In this information era where the internet and the ever changing technologies opens a door to a more interactive, effective and dynamic business world, legal practices are not the exception, but be aware it is a resource not the source.
Internet, document sharing, virtual conferences, and all the other tools, have given law practices a new dimension on clients service. The ability to share documents drafts, information, court decisions, articles and a lot more is making the job of the lawyers less time consuming and a lot speedier. As for the clients, specially the international corporations with branches or interests in different countries and regions, it gives them the chance to unify the legal services rendered to them, under the same “practice standards” in the various jurisdictions.
Nevertheless, there are some things we lawyers must keep in mind, to avoid becoming a burden to our clients. There are a few of them:
1. Technology is a resource not a substitute for the intellectual job of the lawyers. No matter how much technology you have available, it’s your personal capacity that would take you above the rest.
2. A direct personal approach with the clients is always the best way to get, keep and multiply your clients.
3. Documents drafts, articles and other “downloads” are merely a reference point instead of the solution to your clients needs. We’ve been told ever since law school that two cases are never exactly the same, each case or issue is of its own and must be approached as an entity itself.
4. Don’t rely only on technology to fulfill your duties. Law Libraries (on site, public, etc.) are the best place to get back in touch with “your real lawyer inside”.
5. Time is of the essence when it comes to your clients needs and unnecessary phone calls are to be avoided, but nevertheless, a periodic voice to voice conversation will have a bigger impact than a daily email. The confidence your client would get by hearing your words are not the same as when reading them.
Do not by any means become technology dependent. Don’t loose the ability to draft a contract or any other documents for that matter. Don’t hesitate to sit down in a library table instead of making a quick search on the internet.
The quality of the service the client gets will make you or brake you, but your quality as a lawyer will too. No matter what some people thinks, clients don’t hire law firms…they hire lawyers: they need to put a face on the name, a name for the “speed dial” and most of all, someone to relate with.
At the end, technology is good for all businesses, including law firms and lawyers, but as I said it’s just a resource and not the source.