As the whole world is going through the current pandemic crisis, economies throughout the world are suffering terrible blows and many of them are on the verge of collapsing. Needless to say, not all industries are affected in the same way, but it is quite clear that the world will never be the same again. Many companies will cease to exist, either because they could not cope with this difficult period financially or because they are failing to find a way in which they can at least survive this difficult period. Law firms are no exception. Though a lot of their business is now done remotely, there are still quite a few challenges they are facing, even in the countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, that have so far been relatively successful in containing COVID-19 compared with other regions. Their most important task in this period is to stay in touch with their clients and demonstrate their value to their clients. Let us look at the ways in which successful law firms are achieving this goal.
Staying aware of client needs
Experts have noticed a change in client needs. Namely, the focus is now more on immediate needs that have emerged as a priority due to the pandemic and economic crisis. This means that we can observe growth in practice areas such as planning and bankruptcy or securing government loans. For lawyers, this means they need to think about what value they can bring to clients and they can stay relevant in legal services offerings. This could be done by holding roundtables or partnering in the community through events with other companies and clients. Clients are provided access to webinars and similar resources on the many changes COVID-19 has caused in court operations and other relevant topics. With changes in healthcare policy, for example, it is vital for a law firm to be proactive and keep their clients in the loop regarding all relevant changes.
Technology leads the way
Just like all other industries are becoming more reliant on technology, law companies simply cannot afford to neglect the benefits it brings. More and more law firms are investing heavily in technology, rather than in renting office space. For instance, legal experts down under are constantly on the lookout for the best legal practice management software in Australia, which combines comprehensive document management and legal accounting functionality, thus providing all tools needed for managing a law firm or legal department across all areas of law. Logically, with such technologies comes the need for training and most successful Australian law firms have already invested their financial and human resources in this aspect. Some firms are implementing document repositories that are remotely accessible, others are organizing regular web sessions and Zoom meetings for practice groups and teams.
In general, people are now accustomed to being able to get in touch with any company whenever they want to and if they find it impossible, they will not hesitate to look for an alternative. That is why law firms need to be responsive now more than ever and find ways to boost their responsiveness. There should always be someone in the office, answering phones and replying to emails. With the new rules regarding distancing, the office layout might need to be altered and the person in charge of client communication must be safe and protected. All employees need to have their phones on at all times to be able to respond to clients’ calls immediately.
All companies are aware of the importance of having their website regularly updated. However, this task is now of special importance, because your website can provide a lot of information that people are looking for and if you make it informative enough, there will be fewer calls and emails that require your reply. If a company has not yet introduced a live chat option to its website, now is the time to entertain the idea. This is one of the most popular ways of communication nowadays since people are allowed to have real-time communication with the law firm of their choice, in which they can cover more topics in less time, which is beneficial for all parties concerned.
Alternative consultation techniques
Luckily, there are now many different ways in which we can talk to people without having to be in the same room. Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams enable law firms to have meetings with their clients and actually see them. Those who are not fans of video conferencing can still rely on phones to stay in touch. The most important thing is to let the clients know their needs are appreciated and catered to.
This period is full of various challenges and keeping in touch with clients is one of them. Its importance is now probably higher than ever since people tend to feel isolated in these circumstances and strengthening the relationship between a law firm and its clients is one of the ways in which apprehensiveness is eased. Ultimately, the stronger the relationship, the better business results, which is something every law firm tries to achieve.