Recent insights show that legal issues exist all over the planet. Although the severity of legal issues varies depending on where you are, the most frequent legal problems are related to money, housing, and debt. A recent study conducted by The World Justice Project concluded that as many as one out of four people say that their legal issues were so bad that they resulted in physical or mental distress, and one out of five people reported that they lost their jobs or homes as a result of their legal problems. Of those surveyed in the USA, over 50% claim to have experienced a legal issue within the last two years. In other words, it's safe to say that people need lawyers!
Yet, despite the obvious need for legal counsel, in 2018, 77% of people with a legal issue in the US didn’t get a lawyer. People are simply not using lawyers.
People Think Lawyers are Overpriced
The bottom line is that most Americans don't have the budget to be able to afford a lawyer. After all, depending on their experience, some lawyers can cost over $500 an hour. Even simple cases can cost several thousands of dollars in legal fees, and more complex cases can cost upwards of the price of a small island. Because of lawyers’ reputations for being extremely pricey, many people automatically assume that hiring a lawyer falls way outside of their budget, and they don’t give it a second thought.
For this reason, many attorneys are starting to move towards a flat fee system. Flat fee billing systems are easy for clients to understand, and perceived by legal clients as less risky and more affordable. A lot of lawyers hesitate to gravitate towards a flat fee pricing system because they fear that they may cut themselves short for the amount of work that they put in. However, statistics are showing that flat-fee pricing is the future of law firms, and offering this form of legal pricing will help you win way more clients.
One of the biggest reasons why lawyers cost so much is because a lot of what lawyers do is extremely time-consuming. From sitting through consultations with clients to developing and implementing legal strategies to drafting up complex legal documents to revising them, to attending court dates and negotiating with opposing legal parties— it's no secret that a career in law is one of the most demanding careers out there. Time equals money, especially for lawyers. So, when you add all of these time-consuming and laborious elements of being a lawyer on top of the administrative work that it takes to run and market a law firm— not to mention the price paid for law school, it's only natural that lawyers come with hefty price tags.
Lawyers put in a lot of work, and their high prices are often merited. So while lowering the cost of your legal fees may not be realistic, lowering the amount of time you spend on each case is. Increasing your efficiency doesn’t just have your clients' best interest in mind but also yours. Streamlining your workflow, and being as efficient as possible means that you can take on even more legal clients. The answer to becoming more efficient lies in leveraging technology.
Lawyers aren't as productive as they would like to be, largely because of all of the interruptions. A recent survey revealed that legal professionals experience more than 10 interruptions a day. Between incoming phone calls, emails from prospects, and client no-shows, there are all sorts of things that can throw a monkey wrench in your process.
On average, lawyers spend only 29% of each day on work they can actually bill for. That means only about two hours of each workday is spent on billable work. As more and more lawyers start to catch on to how much valuable time they're losing the more are starting to gravitate towards legal software.
In the absence of legal software, juggling incoming inquiries can be a nightmare, particularly if you don’t have the luxury of front desk staff. If you're in the middle of a consultation and someone calls to inquire about your legal services, the call will go to a voicemail box that may or may not ever get listened to. If someone does answer the phone, they may write down their information on a piece of paper and stick it on a desk somewhere, which may or may not make its way back to you to be followed up with. In many cases, there's so much going on already, that no one ends up getting back to that person. The end result is an opportunity lost.
Relying on software like a law firm CRM and legal client intake software puts your firm on autopilot so that you never have to step away from a paying client to handle an interruption again.
People Think Lawyers Lack Transparency
Market research shows that lawyers have extremely bad reputations for a lack of fee transparency. Because of the fear of an astronomical final bill handed over to them, many people with legal problems avoid getting an attorney altogether.
Recently, a legal marketing research firm conducted interviews concluding that clients feel “attorneys have very little empathy for their situation.” The lack of trust between consumers and lawyers is a big problem for the legal industry. Because clients aren't sure how lawyers will bill them, they worry that the final fee won't be in their favor. The worry of the lack of control over the final cost leads to anxiety to the point that they avoid working with lawyers altogether.
