Imagine running a law practice where technology blends seamlessly with your expertise, creating client experiences that no competitors can match.
A smartfirm does just that — strategically using software and automation to boost efficiency and streamline operations, allowing for a laser-focus on practicing law.
A “smartfirm” is a law firm that leverages technology, data, and innovative strategies to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and client service. They utilize cutting-edge technological tools and processes to streamline operations, manage information, and deliver legal services. Whether you’re a solo practitioner or work for a large firm, this playbook will give you the tools and strategies needed to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving legal landscape.
“A smartfirm is a law firm that is incredibly efficient and utilizes technology to run every possible aspect of their workflow to laser focus on client relationships and effectively practice law.”
– Matt Spiegel, Co-Founder and CEO of Lawmatics
Section 1: Selecting the Right Legal Tech Tools for Your Practice
Technology has enabled the legal industry to automate processes and operate more like the business sector. By embracing technology, law firms can eliminate the risk of human error and streamline manual workflows that traditionally dominated large parts of a lawyer’s day. When evaluating and choosing legal tech tools, firms must pinpoint inefficiencies, recognize problems, and understand that no tool will solve every challenge.
A smartfirm embraces technology—legal client relationship management (CRM) software, practice management software, document automation tools, electronic billing systems, virtual collaboration platforms—and incorporates it into its day-to-day operations to improve workflow, communication, and document management.
The Role of Technology in Modern Law Firms
Technology integration in modern law firms has resulted in significant changes, changing how legal professionals function, collaborate, and serve clients. From streamlining administrative tasks to improving research capabilities and enhancing client service, technology is an indispensable tool for legal professionals.
CRM & Intake Software
A legal CRM helps firms manage client intake by attracting and retaining clients while lawyers focus on practicing law. The result: more repeat business, increased client referrals, and improved law firm revenue.
Case management technology provides firms of all sizes with one central location to track and store appointment scheduling, client data, case notes, client communication, and billing information to manage their cases.
Practice management platforms help attorneys perform many functions necessary to run their practices. Generally, this software will handle matter management, client management, task management, and more.
“Running a smartfirm means working efficiently with technology to streamline processes and procedures.”
– Erdal Turnacioglu, Owner, President and CEO, Erdal Employment Law
Section 2: Client-Centered Vision
Growing law firms have a client-centered vision, meaning clients are at the center of the firm’s philosophy, operations, and ideas. Client-centered firms understand that clients are the primary reason for their existence, and therefore, they will do anything necessary to keep prospective, current, and past clients satisfied.
A smartfirm prioritizes the needs of its clients by offering secure online portals to access case updates, use client relationship management (CRM) systems to maintain better client relationships, and employ alternative fee arrangements or legal service packages to provide superior value.
Understanding the Importance of Client-Centered Services
Exceptional client service is crucial because it elevates the firm from one that merely provides legal services to one that clients will recommend, positively review, and return to for future assistance.
Building Strong Client Relationships Through Effective Communication
Effective communication is one of the best ways a law firm can build strong client relationships. Smartfirms use the following technology to boost client communication through automation:
- Email & SMS. Short messaging service (SMS) software sends an immediate notification whenever a client emails, texts, or calls a law firm.
- Client portals. A client portal is a tool that gives legal clients access to messages, documents, forms, calendar events, tasks, and other information shared with them.
- Automated follow-ups. Legal CRMs use data to trigger automated follow-ups, ensuring that all clients receive prompt replies.
Designing a Client-Centered Onboarding Process
A client-centered onboarding process will help establish a strong relationship, put them at ease, and increase retention. Here are some of the most critical steps:
- Marketing/messaging. Effective client onboarding ensures that marketing and messaging based on pre-set criteria are sent automatically at precisely the right time.
- Online self-service booking. When firms utilize a client-centered approach, clients can schedule meetings themselves to keep everyone on the same page—on time.
- Follow-ups. Workflow automation software allows firms to follow up with personalized messaging tailored to individual clients.
- Document sharing. A client-centered process allows legal teams to request documents and enables clients to upload them directly into the file.
Customizing Legal Services to Meet Client Needs
Firms that customize legal services and fee arrangements according to client needs allow them to choose the level and scope of the representation desired and provide control over the cost of the services rendered. Here are some ways law firms can provide clients (and themselves) with increased payment predictability:
- Capped pricing. Cap hourly billings for a given case, project, or service.
- Packages. Provide a single, fixed price for bundled services.
- Flat rate services. Offer flat-fee menus for select services.
- Billing solutions. Time and billing software for law firms automates each step of the billing process and delivers accurate invoices in one click.
Want to learn about how to transform your law firm into a smartfirm?