For a solo practitioner or a small law firm, setting up a virtual office at the office can make legal services run more effectively and efficiently.
A virtual office allows for lawyers to reduce their management and also their marketing efforts. This can help free up time to focus on client cases and other aspects of growing the firm.
If you’re thinking about setting up a virtual office, here are 5 steps to help you get started.
Step 1: Understand your needs
A virtual office can exist anywhere with the common belief that telephone operators from developing are taking calls and working the front desk.
In the legal world, having inexperienced and unprofessional telecommunication companies handle the intaking and scheduling of your prospective client’s can be both bad for your reputation and your business.
There are telecommunication services available that are dedicated to lawyers. They have trained staff that may even be specialized in your area of practice, such as criminal defense or family law.
Alternatives to using a telecommunication service are to add Live Chat to your law firm’s website. In this list of the best Live Chat services for lawyers, you can quickly and easily add a professional button to your website and interact any visitor.
Overall, there are various types of virtual office solutions. Here’s an overview of a few services virtual office service available to lawyers:
Customer Relation Management (CRMs)
Virtual offices allow you to automate and improve the efficiency of your daily routines at your firm. In addition, with technology trending toward mobile interactions, you can expect to find various solutions you can manage with your smartphone.
Step 2: Consider the Pros and Cons
Establishing your law firm into a virtual office comes with both benefits and disadvantages. If you’re sure this is the right decision for your firm, there must be substantial reasoning and benefits to do so. Here are some of the benefits a virtual office can include:
Effective client intaking
Operate your intaking 24/7/365
The disadvantages to a virtual office may be difficult to imagine. However, when considering the sensitive information that passes through a law firm, you may want to think twice before outsourcing work to those outside the office. Here are a few disadvantages to establishing a virtual office:
Using technology and outsourced solutions will always alleviate the workload at the office. However short-term benefits may have long-term consequences. Carefully evaluate which services are right for your legal practice.
Step 3: Measure costs
Cost reduction and savings are two major factors that influence the decision to establish a virtual office. Accounting software can provide invoices with the click of a button while tracking cash flow to make taxes easier. Virtual receptionists can handle inquiries at the office and schedule appointments for serious inquiries.
When selecting the services for your law firm, it’s best to shop around. The pricing and features offered with each will vary. There is a competitive market to provide solutions specifically for lawyers and each service will provide similar yet varying options.
If possible, you can start with a trial of their services which is usually free and does not require a credit card.
Step 4: Stick to your budget
When you sign up for virtual services you’ll be locked into a monthly or yearly billing cycle. You’ll have to determine your monthly costs accordingly and select the services that you feel will help your law firm yield the best returns.
There are services that stick to a monthly pricing plan and others that invoice you per client or lead they acquire. If you’re paying per lead, be sure that you are successfully converting those prospective leads into new clients. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your money.
Step 5: Analyze effectiveness
Even though you have spent a significant amount of time and money investing in potential virtual office solutions, it is best practice to analyze their effectiveness on a quarterly or yearly basis.
Here are a few points to analyze with your law firm’s virtual office services:
How many clients does it yield
How much time is being saved
How are much are costs being reduced
How many issues have occurred
How often is tech support needed
The ease of installation for more virtual office services may reduce the hassle of finding a talented staff to hire at your firm, taking the time to develop in-house employees can sometimes be worth the effort.
In-house staff can reduce headaches of spending hours on a phone with support teams that may or may not be able to resolve your problems right away. Also, training staff can establish to long-term employees which understand the process of how your law firm functions and can lead to better performance than outsourced solutions.
These 5 steps are just a guideline if you’re thinking about turning your law firm into a virtual office. For solo-practitioners, reducing the number of administrative tasks may be the best option to improve efficiency and effectiveness of your legal services. If you’re looking for the best virtual solutions, check out these law firm management software.
While some law firms may be adopting a business casual dress code, associates and lawyers would be wise to ignore this. Formal business appearances will always be necessary if you’re heading into the courtroom or providing a client consultation.
Being caught in a casual outfit is not going to set a professional impression. To truly look like a lawyer, you’ll want to dress like a lawyer. If you’re wondering what you should wear at the office or when heading into the courtroom, here’s some advice about suits to wear.
Suit Color for Lawyers
Before reviewing a few suits for you to consider, you may want to know some of the latest trends in fashion.
Just like in business, you should follow the K.I.S.S. principle: Keep It Stylish yet Simple.
Black – tends to be seen as the most professional go-to for suit colors, however, it may not be suitable to wear in the courtroom. Black suits are often worn at funerals and this is not the impression you want to set when you step in front of a jury
Navy – this is a common color found in the courtroom and having the additional pinstripes is a classic lawyer’s look.
Brown – this color is often seen as informal and may be best to wear in the office and not in the courtroom.
Charcoal – here’s another common color worn in the courts, charcoal can be paired with many colors to give yourself a complimentary look.
White – you might have to be a lawyer working with high-class celebrities to pull this off.
Olive – think about your skin complexion, olive is a color that is difficult to match.
While color is an important feature when considering what suit to wear at the office and when going to court, style is equally important. Polka dots may be your thing, but it may not convey the impression you desire. Remember to keep it simple, flat colors with the occasional pinstripes can provide a great foundation for your lawyer’s wardrobe.
Suit Accessories for Lawyers
Your suit serves a few specific purposes: to look sharp, to look prepared and to look professional. When selecting accessories, there are a few items that can put your suit together or strip away the appeal.
Neckties – every lawyer in a suit needs a necktie. Depending on the style of suit you wear, choosing the right necktie can accentuate your overall appearance. Having a simple silk necktie with stripes or a solid color can maintain a professional appearance. Using bright colors, while showing off your personality, can be distracting.
Cufflinks – getting a sophisticated pair of cufflinks that add a touch of style to your lawyer’s suit. Try not to get anything too bold as a simple set of cufflinks should be all you need.
