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How Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Benefit from Adopting a Law Firm CRM

No matter how passionate you are about advocating for your clients as a criminal defense attorney, there never seems to be enough time in a day to do as much as you’d like to do. Despite your best intentions, you’re often fighting the clock and grappling with a lack of resources as you struggle to keep up with the volume of work that a criminal defense lawyer has on their plate.

Because of the substantial workload, it can prove difficult to spend as much time on each individual matter as you’d like. The photocopies, the data entry, and all of the administrative tasks that it takes to run a criminal law practice can eat up your day in no time.

Biggest Challenges That Criminal Defense Lawyers Face

Balancing Potential Clients With Retained Clients

One of the most common reasons why legal clients grumble about their lawyers is because they feel that they don't communicate enough. And the complaints are hardly unmerited. Statistics show that the average law firm has an impressively low response rate. A recent study showed that as few as 30% of all of the law firms contacted answered the phone. If you put yourself in the shoes of a potential client, it's incredibly frustrating if you can't even get someone on the phone when you're looking for a lawyer. Yet, from a lawyer’s perspective, it's not always simple to stop everything and pick up the phone. With so much going on in a legal practice, finding the time to balance your pain clients with your potential ones can be a downright headache. Yet, the new clients are the backbone of your legal practice. Without them, you would cease to continue to generate revenue. So, since you can't clone yourself to have enough manpower to get it all done, the next best thing is to rely on technology to take care of your potential clients for you. In turn, you can focus your energy on your retained clients.

Competing Law Firms

When it comes to dominating the legal market, having a presence on Google is king. Statistics show that over half of Google users use it specifically for searching for businesses. So, people looking for a criminal defense lawyer go to the first place they know to go— the internet. The most successful criminal defense lawyers are the ones that show up on the first page. It doesn't matter if you're the best criminal defense lawyer in the world— if Google doesn't show you on the first page of results when people search for a lawyer in your area, then the competition is going to eat you alive. It pays to execute a marketing plan that targets your ideal customer and puts you on the grid. 

Running a Law Firm Like a Business

Law school teaches you all kinds of information about how to be a criminal defense lawyer. From conduct research to how to present your findings in court, to negotiating plea bargains. However, what law school doesn't teach you is how to run a business. When you first start your career in law, you may not see yourself as a business person. However, you are. Running your law practice is exactly like running a business—because it is one.

Once you start seeing your law firm as a business and put on a CEO hat, you will start realizing how valuable your time is. Turning to a law firm CRM is the most effective way to ensure that your clients receive the best possible experience, and you stay organized and on top of all the most important details.

Stress

Regardless of your legal practice area, a day in the life of a lawyer is incredibly demanding and nerve-wracking. Your cases are extraordinarily complex and require a taxing amount of effort to defend your clients and research the law. Statistics show that 19% of lawyers suffer from severe anxiety, and 10% have experienced suicidal thoughts at least once within the last year.

Needless to say, criminal defense lawyers have a lot going on, on top of the administrative tasks that it takes to keep their practice running. That's why it's more important than ever that you take advantage of the benefits that legal technology has to offer to reduce your workload and use the pressure.

Long Hours

If you're running your practice on a manual system, then chances are you're putting in extremely long hours. Some criminal lawyers work upwards of 60 hours a week, and a lot of those hours are dedicated to tasks they can't even invoice for. Client intake is one of the most time-consuming parts of being a lawyer. Turning to legal client intake software can shave hours off of your workweek that you can devote to the other areas of your life that are important too, like family and friends. 

Manual processes aren't just standing in the way of your mental well-being— they're standing in the way of your growth as a business. Using a CRM and client intake software will cut down the number of tedious tasks you have to complete, and make your practice much more efficient. Ultimately, you'll achieve a greater quality of life and more revenue.

