There has been some great content lately about COVID and its impact on law firms. But before we get to that, can I just say, wow. That kind of came fast and hard. We are saddened to see the devastating physical, emotional, and economic pain this has caused and continues to cause to so many, around the world. We are in this together. If your firm is struggling, contact us at Hello@SimpleLaw.com. We can't fix much, but we are happy to offer you some free or discounted software until you get back on track.
Clio, yes, our biggest competitor, has some great real-time information. Wells Fargo Private Bank's legal specialty group got some good insights, too. But the one that really got our attention, was what law firms are experiencing from the client perspective.
Just like you, your clients have likely experienced some difficulty. Some are likely furloughed, let go outright, or having some financial stress. Add to that the additional pressures of children and possibly other family members in the home, they can simply be worn out. As such, they are likely less patient.
Do your best to be understanding, knowing that you also have these issues. Sharing that experience - that everyone is experiencing these same stressors - can put everyone more at ease. Call your clients just to check in, making it clear there is no fee for the call. See how they are doing and to the extent possible, just listen. It's the personal connection that makes the client relationship stronger. You may want to keep this practice going even when things return to 'normal'.
Working on the Case
Look for virtual ways to continue working on your cases. But first, make sure the client is comfortable with the approach. If you are already using a client portal, see if there are additional features you can add. If you aren't using a client portal, think about adding that to your tech stack. Many case management software platforms offer a free client portal, including SimpleLaw.
It's not likely many clients are coming in to offices. But that face-to-face connection is still key. Zoom is great. Google Meet is great, too. We have been using Zoom for quite a while and really like it. But not everyone is comfortable with that. See what tools you can offer to clients. Check-in with clients to see which they prefer.
The Financial Part
No doubt there is an impact here already. And there will be for some time, no doubt. So, do what you can to make it easier for your clients to pay. Do you offer a payment plan? If not, consider adding that to your options. Some case management software platforms, like SimpleLaw, offer a monthly recurring invoice structure.
Be open to working it out with them, to the extent you are able. Extending payment terms is one idea. Or, provide a discount if they pay in advance or with some sort of cash, whether a check or online payment. If you are open to it, you can offer a one-time discount. Call it the COVID Concession. Even a small discount is greatly appreciate by clients who are facing some tough choices.
Attorneys are reporting an uptick in cases and requests for legal service. Think of a referral discount. For each new retained client referred by an existing client, give your client a discount. It could be a flat fee or a percentage. You gain a new client and the existing client gets some financial relief, too.
If only we knew! But one thing is for sure. Whether it's murder hornets, a resurgence of COVID, or who knows what, it's best to be prepared. If your firm hasn't yet looked in to a cloud-based case management software platform, now is a great time. It's easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles some platforms offer. The trick is to focus on what you really need to solve your top issues. Look for software that connects you with potential clients, offers you access to on-demand paralegal support, gives clients a free portal, and drastically reduces the time spent on the business side of the law firm, like time tracking, invoicing, and payments. That's SimpleLaw. If you want to find out more, book a demo today.
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