How Does Legal Communication Evolve with Changing Client Needs?

The Legal Institute for Forward Thinking recently convened for the first time in New York. Their task: To discuss the greatest challenges surrounding the legal market today in hopes of uncovering practical solutions. Some of the most prominent leaders of the legal community offered their collective brain power to this task, producing nuggets of wisdom for firms the world over.

A client enjoys the benefits of timely legal communication
As your clients' needs change, your legal communication will need to utilize new technology to keep providing a high standard of services to clients.

What Does Legal Communication Mean to You?

One of the greatest insights learned from this meeting of legal minds was the curious case of client and provider alignment. What was once a relationship that placed providers firmly in the driver's seat has since taken on a new form entirely. Sure, clients are always in the market for legal talent, but it needs to come with a healthy dose of innovation in today's market.

In general, clients have a new set of expectations — but they aren't exactly eager to pay for them. Here are their main concerns:

  • Workloads that technology can tackle
  • Workloads usually reserved for lower-level associates
  • Workloads that can be accomplished easily in-house

That list covers what customers won't pay for anymore, and the areas where client provider alignment has clearly experienced a shift. What are clients willing to pay for?

  • Niche expertise
  • Demonstrable knowledge
  • Quality service

In other words, clients know what they want, and they expect you to deliver it in a very acute manner. That means personalizing legal communication to get right at the heart of a client's specific case, business, and industry needs. Specifically, one that meets their technological preference, too. Snail mail just doesn't cut it anymore.

By tying your case management software with cloud communications, you'll be able to handle the logistical, organizational, and communication challenges that arise as a new breed of customer brings new opportunity to your firm.

It's Nice to be Niche

Niche expertise may not mean what you think it means anymore. Not that long ago, one could consider finance or healthcare niche legal markets. But it's 2018, and the legal landscape has undergone some considerable change.

What was considered a niche legal market 20 years ago is now simply an umbrella category for any number of "micro-niches." Take areas such as healthcare, for example. Clients are no longer looking for firms with "healthcare" specialists. They might expect legal counsel that not only covers their exploratory research in AI-driven cancer treatments, but also their unique position for developing 3D-printed delivery of these medicines, and the legal implications thereof. They're seeking individual lawyers with experience in the particular niche of the healthcare law segment that pertains to them.

In a lot of ways, clients are looking for the same targeted and convenient services they've become used to because of the numerous cloud services that permeate their lives. Ultimately, the cloud effect empowers them to be more selective with the specific legal council they see in the market today.

You don't have to look any further than the tech niche for an excellent example of this in practice. Clients are coming to firms with very specific needs in relatable fields. While this need for specificity in niche legal fields may initially seem daunting, the challenge isn't without the opportunity for growth.

Meeting Challenges with Innovation

As clients change the way they seek legal services, new ways to serve them — and drive business value — appear. By creating highly specialized units within the firm, clients will find new value in legal council that meets emerging needs. An obvious challenge born from this evolution is the need for cross-team collaboration.

When the client comes looking for AI specialists who also know medical research, you'll have two teams that need to share information, while maintaining transparency over distinct units of work. How do you know who to bill, how much to bill, and which team the revenue flows through?

The answer lies in leveraging customer relationship management software (CRM) like Clio to integrate with your communication as efficiently as your teams integrate with their respective specialties. This type of software brings automation, efficiency, and mobility to solve these administrative challenges. Calls to and from clients are automatically logged. Ensuing time is automatically entered for billing later. Calls can be tagged with notes that get automatically exported for transparency and organization. Better yet, with a cloud-hosted communication platform that includes omnichannel contact center and even communication API's, you'll be able to reach an increasingly discerning customer exactly how they want to be reached, whether through text, voice, video, or IM.

By integrating your case management software with your cloud communications, you'll be able to handle the logistical, organizational, and communication challenges that arise as a new breed of customer brings new opportunity to your firm.

Learn how Vonage's Law Firm solutions and other how cloud-based communications can aid your company today.

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