Embracing Innovation for Law Firm Success
When it comes to embracing innovation, many law firms are in limbo.
On the one hand, there are ever-more methods for improving law firm processes and a steady development of new, more effective legal technologies (According to market monitor Crunchbase, global funding in law tech rose to more than US $825 million in 2018—a significant jump from US $305 million in 2017).
Yet, plenty of law firms are still struggling to embrace change—as an example, an industry-wide 2018 study on the state of law firm innovation found that more than half of the respondents placed their firm’s innovation achievements in slower-moving categories, with 32% describing their firm’s innovation as fairly ad-hoc and progressing and 24% as still in initial development stages.
While this discrepancy may be common, it’s also holding firms back. With client expectations evolving and demands on lawyers changing, law firms need to adapt in order to stay competitive.
The benefits of embracing innovation
Change can be scary, but there’s no way around it—successful legal practices must learn new things in order to thrive. By breaking out of traditional law firm management approaches and trying new ideas, you might make your firm more successful than you’d ever thought possible.
Take the problem of billable hours, for example. According to Clio’s 2018 Legal Trends Report, lawyers spend just 2.4 hours out of an 8-hour day on billable work on average—which means that most lawyers are losing a lot of time (and potential revenue) on other tasks. Experimenting with a few new processes, like using an online client intake system instead of a paper one, could help you reduce your overhead and log more billable hours—which means more money in the bank, and more time to dedicate to helping clients.
Embracing innovation can also help your law firm get more clients. Today’s legal customers expect a client-centered experience and enhanced communication with their lawyers. By trying out new ideas like sending automated welcome emails, accepting credit card payments, and allowing clients to receive case updates by text, law firms will discover which types of service make for happier clients—leading to more positive reviews, referrals, and—ultimately—more new business.
And, of course, when your clients are a bit happier, it’s always more pleasant to come to work—and that’s a win for everyone.
Embracing innovation at your law firm: Where to start
Embracing innovation at your law firm brings outsized benefits, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are a few tips for getting new ideas to put in place at your law firm, so you can start putting innovation to work for your law firm’s success.
Networking is a secret weapon when it comes to learning new things. By sharing ideas with other lawyers—what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what’s lined up for the future—you’ll gain the insight and experience of like-minded peers. Networking could help you discover brand new ways to innovate as well—in fact, just talking with other lawyers could be what introduces you to the next idea or tool to really help your firm thrive.
- Ask for feedback
Who knows what your clients want better than your clients? The best way to put your clients first is to integrate their thoughts and ideas in your firm’s evolution. Ask your clients for feedback on how your firm is doing and what changes they would appreciate—you might just get a few ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise.
- Attend conferences
One of the best ways to get networking opportunities and learn the latest innovative ideas is to attend a conference. Conferences like the annual Clio Cloud Conference offer valuable advice, information, and opportunities for connection.
Conferences are also an efficient way to hear insights from the top legal innovators in the industry. This year’s Clio Cloud Conference, for example, features the founder and CEO of Hello Divorce, Erin Levine—who is also a Fastcase50 award winner. Other 2019 Fastcase50 recipients like Jess Birken (Founder, Birken Law Office), Kimberly Bennett (Founder, K Bennett Law), and Cat Moon (Director of Innovation Design and Adjunct Professor, Vanderbilt Law School) have also spoken at the conference in the past.
- Start now
You don’t have to completely overhaul your practice in one fell swoop. Even if you start with just one or two changes, you’ll begin to see benefits in the long term as long as you get the ball rolling. The key is to get your firm on the right path by introducing deliberate, thoughtful change.
In order to thrive in today’s legal landscape, it’s important to embrace change and find opportunities to learn new things. When done right, it can bring big benefits to your firm, as Chris Trebatoski can attest to. Chris put what he learned at the Clio Cloud Conference into action, and doubled his revenues.
If you’re ready to innovate and watch your law firm thrive, the Clio Cloud Conference is the place to be. We hope to see you at the Clio Cloud Conference in San Diego this October 21-22.
Sign up today for summer special pricing—it’s just $1099 for single conference passes until August 31st. And, as an added bonus, register today with promocode FASTCASE for an additional $200 off single conference passes.