Jared Correia, Founder and CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, talks with Litify's VP of Growth Jon Robinson about how law firms are managing client experience remotely. Correia describes how intake management has evolved and shares what clients want from their law firms.
Watch the conversation below.
The rush to digitally transform law firms
Correia says that most law firms are not quite digitally transformed, but are now moving in that direction. “I think the challenge for a lot of law firms is they’re doing it in a truncated fashion. So instead of taking two or three years to get digital, lawyers are now needing to do that in two-to-three weeks. That’s been a real challenge.”
He says that the more virtual a firm can become in this environment, the better. “A lot of firms are still in shock. But the time to get moving is now.” Correia isn’t just talking about the short-term prospects of a practice’s business: “I think that has ramifications beyond this pandemic. I don’t just think this is a good idea now; I thought this was a good idea ten years ago.”
One thing that has surprised him is how quickly older attorneys and people in general have embraced video conferencing. “I now know that my mom can use Zoom, and that is really surprising to me.”
Four components of online intakes
According to Correia, there are four components that go into digitizing intakes for a law firm to make them more efficient. “What percentage of law firms use all four of these in combination? Probably a very small percentage, honestly.”
1. Video Conferencing
“There are people who don’t want to come into a law office and park in the city. People don’t necessarily want to do that anymore, so law firms that can give folks options, in terms of intakes and meetings, that’s a really valuable thing that I think has been underutilized by law firms for a long, long time.”
“It’s still very hard to schedule with an attorney. Somebody calls the lawyer, they don’t return the call, it goes to voicemail. Somebody emails the lawyer, they don’t get back to people. You’ve got a contact form on your website; those go into the ether, nobody ever responds to those. Scheduling with an attorney is still far more difficult than it should be, and there are tools out there that are relatively easy to use to get those appointments in place.”
“How do you stop somebody from going to your website, bouncing off, and then calling the next attorney within two minutes? Set up a scheduling portal of some kind. Allowing clients to select their own appointment times is really helpful.”
“A lot of law firms have e-signature software, but they don’t use it, oddly enough.” Correia says that many firms only use 10-15% of their software’s full utility because they don’t realize what it can do. “That’s problematic because they’re paying for more than they’re getting.”
“I’m not saying a lawyer should be a programmer, but they should be aware of the software their firm is using, and how they’re using it. If not, they’re going to end up overpaying and being less efficient than they could be.”
“I’m still shocked at how few attorneys use e-payments. Attorneys don’t use e-payments because they don’t want to pay the processing fees, but frankly that’s much better than sitting on tons of accounts receivable. For a lot of practices out there, like family lawyers for example, having the ability to take e-payments is essential. There’s not a ton of adoption on that, not nearly as much as there should be.”
Focus on what’s easiest for the client
Correia says that too many firms focus on what’s easiest for them as opposed to their clients. “Most law firm models are not engagement models. They’re using intake systems that are easy for them to implement, not necessarily easy for the clients to use. What you should be focusing on is what’s easiest for the client.”
One example is pre-screening intakes via text message or chatbot. Studies show that early on, consumers prefer to engage with brands via text. And in Correia’s experience, chatbots are extremely effective at pre-screening leads. “We’ve seen a high level of success with that. People are scheduling twice as many appointments via chat service as via other methodologies. And they’re converting more.”
He says that it doesn’t make sense for law firms to put so much time and energy into getting people to land on their web pages, only to let them fill out a contact form and walk away with no next steps in place. That’s finally changing, and in Correia’s opinion, “It probably should have changed a long time ago.”
“There’s an impression on the part of law firms that they need to be traditional and that’s what clients want. But largely that’s just what law firms want, and clients don’t need that anymore,” he says. “Think of their interactions with every other vendor or service they use. If I’m a law firm, I’m trying to think about how I become more like Amazon, not how I become more like the law firm down the street.”
To make your law firm more like Amazon, request a Litify demo.