Interactive LIVESTREAM:
The New Virtual Client Experience:
How Law Firms Must Adapt


Client behavior and expectations have shifted dramatically since the advent of COVID-19. From first contact to intake to case close, legal consumers now expect and require a virtual experience — even if they won’t need it for the full scope of the attorney-client relationship. In turn, it is incumbent upon law firms to translate their analog processes into digital ones. Anything that you could do in-person, you must now be able to do online, and in a way that still furthers and deepens the attorney-client relationship.

In this interactive livestream discussion, we explored and answered questions around transitioning to a seamless, virtual client engagement model.

Jump to a Topic

5:26 – Client Expectations Pre-COVID Vs. Now

Jared gives us an overview of how COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for virtual services on the consumer-end.

18:58 – Intake & Onboarding

Learn how and why law firms must update their operational roadmaps for onboarding new clients.

27:57 – Engagement During Your Cases

Almost 90% of the time, a law firm lead that is truly engaged by a law firm will decide whether or not to hire said law firm before contacting the next one — a huge competitive advantage. Here’s how this can be applied to the modern context.

37:07 – Billing & Payments

Jared and Casey unpack what law firms must consider when it comes to their billing and collections practices in order to satisfy and retain modern legal clients moving forward.

41:57 – Real Solutions from Real Legal Professionals

Attendees of the livestream share what they’ve done to effectively update their law firm’s client experience during and post-COVID as well as the benefits they’ve seen.

Transcript

 

Casey Patterson:

Thank you all so much for coming and participating. We really want to hear from you. Feel free to ask questions as the webinar goes on, because Jared is here to answer and also answer each other’s questions. Because I think the best parts of these interactive Zoom events is that you get to hear from folks all over the country and all over the world. We got Columbia, we got all over. So, yeah, please keep the questions and comments coming.

 

Casey Patterson:

So, today, we’re talking about The New Virtual Client Experience: How Law Firms Must Adapt. As we know, this year has been crazy for law firms and businesses in general. Clients are expecting new things. Clients need things like Zoom meetings and maybe virtual client intake and more hand holding during a given case. So, we’re going to talk about those things today. We really want to provide you with actionable insights around adapting your traditional client practices and moving to a virtual environment. So, let’s keep the conversation flowing.

 

Casey Patterson:

We want to hear how you’ve done that, as well as hear from Jared about ways that you could potentially consider adopting into your practice. Quickly, this webinar is sponsored by MyCase. I work for MyCase, worked here for five years. I absolutely love helping attorneys and get more from their business and organize their practices using virtual software, cloud-based software. So, little pitch there. My name is Casey, like I said, super happy to be here. Please connect with me on LinkedIn if you have any additional questions or email me at my work email here.

 

Casey Patterson:

I would like to introduce Jared who is a former practicing attorney. We’re so glad to have him. He’s an expert on all things virtual law firm related. He also advises law firms about their back-office organization as well as other things. So, Jared, take it away with some of your background.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. So, you said there was stuff happening, right? There’s something going on in the world that I was unaware of. No, the pandemic, right? We’re all stuck in the pandemic, isn’t it fantastic? So, we’re all staying where we live enjoying the good or bad weather. As Casey mentioned, I’ve been a consultant to law firms for years. I think I’ve been doing this for like 15 years or so at this point. I’ve consulted with about 4,000 law firms really across the world. So, not only do I have thoughts of my own about how client experience intake has changed over the course, like the last six months especially, but I’ve also really been interested to hear what attorneys are doing in the face of all this, not just my clients, but attorneys generally.

 

Jared Correia:

So, as Casey mentioned, please feel free to contribute, post stuff in the chat. We’ll reference it. We want to learn about what you’re doing. If I can provide some tips to help out with that, that’s great. One thing I will say is I have been impressed with how aggressive a lot of attorneys have been in adapting to what is happening now for however long it’s going to happen, right? For a long time, I’ve been talking about these virtual options that were always at play. So, I think what has happened is that attorneys have now started to adopt these things in really quick truncated fashion. Whereas before, it was years long process going through committees before we had a Zoom account. Now people just add it on like Tuesday.

 

Jared Correia:

So, I have been impressed with that. I think it’s ultimately a good thing for the business of law to be able to go virtual. I’ve told people, this was a good idea pre-pandemic, it’s a better idea post-pandemic. The idea is that you don’t have to necessarily lose all the personal touch, right? You can offer this as an option to clients, not everybody’s going to want to drive into the city to go to your office, not everybody’s going to want to pay for parking, not everybody’s going to want to sit across from you and shake your hand, not everybody’s going to want to go to the bank and write a check, right? That’s the world that a lot of people don’t live in anymore.

 

Jared Correia:

Spoiler alert, it was the world that people were not really living in necessarily prior to all this stuff happening. See, I’m happy to talk about all of this. How is that by way of introduction? Pretty good, right?

 

Casey Patterson:

Very great. Thank you so much.

 

Jared Correia:

I didn’t practice that too much, so.

 

Casey Patterson:

I’m sure you never introduce yourself.

 

Jared Correia:

Never.

