The Evolution of the Legal Industry

This article will discuss changes in the legal industry and how your firm can stay current. Technology is advancing, roles within each firm are becoming more specialized, and it's critical to operate as a forward-thinking business.

The landscape of the legal industry is changing. The world has gone and content marketing has become king. Technology is essential, and traditional ways of doing things may not cut it anymore.

To continue to grow, firms need to become client-centric leaders in the industry and be able to leverage the internet to their advantage. In the long term, you need management systems and people creating content who understand these cultural shifts. This will allow your firm to operate like a business and continue to thrive as the legal marketing landscape evolves.

Specialists are more valuable than generalists to employers

Imagine you are creating a winning football team. Would you want players who were all pretty good at each position or excelled in a specific role? You want individuals who are experts in their niche because that’s what will create an unstoppable team.

The same is true for the legal industry. It’s best to have expert staff for each practice area and marketing position within the firm. Recently Gartner reported a 21% increase in specialists as a percentage of total lawyers as opposed to generalists.

It has become increasingly popular for law firms to hire a Legal Operational Manager to oversee the firm. At the same time, many law practices have decreased the number of employees. Instead of having everyone do everything, they are finding specialists for each role.

Increased use of technology to improve law firm efficiency

“Automation, artificial intelligence, bots, and other new tools are not threats to legal professionals but liberators enabling them to escape tedium and focus on higher-value tasks that leverage their expertise, experience, and professional judgment.” - Mark Cohen, Forbes

In the early ages of legal technology, some people hesitated to adopt it. Many were worried it wasn't an adequate solution while others  feared AI overtaking their jobs. Among the many things legal technology can do, one of the most important is the ability to automate repetitive tasks. This allows you to remove the mundane work from your plate, so you can focus on higher-level tasks.

This use of automation will lead to improved employee satisfaction as the job becomes more engaging and less like an assembly line of administrative tasks. Gartner reported one of the lasting impacts of 2020 was the "acceleration of corporate technology use."

If your firm has yet to adopt legal technology, you are falling behind the competition. Popular use cases for law firm tech include e-billing, contract lifecycle management, matter management, and document management.

We recommend you find a CRM that suits your needs to begin moving your billing, contacts, and other documents online. CRMs are also great for lead nurturing and tending to clients throughout the client lifecycle.

Once you have decided on a CRM, you can introduce software like Intaker to improve lead generation and client communication. We integrate with nearly all CRMs and any lead that comes through the Intaker chat gets added automatically sent to your CRM of choice. We also offer business texting and messaging sequences to make communication as seamless and efficient as possible.

If you are interested in adopting legal technology but are unsure where to start, feel free to contact us using the INTAKER CHAT. We also offer resources on YouTube, such as co-hosted webinars and help center tutorials.

Customer-centric firms are the future of law

Intaker recently published a blog post titled, 5 Signs Your Law Firm is Client Centric. We discussed creating a client journey, establishing empathy, making data-driven decisions, and more.

This article is essentially about putting your client's needs at the forefront of your decision-making process. We aren't the only ones who have noticed the importance of putting your clients first.

Jack Newton wrote a book titled "The Client-Center Law Firm: How to Succeed in an Experience Driven World." Listen to his interview from the 2020 ABA Techshow on Legal Talk Network's YouTube channel.

He explains how Uber did not destroy the taxi industry. It just made getting around in a city more frictionless and became most people's preferred method of transportation. As a metaphor for the legal field, are you using innovative tools that make the client experience frictionless?

If you still use traditional ways of advertising, you are probably attracting clients, but perhaps not as many as you'd like. If you were to tailor everything towards meeting your ideal client's needs, you would see significant growth and increased profits.

Some other ways of becoming more client-centric are showing empathy, communicating clearly, and providing a customer satisfaction survey.

In addition, be sure to create a repeatable and measurable customer journey. These principles of a client-centric organization are sure to make you stand out as an expert in your field, always providing the best customer service.

Develop a thought leadership strategy

Thought leadership is about establishing yourself as a leader in the legal field. Thought leadership examples for lawyers include analyzing industry trends and sharing informational content related to your areas of expertise.

Thought leadership marketing can be published as blog posts, e-books, infographics, podcasts, videos, and social media posts. Select the modality that will best resonate with your target audience. Read the COMPLETE GUIDE TO DIGITAL MARKETING FOR LAWYERS for guidance on which platforms are best for your business.

You should also consider any industry gaps when developing a content strategy as a thought leader. Are there lawyers who are creating videos about your practice area? If so, could you make unique videos that engage your audience and position yourself as an industry expert?

Maybe when you look on Google, you notice a shortage of quality information on a specific topic. You can be an industry expert by filling that need. Even if there is similar thought leadership content already online, there's always the opportunity to add your unique twist.

Be sure to use social media and video to your advantage. Allow your audience to get to know you before contacting the firm. Be sure to leverage social media to make those personal connections right away.

How do law firms operate as a business?

The most significant difference between average and wildly successful law firms is that the best firms realize they are a business. Obviously, this starts with excellent lawyers, but you'll also need marketing professionals to reach your firm's full potential. Whether that be hiring someone in-house or an outside marketing firm, it is critical to have marketing experts on your team.

As you focus on operating your firm as a business, you'll likely find yourself interested in legal technology. We've touched on its benefits and how it can streamline your workload, allowing more time to focus on big-picture tasks. On top of this, it will also improve in-house efficiency taking your firm to the next level.

COVID highlighted the weakness of law firms that did not have adequate systems for balancing an unplanned workload. Prepare yourself with marketing solutions and management processes to make unforeseen circumstances much easier to handle.

Hopefully, we won't have another pandemic, but you never know what other external influences may affect your bottom line. As we move forward in this digital era, consider how prepared your firm is to handle an unforeseen workload.

Hiring an operational manager and recruiting talent from various industries is key to adapting to the digital landscape of business. It's better to build a team of specialists than hire generalists. Combine this with legal technology, a customer-centric marketing strategy, and a thought leadership approach, and you'll be sure to set yourself apart as an industry leader.