The IMF estimates that the economy shrunk by as much as 4.4% in 2020 because of the global pandemic. And law firms have been hit hard as well, having to adjust to working remotely and to a reduced number of clients seeking out legal services in a time of crisis.
That’s why law firms that want to survive these challenging times and achieve growth heading into the future must be willing to adapt to the new reality and embrace modern approaches to offering legal services.
These include restructuring the work environment, finding new ways to attract clients, and figuring out how to cut costs on nonessentials, but implementing these steps requires an understanding of the best practices used today.
With that in mind, let’s look at the most important aspects of surviving and thriving in a world after a pandemic for law firms and how you can turn this time into an opportunity for growth.
Restructure How Your Team Works
One of the top priorities for law firms trying to deal with coronavirus-related restrictions is finding a way to organize work when employees can’t always come into work.
Many offices (both law and otherwise) have found success with remote work, allowing people to work from home or even from anywhere in the world using project management and digital communication solutions available today.
But because of the specific challenges of working in a law firm, where access to documents and collaboration are often essential, finding a compromise between completely remote work and working in-office is essential.
That’s why law firms might benefit from adopting a more flexible approach, implementing hybrid remote work practices in the workplace, which allow employees to choose how they want to work and can also limit the exposure of people to one another.
Using this model, employees split their workweek between working from home and in the office, providing them with more flexibility and the ability to work on their terms. As remote work continues to become more popular, offering this possibility can make your law firm a more lucrative workplace and promote a better work-life balance.
What’s more, while the coronavirus restrictions are still in place, you could even use the hybrid remote work model to split your workforce into groups or departments, organizing in-office days on alternating days and minimizing the exposure between people who don’t necessarily have to interact for work purposes.
Rethink Your Digital Marketing Strategy
At times when the economy is slowing down and attracting clients to your law firms is more difficult, the practices that excel are those that take a proactive approach and use a comprehensive marketing strategy that helps compensate for the decrease in demand.
And luckily, digital marketing for lawyers offers many growth opportunities, as most firms don’t do nearly enough online to promote their services and seek out their ideal clients.
But what strategies should you focus on?
Well, for starters, if you want to separate your company from others, you should think about what makes your law firm unique and how you can develop a distinctive brand that will attract the best clients.
Consider how you differ from other law firms, what unique expertise you bring to the table, and how you can highlight those key advantages of working with you.
As you build a stronger online presence, you should also showcase the success stories of working with past clients. Social proof is extremely important in online marketing, so publishing stories of how you helped clients will be very persuasive to new prospects as well.
You should also make sure that your website not only provides information about your firm but also educates readers on how to best approach various problems. By showcasing your expertise, you will be much more likely to get people to trust you and reach out with further inquiries.
When creating content, make sure that you use the SEO best practices that are relevant in 2021, as ranking for the relevant keywords in your area can produce excellent leads at no cost.
Finally, if you want to start attracting clients right now, you can run paid advertising campaigns on Google and Facebook to attract people who are actively looking for legal help in your field.
Streamline Answering Services
One of the biggest disruptions caused by the coronavirus are the challenges of maintaining essential staff in the office. We already talked about addressing part of the issue using hybrid remote work, but that doesn’t solve all of the problems you are likely to face.
For instance, many law firms get new clients via calls, with people calling in for consultations and guidance on what to do next.
Unfortunately, when your lawyers work at home, constantly dealing with phone calls is not an option. The distractions throughout the day can make even the most productive people unfocused, which can further hurt productivity in a time when it’s more important than ever.
Therefore, you should consider implementing virtual answering service technology that can take off a lot of the responsibilities from your team. There’s an increasing demand for legal answering services that are qualified to answer phones, provide basic guidance, and schedule appointments accordingly.
At the same time, you can also use a live chat service that can capture the leads on your site, collect some basic information about their situation, and schedule an appointment with a lawyer.
Consider Using Video Consultations
Providing legal assistance to your clients is not something you can usually do through emails. But because of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, face-to-face meetings aren’t always going to be possible.
Luckily, today’s technology makes it very easy to get as close to an in-person meeting as possible. Using video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet, you can have one-on-one or group consultations that will be, in most part, similar to what you’d get in person.
Sure, going through documents might become a bit more of a hassle, but even that is easily solvable using screen sharing technology and a bit of creativity.
An added benefit of using video conferencing for meetings with clients is that they are much easier to arrange. You don’t have to wait until the client can come to your office and can do it whenever they have some time in front of the computer.
In fact, you may find that even after the pandemic is over and law firms return to business as usual, keeping video conferencing as an option makes a lot of sense because of the unique benefits it brings to the table.
The pandemic has hit a lot of businesses hard, and law firms are no exception. But while it does cause challenges, crises like this can also become an opportunity to innovate and become more resilient in the future.
By adopting new technology, looking into new marketing avenues, and rethinking the way you communicate with clients, you could set your law firm for success in the long run, improving processes in a way that will carry over to after the coronavirus pandemic is over.