 

Casey Patterson:

Especially on Zoom. All right, great. So, let’s get started. How this is going to work is we’re going to ask the question, Jared is going to provide some commentary on it. And then we want you to answer in the chat. So, we can also talk through what you guys have done and experienced during this time. So, how have client expectations changed from early 2020, so pre-COVID, maybe March until now. Please put it in the chat. How have your clients expectations change of your law firm?

 

Casey Patterson:

Some examples of things I’ve heard are folks want drive-through notary signings. You need to get a notary to the law firm and they stay in their car. They pass through a clipboard. That’s how you get signed. Obviously, masks and things along those lines. Other things like Jared mentioned are not coming into the office and having that virtual client intake or consultations, beginning of the case. Please put in the chat, what’s changed about your clients experience? Jared, what are your thoughts on this?

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah. I think like if folks are willing to add some information to the chat, let’s hear about this specific practice area too, because what’s really interesting, you mentioned estate planning, right? Totally different deal. I’ve talked to a lot of estate planning attorneys who are like, “We have remote notarization laws in my state, but they’re awful. So, I’m not utilizing them. I have to figure out a way to meet in person with people.” So, drive through stuff that you talked about. I have attorneys meeting on the back porch of their house or I have attorneys like sitting on the back porch and they set up chairs for people around the porch. I’ve seen people meet in parking lots, all kinds of stuff.

 

Jared Correia:

I actually think the dirty little secret here is that client expectations have not changed all that much, but lawyers reactions to those expectations have had to change because they’ve been pushed out of their comfort zone. So, we talked a little bit before we were doing this presentation, and one of the things I’ve really seen is this notion of law firms always operate on analog processes. How do you start operating a law firm using digital processes? How do you convert that? How do you do a meeting online? How do you take money online? How do you get documents signed online? How do you stay in touch with people if you can’t like shake hands, kiss babies, go to CLE presentations, talk to your referral sources? It’s a totally different thing inside and outside of clients, by the way.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great.

 

Jared Correia:

So, it’s affecting everything. And then the other thing I would say is that one of the things I’ve noticed traditionally with law firms is that they’re not great at understanding client expectations. They’re not great at understanding consumers expectations. Law firms generally want to do things that are easy for them, but not necessarily the best thing for their clients. So, shifting that expectation I think has been happening a little bit since we’ve been in this pandemic, where lawyers are like, “Okay, my clients have a lot of questions. I need to respond. This requires me to change my policies and operations in some way. So, how do I do that?” I see we get a lot of people putting stuff into the chat as well.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah. So, James Farr, who works at a criminal practice, said that “Most clients now communicate by text, email or phone,” which is really interesting. James, if you don’t mind, I have a question, which is how are they communicating before it? Was it mostly in office? What did that look like? Nat said, “Trust and estate planning clients want to sign documents in and outside the car. They still want to meet in person.” Virtual notary firm from Jennifer as well. This one I found really interesting.

 

Casey Patterson:

So, Julia Matheson said that she moved to a virtual model in late spring as this was playing out to accommodate the fact that clients don’t want to pay for fancy offices, but otherwise, our expectations are the same.” So, we’ve heard this as well from other attorneys that they’re actually downsizing their physical location, because it’s not needed, or they can rent out a small space in a co-working environment and have meetings there. Jared, have you heard of those type of things before? Have you helped law firms through those situations?

 

Jared Correia:

Well, let’s tease out a few things from these comments. So, first, the texting thing is really interesting, because one of the things I’ve noticed with lawyers is that they haven’t been very adept at texting, right? Or I should say, very adept to archiving the text. So, one of the things that’s problematic is clients love to text lawyers, that is a pre-pandemic thing as well. Lawyers text clients back, but then there’s no record of it, right? So, I would say if you’re now communicating via a new methodology that you use before, ask yourself like, “How do I archive this?” and “Is this attached to what I’m doing?”

 

Jared Correia:

So, can I open up my client matter in MyCase and see the text I’ve exchanged with the clients? You never want to get into a situation of he said, she said. This is a great point, not only is it about changing communication methods, it’s about changing data repository processes. That’s particularly true I think of chat.

 

Jared Correia:

The office space thing is a really interesting question. Now that people are talking to me about, “Let’s meet my clients in the parking lot,” like “Let’s go to Sonic and have a will signing, because that would be dope, right? We could get like tots and a slushie. We could sign your will.” I would love that. If that was your marketing protocol for your law firm, I’m all in. You can do my will. The office space thing is really interesting though with respect to popping out of a big law firm and starting your own business, right? Hogan Lovells, right? It doesn’t get much fancier in terms of offices than that. So, all these big businesses, not just law firms, have these spaces that are locked into for years that nobody’s using.

 

Jared Correia:

So, my wife works at a large law firm in Boston. They haven’t been to work in nine months, and they’re just paying for this office space. So, if you’re starting your own business or you have the ability to opt out of space right now, I would do it, because I thought that law firms were utilizing too much spaces at work prior to the pandemic. So, you could probably have trimmed previously. Now you’re going to be able to trim more, because your clients are going to want to not meet you in a space.

