Small law firms are great at being resourceful. Lawyers spend almost every waking moment doing something that helps the law firm, whether they are reading documents related to the case while waiting in the car until their children finish soccer practice or brainstorming while walking on the treadmill at the gym. Word of mouth advertising is a powerful force when it comes to how people choose lawyers to represent them, so the best way you can attract new clients is by providing excellent service to your existing clients, so that they will recommend you to people in their personal and professional networks. Technological innovations can help you make the best possible impression on every client; your operating budget doubles as a marketing budget. Even if you only appoint one employee to be in charge of choosing and implementing innovations that will help your law firm perform better in customer service, efficiency of operations, and marketing, that one person can make your modestly sized law firm shine. Having one person in charge of law innovation is really all you need to propel your law firm into the future.
Innovation does not have to be about redesigning your website or investing in new software. A major factor in almost every client’s decision about whether to hire your law firm is how affordable your services are. Since most lawyers charge hourly rates in the triple digits, many clients do not hire lawyers until they have already gotten themselves into more complicated problems by making preventable mistakes when representing themselves in lawsuits and other legal matters. In some practice areas and for some kinds of legal services, billing by the hour is not practical because it makes most of your services unaffordable to most of the people who need them. These are some other payment options that you can explore for your law firm:
Having in-person meetings with clients about every detail of their case is time-consuming and expensive. Your law firm can save costs and make your services more affordable for clients if you adopt communication methods that are more efficient. If you use these forms of communication in their proper contexts, you will be able to provide better and less expensive services to your clients:
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires most buildings open to the public to be accessible to people with disabilities; this is why your law firm’s building most likely has wheelchair ramps, handicapped parking spaces, and Braille labels on the elevator buttons. Accessibility technology is always evolving, and many blind and Deaf Internet users have enabled accessibility features on their own devices. When you update your law firm’s website, ensure that it is compatible with widely used accessibility software. Include detailed image descriptions that text-to-voice software can read to visitors who cannot see the images, and add captions to any videos you post on your website.
Steve Jobs once described the personal computer as a bicycle for the mind; plenty of animals can outrun a human being, but even a cheetah cannot outrun a human on a bicycle. He reasoned that the cheetah can sprint up to 70 miles per hour, but only for a short distance, whereas humans can bike for miles on end, so the bicyclist would quickly overtake the cheetah. If only one person is in charge of innovations at your law firm, they can only find so much information. With analytics software, though, one person can study a lot more data. Analytics software can help you with the following types of innovations:
One cloud-based software package can bring multiple innovations to your law firm. It can enable lawyers and other employees of the law firm to work remotely. It can also automatically back up files. One reason that more and more law firms are embracing cloud-based storage is that files stored on a cloud are safer from cyberattacks than files stored on the hard drives of computers at the office or employees’ laptops.
Your law firm’s employees are understandably busy with their current cases and with the day-to-day operations of the law firm. All you need is one employee to devote time to explore innovations that your law firm can adopt. Appointing just one employee to be in charge of innovation is one of the best investments your law firm can make. Your designated innovation specialist can help your law firm better respond to clients’ needs, save costs, and offer legal services at more affordable prices.