So, how do lawyers overcome this common sense of dread that people seem to have about them? It all comes down to an open and transparent pricing system that you go over from the very first consultation. If you can provide a clear breakdown of your pricing system from the very first meeting, then you're much more likely to gain their trust.
It's as simple as assembling a document using legal document automation software to create an attorney-client agreement before the end of your first consultation. Custom fields allow you to merge whatever data from your matters and contacts and auto-fill directly into a contract with a few clicks of a mouse. By having the fee laid out on the table from the very beginning, you'll win your client's trust, and eliminate the need for anxiety surrounding the final bill.
People Have Access to Free Legal Advice Online
Legal self-help websites such as NOLO, provide an extensive collection of legal information all for free. People are able to turn towards resources like these to find answers to their everyday legal questions in easy-to-understand terms. However, as any lawyer knows, legal self-help is not the same as legal representation and does not substitute expertise in the law.
Yet when a consumer considers the free alternative to paying hefty fees to a lawyer, it’s understandable why they may choose to navigate their legal woes on their own. Lawyers looking to convince legal DIY’ers should explain to them why they’re the best person for the job over a self-help company. Your word alone isn’t enough. It’s helpful to produce plenty of examples of similar cases that you've won, and how you can help their particular case.
Tools like audience segmentation software can help group your leads into distinctive categories, which allow you to send drip campaigns for law firms personalized for their situation. If you have leads who are leaning towards legal self-help over hiring a lawyer, then group them into a category that targets their particular situation. Highlight your strengths, and your experience working on their types of cases. Provide resources and information, and show them that you're passionate about that particular area of law.
Ultimately, a personalized approach to their legal problem is much more valuable than anything they'll find in an online library.
People Have Had Bad Experiences With Lawyers in The Past
Many people have hired a lawyer at some point in their lives, and it was an overall negative experience. While many bad legal experiences come down to a general lack of compassion and transparency, in most cases people's main complaints about lawyers were their lack of efficiency and poor communication. The general consensus is that legal clients feel lawyers show less attention towards their case than they would like. The bottom line is that people expect to be kept up to date on the status of their case and responded to quickly when they contact their lawyer.
From a lawyer's perspective, it's easy to understand why it may be challenging to give their clients the undivided attention that they'd like. After all, lawyers are overwhelmingly occupied with everything it takes to run a law firm. Yet there are some lawyers out there that clients are thrilled with who have just as much on their plate as the lawyers with dissatisfied clients. So, what is their secret to giving their clients outstanding service that makes them want to work with them again?
The answer may not be what you think.
Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with winning their case or not. Believe it or not, there are plenty of lawyers out there who don't get the best possible results for their client's case, yet the clients are thrilled with them.
It all comes down to the client journey.
We live in a consumer-driven market, and clients appreciate great service. If you can manage to make your legal clients feel connected to you every step of the way, even in the absence of a favorable outcome for their case, you will delight and retain them.
Since you can't exactly multiply yourself to be in 500 places at the same time, the next best thing is relying on automation software. Workflow automation for law firms keeps your clients connected to you every step of the client journey, making them feel like they are your only client. Whether they sign up for your newsletter or schedule a meeting, legal client intake software allows you to set up trigger-based emails that make them feel connected to you at every turn.
In 2021 Law is a Buyer's Market
Once upon a time, lawyers held all the cards. Clients had no other choice but to accept the way that firms were run, and like it or not it was a one-sided dynamic. However, the competition is fiercer than ever. People expect a high level of service for the least amount of effort possible. If you can't offer a client-centric and efficient experience, then people are going to go where they can find it.
We live in the age of instant gratification. People can order just about anything online and have it delivered the same day. If you can't meet the demands of the modern consumer then you won’t stand up against the competition. There are 1.3 million lawyers in the US alone, so, if you can't provide what people are looking for, then they're going to find someone that can.
The internet has given people unprecedented access to legal services, where they can easily read reviews helping them determine who the best fit for their case is. Standing out to legal clients in a sea of online competition means you need to find a way to attract them, because, in 2021, law is a buyer's market.
How to Build a Strong Reputation for Your Law Firm and Get Hired
Prioritize Online Reviews
Now is the time to commit to delivering an outstanding client experience and shining in a sea of competition.Today, we live in a star-rated society, so, if you can manage to prioritize your law firm's online ratings, then you'll already win half the battle.
