Top 5 Things You Can Do To Future Proof Your Law Firm

  1. Migrate to the cloud
      1. Most law firms are already on a cloud server in one way or another. They either use something cheap and easy like Google Drive, Dropbox or Box, or they use a case management platform like Clio, CasePeer, FileVine etc. For those who are not yet on a cloud server, you must commit to exploring your options. Migrating your firm’s file management and storage to the cloud allows you to securely access your client’s files from anywhere and gives you peace of mind should anything happen like theft of a device, fire to the office, or another unexpected crisis like a pandemic. When properly prepared, you will be able to easily reset your passwords, access your files, and quickly get back to work no matter where you are.
      2. You do not necessarily need a fancy case management platform. There are a lot of them out there and the costs are minimal, but sometimes they are more hassle than they are worth. Every firm is different, and all firms should look at what is right for them. It’s imperative to take a 30-minute break every week and review a new technology platform to see if it’s a good fit. Switching platforms is an incredible inconvenience – it’s time consuming and costly. You will often lose a week of productivity when you make the jump, so it’s important to try to get it right the first time. Whenever you take on a new case management platform, you should understand there will be a time commitment to learning the program. They all have a learning curve but on the other side of that learning curve is efficiency. Efficiency means getting out of your law firm what you wanted when you started – either more cases and more money or more free time.
  2. Outsource as much as you can
    1. LPO or Legal Process Outsourcing is still a “dirty word” in the legal world. Nobody wants to admit they use overseas teams and many resist them altogether, believing LPO services to be useless and some even claim – unethical. The most efficient law firms are using LPO services to get things done. You can often take your most basic tasks, assign them to a team set up overseas, and wake up in the morning to an inbox full of completed work. LPO services will never provide the equivalent work of a top-notch paralegal or an in-house associate but there is a lot of work that is template based or purely tedious that can be outsourced.
    2. Some of the largest firms in the world — Latham Watkins, Paul Hastings, etc. — all have an overseas team working on documents and helping their firm become a 24-hour Every time there is an evolution in the legal world, there are adopters and resisters. The adopters were the first ones to use email or run ads on Google. They were the first ones to have virtual office space and the first ones to do legal research online instead of in books. Then, there are the resisters. The resisters always talk about why new technology won’t work, they say clients don’t want “that,” they say it’s not the “right” way to practice. Then they eventually catch up and bemoan the fact that they didn’t do it earlier. They claim the “old way” is better, but often, they are conflating the feeling of nostalgia with instinct.
    3. There’s an old adage – the pessimists get to be right, and the optimists get to be rich. It’s always easy to knock down a new solution by saying it will never receive mass acceptance. Always complaining about the “new generation” or “new technology” makes for nice coffee talk; however, the adopters are the ones moving forward and evolving. You should shift your mindset to explore all options and see what makes sense for you.
    4. It won’t be easy to find the right LPO team, but it will be worth it.
  3. Use a platform to securely communicate with your clients via text.
    1. Texting is the new way to communicate. Period. If law firm owners truly want to serve their clients, then that includes communicating in a way the clients prefer. Most lawyers want to communicate via email or conversations on the phone, but that is not what our clients want.
    2. For a long time, the fastest way to communicate was via the telephone. If you wanted information immediately, the best way to do it was to call someone and talk to them. As a society, we ran businesses that way, we bought and sold stock via telephone, we ordered from catalogs via telephone and talked to our clients via telephone.
    3. On December 3, 1992, the first text message was sent and a new way to communicate was born. Today, texting has received mass adoption and is the primary way people communicate. We all do it. We all text our friends, our spouses, and our children. Yet even though we all welcomed it into our daily lives, there is resistance to embedding it into our law firms. Doing what’s best for our clients also includes communicating with them in the way they are most Many platforms exist to help you communicate with your clients via text message, you should research them. If you don’t believe me, then feel free to send your clients a survey to ask them what means of communication they prefer.
    4. What’s the resistance? You don’t want communication in writing? That’s fine. There are some conversations that need to transpire over the phone, but for all the things you were going to email your client about – you should text them instead.
  4. Reduce your overhead
    1. It is getting cheaper and cheaper to run a law firm. You no longer need a fancy office, or extremely expensive books, and furniture. Protecting your bottom line by reducing your overhead will help you withstand any downturns in the industry. The advancement of technology and embracing remote work has allowed law firms to work more efficiently at a lower cost. This also means the barrier to entry in starting a law firm is basically Seems like every day an associate is announcing they are starting their own firm. This creates more competition for you, and one way to protect yourself is to reduce your overhead. Not every quarter can be a record quarter and not every year can be a record year. Don’t assume record profits every year.
    2. The State Bar is considering allowing nonlawyers to practice and invest in law firms. Should that pass, the competition will be fierce. You can protect yourself against potential lower revenue by decreasing your overhead. Reduce your office footprint, use LPO services to cut back on payroll, and use cloud storage to minimize the requirement of physical storage.
  5. Establish your “brand”
    1. Last week, I spoke with an estate planning attorney who was running Facebook ads with some success, and she told me she received calls from other attorneys in town scolding her and claiming that “it looks bad for our profession” She heard them out, hung up the phone, and continued to click send on her ads.
    2. They were working for her, people were recognizing who she was, she was establishing herself as a force in the community and she wasn’t going to stop because her competition was up in arms.
    3. There are bad attorney advertisements and good attorney advertisements. If you want to protect yourself from competition, you need to become a household brand. How is that possible? Social media and public relations are the great equalizers. Look at real estate agents – there are a million real estate agents, but some agents dominate certain markets and that is because they have made a commitment to establishing their brand in that area.
    4. Don’t be afraid to spend money on establishing and protecting your law firm’s brand. Make sure people in your area know who you are and what you do. Try to get on the local news, get involved in local charities, become active on social media. Again, with so many law firms popping up, you need to be top of mind when someone needs your area of law.
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