Signs Your Law Firm Needs a CRM

!You Don’t Know Where Your Time is Going

Do you find yourself at the end of your week wondering where the time went? If you're not sure where your time is going, then it's an indication that you could definitely benefit from putting a more efficient system in place. Once you start seeing a bigger picture of how much time you're losing each week on menial tasks that could be delegated to automation, a whole world of possibilities starts to open up for your law firm.

As a lawyer, time is money. You wouldn't frivolously spend all of the money in your bank account without knowing where it's going, would you? So why would you do the same thing with your time? A CRM with built-in reporting software allows you to take control of your productivity, organize your client activity, and identify the holes in your practice where you can improve your efficiency. 

!Losing Track of Leads

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a criminal defense lawyer is to throw away opportunities. The minute that a lead first contacts your law firm, you must start tracking them immediately. Whether they contact you through a legal client intake form or they call in, you need an efficient system in place that relies on more than post-it notes or a haphazardly thrown-together spreadsheet.

A CRM tracks each stage of the client journey and tells you what action needs to be taken next. You can easily see all client communication in one place, and access contact details from anywhere anytime making sure that no opportunity gets lost.

!You’re Taking Too Long To Get Back to Potential Clients

If you're taking too long to get back to your leads, then you're failing to make consistency a priority. A CRM ensures that you never have to worry about forgetting to get back to someone again. Easily move each of your potential clients along with custom law firm intake forms that get all the information you need with minimal effort on your part. Position yourself as a reliable and prompt lawyer with features like SMS for law firms, that give your clients direct access to you, communicating in their preferred method.

Usually, clients simply want to know the status of their case. While you may not have time to make individual calls to each of your clients updating on their case details, you can provide them with access to the client portal. A client portal allows them to see the status of their case whenever they need to. No more making your clients wait when they have questions. A client communication portal means you can give them an immediate answer without having to stop what you're doing to give it to them.

!You’re Getting Poor Reviews

If your law firm is receiving poor online reviews, then this is a huge indication of a problem. We live in a society where the amount of stars you have on Google is equal to the opinion of a close friend or family member. People trust online reviews, so poor reviews are an indication that you need a better system in place. Prospective clients want to be reassured that you're going to do a great job representing them on their case.

Start reading the poor reviews, and try to look for patterns. Chances are most of the complaints will come down to a poor client journey rather than the results you got in their case. It all comes down to how consistent and communicative they were during every step of the client journey.

Regardless of whether you are a small firm or medium to large-sized one, keeping track of all of your clients and leads can become chaotic without a system in place. A CRM streamlines your processes and organizes your client communication so you can focus on what matters most at your law firm, ultimately resulting in plenty of five-star reviews.

!No Idea Where Leads Are Coming From

If you're not tracking your leads, then how can you be sure what law firm marketing efforts are working? A CRM comes with a lead tracking law firm client intake software that organizes your leads into categories of where they found your law firm. Not only does this help keep you better organized, but it helps you gain better insight into where you're getting your best leads from. Why pour your marketing dollars into lead sources that aren't producing any results? Law firm reporting software can reveal who your most valuable clients are, and how they found you, helping you get maximum return on your investment, and grow your law firm.

!No Goals

Again, if you're thinking like a business person, then you must have goals in mind. How can you expect a business to grow if you have no clear objective set in place? Stay accountable, and blast your goals out of the water by running regular reports through your legal CRM.

©2022 — LawmaticsNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 336
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About this Author

Head of Growth

Sarah is the Head of Growth at Lawmatics. She has over 15 years of marketing and sales experience and has a proven track record of building brands and driving growth at companies like MyCase, Smokeball, CJ Affiliate, Johnson & Johnson, and FastSpring.

Before joining Lawmatics, Sarah held the role of VP of Marketing at FastSpring, where she built out the marketing arm of the go-to-market team, created a scalable demand generation machine, and rebranded the company - repositioning it from a legacy fragmented ecommerce solution to the leading full-service ecommerce platform.

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