 

Jared Correia:

As I mentioned before, it’s not just about public health considerations. It’s certainly about that. But it’s also about do I want to go into a lawyer, pay the ancillary fees related to going to a big office like parking, time out of my day, driving, all those things that it takes to get into a city? People are fleeing from cities as it is, right? Or do I want to have a virtual conference or go somewhere else, maybe in a suburb and meet with somebody? Or do I want to meet with somebody in the parking lot? Do I have the ability to do that? One thing I would say is take a look at your reporting if you have staff.

 

Jared Correia:

One metric I like law firms to run, which many don’t, is revenue per square foot. So, take a look at how much money you make per square foot of office space that you pay for. And then compare that against the cost of the office space. I guarantee you that the math is probably not working for you right now. So, I’ve said this many times, it’s definitely time to downsize in terms of office space.

 

Casey Patterson:

Very interesting. Thank you for that. That’s really helpful. Kind of going back to the texting and client communication part of this, another theme coming up. Kurt’s asking, “What if you’re working on a multidisciplinary team with the same client? How do you keep communication transparent if it’s distributed in different tools?” There’s some other comments about that too, but what are your thoughts on that?

 

Jared Correia:

James Farr as my favorite webinar attendee so far. My friend is all caps. He’s got a good point here, the important thing about texting is to use a dedicated law relating texting software, I couldn’t agree more. Some of that is built into existing software. Some of that is separate software that you could utilize, but that’s what you do, you got to get everybody on the same system. It’s got to be a cloud-based system, because you’re working remotely. You have to be able to share as if you were sitting across from each other, right?

 

Jared Correia:

One of the big things that this pandemic has changed is that lawyers, for a long time have liked to manage via butts in the seats, right? They want to be able to walk over to somebody’s desk and hover over them until it’s uncomfortable, and say, “How are things going? What’s up with this case?” Now, you need to be able to manage all this data with a disparate workforce. So, it’s more important than ever that the system’s in place to manage that. From the text standpoint, if you don’t have text, then you got to have a way to manage it more effectively. So, somebody is talking about Google Voice in the chat.

 

Jared Correia:

So, if you’re using Google Voice, the challenge with that is that they don’t really have a team option, right? So, as a solo, Google Voice is fine. Because one thing you can do is even respond to text in your email, essentially, archive all of that. You could push that to another software that you’re using, but where you don’t necessarily have the ability to do is to transfer calls to people or to share information with people unless they’re connected to you on your Google Suite as well. So, there are some limitations to a software like that, but there are no shortage of tools out there that you can use to better organize yourself, including in a work from home environment.

 

Jared Correia:

What I often tell people is just come up with what you want technology to do. Don’t even look at a software. Just say, “I need technology to do X,” and I guarantee you there are tools out there that you can use.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. Yeah. Finding the problem and then getting the tool to solve it rather than the other way around.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, absolutely. If you’re looking for tools to solve problems, you’re always going to be disappointed because no software is going to be perfect, right? There’s really great software out there, including MyCase, but you should look and say, “I need to fix this problem. What do I do?” You might be able to connect existing software that you have with the software that you’re already using to create really holistic solution for managing your practice.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. Thank you for that. Quick reminder from me and Julia Matheson. Thank you, Julia. Please send your answers to all panelists and attendees. So, if you see on the chat, there’s a little blue bubble. Right now, you might see all panelists. Please change that to all panelists and attendees, so everyone can see the great conversation that we’re having. All right.

 

Jared Correia:

Can we answer-

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah.

 

Jared Correia:

I’m going to butcher this, Rosalba? How do you think I did on that?

 

Casey Patterson:

Yes, yes, confidentiality.

 

Jared Correia:

Rosalba, tell me if I totally destroyed your name. My apologies.

 

Casey Patterson:

Could you read it too just to make sure, because that was to all panelists, but for everyone to hear?

 

Jared Correia:

Right. I am concerned about the confidentiality, the interviews by Zoom or Skype who listens to the conversation. Tremendous question, right? So, now that we’re all online, right, what’s the data security component that we need to worry about? So, I would say that Zoom is much like Dropbox when it came out, right? I don’t know if folks remember this, but like a decade ago, right? People use Dropbox because it was convenient, but it wasn’t the most secure software in the world. Zoom has been around for 10 years, I’ve actually had a Zoom account since 2011. I love Zoom. But the challenge has been that they all of a sudden got like 700% more users than they had previously.

 

Jared Correia:

Any system security flaw that was available to see became super-duper obvious, right? We’re hearing things about Zoom bombing. We’re hearing things about issues in terms of how the information is accessed. But I have to say that Zoom has done a really nice job upgrading their security. One of the flaws they had was that they didn’t have encryption of video conversations throughout the system. Now, they have end-to-end encryption of video as well. That was really the big component that they were missing. So, in terms of that change that they’ve recently made, I would say that Zoom is reasonably secure for an attorney to use. That was a recent thing that happened.

 

Jared Correia:

If you want a video conferencing tools that are focused on security, there are two out there you would like to take a look at. One is called Signal, which is a freeware software. So, you don’t have to pay for it. It’s encrypted chat, encrypted conversations, encrypted video. It’s going to be encrypted throughout, end-to-end for video conferencing. And then there’s another tool out there called Wire that is a paid version, but similar operation where they’re focused on specifically security above all else. And then Ted said, there’s also a HIPAA compliant version of Zoom with enhanced security encryption. That’s true also.

