Understanding family law client changes during the pandemic

As most family lawyers will attest, the pandemic continued, and in fact, somewhat increased, the need for family law services. After all, there is nothing like being quarantined with a spouse to test the limits of a marital relationship, and for some couples, they came to the unfortunate realization that their marriage could not survive.  In addition to the spike in divorces, the pandemic resulted in novel disputes concerning custody.  Parents who could not agree on whether their children should attend in-person school or activities or receive a COVID vaccination when eligible found themselves reaching out to their attorneys for assistance. Those who lost their jobs or were out of work or whose work diminished could not necessarily sustain the same level of support or alimony and also needed legal help in adjusting their obligations.  All of these new issues, coupled with the normal day-to-day family law issues have resulted in most family law practices being busier than ever.

Nonetheless, all of this uncertainty in the world and the realization that things can turn on a dime, also affected how we practice family law and how we will continue to develop business in the future. After all, in-person marketing, whether it be conferences, events, or even a lunch meeting are few and far between, and even if they do occur, being masked and socially distant makes it pretty difficult to engage in business development.

Use of digital resources and social presence

Everyone, and in particular, potential clients, have become much more reliant on computer research.  This is why it is more important than ever for family lawyers to use digital resources to promote their practice.  Keeping web bios up to date and having a social media presence that can inform prospective clients is more critical than ever before. And since prospective clients are seeking to address their concerns as quickly as possible, keeping content current and informative on social media and web bios is a way to connect and develop future business.

Expectations to meet virtually and increased accessibility

Even the way we meet clients and conduct hearings in many instances has changed.  There is now an expectation that lawyers will have the capability to connect remotely whether by Zoom or another source.  Oftentimes, it is more convenient for clients to meet over Zoom than to go to the lawyer’s office for an in-person, face to face, meeting.  In some jurisdictions, hearings are being conducted remotely, changing the entire way that we historically practiced.  Thus, the lawyers who are technologically savvy have a much greater advantage in satisfying the demands of the modern-day client.

Because as a society, working no longer means going into an office to work, clients have a greater expectation that lawyers will be available 24/7.  There is no longer a concept of being out of the office and unavailable given that there is no more office!  As such, being available and accessible is more important than ever for retaining existing clients and developing new business.

Desire to be understood and its impact on innovative approaches

Now, more than ever, when stress is higher for everyone, the family lawyer’s role of counselor is truly emphasized.  Having patience and understanding is needed more than ever before, as well as the legal acumen to think creatively about our rapidly changing personal situations so that the necessary legal arguments can be crafted.  While family law matters were never defined as “cookie-cutter”, there was certain predictability and repetitiveness of legal issues. Now, because of the changing dynamic of our personal lives and financial situations, the lawyer who is innovative and takes the time to delve into these new issues, is the one who will attract new clients and continue to develop business.

While the negative impacts of the pandemic are clear, it has, nonetheless, changed the way we practice family law and develop business in all the ways mentioned, and it will undoubtedly be a different practice going forward in the days to come.  Thus adaptability is the key to developing and maintaining a successful family law practice.

Ways artificial intelligence can benefit your law firm

How Law Firms Can Benefit from Artificial Intelligence - Law Technology  Today

Have you heard the buzz? Artificial intelligence is taking the legal world by storm—and lawyers are embracing the change, despite their traditional resistance to technology.

In today’s world, data is growing explosively. While that massive store of data contains correspondingly voluminous and useful information—especially for the practice of law—it also takes massive time to analyze. And then there’s the monotony, boredom, and frustration felt by humans who are trying to plow through a Sisyphean task, and the ever-increasing need for speed in response to client, court, and regulatory agency demands. Together, these challenges add up to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to maintaining a smart, functional legal practice—at least for mere mortals who occasionally have to stop to eat and sleep.

Thankfully, computers are evolving just as quickly as the data boom, and they’re here to save us from ourselves. Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to computer software and systems that don’t just do tasks they’ve been programmed for in advance—they actually learn as they go, improving their performance through feedback. These programs can quickly learn to complete data-intensive tasks that were previously relegated to bored and weary humans. By recognizing patterns in the relationships between words or data points, computers learn how to identify relevant information, recognize mistakes and spot inconsistencies—all faster, and usually better, than humans do.

What does all this mean for lawyers? The primary areas where AI is being applied in the law, so far, include the following broad categories:

Artificial Intelligence in the energy industry | Shell Global
  • review of documents for discoverable or otherwise relevant information, generally referred to as technology-assisted review (TAR).
  • legal research through automated searches of a universe of case law and statutes.
  • contract and legal document analysis.
  • proofreading, error correction and document organization.

