Want to know the secret to keeping your clients happy? The answer: lawyer and legal counsel client collaboration.
Okay, so it really isn’t a secret, particularly since effective collaboration and communication has long been an integral part of the lawyer-client relationship. Nevertheless, it’s important that lawyers not underestimate just how vital it actually is.
Collaboration = fewer client complaints = happier clients
If you want to be a successful law firm, you need to keep your clients happy — and one of the best ways to do that is by collaborating with your clients.
In fact, effective and continual lawyer-client collaboration and communication can help prevent a wide range of common client complaints.
Never hear ‘My lawyer is not communicating with me’
Regardless of whether it is unreasonable, many clients today expect an almost-immediate response when they contact you. The reality, however, is that you may be in court, at a settlement conference, meeting with other clients, or busy completing any number of important tasks — but your client doesn’t know this. And if you don’t get back to them right away, they may continue trying to contact you by any means necessary, including a flurry of emails and numerous calls to the firm’s front desk and your phone.
However, active collaboration can help avoid these communication issues, particularly when paired with certain resources. For example, there are online collaboration tools you can use to communicate with clients — and they are far more secure than email. So when your client has a question or concern, they know that this online tool is the one place to send you a direct, secure message — meaning they don’t have to guess the best way to get in touch with you. This keeps the lines of communication open and the client informed.
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Never hear ‘My lawyer is not fighting for me’
Many clients aren’t very familiar with the inner workings of the legal system or the practice of law — meaning they don’t necessarily know all of the work being done on their cases behind the scenes.
A lawyer may spend weeks researching, writing, and fine-tuning a motion or pleading, but the client only sees the final product, so they don’t know the labor put into it. And if the lawyer isn’t making an extra effort to keep the client informed, they may not think the attorney is doing much work on their case. But by keeping the client involved through collaboration and communication, they will have a better understanding of all the work you are doing to protect them and their best interests.
Clients are more invested than anyone in the outcome of the case, so keep them involved. Not only will this make them happier, but it can also help prevent a whole host of unnecessary and otherwise avoidable problems and complaints down the road.
What’s more, lawyer and client collaboration can be good for your firm’s bottom line. After all, the better you collaborate and communicate with clients, the more likely they are to recommend your firm to others.
So how do I collaborate more? Online collaboration tools, that’s how.
As mentioned above, there are a number of online tools available that can help you better collaborate and communicate with clients.
For example, your firm can use online collaboration tools for:
- Document sharing: When considering an online collaboration tool, look for one that has the ability to securely share large documents This will allow you and your clients to collaborate on documents anytime, anywhere, and on any device. And since you don’t have to use email anymore, you will never have to worry about the file being too large to send.
- Lawyer-client communication: If you pick the right collaboration platform, you can streamline your communications since everything is in one place — and clients know the best way to contact you. Also, when clients (or attorneys) need information, they aren’t left sifting through hundreds of emails looking for the answers they need. Better yet, online collaboration tools are typically much more secure than email.
- Lawyer collaboration: Not only can online tools help you collaborate with clients but also other lawyers at your firm. Just like working with clients, you can keep your staff and other attorneys informed, collaborate on case documents, and manage case tasks with just a few clicks.
The legal world is complex enough. So don’t make things worse by trying to collaborate with your clients using a complicated web of disconnected tools.
Do yourself a favor and invest in an online collaboration tool that does it all. Your clients will thank you.
This is a republished article that originally appeared over at the Thomson Reuters global blog.