 

Jared Correia:

The last thing I would say here is that I was talking about this yesterday, one of the things that lawyers don’t do is like they’ll adapt to software. They’ll want it to do two or three things, and then they’ll optimize it for that. I use ‘optimize’ loosely. I’m using air quotes. It’s not optimizing software, right? So, one thing I would do if I were you is any new software you get, including a video conferencing software like Zoom, jump into the settings and just run through the settings and see what’s in place.

 

Jared Correia:

There’s a little Security tab, click on Security. Figure out whether people can share their screens without getting permission to do so. Figure out if people can enter meetings without being admitted. I actually think they changed that as well. I think everybody needs to be formally admitted to the meetings now but look through those settings. I’m a freak, but one of the things I do is when I buy new software, the first thing I do is look at the settings. I love it. I go through the settings and my kids are like, “You’re such a loser.” But my stuff is secure. That’s for sure.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Yup. Just knowing the tool a little bit better can never be a bad thing. Right. Okay, let’s move on to the next question. So, we want to know from the audience around intake and onboarding of clients. Obviously, in the past, in the old world, B.C., Before COVID, it was you come into the office and sign a piece of paper and talk to an attorney. Now it’s either that but masked up and six feet apart or you’re doing it virtually. So, tell us how that client intake and onboarding experience has changed for you guys. Make sure to send it to all panelists and attendees. Jared maybe could shed some light on what you’ve seen from law firms in this regard.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, B.C., Before COVID. That was thoroughly depressing. All right, I’m over it.

 

Casey Patterson:

I’m sorry.

 

Jared Correia:

So same deal I was talking about before, in terms of the intake and the onboarding piece, most of that was analog in a law firm before. You get your referrals by working your referral network. People want to see you at the office or at least you think they want to see you at the office. You have a meeting, you sit across the table from them. Now, no one wants to do that, right? Or people want to do that less regularly. When they do it, it’s a totally different environment, right? Not for nothing, but there’s this whole issue in terms of schooling, right? Where kids go to school. Their teachers are wearing masks. You miss a lot of emotional signals when that happens.

 

Jared Correia:

So, in some cases, it’s better to be able to see someone’s lips moving, right? Get their body language in play. You could do that through a video conference. Same thing with signatures and payments, as we talked about. You’re not in a position anymore, where you can slide a piece of paper over somebody and have them sign it with a pen. Pens alone, right? How many people touch a pen? Everybody touches pens. Checks, right? People don’t want to go to the bank anymore.

 

Jared Correia:

As I said before, this is not new news, right? So, prior to the pandemic, people are not necessarily like, “You know what would be great if I could write a cashier’s check and bring it to my attorney? That would be an amazing way to spend my afternoon.” Never the case, right? E-payments offer that. You don’t want to sign a paper document, you got e-signatures. You don’t want to have an in-person conference, you have a Zoom meeting. So, what you do is you take that analog process, and you create the digital version of that process. Again, you’re going to be able to opt people into or out of that.

 

Jared Correia:

So, if folks don’t want to use these systems that you’ve set up, cool, then you can have him come into the office and here’s the protocol. You wear a mask, you don’t go into the kitchen. We stay socially distant, and you run through that series of processes. For people who don’t want to come to the office, you’ve got your system in place on a digital basis. Here’s how we do the meeting. Here’s the link you need for that. We’re going to send you a document after this. This is how you sign it. This is how you make payment and you’re good to go. Again, this is stuff that lawyers should have been doing before, but now they’re forced to do largely.

 

Casey Patterson:

Right. Yeah, in the last couple months, it’s been a big push to get those things adopted quickly, where they’ve been around for a long time. They’ve always been for the lawyers on the… I don’t even want to say cutting edge, because it’s not that. Banks and doctors’ offices-

 

Jared Correia:

It is not a cutting edge.

 

Casey Patterson:

… and all those things have been around for a long time, right? Now it’s that final push, you have to do this, because you physically can’t see your clients in person. So, Crystal says she’s doing Zooms for consultation and intakes. Jennifer says, “Phone and email, client intakes, meeting one-on-one of the suburbs but not in the cities.” Julia Matheson said, “I’d be interested to know what e-payments systems firms are using and how widespread adoption is.”

 

Jared Correia:

Oh, yeah, I’m happy to talk about that. So, a lot of the case management systems like MyCase, include their own payment tools, right? So, that’s built into the software. So, that’s an advantage. By the way, e-signatures built into software’s. Also, a lot of organizations are starting to add video conferencing components. I am certain that MyCase does that at some point down the line, right, probably in the near term. You can utilize outside payment systems as well, right? So, in legal, there’s LawPay, which has been the market leader for e-payments for a long, long time. That’s a standalone tool. Others include LexCharge, Gravity Payments, Headnote. There’s a bunch of software’s out there that you can manage e-payments with.

