8 Ways Your Law Firm Can Benefit From Offering Digital Services
by Dave Zumpano, with Guy Remond and Brittney Shearin
What do you think is the most challenging part of providing some of your legal services online?
In one of our recent webinars, ethics and the complexity of using the technology were discussed. However, the reality is that the biggest shift that has to happen isn’t in the outside world, it’s in the way that we’ve been trained to think as lawyers.
In an industry steeped in tradition, we are conditioned to do everything in person (and in wet ink!). Covid-19 changed how we live and work forever; there is growing demand for online legal services.
Guidr is an online platform that gives consumers access to online legal services at a time and place that suits them best, and it keeps local law firms at the heart of the service (many other platforms eliminate them altogether).
In this blog, we’re going to share eight ways that adding a platform like Guidr to your law firm can help you attract and retain new business.
Why using technology for legal documents might seem intimidating
Brittney Shearin, Director of Product at Lawyers With Purpose, has helped to shape and build Guidr. Even though she has been brought up using technology, it took her a little time to adjust to the concept. You can hear our full conversation on the Legal Community Podcast.
Brittney: “I used computers in kindergarten and throughout childhood, but by the time I was a lawyer, I wanted everything to be printed out. I wanted to see and hold it in my hands and mark it with a red pen, so I was caught in the middle of maintaining tradition or moving forwards and embracing technology again.
Before we started to develop Guidr, I didn’t realize that my mindset had to change. I was always just rolling along doing my thing, but then I realized I had to get out of my box and look at it from multiple points of view depending on who the recipient of the information is. You have to get into someone else’s shoes and find out if it works for them, and whether it will work in other scenarios.
We’re constantly evolving and changing, but the law firms that dig their heels in and stay as they are, are likely to fall behind. Some of our clients were already asking for a more technologically advanced service than our firm could provide, and that always surprised me.
If we had a client in their 70s asking if they could email a document to us, I’d get so excited! Many clients want text confirmations of their appointments instead of a traditional letter in the mail. Clients are evolving and law firms need to evolve too.”
Guidr offers significantly more than legal documents. Here is a list of eight of the benefits:
- Easy referrals. When people use the platform, it’s quick and easy for people to share a link with people they know.
Brittney: “It is a huge lead generator and easily shareable in general conversation. I think people are more likely to mention that they did their legal documents online with Guidr than to talk about going into a law firm and recommending someone else go in. It’s a little more casual and easy to drop into conversation.”
- Maintain pace or get ahead of the curve with clients who are actively seeking digital services.
Brittney: “There are more consumers out there than law firms, and they are realizing that technology is more convenient. Technology is here to stay. Everyone likes an in-person conversation but, for the most part, technology allows many more opportunities.”
The advantage of Guidr is that we keep the local law firms at the heart of the service so that if somebody does want a face-to-face conversation or additional support, your firm can benefit.
- Easy to use.
Brittney: “When we were designing Guidr, we were constantly considering how to make it usable, palatable and simple to use for the everyday user. The biggest challenge isn’t technology, it’s opening up the mind to making the most of it. You don’t even think about the technology when you’re actually using it!”
- The digital platform uses secure encryption and is in many ways safer than traditional mail!
Guy: “I’m based in the UK and when I needed to set up a US bank account, they had to FedEx a document. Anyone could get to that document and copy it or alter it along the way. It’s inherently the most insecure way to send me anything! It’s so frustrating to have to wait for it, sign it, arrange for it to be transported back, and wait for that to happen at the other side!”
- A digital platform can help save clients and lawyers time and effort (and can be more cost-effective all round).
Guy: “The clients either have to answer the questions the lawyers ask them or type in the answers on the platform, but either way they have to answer them – so why not just let them answer online? Computers are really good at doing simple data entry, so why not let them do the mundane tasks and free up the lawyers to do what they’re trained for and really good at (which is arguably where you make your real money)?”
It’s quite natural for lawyers to wonder if a digital platform might lose revenue, but if you work out how much time goes into each of your plans and then track it against your fees, you’ll notice that any cost reduction to the client is reflected in the fact it takes you less time and effort to support them. Consider client services’ time on the phone, paralegals drafting documents; Guidr will help eliminate a lot of those extra costs and time, so that the focus is on the more complex work rather than mundane tasks.
- Ethical concerns are addressed at each step.
Brittney: “Attorneys want reassurance that online legal services are ethical. They want to know how it’s possible and if they need to change their malpractice insurance. You can do signings over Zoom now; you don’t have to be in person like it’s 1795 anymore. We’ve had lots of questions about ethics and we’re addressing these every step of the way. Our engagement agreements are tuned to what we’re providing.”
- Helping to manage the attorney-client relationship (and those associated with it) by virtue of sharing discount codes.
- Clients are able to take ownership of accessing their legal documentation at a time and place that suits them (and it saves lawyers time because clients complete their own data entry).
What are your thoughts in supporting your firm to grow and advance through a platform such as Guidr? Are you on board, do you have questions? If you’d like to learn more and gain a broader perspective on the use of technology in the legal industry, why not check out our book The Digitization of Law: How to Transform Technology Disruptions into Abounding Opportunity or download a free copy.
You’re also welcome to email me, Dave, at email@example.com or Guy Remond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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