouTube, that’s an option too.

Pricing: $0 with a 5-minute recording limit or $49/year for unlimited.

 

4. UberConference

UberConference is an online video conferencing software.

UberConference simplifies video conferencing – no pins, passwords, or downloads required! It’s easy to switch between camera and voice only during the call, and individual callers will be highlighted while speaking. You’ll never have to ask, “Who just said that?” again. Screensharing is quick and easy, and settings can be toggled to allow any caller to share.

After meetings end, UberConference provides you with a detailed summary of what happened and a link to the recorded meeting. The summary will include who was on the call, action items, and voice transcriptions of everything said. You can even search through the transcriptions for keywords.

Pricing: $15/month for up to 100 users.

 

5. Teramind

Teramind is a computer monitoring software with a multitude of features.

The main purpose of Teramind is to record and collect data from employees’ computers. Teramind also serves as a way to protect private information and put in place restrictions and permissions.

The following are only some of the features that Teramind offers:

  • Monitor Recording – Watch employees’ screens live and access the recordings later.
  • Administrative Access – Take full control of monitored computers at any time. This feature is fantastic for troubleshooting tech problems with your team.
  • Audio Recording – Record audio picked up through the computers’ microphones and listen live or access recordings later.
  • Keyboard Monitoring – All keystrokes and copy/paste operations are logged – including passwords. Use this feature to ensure strong passwords are being used and not repeated.
  • Email Tracking – Save all email information and set up alerts to notify when mail is sent to non-corporate or suspicious hosts.
  • File Transfer Tracking – Track files’ movement through systems and block access to certain folders or locations. This is a first-line defense against data leaks!
  • Printed Document Data – Collect information on printed files and print requests. Set alerts for attempted printing of sensitive data.
  • Productivity Evaluation – Monitor active vs. idle time and create custom productivity indicators. Analyze how your employees’ time is spent by minute-to-minute activity monitoring.
  • Website Monitoring – Create notifications for when entertainment, off-limits, or suspicious websites are accessed.

All of the information tracked and monitored is easy to search through with a variety of metrics.

TLDR? Jump over to Teramind’s webpage detailing Teramind for Legal and Risk Management.

Pricing: $10 – $25/user/month

 

6. Coassemble

Coassemble is an online platform designed to create training courses for your employees.

Coassemble lets you easily create online courses for anything you need. Split your courses into sections and add quizzes or checkpoints throughout. Embed videos, images, and audio anywhere you want. And don’t stress too much, you can make updates and changes at any time.

There are 40+ templates to choose from when creating each question or presentation page. Coassemble lets you completely customize your courses to your brand with headers, logos, background colors, and more.

It’s easy for your employees to enroll themselves through a direct link, or you can assign them courses through Coassemble. You’ll have access to all the data you need, including reports showing completion rates as well as grades and checkpoint completion.

Pricing: $399/month for unlimited everything.

 

7. Gusto

Gusto is an all-in-one online HR software. Their platform has you covered with everything you need and more. Gusto makes HR easy!

Some of their primary features are:

  • Onboard new employees – Send offer letters and store new hire paperwork. Utilize their e-sign tool and complete the whole process online.
  • Employee Benefits – Employees can enroll in benefits themselves and are walked through the process by Gusto.
  • Time Tracking – Employees can clock in and clock out right from their Gusto account.
  • Run Payroll – Gusto does the math for you.
  • Manage PTO – Enter your PTO policies, and employees can submit PTO requests and view their balances themselves.

Pricing: $39/month plus $12/user/month for the Complete Plan.

 

8. Paperform

Paperform is a flexible online SaaS platform that provides you with all-in-one tools for various business solutions.

Paperform combines both thoughtful design and serious digital smarts. From conditional logic, guided mode, and calculations to rating, rank, and appointment fields you can create solutions for all your needs.

The drag-and-drop functionality, in-app editor, and 25 question types offer you the opportunity to create from scratch. Designed to be as simple as writing a document, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to customize backgrounds, tweak colors, change fonts, and add or edit images and videos anywhere on the page.

Don’t want to start from scratch?

Design fully customizable forms, quizzes, and surveys, take payments, schedule appointments, and perform complex calculations using one of their 500+ templates. If you need it, they have it.

Forms can be embedded in your website or shared directly with a unique URL. You can use your form to process payments through Stripe, PayPal Business, Braintree, and Square. Paperform even has its own scheduling software that integrates with its forms.

Pricing: From $20/month when paid annually for their essentials plan

 

9. Design Pickle

Design Pickle is a flat-rate custom design and illustration service.

With Design Pickle’s flat-rate plans, you can request unlimited designs with unlimited revisions. All of your requests will land in a queue, and you can rearrange their order at any time. Design Pickle promises a 2-3 day turnaround on all requests. For their Graphic Design Pro plan, they promise same-day delivery.

Create unlimited brand profiles and work with one designated designer who will get to know you and your vision personally. Design Pickle’s clean and simple interface makes it easy to request designs and communicate with your designer.

Pricing: $400/month when paid annually for their basic plans

 

10. Acuity

Acuity is an online scheduling system that makes managing your calendar easy.

Acuity offers a highly customizable experience and a clean interface. On the back end, you can organize your appointment types by color and set custom automatic reminders by email and/or text for each appointment. On the front end, your scheduling page can be customized with background colors, and pictures and descriptions linked to your appointments.