 

Jared Correia:

What I would say is that the adoption is getting higher, but it’s not nearly as high as it should be. I think the reason that attorneys have not adopted e-payments is because they’re worried about two things. Ethics, because they think if they take a retainer, you got processing fees coming out of that. There’s a problem with the accounting, right? Because that process fee has to come out of the operating account, the retainer has to go in the hole to the IOLTA account. But if you’ve got somebody who’s working with law firms, that’s easy to manage, right? Same thing for the chargebacks, that’s not something you’re going to have to worry about.

 

Jared Correia:

And then the processing fees, attorneys don’t like to pay processing fees. Attorneys don’t like to pay for anything, let’s be frank. That’s not a nasty comment I’m trying to make. I don’t like to pay for anything either. But if you look at the data behind this, again, even pre-pandemic, the money you’re making on e-payments is much more than you’d be “losing” in terms of the e-payment processing fees. So, studies have shown that attorneys get paid 60 days faster using e-payments. They get paid more money than they would [inaudible 00:24:35] getting paid, like 20% or so.

 

Jared Correia:

The reason for that is because if you look at the way that consumers buy things. So, if you’re using the traditional model and you say, “Hey, go get me a cashier’s check,” well, guess what? They have to have that money in their bank, right? There’s no payment plan there. But if you allow somebody to pay electronically, they can use a credit card, and then they set up a payment plan on their own terms with the credit card company, which by the way, means you’re no longer on the hook as the creditor, right? You get paid. The credit card company eventually gets paid. Everybody’s happy.

 

Jared Correia:

And then not to mention the collections, right? If you’re not getting your bills out on a regular basis, if you have to set up a time to do that, if you’re still sending paper bills or bills by emails and you’re waiting for a cheque to come in to be mailed to you, you’re spending untold amount of hours on collections. You save that time as well. So, if it’s not clear, my feelings are if you have not adopted e-payments yet, please do so, posthaste.

 

Casey Patterson:

First step, step one after this, sign up for some e-payment platform. That’s great. Okay, so just some questions or just some comments I want to acknowledge. Jeremy says, “Phone screening, DocuSign, and AssureSign for signatures in client documents.

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, that’s good.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Yeah, just some tools there that you can use. And then Norman says, “COVID has ‘forced’ our profession into 2020 from 1990. Mostly the courts ethics, acceptance, use of tech, it’s not a terrible thing.” That’s a great comment.

 

Jared Correia:

No, I totally think it’s a good thing, right? Not to get on a tangent, but I wish some entities in legal would be more aggressive about adopting technology. So, Norman talks about the core systems, right? Core systems are still slow to adopt technology. I think a lot of people in the court systems are like, “When this is over, we’ll go back to normal.” I’m not suggesting that this is the new normal, please God, hopefully it’s not. But what I am saying is that even if it’s not, and we go back to “normal,” and people are willing to mill about and be around each other again, and hopefully, by sometime in the middle of next year, right? Maybe the end of next year, this was all good in terms of the technology adoption. This allows you the opportunity to be aggressive.

 

Jared Correia:

I think, if we’re talking about law firms or partnerships, for example, you always have this generational mix going on, where you’ve got some partners who are older who don’t want to change, some partners who are younger who want to be more aggressive. If you’re a younger partner in a law firm, this is your time to shine. When do you have a better opportunity? Are you waiting for an asteroid to hit the Earth?

 

Jared Correia:

Now is the time to make those changes and be really aggressive about it. I’ve been saying this for a long time, but law firms are always, always, always reactive. You should use that to your advantage right now. Use the ability to be reactive, the notion to be reactive in law firms to use that moving forward to be more proactive about the way you use technology. That was a long-winded analogy. I tried to bring it home. I may have failed.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. I think Ted brings it home in a great way. “Attorneys are all for progress, but 100% against change.” That’s pretty good, but now is the time. We got to make the change.

 

Jared Correia:

I’m glad we have Ted here today. This is good. Thank you, Ted.

 

Casey Patterson:

Awesome. Next is engagement during a case. So, we talked about the intake on the front end. Engagement during a case, in the past, might have looked like coming in for a checkup type of thing appointment and seeing your attorney, talking about your case. It seems like that’s changed in terms of just not wanting to be near, not wanting to leave the house really. What have folks experienced during cases, any new collaboration tools with clients or even with fellow office staff members? What have you guys experienced out there? Also Jared, what are your thoughts on this?

 

Jared Correia:

I got a hot tip for you. Let me start with that. Have folks heard of a tool called Krisp.AI? This is the best thing ever. So, what it is, is essentially a plugin for video conferencing software’s like Zoom. What it does is it eliminates background noise on your side and on other presenters’ sides. So, for example, if my kids are being obnoxious, which shockingly, 33 minutes into the webinar, they are not yet, you wouldn’t hear any of that stuff. Or if Casey’s dog is barking like crazy, I could mute that, essentially. So, if you do a lot of video conferences, especially in a professional setting and you’re stuck at home, this is a software that costs like three bucks a month, right? It’s a great addition for you.

 

Jared Correia:

But engagement during a case, right? So, again, I don’t think a lot of this is necessarily changed. What we’re really talking about are best practices, as was noted from like 1990, that we’re bringing to the fore now with better technology than what’s available in 1990, by the way. So, I think of this in terms of like a nurture cycle that law firms have. So, the problem with the way that lawyers have traditionally communicated with clients is they only talk to clients when they want something. They want information. They want money. They want to call back, right? They’re not saying to the clients, “I value you as somebody that I work with.” Changing that around is really helpful.

