As you already know, law firms have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but growth opportunities for law firms are not completely gone. In time, and with a safe and strategic economic reopening strategy, there will be positive movement forward. With a sound strategy and strong, knowledgeable and experienced implementation, you will find yourself in a new position. You may not envision a positive position, but it will be. If you use your resources to leverage the “short term for the long term” you will be much farther ahead of your competitors. With this approach, even with cases on hold, you’ll be able to generate revenue while your “quarterback” steps into the game and gets the ball into the end zone. Before you know it, you’ve streamlined your processes and procedures, you’ve revamped your marketing strategy, you’ve paired down your budget and then….
Slowly but surely, your firm is growing. Not in ways you ever thought it would. But because you’ve had the ability to focus on cash flow and generating revenue while your “quarterback” has been running the plays flawlessly, your firm is moving forward – attacking new markets, attracting new demographics and really focusing on your differentiators.
Now, while you can take advantage of downtime, it’s a good opportunity to work on your systems, so you can be ready to tackle the “new normal.” Yet, we are in uncharted territory, so part of that planning should also include being prepared should another wave of shutdowns occur.
Since most attorneys are much more skilled at practicing law than they are at technology, organization, and marketing, it makes sense to get direction from a consultant. An experienced law firm consultant can examine your specific needs and develop strategies to home in on areas where you can, to adapt to the changes that the new economy may require.
At this vital time, the consultants at Lawyers Marketing Associates (LMA) are available to help. We will examine the specific needs of your firm and determine how to integrate features such as finding ways to manage remote staff, handle remote depositions and conduct virtual mediations. We will discuss the best options for you and your firm. And then we’ll implement the strategies that will help your firm adapt and grow in today’s environment.
It’s time to move forward. We are ready to get started. Contact us at (919) 637-9144 to discuss what we’re going to do to help your law firm grow today.
Tips for Moving Forward “Onward and Upward” in a Reopened Economy
Here are some tips you can use to help your law firm get ready for a reopening economy:
1. Examine your office needs in a virtual environment
While some firms might have been considering expanding office space in the past, the chances are that added office space won’t be needed as the economy slowly reopens, and perhaps even after the pandemic has passed. In the short run, many firms are cutting staff and their remaining staff works remotely when possible. Once the economy reopens, perhaps staff can be split, with some working in the office and some at home. Your clients may be reluctant to come into your office and thus prefer virtual contact. Plan for this. You’ll likely have more virtual conferences and meetings as well, so you probably won’t need large, elaborate meeting rooms, but you will need to set up a good background for video calls.
Use this opportunity to analyze what your workspace needs may be going forward. If you feel less space is necessary, consider options to downsize. Perhaps you can reconfigure your office or share space with other attorneys or businesses. You may need to renegotiate a lease with your landlord.
Our consultants at LMA can help you determine your future space needs. We can also help you plan what technology and physical adaptations are needed for a new, virtual workspace. Our skills and experience are exactly what your law firm needs as you enter a different world of business operations once the economy reopens. Call us at (919) 637-9144 to discuss your options.
2. Set up virtual software
In the near future, while COVID-19 continues to be a threat, you’ll need to adapt to a virtual workplace. You probably made some changes already, but they may have been fast decisions made out of necessity. This is a long game. Now is your chance to make cost-effective decisions about software that will best fit your needs. Educate yourself on the latest technology available for law firms that will help you work virtually and efficiently. Some options include:
- Video-conferencing tools, such as Skype, Zoom, GoTo Meeting and Microsoft Teams. Interacting on video provides the eye contact that connects with clients and allows you to hold virtual meetings with people reluctant to visit your office.
- Web-based client portals that are part of some legal practice management software. These can allow clients 24/7 access to and updates about their case in a secure online environment.
- Cloud computing software, such as DocuSign, that provides a secure way of signing documents digitally.
- DropBox or Sharepoint for easier team collaboration and document sharing. Consider the need for version control if multiple people are working on a single document.
- Billing and time-tracking software that helps manage all the billable time, enter and send clients’ invoices, and accept payments like credit cards, PayPal and eChecks. You probably already have some type of billing software, but now is a time to review your options and possibly make a change.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These systems are tools that help with managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with clients. A CRM system helps a company improve business relationships, stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability. If you’ve been using a CRM already, reevaluate its functionality. Does it suit your needs for a virtual work environment?
