On June 25th, 2020, Actionstep hosted a virtual meet-up of law firms and expert consultants to the legal industry. It was an energizing session with insights shared by speakers with a range of expertise across legal tech, law practice management, business development and client communications and interactive breakout sessions to connect our customers & other legal community members.
- We have all changed our working practices in ways we never thought we could - because we’ve had to. Virtual meetings, remote working & technology should always have a place in how we work in future.
- This is not the time to sell – spent time supporting clients when they need it – they will remember.
- Build and extend your client relationships by sharing valuable content across the channels they already use – social, email and via virtual events.
- Now is the time to better utilize the technology you already have. Get more value by investing time on training – it can be your secret sauce in better times.
- Focus on really good data - not documents. Get the data right and you’ll spend less time getting lost in documents and drafting.
Summarized below are some of the key takeaways from each of our speakers, as well as the themes that came from discussions in our breakout sessions.
A more detailed summary of the speaker content is below, so even if you didn’t attend, you can get the benefit of the content discussed and take some action to adapt your law firm to thrive in future. We hope you enjoy.
David Hepburn, Global President – Actionstep
A transformative practice management system for ambitious law firms.
With over 10,000 law firm users, Actionstep is uniquely positioned to see what is happening across the legal industry and legal tech industry during these challenging times and what innovations have helped firms successfully adapt.
Focus on service delivery, not technology
Having Actionstep in place has meant customers have been able to focus on their teams, the needs of their clients and develop ways to bring innovation into their service delivery, without worrying about their technology.
Technology should live where lawyers live
To ensure data accuracy, billing accuracy and proper client file organization, legal technology needs to bring more capability into the apps lawyers already spend most of their time in each day, such as Microsoft Outlook or MS Word. An example of this is Actionstep’s new Outlook Add-in, which turns inboxes into practice management hubs.
Merry Neitlich, Founding Partner - EM Consulting
A specialist business development consultancy for law firms.
Merry spoke about Business Development & Marketing and what firms can do today to build their profile with their target audience & spark new business inquiries.
Content is king
There has been more content created in the last 4 months than any other 4 months in history (according to Forbes). However, engagement rates are also higher than ever.
Content marketing can be as simple as small snippets on LinkedIn to share your views and resources. Tag in clients and peers to start conversations.
Stay close to clients & referral sources
Keep an eye on what’s happening with clients and their industries. Communicate with clients about what you read. Google alerts can help you stay on top of client and industry activity.
Support your clients. What are they struggling with? What do they support? Can you add your voice to that with some social media posts or by contacting them to help.
Don’t forget about referral sources. They may not be referring as much these days, but keeping them close is key to your future success.
Mix it up
Use of mix of channels to share your content. The goal is not 17 emails in one week! A mix of LinkedIn posts, blog posts, published articles, short videos and email work great together.
LinkedIn is a great place to build personal and firm brand. Make sure your firm page and personal profile is up to date, tailored with images and a source of information. You can publish articles on LinkedIn to showcase your expertise reach a broader network.
Fresh business development ideas
Some examples of thing law firms have done well include creating a thought leadership whitepaper on specific industry trends by interview clients and others in that industry. Or creating mini-industry forums that meet monthly to discuss what’s happening in micro-sectors or areas of expertise.
Jim Peavy, Founding Partner - Cramer & Peavy
Cramer & Peavy is one of Georgia's best Personal Injury law firms.
Jim spoke about his experience of running a firm and how technology improves his business model. Particularly in relation to having to working from home. Jim's firm has utilized integrated cloud-based apps that allowed his firm to adapt & thrive during this time.
Some of the headline items he covered were:
This is not something that always comes naturally to lawyers but in recent times we have seen its importance & the success that can come from it.
Together integrated applications can give a firm a powerful technology base to work from. It is important to plan what programs you intend to use, what features you require & what integrations you may need in the future. More than just increases in efficiency, it can save you in times of crisis.
Their technology stack contains:
- Actionstep - Practice Management System
- NetDocuments - Document Management System
- Microsoft Office 365 - Document Creation
- Adobe Acrobat DC - Document Finishing & E-sign functionality
- Zoom/Teams - Communication
- Textline - Communication(SMS)
- Dragon Legal - Dictation
- Bundledocs - Document Indexing & Formatting
One place for everything
Having all of these contained & integrated within one Practice Management System means at any one point, you can know where a matter is at, what has been processed & what needs to be done.
Having one central place for all your data and processes means that staff onboarding is easy – they can literally just follow the process in the system. So client work is always done to a consistent quality.
Efficiency gives you headspace
Implementing technology like this enables my team to operate at a higher level. They can get through the data processing and work production faster and without error, so they can spend more time thinking about our business and clients.
Jennifer M. Ramovs, Director of Practice Management- Affinity Consulting
Affinity Consulting is a management consultancy enabling legal teams to work smarter.
Jennifer shared her insights from her work with law firms as they assess and take on new technology. She identified key actions law firms can do now to set themselves up for the future and protect business continuity.
Evaluate Your Process
Identify where your ‘waste areas’ are. Where do you see time delays or where do you see negative returns on investments?
Simplifying Your Workflow
Look at your process critically and think about where this can be streamlined & how can it be improved.
Recognizing Self Sufficiency
People have had to become more self-sufficient due to staffing or remote working barriers. Be open to expanding your skillset. Becoming more versatile will help your firm move forward.
Make Use of Training
Downtime is the perfect time for training. When business comes back, the newfound knowledge will help you and your firm exponentially. Take advantage of this time.
Be inquisitive, look deeper into the products you already own - enquire with support teams or read up product documentation. Features you may have looked to another product for may be within one you already own. Keep in mind, software these days is consistently updating & meeting the market requirement. Check your products blog or new features documentation.
Challenges & Solutions
Be aware of new clients challenges - create processes for yourself and your clients to help overcome technology barriers or remote issues. Communicate these clearly and work through solutions together.
Embrace Remote Working
If your firm has survived or thrived through remote work - embrace it upon return to a regular day to day life. Employees will appreciate that the freedom and benefits seen throughout this crisis can continue. This may not be the last time we need to work remotely so becoming an adaptable future-focused firm will help you in the long run.
Remote working may have brought inconsistencies in your processes to light. Address these as a team and build it into a stronger process together.
Written by The Actionstep Team
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