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Innovation for Law Firms

As a legal professional, you know the legal industry has many long-running traditions, from terms used to how cases are decided. Though adhering to common ways of doing things is important, adapting and innovating are essential to meeting the evolving expectations of clients.

To best determine what your clients want, walk through the process of how they interact with your law firm during each step, from initial interaction through completing the case. For some clients, there isn’t a short-term end to their process. If you have estate planning clients, you should be checking in with them periodically for the rest of their lives. As you think about the process, consider how it could be easier for your clients. You will likely find innovative ways to improve your clients’ experiences with your firm, which will help your practice grow.

Initiating Innovation

Change is often a challenge to accept. Getting everyone in your law firm to adopt new methods may take work. However, keeping in mind that the innovations you undertake are in your clients’ best interest should help everyone get on board. To encourage commitment to innovation, make sure you can change course or abandon it if it isn’t working rather than cause unnecessary stress in your workplace. When implementing innovation in your firm, remember it’s an iterative process. It usually takes time and different versions to get it right.

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Applying Innovation

Creating a system for applying innovation will help your law firm get started, so you can continue to innovate going forward. Here are some things to consider when introducing innovations to your law firm.

  • View innovation as a business strategy key to your law firm’s success. The most successful businesses are the ones that can adapt and are willing to evolve continuously.
  • To help your innovation strategy build and maintain momentum, appoint a person or department to discover and implement ideas. Some law firms hire an agency to handle this for them. When viewing different processes and technologies to adopt, consider how they will affect your clients and prioritize them based on which ones are needed the most.
  • The implementation process is often the most challenging part of innovation. To succeed, make sure you have a realistic timeline, budget, and the necessary tools. It’s also helpful to solicit feedback from members of your firm and some of your clients to ensure the innovations are helpful and working properly. Always remain open to suggestions from anyone interacting with the process inside or outside the firm.
  • Innovations are only helpful if they’re used, so make sure your staff and clients follow the new process. If people are not adapting, find out why and make changes so that innovations will be more welcome.

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Innovative Ideas

Here are some ideas for innovations your law firm can adopt.

  • Moving your firm to a cloud-based system has many benefits, including allowing staff to work from nearly anywhere. This will allow for quicker responses to clients and let you automatically back up files in a secure environment. Cloud-based systems also reduce the need for in-house IT personnel and offer more scalability.
  • Providing a client portal for your clients and prospective clients to use to schedule appointments, upload and download documents, and communicate with you and your staff goes a long way to streamlining interactions between the firm and your clients.
  • Using web-based document creation services offered by companies such as ElderCounsel will make processes more efficient, reducing the time it takes, and the possibility of errors.

Innovations can seem overwhelming, but by implementing them on a timeline that makes sense for your law firm will allow you and your clients to adjust over time. Remember that innovation is a constant process, so settle into it for the long haul.

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