Tie Clips – while not a significant enhancement to your overall appearance, having a tie clip makes your suit more functional and looking neat.
Maintaining Your Suits
There’s something about suits that have an effect on people’s personalities. Suits tend to add a boost of confidence, make you feel stylish, and of course, convey that you are serious about your career in law.
However, suits can be pretty expensive. If you’re in your first year of practicing law or you’re experiencing a financial crisis, you may try to use the same suit from your university years.
In all likelihood, the body you had years before is not the same body you have today. Having a properly fitting suit can make all the difference when interacting with new clients at a free consultation. Consider getting your suits refitted at a tailor or make an investment and restock your wardrobe.
Another important thing to do with your suits it to properly care and tend to them. Here are a few tips to guide you:
Never put it in the laundry, always dry clean.
Hang it up with a hanger whenever you don’t wear it.
Have multiple suits to give some suits a break
Brush it down with a soft brush to reduce dry cleaning visits
You’ll ruin your suit if you use an iron
Suits for Female Lawyers
Women’s fashion tends to have much more diversity and flexibility than men’s. However, even with the acceptance of casual attire in some law firm’s, sticking with a conservative attire works well with interviews, court appearances, and client meetings.
In the past, skirted suits were the expected dress code for female lawyers. However, this has changed and women in law are now seen wearing pantsuits. If you are considering to wear skirts, the common rule of acceptance is that your skirt should fall below the knee.
While suits are a common necessity for lawyers, women can wear other acceptable clothing such as cardigans, vests and collared polo shirts.
Women searching for suits to practice law have a few more things to consider than men. Wearing tight-fitting suits and low cut tops of any kind will be seen as inappropriate. As well, wearing skirts above the knee can be distracting and unprofessional.
Overall, there are similar rules that apply to both male and female lawyers: wear suits that fit properly and maintain professionalism.
As you step into the courtroom, you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Your appearance strikes an immediate impression and people are constantly looking you up and down as you move through the room.
A striking appearance can help you build an appearance of authority and your shoes are usually the first thing noticed.
When you’re out shopping for the best shoes for lawyers, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Tips For Lawyers Shopping for Shoes
If you’re reading this, you’re may be in need of advice to shop for the perfect lawyer shoes. To get things started, depending on price to determine the quality of a shoe is not a smart option. Many designer brands, like Prada or Gucci, depend on their brand reputation to make a sale. While they may offer well-constructed shoes, the overall quality may not be suitable for you.
When you are taking a look at the lower-end of shoe prices, quality can vary significantly. To help you with your shoe shopping, here are a few guidelines to follow:
Soles: having real, genuine leather on the bottom of your shoe can improve longevity and comfort. When you’re browsing through high-cost shoes, be sure to check the material the sole is made of. Sometimes, shoe companies will use a synthetic leather or create a rubber material that seems like leather. These lower quality materials don’t last as long.
Stitching: don’t be fooled. There is a difference between how low-cost shoes and high-cost shoes are bound together. Shoes at a high price point will be delicately stitched together and often use a detailed pattern that is striking and aesthetic. Lower priced shoes tend to have each piece glued together with an illusion of stitching. This can lead to your shoes falling to pieces before the end of their first year.
Details: in the lower priced shoe range, you’ll find many shoe companies attempting to mask the markings of high-priced shoes. Instead of hand detailed designs in genuine leather shoes, you’ll find factory machine presses which may have details and miss prints in the final design. A common method of faking design is through injection molding which reduces the appeal of a shoe, especially for lawyers.
Leather Quality: avoid cheap leather shoes. It can be tempting for a lawyer to pick a cheap pair of shoes, especially if you’re on a tight budget. However, the factories in China producing many of the shoes being sold today are using cheap scraps of leather and gluing them together to produce high yields. In addition, these shoes will use lower quality, harder leather that will likely be stained to cover any imperfections. Over time, this kind of leather will crease and the imperfections will begin to shine through. Quality leather is often soft and develops a beautiful patina as it ages.
You don’t need a closet full of shoes to be a well-dressed lawyer. Keeping a simple, clean, yet classic appearance is all you need when heading to the office. To achieve that, all you need is black.
Black shoes are a universal standard when it comes to matching your suits to your footwear. It goes with everything and you won’t ever have to worry whether your new suit jacket, whether it is navy, charcoal, or black, will match your shoes.
One thing to keep in mind is that black won’t work with bright colored outfits. However, you are likely not going to be wearing a bright blue jacket into the courtrooms.
Because black shoes are the norm in the business world, it will be easy to find a pair of shoes that fits your budget.
5 Recommended Shoes for Lawyers
If you’re not sure which brands or styles you like, here are five recommendations to guide your shoe shopping.
Paul Evans Brando Semi-Brogue Oxford
While coming in at a high price, the Brando Semi-Brogue Oxford by Paul Evans offers a professional looking shoe for lawyers. It has a classic style with upper lacing and full-grain Italian leather. The Brogue pattern ingrained in the letter is what makes these shoes shine.
Florsheim Castellano Wingtip
The Chicago based company designing these shoes have been around since 1892. Not only do they offer a beautifully crafted for but it also comes at a fair price. If you’re looking for something with a little more elegance, this is the shoe you want.
Plain Toe Derbys by Dquared2
Here’s a simple yet powerful black shoe lawyers can wear in any situation. The Plain Toe Derbys by Dsquared2 is made with genuine black leather and use a simple lace style to tie it all together.
To Boot New York Finn Chelsea Boots
These professional looking leather boots are great for a lawyer on the go. The leather has a burnished finish with a soft calfskin upper. This shoe delivers confidence in any suit your wear.