 

Jared Correia:

I had a guy once who came into me. He was a consulting client. He was like, “My clients all hate me.” I was like, “How do you know that?” He’s like, “They just hate me, they only have bad things to say about me.” I’m like, “When do you talk to them?” He’s like, “When I need more money.” By the way, I think it’s Krisp, right? K-R-I-S-P, I think, but I’ll find the link and send it in there. Anyway, I’m like, “You should call your clients every six weeks. Put your clients on a cycle and call them every six weeks.” Three years later, he comes back to me. I’m like, “How are things going?” He’s like, “My clients love me.” So, I probably shouldn’t say it this way, but you can get away with a lot if you’re hands on and really thoughtful about the way you interact with your clients.

 

Jared Correia:

So, what I tell lawyers to do is find a way to communicate with clients just to check in. They will love that. So, it can be an email that you send out. It can be a phone call that you schedule. What you’ll often find, especially now, is that you’ll get people who are willing to talk, because who else are they talking to, right? Their dog? So, they’ll be willing to chat with you. They feel like they’re cared for. What may happen is they may say, “Oh, hey, this happened in MyCase, which I would have forgotten you to tell about. I would have forgotten to tell you about if you didn’t call me.” That’s super-duper valuable. Yeah, Krisp.AI. Okay, I’ll put the link in as well.

 

Jared Correia:

So, I would say that if you haven’t done it before, you want to do two things. Tracking back to the last slide, you want to create a roadmap for intake. You want to make sure that each of the components on that roadmap are digitized. And then you want to do the same thing for nurturing existing clients, right? How do I reach out to clients on a regular basis, so I’m not only asking them for something?

 

Jared Correia:

And then look at your digital tools and say, “What can I do to supplement that? Is there a way for me to set up a timeline where I do things in the case and then I automatically notify the client of that? Is there a way for me to use the client portal in a system like MyCase to push out notifications?” All that is available, and then you can actually create a mix of automation and high touch aspects to that nurture cycle. But most attorneys don’t even think of that, to start with.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. You mentioned staying in touch with clients will do nothing but endear them to your firm and-

 

Jared Correia:

They really like you.

 

Casey Patterson:

… make them happy. What are some ways that you can do that passively? Meaning you don’t have to call them every six weeks or every week or whatever, but they can get notifications anyway. Does that make sense?

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah, so there’s two things you can do. You can have a very specific cycle, and then you could have a very generic cycle. So, on the specific side, I think what you’re probably doing is setting up some marketing automations for your clients, which is that check in from time to time. So, part of that is related to just a general check in, right? You could set it up so that every couple month, you send an automated email to your clients that say, “Hey, just checking in, see how things are going,” right?

 

Jared Correia:

And then you could set it up so that when you create workflows or process management for your case, that they get notifications about when things happen, right? I filed this document. We went to court and had this result, whatever it is, right? Just send that out to your clients on a regular basis. So, they feel like they’re up to date. They also feel like you’re checking in on them. I think that stuff is really helpful.

 

Jared Correia:

And then figure out a way to get high touch on an irregular basis, right? That would just be building tasks for yourself. If you’ve got a team, maybe that’s not you, right? It doesn’t necessarily always have to be the attorney who does this. I think attorneys for a long time have gotten off on this notion of there being like attorneys and non-attorneys, which is a really silly thing, right? Is this like Harry Potter, where every non-attorney is like a muggle? No.

 

Jared Correia:

So, you can have your admin people check in. You can have associates check in, just somebody to call the client and do some due diligence and just say, “Hey, how’s it going?” I think there’s not necessarily a formula that is better than another here. But let’s just say you did one personal touch response for every three automated responses you do. That’s one way to start it out. I talk to attorneys about marketing all the time.

 

Jared Correia:

When you’re talking to your clients, when you’re sending them a bill, frankly, all of that stuff is marketing. Especially when you send somebody a bill, you got to prove the value. Why are they paying you the significant raise they’re paying you right? You’re not like a Disney+ subscription. It’s like seven bucks a month, right? You cost a lot of money. So, you got to convince people to continually use you. So how do you do that? One of the ways is to create these nurture systems. So, think of all of these things as marketing opportunities and be aggressive about utilizing them.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Thank you. All right. Next section is billing and payments. So, we talked a little bit about e-payments, but that’s one function of billing and payments, right? How does the money get from client to attorney? But there’s a whole billing cycle, all the way from tracking time to creating the invoices to getting them to the clients, and then finally, the payment and reconciliation. So, how is everyone doing that today in terms of their billing process, including e-payments? And then Jared, what are your thoughts on this topic?

 

Jared Correia:

So, I just had a lengthy conversation with a law firm that shall remain nameless about billing and payments the other day. Part of the challenge is just systematizing this thing, right? A lot of law firms are sitting on a lot of revenue, because they just don’t get the bills out. The reason they don’t get the bills out is because they don’t have a system. I’m not talking about a crazy, complicated system. I’m talking about why don’t we add a task at the end of every month that says, “Hey, Jane, our admin, send the bills,” right? That’s not hard.