Clients can schedule themselves through your customized scheduling link, or by a direct link to each appointment. Your calendar will auto-adjust for time zones, and clients can pay for appointments and add-ons and fill out paperwork during the scheduling process.

Pricing: $23/month when paid annually

 

11. Trello

Trello is a free online collaborative productivity platform.

Trello lets you create boards with lists and cards. Work by yourself on a private board or invite team members to collaborate.

Create a board for your team and assign tasks to each member by creating their own list. You can set a list to ‘watch’ and get notified when changes occur. Each card is customizable with formatting, to-do lists, and pictures. You can also add deadlines and customized labels.

Simply drag and drop cards from one list to another. As a bonus – their mobile app is excellently adapted making it easy to stay on track on the go.

Pricing: Free!

 

12. Stripe

Stripe is an API software for customizable payment solutions.

With Stripe, you can create easy-to-navigate payment pages for everything:

  • One-time checkouts
  • Recurring payments or subscriptions
  • Usage-based billing
  • & more

Their software is optimized for any device and carries from one to another seamlessly. Customize invoice templates to match your brand with color choices, and all the fields you need for one-time charges or recurring payments.

Pricing: 2.9% + $.30 per charge.

 

13. Clickfunnels

Clickfunnels is an online sales funnel builder.

Clickfunnels will help you build beautiful pages with an easy drag-and-drop builder that guides your visitors through your website and prevents them from getting lost or leaving. Clickfunnels helps you lead your customers through the sales process by:

  • Introducing your business
  • Demonstrating your services or products
  • Bringing them to a landing page with the information they need to contact you.

Pricing: $99/month

 

14. OneDrive

OneDrive is a personal cloud storage system by Microsoft.

Access your files from any device. Your phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc. Create shared folders to collaborate with coworkers and avoid zipping and emailing large files. OneDrive will also keep everyone’s files safe in case of unfortunate events such as lost or broken devices.

Pricing: $1.99/month with OneDrive Standalone with 100GB or Included with Microsoft Office.

15. Sticky Notes App (Microsoft Windows)

The Sticky Notes app on Microsoft Windows is a virtual sticky pad.

It’s simple, and maybe doesn’t sound too exciting, but don’t overlook Sticky Notes! Perfect for taking quick (or long!) notes during a meeting, phone call, or while working on projects. Virtual sticky notes have some advantages over your tried-and-true paper notes.

  • Make them any size you want – 1 or 2 inches to full screen.
  • Tuck them away for later – Closing your note doesn’t delete it. The Sticky Notes app keeps a handy list of all your past notes that you can pull from at any time.
  • Add pictures – Embed pictures right in your note.
  • Easy formatting – Just click to switch to bold, italics, underlined text, strikethrough, or add bulleted lists.
  • Change colors – A great way to keep notes organized is color-coding!

Pricing: Included with Microsoft Windows

 

16. DocuSign

DocuSign helps gather signatures in a seamless and secure way, then sends copies of the signed documents to both parties. Easily manage your contacts and client agreements without the hassle of printing, scanning, or faxing.

You can upload your own documents, or you can create new documents and agreements within DocuSign with their templates and brand personalization. With the Business Pro plan, you can also easily accept payments at the time of signing, cutting out yet another step for your clients!

Pricing: $10-40/month

 

17. Zoho

With 62 apps in total, Zoho has everything you need to run your office.

Zoho organizes those 62 apps into 8 categories:

Sales & Marketing

  • CRM – Everything you need to manage clients and customers.
  • Campaigns – Send marketing emails to your leads and clients.
  • Bookings – An online scheduler that allows clients (or coworkers!) to schedule meetings that integrate with Zoho Calendar.
  • Meeting – Meeting is a video conferencing software that integrates with your Zoho Calendar appointments.

Email & Collaboration

  • All of your office suite apps such as Mail, Writer, Sheet, Docs, and Calendar.
  • Cliq – An online messaging platform that lets you stay in contact and collaborate with your coworkers easily. Create groups by department, project, or simply one on one to streamline communication and keep your team just one chat away.

Finance

  • Books – Similar to Quickbooks, Books keeps your finances organized with a clean and easy-to-navigate interface.

Human Resources

  • People – Organize your hiring and onboarding process, track attendance and PTO, and manage your company’s departments.

IT & Help Desk

Customer Service

  • Desk – Organize customer or client conversations and tickets and assign tasks to your team members.

Custom Solutions

Business Intelligence

Zoho has multiple bundle plans, so you can choose the best fit for you.

Pricing: $30/user/month for the all apps included bundle: Zoho One.

 

18. Canva

Canva is an online design platform with endless possibilities.

No matter what you need to make, you can make it with Canva. There are over 420,000 templates to choose from, in a multitude of genres:

  • Posters
  • Logos
  • Videos
  • Flyers
  • Resumes
  • Business Cards
  • Book Covers
  • Letterhead
  • Invoices
  • Cards
  • T-shirts
  • And even Zoom Virtual Backgrounds!

…to name a few.

Additionally, there are 75+ million stock photos, videos, graphics, and audio to choose from.

Canva has multiple plans, including a free version, and they offer video tutorials to help you through designing for all your needs.

Pricing: $9.99/month for 1 person when billed annually on their Pro plan.

 

Our toolbox is always growing, and we’re always making renovations to keep Back Office Betties in tip-top shape.

Have a tool you can’t live without? Let us know about it!

Want to take it a step further and start automating your law firm? Download our Money-Making Automations guide here.

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