Statistics show that 90% of consumers base their buying decisions on reviews. Whether they're looking for a place to buy jeans, or someone to represent them in a family law case, people trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a close friend.
Remember, getting a great review doesn't always stem from winning your client's case either. It all comes down to the client experience.
Let’s go over how you can deliver an outstanding client journey that results in a five-star review on Google.
Reply Right Away
We live in an age where we expect immediate communication. Where everyone has mobile phones, and you can reach someone right away instead of having to wait until they’re next to their landline. We live in an age where we can send emails that get delivered immediately rather than having to put a stamp on an envelope and drop it off at the post office.
People are less willing than ever to have to wait for a response when they call your law firm. 80% of legal clients expect an immediate reply when calling a law office to inquire about services. Unless you have the luxury of front desk staff, answering the phone isn't always possible as a lawyer. So, to meet the demands of today's consumer market, you have to find a way to deliver an immediate response even when you're busy serving your paying clients.
The answer lies in automatic follow-ups. A legal client intake software and legal CRM system like Lawmatics sends automatic follow-ups that make your clients feel valued from day one. Automated personalized messages will delight and engage, and above all, impress potential clients with your modern and speedy approach to handling inquiries.
Whether someone signs up for a newsletter on your website or schedules a consultation, they'll receive a personalized message with the attention they expect and deserve.
A Friendly Attitude Goes a Long Way
Lawyers don't have the luxury of being dismissive or cold in today's consumer-driven market. People want a helpful and friendly response that answers all their questions. Lawyers with too much on their plates trying to keep up with the demands of each incoming inquiry may send cold or brief responses that lack answers to all the prospects' questions. But, first impressions matter, so the minute that a client first contacts your firm, you should be prepared to deliver a great response.
Legal software starts tracking a lead the minute they first contact your firm. That way, you know what steps need to be taken to ensure that you've answered all their questions. It's also important to make sure that you ask them questions such as, why they need a lawyer, and whether they've hired a lawyer before.
Asking important questions upfront before scheduling a consultation can save everyone time. Not everyone is going to be the right fit for your law firm. So, determining that early on can help avoid losing time on a consultation.
Deliver an Error-Free Experience
Without a systematic client intake process, lawyers risk plenty of errors. Whether it's an error in the contract or a scheduling problem, clients have a low tolerance for mistakes. After all, these people are hiring a lawyer to fix their problems, not create more problems. Avoid errors by relying on tools like automation in law firms that assemble important paperwork quickly and error-free. You can easily merge the data you need from your matters and contacts, and fill it directly into your PDF and word documents with a few clicks of a mouse. Not only can you ensure 100% accuracy, but you can also gain valuable time.
Consistency is a fundamental part of delivering quality customer service. If you want to deliver a superior client experience that encourages people to recommend you to their friends and family and hire you again, then you need to consistently deliver and exceed their expectations. Recent findings conclude that 86% of consumers stop doing business with someone due to one bad experience.
Client relationships are no different from personal ones, when you can provide consistent results, you build trust and strengthen your relationships because they’re built on a foundation of trust. Since clients are putting their most important legal matters into your hands, it's critical that they can rely on you to deliver what you promise every single time.
Part of delivering a consistent client experience is ensuring that everyone in your law firm is on the same page. Asking your clients the same questions each time that they talk to someone different at your law firm will quickly frustrate them. Relying on a CRM means that all of the most important information about your clients will be meticulously tracked and saved in one single database. That way you can deliver a smooth and consistent client experience instead of a chaotic one.
Make it Easy
The most important thing to most consumers is a service that is as effortless as possible. Let’s face it, when you're paying someone to deliver a service, then you want the least amount of responsibility possible. Make things easy for your legal clients by giving them less work to do. That means offering services like a client e-signature tool so they can sign important documents from wherever they are without having to bother with a scanner or fax machine.
Offering automated appointment scheduling is also a fantastic way to take the annoyance out of trying to find a time that works for everyone in lengthy email back and forths. In short, the more effortless of a client experience you can provide your clients, the more thrilled they'll be with your law firm and the more inclined they’ll be to leave you a stellar review.