 

Jared Correia:

I think the challenge is twofold. One is that again, attorneys have not created digital processes for managing billing. The other is that they’re not using the right tools. So, if you are still keeping time and billing records by hand, which a lot of attorneys do, and you hand it to your secretary to input into a system, that’s inefficient that waste both your time. That’s a double entry system that can be a single-entry system. You’re just lighting money on fire.

 

Jared Correia:

So as the attorney, what you need to commit to is working to create a one-entry system, where you’re keeping time contemporaneously and dropping it into the system immediately without depending on someone else to do that. A lot of attorneys don’t like to keep time manually. So, there are tools out there that will actually track your time automatically. So, for example, if you open an email and start writing it and the system recognizes, “Oh, this is Jane Doe, a client of the law firm,” when that email gets sent, then that time and billing entry is created automatically, right? That’s really helpful for some attorneys.

 

Jared Correia:

Even if you’re not billing clients with that system, it’s a good way to figure out, “Okay, what did I do on Tuesday? Why was I watching YouTube videos about cats for two hours? Am I efficient at that point, or should I maybe do more work in the morning?” That’s really helpful information to have. And then once you’ve got that data for time and place, then it’s about not losing stuff as the funnel goes forward. So, if you’re going to do pre-bills, right, schedule a time to do that. Make it time sensitive, so that the billing comes out the next week, or whatever it is, right? And then if you use a system that has accounting features or billing features like MyCase does, right, then what you do is you run batch billing.

 

Jared Correia:

So, the biggest problem that a lot of law firms have is that they’re trying to run bills one at a time for clients. So, they’re like, “I don’t want to spend Sunday doing the bills.” But if you’ve got a batch billing system, you can just suck up all those resumes… I don’t know why I said resumes. … all that billing that was unpaid or that has not been paid yet, then just push those out. You have a number of different ways to do it, right? That can go via email. That can go out via the payment processing too. That can go out via the client portal. That can go out via paper if you want, but at least it’s going out, right? So, it’s a matter of revising your system, digitizing it, and then using the right software to push it forward.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Yeah. We have James Poole, thanks for joining. James, this is your first comment. So, happy to have you.

 

Jared Correia:

Alright, James, he’s bringing the heat.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, one challenge is getting an effective final review and client signatures on certain official docs. Can you just give an overview of what e-signature is and how it’s helpful for attorneys?

 

Jared Correia:

Me, no, I can do that. So, in terms of e-signature, I will tell you, first of all, it’s super easy to use for consumers. So, my clients are attorneys, I have a 12- or 13-page service agreement for consulting. The average time it takes somebody to sign that is 3.4 seconds. These are attorneys. So, what I know is that I could ask for their firstborn child in my service agreement, they would never know, right? Of course, I wouldn’t do that. But it means that the services work, and then James is right. For some people, you got to stay on them to sign anything. So, that may be a combo platter of touch and then automation.

 

Jared Correia:

So, in a lot of the e-signature services, what you can do is set a consistent reminder. So, I use Adobe Sign, for example. What I can do in Adobe Sign is I can say, “Alright, contact this person with a followup email every business day that they don’t sign or contact this person every week if they don’t sign.” You just send those automated reminders. And then you can also go in and check is as a human being and say, “Okay, I need to follow up with this person.” Hey, we talked three weeks ago, you haven’t signed engagement agreement yet. That’s what we need to get started. So, we need to move forward on that. I think that’s perfectly fine as well.

 

Jared Correia:

In terms of an overview of what e-signature tools do essentially what they do is they allow you to upload Word documents, PDFs to a system. And then literally, it’s about dragging fields into place. So, you get a little box that says, “Signature,” you move it over here. You get a little box that says, “Date,” you move it over here. Essentially, whatever you want anybody to fill out, use the appropriate field, drop it into the document, and really just designing a PDF form. And then the consumer or the legal client receives that document, they get it via email. They click on the link to the secure server, and then they’re able to input that data, right?

 

Jared Correia:

The system will walk them through the document, add the date here. Sometimes that pre-fills, of course, right, because they know the date that the document is being accessed. Sign here, and it’s literally just clicking a button. If anybody’s concerned, e-signatures are just as viable as pen and paper or wet signatures. That’s been the case for 20 years, when the government signed the E-Sign Act into law.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yeah, I was talking to a customer, MyCase customer this morning, who started using e-signature during COVID, because it’s part of MyCase. He mentioned that wet signatures are just not a part of his firm anymore. They’re just as good. They’re faster, easier. He used to slide a piece of paper across the table. Now, he basically says, “It’s all in your inbox, just go do it.”

 

Jared Correia:

Right. Unless there’s a legal requirement for notary, and you don’t feel comfortable with the state’s remote notarization process, everything should be paperless. Everything should be e-signed.

 

Casey Patterson:

Great. Thank you to Alan and Julia for sharing what you’re using. That’s super helpful for the rest of the audience. We have a couple more questions. We got to get through them all, but how have you personally adapted your firm’s client experience? What’s your favorite thing that you’ve done to adapt it?

