Four Top Takeaways from ABA TECHSHOW 2022

Were you at ABA TECHSHOW 2022 last week? The much-anticipated legal technology conference was back full force and in-person in Chicago after last year’s all-virtual event. The Actionstep team was there full force, too, thrilled to be interacting face-to-face with the legal community once again. There’s a lot to take in from ABA TECHSHOW, but luckily our Associate Product Manager Gwen Otwell has honed it all down these four top takeaways to share.

1. Leveraging CRM Across Practice Areas

The first trending topic we picked up on at ABA TECHSHOW centered on the benefits of using CRM (customer relationship management) technology across all legal practice areas, either as a supplement to case management software or as a built-in client management feature. If you’re not familiar with CRM, you can think of it as a client management database that allows you to organize and automate all sorts of tasks, from qualifying leads to client intake to setting appointments to sending marketing emails.

Historically, CRM technology has been seen as most useful for practice areas that need to maintain long-term contact with clients, such as estate planning firms. However, with a high number of ABA TECHSHOW educational sessions focused specifically on CRM, it appears that interest and adoption is beginning to spread across all practice areas. If your firm struggles to efficiently manage client records and communications and/or needs a way to qualify leads more effectively, now is a great time to learn more about CRM.

2. Optimizing Your Client Intake Process

Legal market leaders throughout ABA TECHSHOW emphasized the importance of creating an intuitive and streamlined intake process to make the most of both the law firm and the client’s time. By optimizing intake, law firms can not only maximize client lead conversion, but also ensure accurate data entry and document sharing.

But how exactly should your firm approach this? First, it’s vital to set clear expectations around communication, availability, and fees from the moment a client first contacts the firm. Consider integrating multiple intake channels to make the process as flexible as possible, including phone, chat, and email. You can also design your intake process to help identify and prioritize leads that are truly compatible with your firm’s offerings. For example, you can utilize webforms as part of your intake in order to ask qualifying questions about the service the prospective client is seeking. Issuing automatic email responses to clients to detail next steps and additional details for any subsequent appointments is also a great time-saver.

Finally, if your firm deals with frequent, costly no-shows for initial attorney consultations, think about shifting the process. Instead, begin with a free intake session with administrative staff who can screen the client and determine the best next steps.

3. Managing Your Law Firm in the Cloud

Another hot topic was how to effectively and safely manage your law firm once you have made the move to the cloud. As the trend towards paperless and/or remote law firm management continues, attorneys and law firm staff are faced with new operational considerations. To keep up with these developments, attorneys need to be diligent and informed on the following subjects:

  • Security and privacy considerations around the storage and transmission of client data: You can learn more about the security measures your firm should be taking now and find out what you can do to prevent a ransomware attack here.
  • Utility and functionality of the latest legal tech applications: This includes understanding what applications integrate with your current tech stack. There may be cloud-based integrations you’re not yet using that could save lots of time and manual work.
  • The benefits and challenges of managing a remote or hybrid-remote/in person team: Law firms have had to figure out how to get things done without the human glue that exists in the in-person office Therefore, people are relying more on technology to give them the processes and information they need.

4. Using Data to Drive Law Firm Business Decisions

This takeaway might be our favorite on the list. One of the often-overlooked benefits of the increased adoption of legal practice management technology is the ability to report on data and metrics that you couldn’t reliably track before. Armed with this data, you can start to make data-based business decisions that help move your firm forward. Throughout the show, we frequently heard the adage: "You can't manage what you can't measure."

This is true for every aspect of your practice. Consider which of the metrics you track are "leading" indicators (those that might help you predict revenue) and "trailing" indicators (those that help you measure profitability and volume of work completed). Both are equally important.

Here are some examples of metrics that you could be tracking and reporting on to help make more strategic decisions (if you’re not already):

  • Cost per client acquisition
  • Number of scheduled appointments
  • Number of prospects who show up
  • Number of new client matters
  • Billable hours and hour utilization rate
  • Collection rate
  • Realization rate
  • Average time per case type/subtype
  • Average cost per case type

Bonus Takeaway: Kiwis Making a Splash Stateside

The Actionstep team made sure to bring a bit of our New Zealand homeland to Chicago, with these irresistibly fuzzy kiwi birds lined up at our booth for the taking. Not only were the kiwis the talk of the show floor, they also made it onto ABA’s best-of swag list. But don’t despair if you didn’t snag a kiwi this time—they’ll be making more appearances at upcoming events this year!

Ready to Level Up Your Tech?

While ABA TECHSHOW is over for 2022, you can still learn more about improving and optimizing your firm’s legal technology. Find out how Actionstep can help you level up your tech and improve your processes end-to-end by getting in touch with our team.

Book a demo today.

Written by The Actionstep Team