Allen Edmonds Verona II Italian Loafer
If you’re looking for something more comfortable and relaxed, having a pair of loafers is a great alternative style of shoe for lawyers. The Allen Edwards Verona II features calfskin Italian leather and silver accessories to accentuate the style.
There are some areas of law which are in more demand than others. Depending on the direction of your legal career, you may want to pursue an area of law that will maintain your business for years to come.
Aside from the financial aspects of your career, you may also want to choose a career that is challenging and stimulating. If you have been wondering which area of practice to focus your legal career, here’s a good place to start.
1. Commercial Litigation
Coming in at the top of this list is commercial litigation. This type of law covers a wide range of legal services relating to the business world. A few examples include:
Provide legal support with the contract requiring construction and other agreements toward property development.
Examine title, evaluate expectations, and negotiate related insurance policies.
Sales and Acquisitions. Represent buyers and sellers and assist with contracting the acquisition and disposition of property.
Assist with the negotiation of lease agreements.
3. Personal Injury Law
Some of the most common occurrences of personal injury claims involve car accidents and work-related accidents. However, personal injury lawyers provide services for a range of damages that occur in an individual. These cases are made whenever one person claims to have been injured by another person, business, or legal entity.
Other cases of personal injury include sexual harassment, wrongful death, and fraud.
Lawyers will provide legal services for clients that may be entitled to monetary compensation for any damages. Cases of personal injury must be evaluated by an expert attorney as some situations may be viewed as a criminal offense and require a criminal lawyer. In this case, there may not be any monetary compensation and if the accused is found guilty they may end up serving time in jail.
4. Labor and Employment Law
Labor and employment law involves complex legal support for situations occurring in the workplace. This area of law can my very complicated for employers, especially in the way it affects their employees.
The levels of law handled by these lawyers include local, state, and federal laws. When it comes to the process of law in court or mitigating cases, the outcome often has direct impacts on the lives and livelihoods of both the employees and employers.
Labor and employment laws strive to protect employment rights and wellbeing while ensuring the profitability of a business. The result of this can lead to some very complex situation that is difficult to resolve.
5. Family Law
Family law is a unique area of law that focuses on issues that occur in domestic relationships. This includes marriage, common-law, domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other related types.
It is common for family lawyers to handle cases involved the dissolution of marriages. A family lawyer will also be responsible for spousal alimony, child support, the division of assets, and other family-related liabilities. Family lawyers and divorce lawyers are often interchangeable titles.
Family lawyers have also known the handle cases involving child custody, child support, parental abduction, domestic abuse, adoption, and surrogacy.
6. Bankruptcy Law
Bankruptcy law not only covers situations of bankruptcy but also overlaps with some areas of corporate law and litigation. Bankruptcy lawyers are required to assess a client’s financial debt, transactional history, assets, securities, and taxes. All this information is needed to understand a clients situation and negotiate the terms of their bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy lawyers are involved with a very stressful part of the law. While this type of law applies at the commercial level, the impacts on individuals can be very consequential. Bankruptcy lawyers must have strong interpersonal skills while understanding the functions and operational side of finance.
These lawyers work with their clients to provide them with protections and amendments to their financial situation. Often debtors will be involved throughout the legal process. These debtors are used to offer a wide range of solutions for clients before having to resort to bankruptcy. The ultimate goal of bankruptcy lawyers is to establish and constructive outcome that can restore credit and financial rights.
7. Immigration Law
Immigration lawyers do more than just help immigrants become new citizens of the country they live in. Immigration law involves issues related to naturalization, visa, labor certification, deportation, fraud investigation, and political asylum.
In most cases, immigration lawyers protect their clients from deportation while offering legal advice to help them stay legally in the country. Alternatively, these lawyers offer support for obtaining the right certifications to work legally in a country by obtaining the proper visa.
8. Insurance Law
Insurance law involves cases regarding insurance policies and claims. To better understand insurance law it is critical to know the structure and terms involved:
Policy: this is the contract outlining what an insurance company is willing to pay in the case of loss.
Are you wondering how to fast track your career in law? While there may be numerous career advancement opportunities for lawyers, knowing which ones to take can define a satisfying and lasting career in law.
To guide your decision making along with your career as a lawyer, here are a few highlights and considerations to keep in mind.
Classic Career Path for Lawyers
The common path for lawyers finishing their graduate studies and search for a firm to get hired will typically start as an associate working with other experienced lawyers. After a few years, some lawyers may be offered to become a partner of the firm.
Becoming a partner entitled lawyers with partial ownership over the law firm, additional responsibilities, and greater liabilities. Depending on the amount of time with the firm, partners came receive further career advancements such as becoming an executive partner or a managing partner.
With the increasing amount of students graduating from law school each year with limited number careers available, competition is fierce. Lawyers who can’t maintain their positions as a partner may experience the “up and out.” This is when partners are forced to leave the firm because they were not able to contribute to the profitability of the firm.
Overall, this makes high-paying legal positions at prestigious firms extremely competitive. The selection process for these firms will often be limited to experiences and students graduating from specific schools.
However, those who do not obtain their ideal career as an associate at their law firm of choice can opt for alternative law careers.
Alternative Opportunities for Lawyers
After studying law for so many years, becoming an associate at a law firm is not the only option. Instead, law students can continue their education and pursue masters and doctorate degrees in areas specific to an area of specialization.
Pursuing an academic legal career can lead to a full-time position as a faculty member at a law school. Administrative and other teaching opportunities can also be found.
In addition, some lawyers may choose an internship. Internships offer freshly graduated law students with a chance to receive real experience while working with judges and other professional legal workers.
Another option may be to work for a corporation. While this is not a common path, some of the bigger corporations require a team of lawyers and legal support to keep their operations running smoothly.
Here is a suggestive list of alternative careers for lawyers:
Some lawyers who have worked with professional law firms and choose not to become a partner may pursue to form their own law firm. As seen in the chart above, 20% of all lawyers are self-employed.