Make sure your software and systems are up to date and best serve your law firm’s needs now and when the economy reopens. Call (919) 637-9144 for help from our consultants at LMA.
3. Develop better relationships with clients
While you are less likely to be meeting with clients in person, be sure to let them know they are important to you and you will handle their cases with concern and consideration. Add a human touch where possible. Technology may be limiting, but some of its features allow you to keep client relationships strong. Some of your clients will also be spending more time online in their work or while at home. Meet them where they are.
- Leverage video technology. You’ve probably already transitioned your client conversations to phone calls, but have you been using video? When clients see you, they can get visual cues about your skills and professionalism, as well as your emotions – show them your compassion or that you have the qualities needed for an aggressive protection of their rights. Video communication is a new realm. Remember to look at the camera, not your screen. That way, you seem to be making eye contact. Be expressive. Make sure they can read your non-verbal communication. Tune in to your client’s experience with video calls, rather than staying focused on your end and your computer screen. Explore the various types of video technology that is out there. There are so many, the options are endless.
- Reassure clients you will meet their needs. Let them know that while you may often be working virtually, you can still attend to their business and take care of their ongoing and future cases. Make sure that they know how to reach you virtually. Ask them to participate in ZOOM meetings/FaceTime. Also let them know that you plan to continue this feature after the pandemic if that is most convenient for them.
- Keep in touch, and in different ways. Send clients notifications and reminders about upcoming legal business such as trial. Make sure you are available and easy to reach when they need you. Use texting, email, calls and even video calls. Use online booking systems to schedule appointments. Reach new clients via social media or pay-per-click ads. Be sure you have multiple methods of contact on your website by adding chat in addition to contact forms. Have you considered a CRM software system? What does it do? Does it do more than just send email campaigns?
- Think about referrals. Use a range of communication platforms to show appreciation to your clients for their business and, when appropriate, ask for referrals. Keep your firm on their mind should they or someone they know have a legal need or question arise in the future. What about attorney referrals? Do they know what you do? Do they know what you are doing to attract clients? They should. They need to know what types of cases you handle. Shouldn’t you have a page on your website that specifically addresses attorney referrals?
- Are you sending out email newsletters or e-blasts? If not, now may be a good time to consider it. Provide informational articles with links to relevant topics on your website.
4. Shape up your website
Your website is often the first way potential clients connect with you — and the best way to market your firm. Since more people will be on the internet and on social media during COVID-19, more people will also be searching for attorneys from home. Therefore, it’s very important for your site to make a great impression to get people to connect with you and then get them to to call you for help with their legal problems.
Here’s the test – Examine your website as if you were a potential client. Check to see that it is …
- Simple and clear – less is more. Does it use technology in a way that makes it interactive and “enjoyable” for the potential client to be on your site? And, is it easy to navigate?
- For all of the technology you have, is it approachable? Is it personable? Does a potential client get to know you? Can they make a connection? People do business with people.
- Professional in appearance. Show your firm in a positive, informative, and welcoming light. Provide blogs on the major areas you handle, to answer questions and give basic information. Have a section that lists professional achievements and certifications.
- Easy to read. You want to appear knowledgeable, but don’t use so much legal jargon that the average person will be intimidated.
- Fast. Don’t make people wait for your site to load. To make sure your site is fast enough, go to Google’s Page Speed Insights to make sure your site doesn’t take more than three or four seconds to load.
- Mobile-friendly. These days, people usually use their mobile phone to search, so optimize your site by making sure the content and its layout are clear and easy to read. Be sure your design is clean, easy to navigate and represents your firm’s brand.
To increase your ranking on Google searches, be sure to generate new content frequently and make it optimized for SEO.
Contact Us for Help Jump-starting Your Practice in the New Economy
The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t have to keep you from growing your law firm. Be positive and be proactive. Put your own personal quarterback in the game. If you let us run the plays, you’ll have the time to focus on the other crucial items that will help you and your firm move forward in a positive direction. The same is true for the “long term” when things aren’t so stagnant. It will be equally as important to have the right leader on your team who is ready to adapt to a new way of doing business and to implement the strategic plans to keep your firm ahead of the game. The team at LMA has the operational, marketing and implementational experience to help your firm thrive today and in the future.
Let’s discuss who you are, who you want to be and how you’re going to get there. We will investigate and implement the strategic solutions that work best for you. When you need a “quarterback” to get in the game and run the plays, call us today to discuss what your firm needs and let us show you how we “run the ball” at (919) 637-9144.