2021 is here, and so we once again hope to wipe the slate clean and start anew. 2020 may have been full of unexpected setbacks, and in some cases, extraordinary difficulties. Both individuals and organizations have had to make some radical changes in the way they do things in response to the changes in the status quo brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the start of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to reassess the situation and get on the front foot, to put together a plan that anticipates and solves hurdles instead of responding to them as they arise.
We’ve thus put together a list of tips to better help lawyers prepare for the challenges ahead.
1. Get organized
As mentioned, the new year is a time for fresh starts and clean slates. This is as true for a law practice as for anything else, which is why one of the first things you should do in 2021 is to tie up loose ends. All open matters should be reviewed, and any that need closing, should be. For any cases that have stalled, formulate a plan to address any outstanding issues, or otherwise refer the case to another lawyer. And if you have any outstanding balances, send out those invoices.
2. Adopt a client-centric approach
The way that consumers, especially millennials, relate to goods and services is changing. Where past generations had been more outcome-focused, modern consumers are more concerned with the methods by which they receive those goods and services: the customer experience. If you haven’t already, this is the time to make a concerted effort to design your practice around your clients’ journeys as customers.
3. Accept credit cards
Another way in which modern customers differ from those who came before them is their preference for non-cash-based methods of payment, with 47% of surveyed legal customers indicating a preference for lawyers who accepted automated payments, and 40% indicating they flat out wouldn’t hire a lawyer who didn’t. Setting up your practice to accept credit or cards might be just what you need to grow your cash flow.
4. Network, network, network
One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of personal relationships. Fifty-nine percent of surveyed customers indicated that they seek referrals from friends and family when looking for legal services. Boost your networking activities by attending events such as legal technology conferences, industry meet-ups, and the like. You need not restrict yourself to the legal industry either. Any sort of activity that involves engaging with your local community is a way to meet potential clients.
5. Take your practice to go
The beauty of modern mobile devices is that so much of our activity can be consolidated on them. Most lawyers check emails on their phones while waiting in line for a coffee or at the dry cleaners. With the right suite of apps, even more productive activity can be tackled in this way, ultimately saving you more time for your personal life. This will especially prove true once the COVID-19 pandemic is addressed, and our routines become more mobile once again.
6. Cultivate your online reputation
In the digital age, part of people’s lives is lived on the internet. So much social interaction, information-seeking, and identity-crafting is tied into our online profiles, and being cognizant of this is key to a successful practice. A strong online presence could be the deciding factor in getting a potential customer to enlist your services; likewise, a poor one could be a major deterrent. Invest in a solid online marketing plan and leverage all the tools and platforms at your disposal.
7. Become data-driven
A beneficial advantage of migrating so much activity to online platforms is that data is gathered about those activities as they’re being conducted. Effectively leveraging this data is the key to better understanding your practice. Key metrics defining performance — from basic ones like the number of new clients each month to more sophisticated, derived metrics such as return on investment for marketing spend — can be properly tracked and gauged against benchmarks.
8. Take care of yourself
Last but not least, don’t forget to look after your own well-being. After all, you’re a human being before you’re a lawyer, and the truth is the strains of the latter can negatively impact the former. Find ways to manage stress effectively, and never forget to put your health first and foremost.
2021 is a brand-new horizon for your practice, and with the above tips, you’ll be set to best take advantage of it. But if your law firm needs efficient record retrieval services to close cases faster and set a positive tone for 2021, call us today.