 

Casey Patterson:

And then maybe the second question is what benefits are you seeing after adapting to your clients’ new needs? So, this could be something as simple as my clients are happy. It could be I’m getting stuff back faster. I’m closing cases faster. I’m getting more referrals. So, what benefits have you all seen from doing these new client adaptations and adapting their experience? Jared, if you could share anything that you’ve seen from your clients that are law firms doing this exact thing right now.

 

Jared Correia:

The idea is that all of this should be highly beneficial, right? Again, not to beat that horse, but it was beneficial 10 years ago. I’ll say, I used to work in law firms. I haven’t practiced law [inaudible 00:42:53] in about 15 years. But when I stopped, it was because the firm won’t use technology, right? I remember working on a Saturday morning, and I’m like, “This is just the name. I don’t need to be doing this.” There are solutions out there that we’re not utilizing. That was 15 years ago. We’re lightyears ahead in terms of technology. So, I think the benefits to a law firm are speed and efficiency.

 

Jared Correia:

I will tell you that my experience, I think it’s being statistically proven as well these days is that if you’re efficient, you make more money. That’s the key to unlocking law firm revenue. All this stuff we talked about, digitizing processes, is a pathway. I should say, digitizing and establishing processes, because maybe you don’t have the processes in place already. That’s fine. You can build them out. Efficiency is the key to unlocking law firm revenue.

 

Jared Correia:

So, if you look at utilization rate, that’s really the difference between law firms that make money and law firms that don’t. People think it’s how much law firms charge. People think it’s where law firms are located. But generally speaking, if you’re looking geographically for certain practice areas, everybody charges the same. The difference is who can get out the work the fastest.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s great. Yeah. So, the efficiency really feeds into that, closing more cases, making more clients happy.

 

Jared Correia:

Lawyers don’t like to hear that, because they’re like, “I don’t want to run a factory practice.” But realistically, you’re in a massively competitive market. Think of how many other lawyers are in your state or in your city that do exactly what you do. What’s your unique sales proposition? Part of it is you work quickly, that’s what clients want. They want speed. If you can manage the efficiency plus allowing for a personal touch here and there, then you’ve mastered the game.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yup. That’s great. Awesome. Okay. Well, I am so thankful for all the participation. We are trying out this new interactive webinar that we’re all doing right now. We want to hear your thoughts on it. So, as you exit the webinar in a couple minutes, you will get a poll that says, “Was this helpful for you?” So please fill that out. Thank you to Norman for saying, “I suggest that firms use the cloud constantly.” That’s great. You are part of the leading edge, and we’re with you on that.

 

Jared Correia:

Norman’s my guy. I love that.

 

Casey Patterson:

[crosstalk 00:45:20] the best. Lastly-

 

Jared Correia:

I’m glad Norma doesn’t have any issues with the FBI. That’s good to know.

 

Casey Patterson:

That’s good.

 

Jared Correia:

Thanks, Norman.

 

Casey Patterson:

We don’t want…

 

Jared Correia:

How come we didn’t have an option for 11 on that last slide? I feel sighted.

 

Casey Patterson:

For 11?

 

Jared Correia:

Yeah.

 

Casey Patterson:

I think 10 is enough? I know that, Jared, you like to go into your own things and put different ratings in there like a 1 and say, “Jared was horrible.”

 

Jared Correia:

I promise I won’t do that this time.

 

Casey Patterson:

Okay, great, because we won’t know it’s you. There’s going to be a link in the chat for MyCase. So, check that out. It actually has some key questions on that link that you can ask yourself about your firm saying, check yes or no thing, “Can I do client intake? Yes or no? Can I do e-signature?” It’ll help you get an idea of how far along your firm is in adapting to these industry changes. So, it’s right there in the chat, industry changes quiz. So, go look at that. Lastly, I just wanted to quickly say that we’ve mentioned MyCase a bunch in this webinar.

 

Casey Patterson:

MyCase helps you do things like automate your firm, have e-signatures, do virtual client intake, and do workflows like Jared mentioned to get more efficient, and just a host of other things. 96% of our customers would recommend us to a friend or colleague, so we’re very proud of that. Our customers who are lawyers love us. You can try out MyCase at that link as well. 83% of customers have felt that MyCase has helped them provide a better client experience. That’s the ballgame right there. That’s what we’re all talking about today. So, yeah, go ahead and check that out. Again, I just want to say, huge thank you to Jared for all your knowledge and your background. This is invaluable to us.

 

Jared Correia:

Thank you, you’re too kind. Do you see the slight tear coming down my face? No? But thank you. You’re a great, Casey. Appreciate it.

 

Casey Patterson:

It’s important to encourage one another during these hard times.

 

Jared Correia:

That’s right. We’re all in this together, right?

 

Casey Patterson:

We’re all in this together, and you’re great. Thank you so much to everyone out there. We love getting your thoughts and feedback. We have these once a month or twice a month, so come back in and join us again. Yeah, again, take that exit poll on the way out, and I will see you next time.

 

Jared Correia:

Thanks. All the participation was great, I have to say. Thanks, Casey.

 

Casey Patterson:

Yes, love it.

 

Jared Correia:

Thanks everybody at MyCase.

 

Casey Patterson:

All right. Thank you all. See you all later. Bye, everyone.





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