How can your law firm benefit from these AI applications? In this article, we’ll discuss the seven top benefits of applying AI solutions in law firms. As you’ll see, these benefits are all interrelated. It’s easy to recognize how saving time can save money—but spending less time on mundane tasks can also save lawyers’ creative energy and reduce their stress. Together, more creativity and less stress make lawyers more productive, letting them complete work faster, which in turn saves time—and the entire process starts over.

When analyzing how AI can benefit your law firm and your legal practice, be sure you’re thinking holistically and identifying all of the potential benefits. (You may find some benefits, unique to your practice area or your firm, that we didn’t call out in this article.)

AI saves time. The biggest, most obvious benefit to AI applications is time savings. Computer systems can analyze more information, more thoroughly than humans can, in a tiny fraction of the time. For example, one of our users reported that she spent an hour proofing a document and then ran the original through AI software as a test. In less than a minute, it found and fixed all the errors she had painstakingly identified. This benefit applies to all types of AI applications. Computers can quickly:

  • search through and identify discoverable or potentially relevant data of all forms and file types
  • conduct legal research that would take a skilled attorney days to complete
  • analyze contracts and other documents for errors, missing information and inconsistent language.

Obviously, those time savings can translate into monetary savings, since less attorney or staff time is involved in finding answers and identifying mistakes. Those savings can quickly make up for the cost of new technology and thereafter can be passed along to clients.

AI allows earlier (and more accurate) risk assessment.  TAR tools, including predictive coding, can be used to review information in real time. This allows lawyers to identify potential risks earlier, advise clients wisely about their exposure and head off legal problems before they even occur. When a lawsuit has been started, or even merely threatened, these smart solutions allow law firms to quickly identify relevant information and to define the universe of data and custodians that must be protected. With this increased information, law firms can more accurately assess outcomes, minimizing costs and limiting risks while protecting their clients’—and their own—reputations.

AI produces higher-quality work. Work produced by intelligent software—which doesn’t get tired, bored or distracted—can be truly error-free. Specialized document software can enhance the organization of documents and flawlessly maintain that organization, including all internal cross-references, through the life of the document. Such software can also ensure that language is applied consistently, no matter how many attorneys had a hand in the drafting. Through document comparison and automatic learning, software such as contract comparison tools can identify missing clauses or conditions, inconsistently used terminology or undefined terms, both within a single document and across a pool of similar documents.

AI improves organizational and logical structure. With automatic document comparison and organization, attorneys can more quickly identify holes or gaps in their documents and even in their legal analyses. For example, contract analysis programs that have learned through repeated analysis can identify missing terms or definitions in known types of contracts. Similarly, document analysis can uncover a logical connection that hasn’t yet been firmly established in a legal memorandum, allowing attorneys to revisit and strengthen their weak points. For both, smart software that maintains internal organization and allows attorneys to quickly and conveniently switch between different levels and views enhances the overall structure and logical flow of the document.

AI enhances creative analysis and identification of persuasive precedents. With the time savings of automated review, research and document quality control, AI frees up attorneys’ time and mental energy for higher-level work. This enhances creativity, allowing attorneys to add unique value and focus completely on the work that computers can’t do. Increased confidence in results also gives attorneys the free hand they need to take risks and evaluate alternatives. With intelligent legal research software, attorneys can test out variations in fact patterns or legal analyses to identify the most advantageous strategy. Comparative analysis between cases in different states or between state and federal courts no longer takes days of exhaustive (and exhausting) scanning.

AI reduces attorney stress and frustration. Document review, proofreading and legal research can be tedious, mind-numbing work. While these tasks must be completed in the course of competent and ethical representation, no one said that attorneys had to do them! Allowing software to do at least the first round of “heavy lifting” reduces stress and boredom, minimizing the time that attorneys must spend on preliminary or low-level review. At the same time, knowing that their AI solution has already completed a comprehensive review gives attorneys more confidence in the results. This allows attorneys to dive into the creative, intellectual analysis that they are trained to do—and that computers can’t replicate, no matter how smart. Together, these dramatically improve attorney work satisfaction.

AI improves client relations.  Building from the previous points, AI solutions allow attorneys, freed from the tedium and minutiae of low-level tasks, the time to engage in the more satisfying, creative, human-specific work of legal representation. This includes talking to clients; fully developing, exploring and explaining strategies, theories and outcomes; and keeping clients better informed at every stage of the legal process. Not to mention, better and more consistent results by themselves lead to greater client satisfaction.