Those who choose this career path can succeed by establishing a strong marketing plan and business strategy. Seeing their legal services as a business is a vital understanding of how to survive when competing against other self-established and long-lasting law firms.
Self-employed lawyers may place a heavy burden on solo lawyers who can’t afford to hire an assistant or secretary. However, some software products have been made available to handle various tasks such as accounting, invoicing, and other matter.
Other ways for self-employed lawyers to survive their first year as a lawyer would be to get a website, start a blog, and use paid advertisements.
Due to this increase in demand, the cost for legal services may consequently increase as well. This may cause law firms to reevaluate their staffing requirements and opting for law management software may prove to become a cost-effective solution.
Other methods to reduce costs while remaining competitive may lead to lawyers outsourcing their staffing to low-cost agencies. In addition, routine work can now be automated with various document programs dedicated to lawyers.
Lawyers are traditionally known to wear tailored suits to look professional for their daily responsibilities. However, recent trends in fashion have seen some lawyers working in their offices wearing casual attire.
If you’re unsure what to wear to the firm or you’re looking for a change of appearance, here’s a brief overview of dress codes for lawyers.
Dress Code for Male Lawyers
Lawyers spend a significant amount of time in office with occasional appearances in court and other public locations (i.e. interviews with clients, research at a library, etc.). There are two dress codes for lawyers which call for either a formal business attire or something more casual.
Formal Business Dress Code: Lawyers should wear a white dress shirt which a neutral collared tie beneath their tailored suit. Common suit colors include gray or navy (note: wearing black is known to represent funerals which are advised to avoid in the courtroom environment). This lawyer’s dress code is meant for court appearances, interviews, meetings with clients, and other business-related activities.
Casual Business Dress Code: Here, lawyers can skip the tie and discard the suit to wear something less formal. Wearing a golf shirt or attractive sports shirt with casual trousers or khakis is acceptable. Having a sports jacket, cotton sweater, or a vest can also be a suitable addition. These outfits are common for less formal events and gatherings.
Lawyers should remember to wear appropriate shoes. Leather dress shoes are the legal industry’s standard that can be paired with black, brown, dark gray, or navy socks depending on the suit color. Loafers may also be acceptable in casual days. Here you can read more about shoes for lawyers.
Dress Code for Female Lawyers
The dress code for female lawyers is a bit more complex. In the history of legal work, women were predominantly providing legal support and not working on legal cases. However, recent years has seen an increase in female lawyers which has led to some controversy over what a woman should and should not be wearing.
Regardless of the situation, whether it is a casual event or a formal court hearing, there are some articles of clothing that female lawyers should never wear. These garments are often forbidden by a law firm’s dress code and they include:
Tight fitting and low cut tops of any kind
Shirts with straps, open backs, halter tops, etc.
Stretch pants, yoga style pants, etc.
Miniskirts and capris that end above the knee
As a general rule of thumb, female lawyers should avoid showing any cleavage and revealing too much leg.
To keep things simple, females should follow similar guidelines that define male lawyer’s dress codes. Expect to wear suits in similar styles and made to fit in a similar fashion as men. However, as an alternative, some law firms allow for skirts to be worn so long as they are not too short.
Lawyer’s Fashion Worldwide: In Pakistan, the dress code for lawyers is dependent on the seasons. In the summer, lawyers wear a white shirt with a white neck band and trousers. This dress code is strictly enforced in the country.
Overview of Unacceptable Clothing
To help distinguish what can vs. should not be worn, here’s a quick list of unacceptable clothing choices that would breach a lawyer’s dress code:
Tight fitting clothing
Shorts or jeans
Casual, non-collared shirts
Sweatshirts, sweat suits, or gym clothes
Golf shirts emblazoned with logos and images
Crazy colors or leopard print
Novelty items (i.e. ties, clips, etc.)
Lawyers are expected to be well-groomed when arriving at the office or the courtroom.
In regards to hairstyle, men are expected to maintain shorter hairstyles that are neat and conservative in style. Facial hair is acceptable as long as it is well groomed. Arriving to work with wild long hair or rugged facial hair would be inappropriate.
For women, both long and short hairstyles are acceptable. As long as the style is neat and professional, there won’t be a problem. Arriving with untamed, messy styles or brightly colored hair may cause alarm. Also, some limitations may include having hair longer than their waist and child-like hairstyles.
Perhaps this may apply more to women than men, but there are a few dress codes considerations regarding accessories.
For women, jewelry and accessories are acceptable if they are not in excess or too extravagant. Alternatively, wearing cheap jewelry may be frowned upon. Wearing strong perfumes, too much makeup, revealing bra straps or tattoos, and long nails should be avoided.
For men, having professional looking tie clips and pins may be suitable for their attire. Wearing a professional watch would be acceptable. Wearing too much jewelry, excessive cologne, or revealing tattoos should be avoided.
While this is not necessarily lawyer’s attire, briefcases play an important part of a lawyer’s job. Having the right briefcase to carry legal documents and office supplies while working on the go should also follow along with the dress code for lawyers.
Imagine arriving into the courtroom with a briefcase showcasing an image of your favorite superhero fighting crime. For advice on briefcases for lawyers, try this.
Law Firm’s Dress Codes
If you work at a law firm, the dress code detailed may be different from what you read above. Every firm reserves the right to create a dress code for their lawyers to maintain the image and professionalism of the firm. This article is meant to provide a general overview of what lawyers should wear and what to avoid.
Trending everywhere is an increase of the technology tools being used at the workplace. These changes occur swiftly and are meant to make jobs easier or more efficient.
In the world of law, there’s no exception. Even lawyers are gaining access to more clever tech tools to make their lives better. However, you won’t have to worry about upgrading your phone or downloading hundreds of new features and struggle to try to figure things out.
