Annual CLIO Legal Trends Report It provides a snapshot of the legal market, which is unusual in surveying both attorneys and consumers, as well as aggregating data on law firm performance from thousands of attorneys using CLIO services.
Like most sectors, the pandemic has had disastrous effects on the legal industry. Across the board, law firms lost ground and saw revenue drop in the early months of the pandemic. Areas of practice based on personal relationships and litigation – criminal, family, and personal injury – were more affected than traditional transaction practices such as real estate, business and intellectual property. Although there has been some recovery in the summer and fall, nearly a quarter of companies have laid off employees. The third Attorneys are concerned about simply making a living.
In terms of loss mitigation, CLIO data shows that attorneys and law firms who actually used some legal practice management techniques saw fewer losses and more gains year after year. The more technologies are used, the greater the growth. Technological efficiencies had a distinct multiplier effect on the company’s revenue generation.
Perhaps the most important topic that appeared in the 2020 report is: For the first time, there was a congruence between what attorneys believed clients wanted, and what clients actually said was important to them. How did this happen? The pandemic has put everyone in the same context, outlining key priorities. This convergence indicates a renewed focus on the customer experience When using legal services.
For law firms, the 2020 report provides practical steps toward maintaining that alignment as we move into 2021 and ultimately the post-pandemic world. Here are my top five tips:
- Focus on customer-centric technology. The three types of technology studied were electronic payments, customer handling and CRM (customer relationship management), and customer portals. Electronic payments reduce exchange friction. Simplified uptake and customer relationship management systems reduce administrative work and make creating new things easier. Client portals make information easier to access, which can reduce client calls and save time for attorneys to do billable work. All of these technologies improve the client experience, and each is related to the growth of the law firm.
- Sell your services – including your technology. Although attorneys do a great job of moving to business online, clients don’t always know this. Law firms need to highlight client-centered technology alongside their legal services. Even as record numbers for attorneys shift to remote practice, a large number of consumers are unaware that law firms remain open, and the majority of consumers do not believe that attorneys are using basic technology such as cloud storage or electronic payments. Make sure your webpage and marketing materials tell clients what to expect if they keep your services – accessible information, streamlined communications, and flexible payment options.
- You don’t need an office. Or at least not a commercial office space. Clients no longer prioritize meeting in person, and video conferencing will be suitable for most client meetings, which also saves administrative support costs. When you need a meeting space for initial transactions or consulting, you can find flexible and cheaper options and then pass the cost savings on to your clients.
- Customers need flexible payment options. In an economic downturn, most people cannot afford more than 1.4 hours From the time of the attorney (that’s not much!). But companies should not enter a race to the bottom. Instead of lowering prices overall, attorneys need to be creative: payment plans, signup forms, and flat fee bills are all potential options. As the report notes, “There is more than one dimension to affordability.”
- The access to justice gap leaves money on the table. Clients who cannot afford attorneys do not pursue viable claims. In 2021 and beyond, attorneys will benefit from determining the types of matters that are not being represented – and how to represent those clients who do not receive adequate services at a reasonable cost – in order to claim untapped market share. Adopting innovation, customer-focused models, and flexible payment options will open new possibilities in the market.
Two final thoughts:
In 2021, it is time to retire from the tech-hate narrative. Across the country, attorneys have rapidly adapted to virtual practice in order to continue serving their clients in challenging times, and this technological focus is here to stay. Most attorneys plan to preserve some aspect of their virtual practice after the pandemic, and more than 90% of attorneys support expanding online access to the court system. The legal profession is no longer a dinosaur of the popular imagination, and those reporting on the legal industry must amend our content to reflect this.
finally, The legal profession should invest in traditional legal service organizations In order to bridge the access to justice gap. Unprivileged communities often lack basic tech equipment and internet access. In the coming recession, there will be great pressure on states and cities to slash budgets, which will drastically affect impoverished legal services. Legal professionals across the country need to defend loudly against austerity measures that would prevent the most vulnerable individuals from meeting their basic legal needs.
Here’s a summary of CLIO’s 2020 Legal Trends Report! Check out the full report Here. If you are looking to launch your 2021 plan and the overall growth of the company, see Lawline’s full suite of tailored courses. Business and professional development.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!