For many law firms, the pain points in their processes are becoming critical. While the rest of the world has moved online, many are left behind, still reliant on paper-based procedures, wet signatures, and slow email or postal communications.
Legal services typically involve lots of high-touch contact with corporate and individual clients, with pages of dense literature and contracts to work through. Complex documentation often leads to multiple queries from clients or other lawyers, with uncomfortably slow to-and-fro communications.
But emerging legal technologies (Legaltech) are transforming forward-thinking legal firms by addressing these issues – streamlining and speeding up communications, reducing costs, and improving customer experience dramatically.
Early adopters and laggards
Many legal firms have been slow to adopt technology. But, according to a 2021 Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) survey, the past year has seen a step change towards adoption of Legaltech, such as integrated client videoconferencing and e-verification and signatures.
This is partly due to the remote working practices forced by the pandemic. Some law firms also now see technology as critical to improving quality and efficiency of services.
But there is still a huge gap between these early adopters and firms who rely on low tech processes. Only 37% are currently using Legaltech, and only 24% plan to, according to the SRA. For these early adopters, benefits include improved service quality (72%), workflow efficiency (71%), and reduced costs (33%).
For those not yet convinced, the main barriers are lack of capital and expertise. But easy-to-use Legaltech platforms are rapidly addressing this, especially in areas such as collaborative client videoconferencing, document management, e-signatures and online payments.
In early adopting firms, the benefits are also translating into higher salaries for tech-savvy employees. Job postings in the UK show solicitors are paid 13% more on average for roles requiring Legaltech skills, according to data from Burning Glass Technologies. Paralegals with Legaltech skills are paid an impressive 25% more.
Benefits of Legaltech platforms
Currently, legal clients often get lost in their engagement journey due to inefficient, disjointed and confusing processes. But new online Legaltech platforms free them from this nightmare by providing seamless, intuitive solutions and dramatically better customer experiences.
These platforms cut inefficiencies and significantly speed up processes from service booking to client onboarding; advising; handling complaints; and completing contracts and terms and conditions.
A digital platform can tailor any form you use; automate tasks; and manage human interactions much better via video chats. These chats can combine impressively with other systems including document and image sharing, e-signatures and payments in one seamless experience. They also enhance self-serve journeys such as via visual interactive voice response (IVR).
Such platforms enable your staff to easily talk to clients or other lawyers online; call up and co-edit forms and documents; agree changes; and accept e-signatures and payments in real-time. Traditional phone or email-based journeys turn into smooth, fast, guided remote experiences that feel much more like being in the same room.
The customer does not need to download an app or software but connects securely to an online collaboration session. The technology can easily work with and enhance existing systems, to become a single front end for the customer.
Adapting to these processes is critical for all firms, post-Covid, and even more so for international firms. Law firm clients have come to expect great online experiences from all the organisations they interact with. They also expect more efficient processes and do not want to pay for inefficiencies.
To remain competitive in an increasingly digital legal landscape, law firms need to respond by collaborating and communicating seamlessly with clients. Those that use technology to provide an excellent experience, tailored to client needs, will lead the market in coming years.
Find out more
Want to see if such a platform could work for you? Klarion is an end-to-end digital customer engagement platform. It is state-of-the-art, fully compliant, easy-to-use, and customisable to all your client and business needs.
Klarion allows you to intuitively video call; verify identity securely; present any content visually; co-browse; exchange and co-edit documents and forms; and collect e-signatures and payments online. Schedule a demonstration to see how you can enhance your customer experience rapidly.
By Head of Consulting and Solutions Steve Vinnicombe.