While it has been possible to work from home for the last 15 years, many businesses were hesitant to make the transition to fully remote working. Today, Covid-19 has transformed working from home from a rarely-used alternative to a necessity. Yes, working from home requires new processes that support employees and customers, but it is also a valuable chance for law firms to grow.

Governments across the world have made it clear that even when the lockdowns end, social distancing will remain. The importance of mindfulness in public spaces is likely to endure and will bring far-reaching changes to consumer behavior. Will firms and employees want to return to their desk tether and the heavy overheads that come with it? Through the intelligent use of the technology and services available, law firms can change their strategy to adapt and grow. 

Virtual Answering Service

As Covid-19 moved us all out of the office, the easy part was moving laptops and computers into our homes. However, many solos and small firms were left wondering how to handle the incoming calls. Hard-working attorneys had to transfer the office number to their mobiles, resulting in near-constant distractions during and after work. Either their phone interrupts their casework, or they miss calls that could have turned into their next client. But technology allows lawyers to work smarter. Firms can delegate office tasks so attorneys have the freedom to focus solely on what they do best – practicing law.

Recently, LEX Reception has seen a huge increase in law firms who need a legal answering service with the ability to work from anywhere. A legal answering service acts as an extension of the team, taking on the tasks that don’t require a licensed attorney. A virtual receptionist service can provide full cover, answering the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But that’s just the beginning. A legal virtual receptionist can also perform custom intake and schedule appointments with new clients. 24/7 availability is now a vital component in many law firms’ modern strategy and will capture leads essential for growth.

Live Chat

Modern customers expect to be able to engage with businesses at any time, from anywhere, and this has been a catalyst for digital transformation. Companies, including law firms, have had to develop their presence across new channels. Now, social media and live chat functions join email, text, and phone calls in a law firm’s roster. Our clients have seen an increase in the usage of free live chat by people who wish to engage at times they cannot make a call. Importantly, LEX live chat is answered by real people, not bots, ensuring dedicated customer care. Being reachable at the time that suits the client, whether that be on the phone, or via another platform like live chat is crucial for modern firms. This approachability allows practices to stand out from their competition.

CRM Integration

CRMs are widely used by the majority of legal firms, as they are a crucial part of a solid intake system that improves workflow efficiency. Clio, PracticePanther, and Lawmatics are all specifically legal CRMs with fantastic functionality for syncing contact information and case histories, but you can find a full list of our recommended CRMs here. If you’re already using a software application for case management, integrating with your answering service is a must. Callers will be automatically converted to leads and cases within your existing CRM, so you can track each client’s journey. Integration also allows firms to streamline workflow, respond to leads quicker, and track feedback automatically.

Video Consultations

While clients are increasingly using technology to connect with law firms, nothing can replace the importance of a face-to-face consultation. But with social distancing requirements, it is likely to be some time before in-person meetings can take place. Video conferencing software, such as Teleport, allows clients to access secure virtual meeting rooms for video appointments in their browser. Your virtual receptionists can offer video appointments to new clients, building relationships at distance, and saving you time. 

Mobile App

As practices retreat from their offices into their homes to work, it becomes more important than ever for them to stay connected to colleagues and clients. Remote working without the right support and contact points in place can be isolating, and this is especially true for busy attorneys. The LEX Reception mobile app allows attorneys to take their firm anywhere. You’ll be able to keep up to date with appointments, receive critical calls, and keep in touch with clients from your own office, between meetings, or anywhere you need to be.

The pandemic has forced traditional institutions – such as governments, banks, and law firms – to rethink their business models and find new ways of working. Many law firms may be facing huge challenges, but with adversity comes opportunity. The mobility of modern technology continues to enable flexible working, and law firms have a chance to adapt, innovate, and diversify in a way that never seemed possible before. 

This is an abridged version of the article that ran in Legal Tech Media by our own Bre Swanson – read the full article here!