Letting Go of Yesterday. Celebrating Today. Is it Time to Up Your Law Firm's Tech Game?
Philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
But those who fail to prepare for the future are at an even greater risk for catastrophe. For many law firms, the hope of returning to business as usual has become an anchor holding them back from achieving their financial potential. The only way to thrive in the post-pandemic economy is to let go of outdated business practices and embrace this new era of innovation.
While the brunt of COVID's impact has tapered off, it has left behind a new set of challenges for the legal community, including shrinking marketing budgets, rising inflation, and overwhelming consumer demand for legal services. According to the Legal Services Global Market Opportunities and Strategies To 2031 report, the global legal services market is projected to reach $998.73 billion by 2026.
High consumer demand for legal services has meant more financial opportunities for firms but to the detriment of business productivity. Legal marketing departments have been forced to produce grander results to keep pace with their audience's growing expectations and dwindling attention spans. As lawyers continue to work remotely and provide clients with greater accessibility, work-life balance has become nearly obsolete as they struggle to balance their needs with their clients' needs. While some law firms have raised their fees in response, legal billing rates still lag behind inflation.
Several firms have turned to technology to help navigate these difficulties, as those that leveraged technology saw more significant financial gains. Even corporate legal departments have recognized the necessity of adding more tech tools to their operations, with 84% reporting that they plan to increase their spending on technology to improve productivity.
Why a Tech Stack is Crucial to Your Law Firm Growth
A technology stack is a set of technologies an organization uses to manage a web or mobile application. For instance, a marketing tech stack, or martech, would include email, a content management system (CMS), social media management, and search engine optimization (SEO). On the other hand, a sales technology stack might consist of customer relationship management (CRM), time-tracking software, video teleconferencing, and payment processing systems.
Some law firms make the mistake of thinking that working with multiple technologies is reserved for larger firms. However, continuing to use the same resources to accommodate your client's ever-evolving needs is not only unrealistic but dangerous to your bottom line.
Consider the following legal marketing statistics.
- "80% of people don't leave voicemail messages? Not only can that lead to poor customer service experiences for your existing customers, it can be costing you the opportunity to do new business." Answering Legal
- "Only 5% of respondents said that their law firm's website offered forms. Using fillable forms can be an effective way to streamline document creation and automation for lawyers, allowing clients to provide their own information in their own time, without participation from the firm." ABA Tech Report 2022
These statistics demonstrate that failing to upgrade your technology so you can capture critical information from leads is like putting thousands of dollars in the hands of your competitors. You can streamline and automate communication processes with the right software and technology tools to attract and retain more clients.
Follow the tips below to evolve your tech game.
Build an Effective Tech Stack
Before you add a new technology solution to your organization, you must first identify your goals. If your objective is to convert more visitors into clients from your website, one of your strategies could be redesigning your website. This process might include hiring a copywriting company to provide blog content or more actionable copy for your service area pages that you can then manage through a CMS. If your goal is to tap into a new market or increase brand awareness, your strategy could be to launch an email marketing campaign targeting a specific audience. After you've determined your marketing goals, assess your current technology tools. Ask yourself: What products can I add to my arsenal to fill in the gaps?
Create a Legal Marketing Budget
In a perfect world, legal marketing departments everywhere would spare no expense to grow their law practice. But devising a budget will ensure you have enough funds to implement each strategy effectively. You can establish a monthly budget or designate a certain amount for each campaign. Many software companies have annual subscriptions that are more cost-effective than monthly subscriptions.
Research, Research, Research
How easily can you navigate the software you want to add to your law firm? How much do these programs cost? Will these new technology tools play nicely with your current tools or dismantle your systems already in place? These are all questions you should have answered before making your purchase. You can get an idea of the best offerings by conducting a Google search and comparing product reviews. Some key factors to consider are ease of use, ability to scale up as your firm grows, cost, and availability of customer support. Also, consider the number of subscriptions you'll need to operate.
Use Your Tech Stack to Foster Legal Client Engagement
The most significant benefit of technology is its ability to create powerful client experiences. From impactful videos taking audiences behind the scenes of your organization to online payment processing systems, technology tools can provide multiple client touchpoints, building trust over time.
If you have a limited budget, invest in software that will provide the best client experience and separate you from your competitors. A major factor in hiring a law firm for legal consumers is responsiveness. The typical 24 or 48-hour waiting period will result in potential clients taking their business elsewhere.
For example, using a technology solution, such as LawPay, to process payments online is not only convenient but also time efficient. Consumers lead demanding lives, so having to come into the office to pay an invoice or mail a check that then needs a few days to be processed, can discourage them from retaining your legal services.
You can also strengthen your web presence with short-form videos such as client testimonials or Q&A segments, editing them with video software like Final Cut Pro X, Apple iMovie, or Adobe Premiere Pro.
Your law firm can only perform based on your level of business systems. Implementing new technology to serve your clients better is no longer a luxury but critical to your firm's survival. The only way to forge a sustainable path amid a looming recession and future challenges is to prioritize technology investments and make evolution your constant companion.
Author bio: Stacey Mathis is the owner of Legal Copywriting Central. Law firms and other legal industry businesses come to her when they need on-demand content and copy for their websites, blogs, PR news stories, and other marketing material to amplify their voice in the overcrowded legal community. Simply put, her team provides solid messaging to make your phones ring.