16 September 2021

Lawyers and new client communication technologies: a difficult relationship or a game changer?


The technological revolution has forced lawyers to update their way of communicating from traditional to digital media to attract millennial clients


The legal market abounds in years-old legends that lawyers are less than eager to adopt new technologies in their work. First, they refused to have phones installed in their offices. Then they fended off e-mails, and now introduce new technologies at a slow pace. The pandemic today has sped the revolution up. 

Lawyers have always had problems communicating with clients. They tend to use obscure language, hide behind regulations, and lack empathy. Can the ubiquitous technology and new communication channels of growing relevance during the pandemic help, or will they complicate matters even more? 


New vs old 

Difficulties related to change management and resistance to change on the part of the managers are the key barriers for changes both in legal departments (65%) and firms (53%), according to the Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey 2020: Performance Drivers.

Lawyers like handling business face-to-face. They like ‘being there’ with their physical attributes, such as acts or codes, around them. And the new world is there to take it all away. The new lawyer is bereft of all the professional gadgets. All that is left is knowledge and how it is communicated. The former used to be the key, but with the growth of competition today, communication is the decisive factor. 

According to the 2019 Global Legal Trends Report, legal firms that grew significantly over a short period did it by focusing on two critical factors: client experience and corporate efficiency. Client experience is more important than ever before. To provide it via digital channels has become fundamental.

Research shows that clients expect all important information relevant to their legal questions to be available effortlessly online. The today's reality is that if your firm's website cannot provide clear and precise information that is easy to understand for the client, they will find another firm that communicates more plainly. 


How can you reach clients in a time when no one simply knocks on the door? 

Most people do not know they need a lawyer. They are your prospective clients who need to be educated. Share your knowledge and give without selling your services; it is the best marketing strategy today.   

Show yourself, build a community, and keep them active!

Are you an expert in a very particular domain, and is the law really your passion? Show it and show yourself. Don't be scared of social media – YouTube, Instagram LinkedIn. Facebook? Choose whichever suits you. How about a podcast? The channel is secondary; each has its advantages and costs, and offers great reach. Focus on the content. Show people how the law works, present interesting case studies, analyse amendments – give them something. First, you will be perceived as an expert. Second, people will start to wonder whether what you speak about is relevant to them or someone they know. 

Appreciate the media

The traditional media still have what it takes. Try becoming friends with them. Offer your expert opinions and let them know you would be happy to comment on matters relevant to your field of expertise. Be open to the media and understand how they work – last-minute commentaries are nothing extraordinary. Sometimes it is worth the effort to respond to an urgent question of an editor. It can be a lucrative investment. 


How to communicate with millennials? 

First of all, assume nothing. Never assume the client knows something or will figure it out. Just communicate. No one ever died of excess communication, while unclear or non-existent communication can ruin the simplest case. 

Have a case management system and invite your clients to be part of it 

To you, it's just another case, one among the many you are working on right now. To the client, it is the case. Do not condemn them to uncertainty, ignorance, or constant inquiries about progress. Invest in a case management system and keep it up to date. The client will appreciate it and trust you from the very beginning. 

Be available in various ways 

Nothing is more deterring than a lawyer who cannot be reached. Put a diary with consultation dates on your website and let the client make the appointment. Install a chat feature on the website; give them your e-mail and phone number. If you have established a report, call the client on Facetime. Show them your backstage – most people do not understand the lawyer's workflow. 

Adjust and see what works 

Ask your clients how they would like to communicate with you; do they prefer e-mails, phone calls, texts, or perhaps, WhatsApp? When the business is done, send them a questionnaire to ensure they were satisfied with the communication.

Last but not least, a cliché. Always protect your customers' data. New technologies open huge opportunities for the firm if they are implemented in a secure manner. Never have cybercriminals been so active as during the pandemic. Protect your clients and yourself. 

Copyright © The Impact Lawyers. All rights reserved. This information or any part of it may not be copied or disseminated in any way or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of The Impact Lawyers. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of The Impact Lawyers.

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