This past year attorneys endured many tests. While concerns about how to serve clients’ needs and keep the lights on aren’t new at solo and small law firms, throughout 2020, they became even more pronounced. Whether you were forced to shift your practice area focus or give up office space, you persevered and figured out a way to make things work. Today, with the promise of a return to more normal times on the horizon, it’s important to take stock of how your firm is doing and make plans for the future.
From conducting client meetings from your home via Zoom to doubling down on your digital marketing efforts – what new ways of working will you carry forward into 2021 and beyond? While you’re likely eager to go back to certain ways of doing things, you may be just fine letting go of others. When assessing what changes you want, or may be forced, to adopt permanently, it’s important to take the following factors into consideration:
The legal industry
Prior to 2020, working from home wasn’t something attorneys widely did – at least not by choice. Now, most attorneys have adapted and work either full- or part-time from home. While initially a steep learning curve for many attorneys, several months later, a fair number have mastered working from home and enjoy the flexibility that doing so provides. This change is here to stay, as younger attorneys are likely to reject being forced to report to a physical office when they’ve proven they can be just as, if not more, productive at home.
It wasn’t just attorneys who went virtual in 2020. As courts throughout the country were forced to shut their doors, hearings and depositions moved online. Going forward, many court procedures will likely remain in the digital realm. As an attorney, this translates to less time wasted going to the courthouse and more time to focus on helping clients and growing your business.
Legal consumer behavior
Even before the pandemic, legal consumers were calling for greater access to online legal information and tools. After months of figuring out how to do everything virtually, these nice-to-haves are now requirements. What does this mean for attorneys? Legal consumers want their interactions with the legal world to be easy. This encompasses everything from being able to quickly find and vet you and your firm through legal directories, online reviews, and social media channels to being able to easily communicate with you and quickly access important documents.
Take action to cater to legal consumers’ needs and demands at every step along their journey. From researching their legal issue to hiring an attorney, investing in digital marketing solutions can help you connect with consumers along multiple touchpoints.
Your strengths and weaknesses
As an attorney, your main focus needs to be on practicing law and taking care of your clients. Yes, being active on social media and blogging regularly are important. But you may not have the time, or desire, to do these things. Recognize when and where you need help. From redesigning your website to starting a PPC campaign, a digital marketing expert can evaluate your current marketing strategy and help identify tools and tactics that can provide the highest ROI.
The pandemic forced many attorneys and law firms to adopt new technologies and ways of working at record speeds. In the coming years, these changes will continue to accelerate and shape the legal world. Having an open mind and an agile way of working will continue to serve attorneys at solo and small law firms well.