As we discussed at the outset, these benefits are interrelated, with each type of benefit leading to and fostering additional benefits. That interrelationship also harnesses the power of momentum. Just as an early mistake can rapidly spiral into more (and more serious) later mistakes, high-quality work also builds on itself and supports the production of more good quality work.

Artificial Intelligence in Law and Legal Practice | by ISA VIT | ISA-VIT |  Medium

In short, deploying an AI solution can create positive momentum throughout a law firm. As attorneys come to trust AI software, they can relax and let the computers attend to the monotonous details. No longer “stuck in the weeds,” these attorneys are more likely to engage in strategic problem-solving, which can enable them to enjoy their work more. (Aren’t our creative problem-solving abilities part of what drew us to the law in the first place?) Happier, more satisfied attorneys are less likely to take sick days or suffer burnout. They’re also more likely to have adequate time (and patience) to thoroughly counsel their clients and mentor their subordinates. All of this adds up to a much better working environment for everyone.

Legal Costs in Family Law matters – who pays?

Terms Used In Family Law

In cases decided under the Family Law Act the general principal is that the Family Court does not make an order that one party to the proceedings will pay the other party’s costs of the proceedings.  Usually each party is to pay their own legal costs. However, there are exceptions to this general principal.  Section 117 of the Family Law Act provides the circumstances in which the Court may order one party to pay the other party’s costs. 

What will the Judge consider in deciding whether one party will pay the other party’s coss of the proceedings?

Before a Judge makes a costs order that one party pay the other party’s costs, the Judge gives each party an opportunity to put their case forward as to why the Judge should or should not make such a costs order. 

The Judge must be satisfied that there are circumstances which justifies the making of the order having regard to the Family Law Act and the cases dealing with the Act.  The Court will consider those factors referred to in Section 117(2A) of the Act namely:

  1. the financial circumstances of each of the parties;
  2. whether a party is in receipt of Legal Aid?
  3. whether the party has conducted himself or herself properly?
  4. whether the party has complied with the requirements of the Court as to the preparation of the case and compliance with Court orders made from time to time?
  5. whether one party’s case or a particular discrete part thereof has been without merit or the party is wholly unsuccessful?
  6. whether there has been an appropriate offer of compromise and whether a party has rejected what would have been an appropriate offer to accept?
  7. whether the case commenced by a party or the defence of a case is frivolous or vexatious?
  8. such other matters as the Court considers relevant.

A party seeking a costs order can make an application either during the case if appropriate or within 28 days of the final determination of the matter. 

How can I protect myself against a Costs Order and/or improve my opportunity of obtaining a Costs Order in my favour?

Family Law | Nelson, Robinson & El Ashmawy PLLC

Firstly, a party can put themselves at risk that he or she will be ordered to pay the other party’s costs order in the event that:

  1. They do not conduct the litigation in an appropriate manner, namely, for example failing to comply with the rules and regulations relating to initial discovery, disclosure, complying with Court orders and proper preparation of the matter as required by the Court; or
  2. Failing to accept an offer that is put by a former spouse or partner during the process. 
  3. Secondly, a party can protect their position and hopefully obtain an order in circumstances where the party makes an appropriate offer of settlement which is not accepted by the other party.We highly recommend that you make an appropriate offer to settle matters with your former partner.  We refer you to our further Article dealing with offers.

What is required to make the application?

If one party makes an Application for Costs then it is critical that the appropriate evidence be put before the Court to enable the Court to consider all the relevant matters to determine such an application.  The order that will be made by the Court will depend on the conduct of the parties and what is said that a party should not have done or should have done which results in the consideration of the costs order.  It is critical if you are making the application or defending the application to take this aspect seriously and prepare the appropriate evidence.

What costgs may be payable?

Family Law - Gray Reed

The Court could order a party to pay costs of the other party:

  1. On an ordinary basis.  This is a limited basis and would be essentially on the basis of the minimal attendances required by a party to do justice between the parties.   This will be significantly less than the actual costs that a party would expect to pay; or
  2. At a fixed figure as determined by the Judge.  This would be unusual; and/or
  3. However in what is regarded as exceptional circumstances a Court may order costs on an indemnity basis.  This means that the losing party will be ordered to pay all costs reasonably incurred by the successful person with the benefit of the order.  Watson & Watson acted on behalf of the wife in the case Kohan v Kohan in 1993 which confirmed the Family Court had power to award costs on an indemnity basis.  There is no defined class of cases in which indemnity costs have been ordered against a party, however, it would usually require significant disregard to the processes and/or the rejection of an offer properly framed which was made by a party and rejected or not accepted by the other party in circumstances where the party rejecting the offer received a significantly lesser successful outcome at the hearing of the matter.

