It is the rare breed of individual who looks forward to conference calls. Conference calls can verge on chaotic, if not downright anarchical. Identifying who is in charge or knowing if anyone is paying attention is hard.
You can improve the quality of your conference calls by including creating an agenda, setting a time limit for the call, muting callers as needed, and asking participants to send questions in writing in advance.
Conference calls are not going anywhere. In fact, with remote work poised to be the next normal, reliance on conference calls will only increase.
Law firms are adapting to the change by using legal conferencing services to hold virtual meetings. The change to a new modality has come with growing pains. However, law firms are making virtual meetings successful.
Are Face-To-Face Meetings No Longer Relevant?
If you were to ask an attorney about the importance of face-to-face meetings in 2019 or early 2020, they would have told you that face-to-face meetings are invaluable, even in a digital world. Now, the same question would garner a different answer.
Virtual communication software is making traditional meetings obsolete. This is true even in the legal field where face-to-face meetings were the stock in trade of the profession.
There are several tools available to streamline virtual meetings. As they use these tools, lawyers realize that they are able to accomplish much of the same things they did face-to-face but with less travel, less expense, and less prep time.
Addressing Legal Concerns of Using Video Tools
There are some immediate concerns that arise when discussing using video conferencing tools in the legal field. Confidentiality is demanded of lawyers. Clients are right to expect their lawyers to properly vet any video conferencing tool used. The use of certain videoconferencing tools is restricted by some states.
If these legal concerns are addressed, it can be advantageous for lawyers to take advantage of these virtual tools for communication. In addition to improving their quality of life, these tools can reduce a lawyer’s travel expenses. This cost reduction can be passed on to the client without impacting the amount of money a lawyer earns.
Using Videoconferencing As a Way to Communicate with Clients
Client-lawyer communication is the heart of the legal profession. Virtual meetings change the way these interactions happen.
For example, scheduling meetings with clients has become a lot easier. Now, a client can contact the lawyer, and if the lawyer’s schedule is free, they can immediately have a face-to-face chat.
In fact, video chat offers some advantages in confidentiality that makes it better than a phone call. An attorney could think that they are having a confidential discussion with their client over the phone. However, unbeknownst to them, their client is in a crowded room or there are other people who have chimed in on a conference call.
With video, these concerns go away. Also, with video chat applications, the client and the attorney can guarantee that they have muted themselves because there is an icon that makes it clear they have muted the audio.
This doesn’t mean that face-to-face meetings have no value. There are certain feelings of trust and compatibility that are easier to transmit when you are in front of a person. However, videoconferencing offers a great alternative. It has made it possible for lawyers to have meetings that feel more like a face-to-face meeting. With video calls, both the client and the lawyer can get a feel for each other and see nonverbal cues.
Communication Is a Two-Way Process
Videoconferencing and virtual meetings allow lawyers and their clients to have communication in the true sense of the word. Communication involves perception, reflection, and response.
Over the phone, it can be difficult to thoroughly engage in these three facets of communication. However, with a virtual video conference, it is easier to come to the right conclusions about a matter.
It could be that a client and lawyer start the video conference with different perceptions about how a situation needs to be handled. On their own, they reach separate conclusions about what to do. However, virtual meetings allow them to come to a joint conclusion. Virtual meetings allow lawyers to transmit aspects of their personality that humanizes them while helping them maintain professionalism.
Most clients do not feel or think about issues in the same way their attorneys do. This can lead to a disconnect that causes problems that are preventable with good communication. Virtual meetings are making this happen.
The attorney-client relationship is something that lawyers must work hard to create and maintain. Clients expect their lawyers to interact with them in a certain way. Virtual meetings make it possible for lawyers to respond in a timely fashion, in a way that is understandable, and in a way that humanizes them.