Your clients want digital12/01/2017
Legal clients want to do more themselves. Are you ready to collaborate online?
Your clients are becoming increasingly outspoken; they feel at home in today’s digital world, and they expect the same from you too. They know that working digitally can boost efficiency, even in your primary work processes. They also want to be more closely involved, to feel more connected to the case, to have more insight and to be able to interact. How can online collaboration help in all this?
Once there was a mission
My name is Bas and I have spent the last 20 years creating web-based solutions. Since the early days of the online collaboration era, I have also been busy streamlining and automating work processes. I am adept at taking in-depth knowledge of technology and applying it to the question, “What can you actually do with it?” I have a clear view on digital working in the business services sector and, in particular, on the benefits of online case management. My current mission is to bring my online collaboration solutions to the attention of legal professionals as well.
Focus on the case
There’s no question that your clients want to be more closely involved in their cases than is feasible in practice. As a lawyer, you are the support and ally for a client who needs help. There’s a lot at stake, and your client depends totally on your help and shudders each day at the thought of the bill that will inevitably come. By working digitally, your client can be more closely involved. How, you may ask? It’s a simple matter to be able to offer more transparency, give the full picture and, in your talks with your client, be able to focus on what matters: the case itself. You can take a structured approach: your client helps you with the systematic delivery of documents, you and your client can both access the case material at any time, and you can be sure that you are both seeing the same version of the document.
Ramp up engagement
Fee earners work long and hard. Although the clients pay a good portion of the costs, there’s still a considerable sum that is not charged on or compensated. Legal professionals are often so busy concentrating on the case that they only get around to noting the hours at the end of the day, by which time they may forget to include the time for certain activities, or they can no longer describe these exactly, with the result that they cannot charge on the related fees. Or they may have spent so much time on a case that they, in certain cases, cannot charge the client for all the costs. Fortunately, a lot of these case-related activities can be handled by the client personally. Activities like collecting and updating information, delivering administrative documents and requesting invoices can all be handled by the client. And other standard activities, like compiling correspondence for example, can be handled faster through automation.
In other words, the client can take over many of the case-related activities, which has the added advantage that your client can become more engaged in the case, and you can liaise more closely with your client. Another benefit is that you can meet the demands of millennials, who view speed and interaction as the marks of a quality experience. So in essence, your law office “contracts out” the work, while you and your client help each other. With this approach, your client shares responsibility for keeping costs low, the entire process can be accelerated, and you keep the costs from getting so out of hand that you have no choice but to leave certain items off the bill. In general, clients have no idea just how hard you work; you work so hard that this leaves little time over for communication, and yet clients do not really appreciate everything you do for them. By working together online, the client gets a better idea of how hard you work and, in turn, values your efforts more. And, perhaps best of all, the bill will be more readily accepted without discussion.