Prepare Your Firm for Future Success: Get Expert Perspective on Key Topics
By: Olivia Mockel von dem Bussche-Ippenburg
Chief Operating Officer at PCLaw | Time Matters
Over the past several months, legal professionals have faced a variety of challenges associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. The changing environment has been a catalyst, motivating many decision makers to expand their knowledge and expertise in areas important to their firms. Thriving, or in some cases even just surviving, depends on their ability to learn, implement, and evolve in response to such situations, now and in the future.
With a shifting landscape some important questions are being asked:
What else is going to change for law firms?
What is the best way to serve our customers over the coming months?
Will our business ever get back to normal, or has it been altered forever?
Should we continue to promote our services in the same ways?
How can we prepare and protect our firm for the future?
Many law firms do not have the benefit of in-house experts to help them put together a clear picture of their present situation, and shape their strategy moving forward. One of the best ways to build an informed and sensible plan is to engage professionals who are knowledgeable in a variety of specific areas that affect law firms. In recent months, many lawyers and staff members have benefited from educational resources, learning tools, webinars and virtual events.
On October 26th and 27th, PCLaw | Time Matters is hosting “Future Proofing Your Law Firm,” an event that brings together professionals from different organizations around the world. Presentations and panel discussions will provide insight to help legal professionals optimize their firms for success in the future.
The agenda covers a wide variety of topics including technology, navigating change, company culture, marketing, finance, customer experience, and more.
Until the summit arrives, consider your firm’s approach to three key actions that can lead to future success in the legal industry.
1. Select technology that will enhance efficiency and profitability
Many firms have made changes in, or additions to, their technological infrastructure in response to the global health crisis and some of the new requirements it introduced. In some cases, new software or hardware is adopted out of necessity, to simply help solve a problem. For instance, where firms cannot meet with clients face-to-face in an office setting, many have begun using Zoom or other video-conferencing solutions.
However, a variety of technology options can provide further advantages to firms who implement them thoughtfully, according to their needs and the preferences of their clients. Partners, associates, and staff at many firms are looking for ways to maximize profitability, during this time. They may be looking to gain an edge on competitors, avoid layoffs and pay cuts, or in some cases, simply keep their business afloat. They know that every minute they can save, avoiding problems with outdated or unsuitable technology, and the more they improve their clients’ experience, the more it can boost firm efficiency and their bottom line.
Learning more about virtual desktop programs and cloud software, online calendaring options, website chat tools, accounting software, E-filing and other technology can help you decide what will work best for your firm and those you serve, now and in the future.
See online summit sessions about technology.
2. Preserve firm culture and engagement while managing client relationships
Without being present in an office environment, it can be challenging for attorneys and staff to maintain the same level of communication and unique culture that existed previously. Managing or being a member of a remote workforce comes with many challenges, not the least of which is preserving morale and sustaining the feeling that you are all working together as a team.
Unfortunately, remote work has the potential to decrease efficiency and effectiveness of the work that a firm does, which is something most firms can ill afford at this moment in time. In a virtual office scenario, teamwork can be more difficult, communication can be less effective or more often misinterpreted, and greater effort must be made in maintaining positive feelings among all individuals working together. Technology options can certainly help, but leaders need to be creative in finding ways to develop and preserve camaraderie, connection, and morale within their teams.
Also of great importance is sustaining meaningful engagement with clients despite, in many cases, not being able to meet with them in person. Legal professionals need to answer many questions:
Can a virtual meeting effectively replace a handshake and a sit-down discussion over coffee in your office, or at a client’s home?
What more can you do to keep your clients from feeling that they have lost touch with what is happening with their case?
What does a client expect, in terms of service, in this new environment?
How can you add important personal touches without in-person interaction?
Are the virtual tools that you have in place for clients (for intake, meetings, document sharing, appointment scheduling, etc.) difficult or frustrating for them?
Firms that become the best at developing and nurturing client and employee relationships, from a distance when necessary, stand to preserve more of their existing business and gain referrals.
3. Evaluate your current marketing and use data to make decisions for the future
Many legal professionals, and marketing specialists are wondering what tactics will be the most effective for them now, and in the future, with the potentially lasting impacts of the pandemic on business and culture. With so many available digital and traditional marketing options, it can be difficult to decide what efforts to pursue and how much to spend.
For firms who have invested, in the past, in event sponsorships, community programs, and other in-person relationship-building activities, the past six months have likely been very different, and perhaps frustrating. Firm leaders may be looking for alternate ways to position their services with prospects and clients, and to invent new ways to reach their audiences.
With a smaller percentage of the population commuting daily, and many more hours spent at home, questions such as these are surfacing with regards to legal marketing:
Is outdoor advertising a viable option right now?
Is digital marketing and SEO more, or less important in the pandemic environment?
Should we tailor our messaging and campaigns to specific virus-related situations?
How do I adjust my strategy for a reduced budget, and still be effective?
Regardless of the tactics they choose, smart legal marketers should always do their best to measure what return they are getting on each campaign, or investment they make in promoting their firm. Data-driven decisions are often much more successful and effective than those based on a basic understanding, or a hunch about what is driving business for a law firm.
See online summit sessions about law firm marketing.
Develop a better-informed strategy
With a better understanding of subjects that are highly relevant to the pandemic and post-pandemic scenarios that law firms face, decision makers can design more effective strategies.
Learn as much as you can about the topics that are affecting your firm, and take advantage of opportunities to gain expert knowledge, like “Future Proofing Your Law Firm.” Get advice and perspective that can help you outpace your competitors and help ensure your firm’s future success.
About the author:
As Chief Operating Officer, I work closely with department leaders to develop the company's vision, goals and growth strategies. I am responsible for overseeing company operations and employee productivity, building a highly inclusive culture, ensuring that team members thrive, and organizational objectives are met. In particular, I enjoy designing world-class experiences for our customers and ensuring that our software and programs are growing their business.