If you’re like most lawyers, technology has a few standard features and that’s all you need. Well, wouldn’t you like to discover the true potential that technology can provide you and your legal services?
Let’s take a look at a few of the best tech tools for lawyers which will help your legal practice in the 21st century.
1. Research Tools
If you’re spending endless hours researching the old way (i.e. in a law library), you may want to try these advanced research tools. If you want to try powerful but affordable research, check out Ravel Law or Casetext:
Ravel Law is a resourceful legal search tool that allows lawyers to search legal data, analyze results, and create understandable visualizations. Ravel Law obtains all their data from Harvard Law Library. Use Ravel Law to put new information into practice.
Casetext is another provider of legal information and offers free services to law students and pro bono lawyers only, otherwise, it’s a subscription-based service. Casetext’s unique contextual legal research technology, CARA AI, automates key legal research, arming lawyers with the highest quality research possible, ultimately allowing firms to spend time on higher-value, billable work — and avoid missing key precedents or decisions. Consider CARA as you’re very own, digital assistant.
Lawyers with a website can really benefit by implementing a live chat system on their websites. This useful tech development is becoming increasingly popular in legal industry as it allows owners of a website to engage directly with visitors.
If you’re thinking about putting together a powerful Facebook Ads campaign, having live chat ready to go can potentially boost client intake.
One thing to keep in mind with using this technology on a lawyer’s website is the American Bar Association’s Ethics and Regulations regarding online marketing.
3. Accounting Software
Accounting software is a great tech choice for lawyers. There is a wide range of service providers available and they’re focused on providing the tech solutions just for lawyers. Here are a few of the things your accounting software can do for you and your firm:
Although some accounting software programs offer additional storage, you may want a dedicated cloud provider to store your data. Cloud storage allows for data to be stored on servers away from your computer.
This can provide you access to important files and information while you’re on the go and your mobile device, even on your cell phone. Dropbox and Google Drive are two common and easy to use save files and documents.
However, you may be concerned about the security of your client’s data. One thing to consider is that as a lawyer, putting all your client intake forms and sensitive information on cloud storage could lead to it getting hacked. It is a lawyer’s responsibility to safeguard their client’s personal and sensitive information.
If you do decide to use a cloud storage to save your legal documents off your computer, try setting up two-step authentication.
Getting a virtual office for each client portal your law firm is an effective use of technology for your practice. Depending on the area you specialize, you can receive a team of dedicated receptionists who can understand and use appropriate legal language.
What software do law firms use for practice management?
The software integrates with countless software applications to make law practice management easier. Compare software management platforms and prioritize software that is relevant for your practice. For PI plaintiffs, it is necessary to have personal injury practice management software like CloudLex which allows you to quickly include personal injury information. CloudLex also offers a variety of interesting features including the following:
Lack of internal communications cost business owners $420,000 in annual losses. Communication tools help employees communicate with customers.
61% of attorneys say capturing bills on their time is a difficult job for the law firm. Sometimes invoice minutes can be lost in a hurry when switching between matters and a phone call. If an application is attempting to track logged hours using email or calendar events retroactively, it may result in an incorrect schedule. In an attempt for resolution this problem attorneys have turned to software for timekeeping. 80% of legal professionals have legal time-tracking and productivity tools that can reduce the burden of work.
Online file storage
When working on a remote basis online file storage is essential for a legal practice and is easy to find. It’s even incredibly common for attorneys to use cloud computing as their primary storage solution for their business data. Check for online storage that can be accessed easily from anywhere in the world. Dropbox is probably the most common document storage application on the market today.
Law firms are likely to receive free and cheap communications services. Many business communication software developers designed their business tools mostly for immediate use. Slack’s features are popular, like chat, task manager and reminders. It is also easy to understand for beginners. Microsoft Teams offers lawyers another opportunity within the Microsoft ecosystem.
Automated Billing and Invoicing Software
The ability of law firms to generate invoices is key to their financial success. Sadly, these tasks can become incredibly expensive. According to the study, 73 percent of attorneys said that their firms struggle with pay. 80% said firm profit was a major problem. Legal Invoice Software automates legal invoice processing, including time-tracking and flat fee entry. Sending Bills to clients is simple using a single click. Afterwards, it will be shown if a user has viewed or done something on an invoice.
Case Management Software
In a safe environment you will have a higher probability of success. It is time for the lost paperwork, it’s a waste. The Case Manager is an easy to learn tool. Developed for a centralised system, it provides a real-time data base with proactive information analysis. You still use chat functions to keep in touch with the team and customers. Many of these tools have backups and customer help for those who have concerns. The best case management application is PracticePanther. It streamlined everything to suit you.
Legal Payments Software
Law offices accepting online payments are paid a third of the time if they are not. Learn the best ways to make your legal practice pay. It sounds complicated, but it does not for me. Efficient payment processing tools simplify payment. How should we evaluate our lawyer pay bill software?
Legal Citation Generator
You must use legal sources to give evidence and present legal papers in court. Legal Citation Generator is reliable and easy to use for finding references to legal documents. It helps you save time by obtaining references and making them more accessible. This tool provides links to government websites. The links to this document are easy. Law students and law professionals alike benefit from it. Pros at Law may examine codes and regulations for a legal matter and add citations to documents submitted for trial.
Virtual receptionist service
When someone misses an emailed phone call, it means that they’ll lose their business. Virtual reception services like Ruby eliminate calls that are not answered by the user. It helps customers receive better services and reduces the time spent on contacting employees in-house.
Mobile apps can increase your productivity by giving you the freedom to work anywhere—a requirement in 2022. How are mobile apps used in legal practice?
Time tracking and billing solutions
A timely tracking and billing system is vital to maximizing the profits. Using software that monitors time manually and handles billing isn’t going anywhere. If you don’t have the tools you need to manage time and bills, you should look into your legal software. Clio Manage includes time and task management, expense monitoring and billing functionality. If you don’t currently own any practice management software then please see our review list.
