Client-centered lawyering offers lawyers techniques that motivate client participation, and this was adopted first in the legal clinics. In earlier times, the clients used to delegate the work to the lawyers and completely trusts them with their case. The clients did not have active involvement in the case. Therefore, client-centered legal client management is aimed to create an interactive dynamic space that facilitates developing mutual trust and respect between the client and the lawyer.
Additionally, it facilitates the disclosure of accurate information and timelines of the case. In this modern era of alternative legal services offered through Artificial Intelligence, clients expect instant response and action from the lawyers. The fundamental principles of client-centered lawyering can be achieved by respecting the client’s importance in decision making and giving value to their emotions and perspectives related to the matter.
Hallmarks of Legal Client Management via Client-Centered Approach
The following are the overarching goals of active participation of the clients in legal matters:
- Addressing non-legal issues: The non-legal issues involved in a case includes the economic, social, psychological, religious, and moral circumstances that affect the client due to a legal proceeding. It is integral to take note of these issues so that the lawyers can serve the best interest of the clients. If these non-legal issues are not taken note of, the implications of it might leave the clients worse off than they were before the legal proceedings began.
- Primacy to client decision-making: Legal client management software reduces the role of lawyers’ in trivial matters and creates opportunities for increased client participation. This helps the client play an essential role in making thoughtful decisions of their case and bring in solutions. Even though lawyers unequivocally possess considerable knowledge of the law and legal consequences, clients are in the best position to understand how their lives will be affected by legal outcomes.
- Good rapport with the client: The client-centred approach improves the understanding of the clients’ experiences, emotions, and perspectives, which enables in adducing additional material in building the case. This holistic method puts the client in the centre of decision making. In prospect, it also ensures more likelihood of success and attracts prospective referrals for the firm. It also develops the personal relationship between the client and lawyer.
- Prevents confusion and uncertainty: Legal client management gives prominence to client communication. Direct communication with the client prevents confusion while dealing with legal matters. It helps in facilitating the information to transfer between the client and the lawyer in a crystal clear way without any ambiguity. Besides, the lawyer can understand the unstated feelings and vaguely expressed emotions of the client only through clear communication. Above all, the lawyers can provide adequately articulated advice by being empathetic. They can also elicit accurate timelines and information through properly framed questions with the help of direct communication.
- Tackling Hostile Clients: Lawyers usually deal with rambling clients who are impatient, angry, and emotionally driven. Client-centred approach lawyering takes special care of the clients’ concerns and places importance on keeping them informed about the case. In response, it helps in reducing violent situations by giving the clients the feeling of being understood by the lawyers. Lawyers can also explain the matter and help the clients in making informed decisions.
Technological Innovation to Level-Up Client-Centered Firms
The use of technology is inevitable in this fast-paced modern era of globalization. Manual workflows are often error-prone and time-consuming. Therefore, employing automated workflows improve efficiency, quality of work, and reduces erratum. Legal client management with the aid of technology attracts clients and makes the firm more profitable by keeping the overhead costs less. Furthermore, legal tech facilitates the lawyer to manage the plethora of work in an organized way. Automation cuts out time-intensive and repetitive tasks, which improves law firms’ productivity and cash flow considerably. Ultimately, technology helps in building a beautiful and long-lasting relationship between the client and the lawyer. The following are the few ways in which forward-thinking law firms can employ technology to make it more client-oriented:
- Client portal: The client portal in a legal CRM, such as Legodesk, (Customer Relationship Management) bridges the gap between the lawyer and his clients by improving transparency and trust, leading to a happier and more efficient borderless work environment. Lawyers can create tasks and events and send them to the clients and send reminders to get legal documents returned. The client portal maintains confidentiality and helps in sending secured messages and keeps them informed about the legal matter. Such client-portals are one way of transforming the legal firm into a client-centered one.
- Virtual Receptionist services: Responsiveness is an integral aspect of a legal firm that gives prominence to its clients, but a lawyer may not always be in a position to respond to clients. Therefore it is vital to have a virtual receptionist who is available all day to address the concerns of the clients. Virtual receptionists can take messages, schedule appointments, transfer calls, and even answer basic questions from clients and helps in improving client satisfaction.
- Live chat specialists: Live chat specialists can be employed for people who visit the firm’s website. They can engage in real-time conversations through an online chatbox. It will eventually help in capturing leads and later convert them into clients. Delivering instantaneous communication can be achieved through live chat specialist. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, live chats can also be automated to some extent.
- Online payments: Providing clients with flexible payment options online is another way of ensuring client satisfaction. As it is effortless, and they reduce the legwork of traveling to the office and waiting for the lawyer. Clients can pay electronically as and when needed by the lawyer for filing the cases, registering documents, stamp duties, court fees, and other things. There are also features such as time tracking, to track the time spent on each case to track billable hours.
To sum up, client-centred lawyering, combined with legal tech, results in an efficient and organized firm with happier clients. Embracing technology also aids in reduction of internal clashes by distributing the workload efficiently. Lawyers should be able to serve their clients at any crucial moment, and it can be achieved through a client-centered firm well equipped with technology. Positive relationships with the clients’ aid in the growth of the firm through referrals and also drive more business in this competitive legal world.
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