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Practice 360° Imparts Tech Tips on Post-Pandemic Success

July 16, 2021

By John Murph

Practice 360

On July 15 the D.C. Bar Practice Management Advisory Service drew more than 400 attendees to its virtual Practice 360° event, which covered post-pandemic trends in law practice and explored how firms can plot a successful path forward.

Conrad Saam, founder of the legal marketing firm Mockingbird, identified several strategies that growth-oriented law firms are utilizing, including analytics in online marketing. Saam said lawyers and law firms should rethink their concept of return on investment, adding that it’s a great metric if one is investing in the stock market. “But I don’t necessarily think it’s always appropriate or the priority for online marketing and measuring online marketing efficiency,” he said.  

Saam also advised firms against using call tracking systems as call centers. “The job of a call center is to stop the search — stop the shopping,” Saam said. “The best way to stop that shopping is to take that prospective client and move them down to your [intake process] and book them to the initial consultation at the next possible time.” 

Pinpointing what led clients to contact your firm is also important, Saam told attendees. “You can take data from Google Analytics and a third party like CallRail to automatically put it into an advanced customer relationship management system like HubSpot to answer that question,” he said. 

Improving the intake process is also essential to firm growth. “Lots of you have intake people who are frankly underpaid, unskilled and under-loved, untrained, and unmanaged,” Saam said. “Very few of you are mystery calling your firm to see what the [intake] experience is like.” 

When it comes to developing a website, Saam recommended using WordPress because of its popularity and accessibility. “There are 200 WordPress developers in whatever city you’re sitting in right now,” Saam claimed. “That means you have 200 alternatives to work with at your disposal. If you’re on a proprietary platform, you have one [developer]. And you are depending on them to keep the site up to speed; you’re depending on them to do anything. This puts them in control instead of you.” 

“You should know all the content on your website because it's not always as innocuous as you think,” Saam said on the importance of auditing content, calling attention to issues such as empty or misleading webpages and broken links. Saam also suggested developing easier ways for clients to pay for services, consolidating domains instead of having offshoot vanity websites and blogs, and customizing your website to your audiences. 

Stronger Connection Between Humans and Tech

Thriving Means Adapting
In another session, Adriana Linares, a legal technology consultant at LawTech, offered five strategies for lawyers and law firms to thrive in a post-pandemic world, including leveraging data and analytics. “We can adopt technology that provides us with insights into how things are going” and where the process gaps exist, Linares said. “It's a rich bank of information that you're sitting on when it comes to tech info; you just got to get there and use it.”

Noting that remote work forced many law firms to recognize stressors that employees face, such as caregiving, Linares recommended developing a people-first technology plan: automating mundane tasks to free up employees to better reach their professional potential; designating one source space for resources, guidelines, and procedures; and staying on top of compliance and security. 

Being flexible and adaptable is another strategy, which can mean expanding recruitment beyond the local talent pool, adopting technology that makes it easier and more enjoyable for employees to work remotely, and reevaluating the firm’s existing technologies. Linares also suggested implementing new billing arrangements and enhancing clients’ experience to provide greater value. For example, a client portal for pertinent documents and data can result in better collaboration between attorneys and clients as well as more transparency, Linares said.
 
Many law firms are slow to change, Linares said, but hiring experts to build an efficient tech engine can mean getting those gains faster. “With efficiency comes more time to spend on those other critical parts of your business — marketing, business development, and client experiences,” she said. “It’s going to help you grow your firm and really help put you above the competition.” 

Technology in the legal profession “makes things easier and harder on [us] as humans,” Linares added. “It's important that we adopt technology that creates a seamless experience for communications and collaboration — whether it's internal collaboration within the team, among the law firm employees and attorneys or with outside counsel, and especially with our clients. The modernization of legal technology processes can no longer be ignored.” 

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