The process and processing of documents are vital components for success at an established law firm profitability. Document scanning technology can save time by simply taking a few steps. Many scanners are not physically scanners but they can take pictures directly off your smartphone. This software also allows you to save and upload documents in a central place. Do you have a hard time with moving materials and programs? Let’s discuss this. The software was created with the aim of reducing the workload of law offices. This program uses cloud storage for sharing, updating, and organizing material. The automatic indexing system is very useful for finding important data within the constraints of time.
Electronic signatures can be easily coordinated allowing less time for human mistakes. It makes the law process faster and easier for lawyers to handle, and reduces paper costs. Although electronic signing does not always work, electronic signing is legally binding as long as it meets the correct criteria. In other cases, certain countries require the signature of the documents such as wills. Tech helps in simplify e-signatures.
Integration With Legal Practice Management Software
It can help you streamline the billing and collection of your business software. Law Payments enables law firms to integrate easily into MyCase, reducing administrative burdens potential clients. After completing tracking and creating an invoice in Mycase, clients pay bills using LawPay payment processing software. The bill is reflected as paid on mycase’s dashboard and ensures smooth, consistent oversight.
Legal research tools
High-quality law studies are vital to the success of your business. The new legal library provides easy-to-use legal information for you. It will enable you to stay up to date and do legal research quickly. Fastcase has among the largest law databases on the Internet. With fastcase integrated into Clio, you can easily get documents like statutes, laws, or constitutions. Effective research in law is not necessarily expensive. These articles cover some of the best legal research tools available online.
Secure Video Conferencing Software
More lawyers offer remote or hybrid options to their employees. Video programs improve access to information by making clients work wherever they need it. In addition, you can contact lawyers via phone or chat. You may even write the call for further analysis or obtain transcriptions to refer to later. High-quality software helps reduce the chance that a call may be lost. Those who like the possibility of having more people to share their experiences with video conferences should use Zoom. Many business owners consider this platform an ideal platform for quick meeting conveniences. The total number of callers will vary from 1200. Lawyerer is an online service for legal practitioners looking for encrypted, end to end encryption back-to-end documents.
Client intake and CRM
CRM solutions like Clio Grow assist companies with the coordination and communication processes of client portals, which are performed before clients are introduced. The new service allows firms to offer new clients the ability to make their first online appointment easier via the online form. The 2020 legal trend report demonstrated that Client Orientation – CRM – Software is beneficial even in the remote office.
Cloud-Based Document Management
COVID-19 altered legal practice forever. Many team members have adopted collaborative software tools to improve productivity across varying teams based on their remote work. Almost half of the legal workforce today uses software to manage their firms’ files. MyCase provides an efficient legal and document management software platform. It is updated instantly on desktop and laptop computers so that everybody is always aware of the latest version.
You might think the purpose of your lawyer website is to provide information about your law firm’s legal services or a place where people can request a consultation. While these may be the primary objectives, there are a few things you must do before the phones start ringing.
From a digital marketing point of view, lead generation is a popular term you should understand. When you’re looking for potential clients for your firm, driving the right traffic to your website is the first step then turning those visitors into clients is the next.
If you’ve been wondering how to get more leads at your law firm, perhaps this will help you out.
Traffic refers to the number of visitors to your website which can either be real people or bots. You can see this if your website connected to a tool like Google Analytics. Once installed, you’ll be able to track both web visitors and the number of page visits.
Lead Generation is the process of curating or collecting prospective client’s contact information and taking them as clients.
Landing/Squeeze Page can be used to send web traffic to a specific web page to offer valuable content in exchange for their contact information. Alternatively, you can offer a special promotion (i.e. free consultation) which can only be found on this page.
Sales Funnel is a series of steps that takes leads through the process of becoming a new client at your firm. From a lawyer’s perspective, you use various strategies to market and bring in new clients (i.e. drip marketing).
Conversion Optimization is a process of increasing the percentage of visitors to your website and converting them into a new client.
Perhaps you can start to see that there are various angles you can take when it comes to marketing your law firm’s website. The essentials include web traffic to generate leads and a landing page to collect them. As well, you’ll have to perform ongoing site analysis to find new ways to turn more visitors into clients at your firm (maybe changing some of the colors on your website will work).
This will likely be an ongoing process for your online marketing strategy. In the meantime, let’s explore how you can improve you lead generation at your law firm.
More Leads. More Clients.
When you’re considering a lead generation strategy for your law firm, you want to ask yourself these kinds of questions:
By addressing these questions, you can start to develop your own methods to finding clients that you prefer to work with. Remember, this is your business which means you ultimately decide which types of clients you choose to work with or not.
What Kind of Clients Do You Want?
Let’s start here. Do you even know what kind of clients you prefer working with?
You probably don’t enjoy taking on clients that add more stress and more work than is needed. Perhaps if you’re in a desperate situation, you may accept these clients because you need the cash. But, you know if you continue doing so, you’re going to burn out.
Instead, take a moment to determine who you enjoy working with and what specific cases you handle best.
If you’re depending on the internet to find almost all of your clients, you have to be prepared that people are going to be “shopping around” for the lowest rates. Nonetheless, that’s not to say you can’t find quality clients online, it’ll just take a bit of effort and testing to find.
Now, before you keep reading, ask yourself this: was there ever a client you would rather not work with?
Where Will You Find Your Clients?
Your prospective clients are likely a few clicks away from stepping into your office to get their legal struggles solved.
You should be aware that search engines receive a lot of queries from people looking for solutions to their legal problems. Some common search entries may be:
[Lawyer Type] + [Location]
[Lawyer Type] + Fees
Cheap/Affordable Lawyers + [Location]
Often, you can design your website in a way to attract these searcher to your website. This is the process of SEO and you can find more information about that kind of strategy for your law firm here.
