Are Legal Sector Firms Ready for Change?
Legal industry in the UK is in a state of flux. Regulations are becoming stricter. Full roll-out of the Legal Services Act 2007 and cuts to legal-aid have made people more vigilant about spending with legal firms. But the change in customer attitudes towards legal services is one of the biggest challenges.
Today, clients are likely to do significant ground-work themselves via Google and a multitude of advice forums. Personal law is supported by niche legal services companies and commercial clients have become more savvy. Larger-scale commercial clients frequently to procure legal services through a competitive “Solicitor Panels” approach combined with awarding of work based on price and quality (attainment of SLAs).
How can law firms best represent themselves amongst a permanently-connected, savvy client-base with vast amounts of information at their fingertips?
The simple answer is to work smarter and remove as many barriers to business as possible. The closer a law firm gets to their customers preferred way of engagement the better chances of winning them over and invoking loyalty.
For instance, millennials especially in case of personal injury claims want to be able to share pictures and documents just with a tap from their phones. Is your firm ready to handle these requests? Having said that there is still a large portion of customers who still prefer paper as their mode of communication when it comes to legal matters
Going paper-lite is definitly the way ahead, email has undoubtedly transformed law firm communication and operations and aggressive targets to remove paper from processes will yield benefits such as reduced costs and increased efficiency while significantly improving responsiveness and security.
Fee earner teams will adapt to working with electronic copies of inbound documents for the vast majority of cases; electronic documents provide many options for automation that simply aren’t possible with paper. Notably, if it means better service, your clients will willingly work with you by securely submitting ad hoc paper documents via a smartphone app or mobile web portal.
Innovations like eSignature and self-service for standard documents send an important signal to the client that the firm is in the 21st century.
These innovations can be approached incrementally and don't involve wholesale changes to the case management and content management facilities already in place. Combining a paper-reduction initiative with a cohesive Information Management strategy and convenient facilities for clients will allow the firm to position itself as a trusted, go-to source of information.
Once a paper-reduction strategy is in place, you may be surprised at how many other operational problems get swept up and removed at the same time.
Adapted with kind permission from John Stinchcombe, Kofax UK