Knowing where your clients are spending much of their time online can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the web. However, social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), are great places to start targeting specific groups of people who may be in need of your legal expertise.
For the solo lawyer doing all the marketing yourself, you may want to consider these marketing ideas coming next (these ideas also apply to lawyers and law firms of any size).
How Will You Attract Those Clients?
Are you familiar with the term bounce rate? It wasn’t defined above however it refers to the amount of people who visit your website then leave right away.
This happens because the content or information on your website and landing pages aren’t fulfilling the need that people were looking for.
In order to attract more clients to your firm, you’ll have to test a few different strategies to see what works and discard what doesn’t work from your marketing methods. Here’s a few strategies you can consider to start generating more leads:
Strategy #1: Compelling Landing Pages
If you’re running a PPC campaign, you’ll want to make sure your marketing dollars are getting you the biggest return possible.
The best way to ensure you don’t waste all your money is making sure the keywords you use in your ads is congruent with the message on your landing page.
If you think of your website in terms of a sales funnel, consider offering a free consultation. As you run your ads, target the immediate needs of people thinking about divorce, those recently in a car accident, or a new business in need of copyright protection.
You should understand the fundamentals of keyword research to know which words people are using to serve better ads. As well, you should create ads that not only look good but remain consistent to the overall message.
Then, when people start are arriving to your landing page, use a strong and compelling message that gets them to sign up to an email list, send a message to your firm, or to call you right away.
Strategy #2: Helpful Videos
Are you Camera Shy? Hopefully, not.
Offering a helpful video, especially with your expertise in your area of practice, can allow you to make stronger connections and build better trust online.
Let’s face it, a few words on a screen may not be the icing on the cake when it comes to choosing a person who’s going to help a dire situation or prevent someone from going to jail.
Instead, videos allow you to reveal your personality and send a direct message to those considering a lawyer in their community. Take a look at this lawyer who takes a camera to his office and capturing his entire day:
Strategy #3: Offer Free Information
You’ll see this strategy used a lot of online services. They create a free piece of valuable content, host it on their website, then give it away for free in exchange for someone’s contact information.
As a lawyer, you know there’s all kind of questions people have about their legal situations. For example:
Those going through divorce want to know what rights they have, the risks involved, and the possible outcomes to their situation if they and their spouse can’t come to an agreement.
In the business world, copyright infringement can ruin a business. People want to know how they can protect their creative intelligence and what kind of legal action they can take if their ideas are stolen.
Some people experiencing a traumatic event may not know what actions to take in their situation.
You can then follow the same idea from above where you use the emails collected to send more content, offers, and information about your legal services.
Quick Warning About Lead Generation
If you ever consider hiring someone to help with your lead generation, there are a few things you should consider before you do. These services may offer pay-per-lead or pay-per-click vendors. However, you have to watch out because you can get a lot of leads (i.e. emails, phone numbers, etc.) but they may not be interested in your business.
In case you want to go ahead and use these services, consider these lawyer specific pay-per-lead services:
Please do your own due diligence before using any of these services. We do not endorse nor receive payment from these services. These are just a few of the available PPC and PPL services you can use for your firm. Results will very and should always be measured for cost effectiveness.
Marketing your law firm can take up a lot of time and money, but it doesn’t have to. You don’t have to be a sales expert, naturally outgoing, or excessively charming either. Instead, growing your law firm starts with a strong marketing plan that uses successful strategies targeted at the right audience and performed consistently. While you may not see results overnight, given time, new clients will be calling up your office.
Meet with referral contacts regularly. No matter how busy you are, take the time to meet or contact your referrals personally to remind them that your services are ready and available.
Know your target market. Obviously, if you’re a divorce lawyer you won’t be searching for a client with workplace injuries. However, you’ll want to know everything possible about your target audience and tailor your marketing plan to them.
Attend annual/monthly dinners with colleagues and law school classmates. Even as you pursue your career in law, it’s important to reach out to old classmates and build upon your referral network.
Study more briefs and related cases. The more you know about the cases you intend to provide legal services for, the more knowledge and expertise you will have. This is critical for building trust with potential clients and answering questions backed by the research you performed.
Put your law firm on social media. Social media is a smart way to reach out to communities and specific groups of people to inform them of your legal expertise.
Get a website for your law firm. If you haven’t done so already, having an attorney website for your law firm can increase client intake by finding new clients searching for lawyers online.
Make networking a priority. This should be a habit. Go out and meet people every day even when you don’t feel like it.
Start a law blog. Writing articles and guest posts on other blogs is a great way to share your expertise in your area of law.
Create a content marketing strategy. Once your blog is filled with quality content, you’ll need a smart marketing strategy to reach out to people interested in reading it.
Offer free consultations. Everybody loves free stuff. If you can give a few free minutes of your time, you can use this as an introduction to yourself and a chance to sell your legal services.
Have a unique and compelling CTA.Your call to action, either on your website or throughout social media, should be clear when telling readers what to do (i.e. call today for a free consultation about your personal injury).
Attend public events with an attitude to give, instead of receiving. Often, the most successful lawyers are those with a giving mindset rather than taking from every opportunity they see.
Know your USP. What is your Unique Selling Point? Remember, people are hiring lawyers to work for them, not the law firm itself. What makes you so special?
Create a brand and spread it. Consider developing a stationary set with your business logo and some short descriptions that capture what you can do.
Use Facebook Ads. You can set up cost-effective and highly targeted Facebook Ads to find new clients.
Start a drip marketing campaign. When you start collecting contact information for potential clients, you can create a series of timely messages to nurture them into new clients.
Give away free resources. While you may want to bill for every minute of your time, consider taking a moment to put together some free resources (i.e. pamphlet, ebook, etc.).
Be helpful to those in your community. When you meet new people in your community, find a way to give a helping hand. Sometimes it pays to be helpful.
Market your law firm if it feels right to you. Don’t think that you have to commit to every marketing method available. For example, if you don’t like social media, don’t use it.
Make sure it’s easy to reach you. Similar to having a strong CTA, you should have a distinct and easy way for people to get in contact with you.
Use accounting software programs for lawyers. There are a few accounting software programs that can automate your entire firm and all you more time to focus on finding more clients.
Start a Google PPC campaign. There are a lot of competitive keywords that can be expensive. However, if you use the right words you can increase traffic to your website and leads for your legal services.
Ensure that your content is shareable. If you do have a blog, be sure social media share buttons are visible and don’t be afraid to ask readers to share it when they reach the end.
Understand the basics of SEO. Learn how to make the necessary changes to your website to increase your ranking in search engines.
Focus on getting referrals. Getting referred clients makes the intake process so much easier. Plus, referred clients tend to be more loyal and more likely to provide you with referrals in the future.
Send referrals to other lawyers. You can send referrals to others in your network (i.e. when your too busy with other cases or a prospective client asks for work in a different area of law). If karma exists, you can expect these favors to be returned to you.
Don’t be shy, ask directly if your clients know anyone who needs you.Perhaps others people your client knows needs your services but they’ve been too focused on their case to see it.
Release content on social media at specific days and times. Sometimes the mornings get more engagement than the evenings and vice versa.
Volunteer at various legal groups and activities in your community. It doesn’t have to be specific to law, you can join an organization to give back to your community while getting your name and legal services out there.
Go to bar association events. Whenever there are events from your local bar association go and network to again, build your referral network.
If you plan on using search engines to lead new clients to your legal services you’ll want to know the latest trends. Having all the latest data and information about what people are searching for on the internet is the key factor for any business offering their services online. Luckily, Google Trends offers a tool that does that.
Understanding the data surrounding search data allows for an effective marketing strategy to emerge. The behaviors of consumers are constantly changing and adapting. Search data reveals new insights about your clients, competitors, and industry.
Google Trends reveals the frequency (or popularity) of a search-term being entered compared to the total search volume across various regions of the world. Using this tool, you will be able to see the trend of a search term across time. You can also look at search data for in real-time, too.
Science Direct studied the usage of big data and found that notable search queries were performed for statistics, policy and law. This big data can be used to make informed marketing decisions for your law firm.
In addition to marketing, Google trends can:
Analyze the interest of search users related to your area of practice
Forecast legal issues that require immediate attention
Acquire a diverse set of information from various sources
Access raw search data related to your area of law
Having a better understanding of how people are using Google, especially in terms of people dealing with their legal questions, puts your law firm in a position where it can solve their problems.
How to Use Google Trends
Getting started with Google Trends is simple and the best part is it’s free to use. On the main page, you can browse trending stories or explore topics using the search bar.
To start your own research and analysis of big search data go to Explore and enter your search term or topic.
Before hitting enter, you may want to adjust a few of the settings to obtain search trends related to your practice and your area. You can make adjustments to:
Choose your country or anywhere else in the world.
Choose from past hour, 4 days, 7 day, 30 days, 90 day, 12 months, 5 years, or from 2008.
Choose a category based on your area of practice (i.e. an personal injury lawyer may choose Autos & Vehicles).
Search type. Choose from News, Web, Image, Google Shopping, or YouTube.
How Lawyers Can Use Google Trends
If you’re wondering why traffic to your attorney website is declining, Google trends can help you reveal why keywords which ranked well before may no longer bring in new visitors.
However, SEO experts can spend hours creating a strategy from a deep analysis of Google trends. Here’s a few ways your law firm can use Google Trends:
1. You can use the search bar to explore general topics like “practice area + lawyer” or “law related search term” keywords (i.e. divorce lawyer or divorce in New York).The first screen you’ll see is Interest Over Time which shows the popularity of those keywords over a certain period of time.
When you add additional search terms you can better understand the overall search demands related to your area of practice. The peaks and dips show trends throughout the year which can guide you toward when and what you publish on your blog.
2. Next, you can see where each search words and being used throughout the country. When you browse over each state and you will see the interest based on each search query.
After selecting one of the states, you can get more detailed results of trends based on metro locations.
3. At the state level, you can start to see some specific search queries being made throughout the state. This feature is useful to make decisions about opening an office in a location where law-related terms are being searched the most.
You can see that the search term Divorce has high interest in Bakersfield. This could be an ideal location to open an office because of the high search demand.
From the state level, you can go even deeper to see where and how popular a search term is being made. However, if there is not enough data you will see a notification. You can try using a more general search term to obtain more information.
4. Try searching YouTube trends. Not everyone is using Google’s search engine to find answers to their problems. YouTube is another great source to analyze trends and perhaps find ideas for your own advice or news related video channel.
5. Use Trending Search to find the latest news and searches trending right now. You can find this by navigating to the menu bar on the left. Trending searches is a great way to get ideas for your content. If there’s a popular news item or topic that’s related to your law firm, consider writing an opinion piece or offer your perspective on the situation. Doing so can put your law firm’s website into by spinning current events toward your legal services.
If you want to get notifications to your inbox as-it-happens, each day, or each month, you can click the “+” button to subscribe. When you regularly update your blog with fresh content, this sends a signal to Google and other search engines that your website is active and providing value. Knowing the trends can help you adjust your blog content toward an audience with a specific search demand.
Ready to Use Google Trends?
Remember, Google Trends is showing you what is or has been popular on their networks. Lawyers can use this information to:
Discover which keywords (or search queries) are most popular
Find related keywords that are becoming popular
Compare law related keywords that are gaining or decreasing in popularity
Identify geographic locations where keywords are used
While you can use this to create your content and social media posts, there are better and more accurate tools you can use for SEO.