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Deciding to get divorced is a huge decision, and choosing a divorce lawyer can also be an emotional and stressful experience. Read our seven tips for finding your ideal solicitor – for both yours and your family’s wellbeing.

Ending a marriage or a civil partnership is going to be a difficult and emotional time. It may involve children, assets, pets or large amounts of money. Choosing an experienced, professional family solicitor to guide you through the process will help to alleviate some of the stresses, however complicated you think your case may be.

Many law firms offer free consultations with experienced family solicitors. Use this opportunity to ask the right questions and decide if that lawyer is right for you. The idea of divorce might be daunting to some people, so the consultation will also help prepare for the case ahead. 

DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED A DIVORCE LAWYER? 

​You may have decided on a DIY divorce. Perhaps you have been separated from your partner for two or more years, or you have an amicable relationship with them, and you’ve made mutual decisions regarding children, assets or wealth.

But even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry. In other words, more often than not, there will be unforeseen circumstances that need professional legal help. Family solicitors

are accustomed to dealing with all eventualities concerning divorce, and it will be worth having the peace of mind that using an experienced professional can bring.

CHOOSE A RELIABLE LAWYER 

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

 

​Your divorce or civil dissolution can go through many stages, some more difficult than others. What may seem simple at first could become more complex further down the line.

Find a lawyer that’s accessible and contactable at short notice, should you have any questions or need to talk about any disputes that may arise. You will be meeting your lawyer in person, so it’s useful to have one in your local area or who will travel to see you at work.

DO YOUR RESEARCH 

​Find out what other people have to say about the law firm or lawyer you’re going to be using. Read online reviews or ask friends or colleagues who have personal experience of dealing with law firms or solicitors.

Find a lawyer that specializes in divorce law or civil dissolution. Perhaps your case involves a high-net-worth individual or a child arrangements battle. Many law firms list their lawyers’ specialties and expertise to help you narrow down your search.

During your first consultation, don’t be afraid to ask your new lawyer whether he or she has experience dealing with cases similar to your own.

ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LAWYER 

​Use the consultation as a chance to get to know your lawyer on a personal level as well as professionally. Talk about your needs, and ask about their experience in similar cases. It’s important you feel comfortable with your chosen solicitor, as you’ll be talking to them about personal and potentially difficult matters.

You may find that the lawyer you meet at first is not the lawyer for you.

A reputable solicitor will guide you to a more suitable colleague in their firm, or even suggest another law firm altogether.

FIND OUT THE COSTS UPFRONT 

​It’s important that you get a good idea of how much the legal services will cost so you can budget accordingly. Lawyers may charge an hourly rate, either billed in intervals or at the end of proceedings.

Some lawyers offer a fixed fee for some work, so there are no nasty surprises. For your piece of mind, find out how and when your lawyer charges.

PREPARE FOR YOUR CONSULTATION 

 

Make the most out of your initial consultation and don’t leave any stone unturned. Book your appointment when you have enough time to sit down and have a conversation with a lawyer. Choose a time when you’re not in a rush to get somewhere else, so you can focus on your meeting.

Your solicitor will want to know basic details so make a note of these if you’re not 100% sure. They will need to know your marriage dates, personal and spousal income, what assets you have, estimated property valuations, and what pensions you have. It’s also a good idea to get this prepared so you know what kind of settlement you want to achieve.

STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE 

 Although the process will be an emotional one, try not to bring any bitter feelings into your negotiations. Anger, hate, and revenge may raise their ugly heads, but letting negative emotions take over will make the divorce or dissolution more complicated, longer, and possibly more expensive. And, while your lawyer may be sympathetic to your cause, keeping your situation factual will save time and get you the best possible outcome.

Be clear about what you want (and what you need) from the start, and stick to your action plan.

MORE INFORMATION 

If you are in this difficult position and are looking for divorce advice, Pinney Talfourd is here to help. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers based in our offices across Essex.We have evening and weekend appointments available and offer a free initial 30-minute consultation for all new family law inquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half-hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimize stress and delays.

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Deciding to get divorced is a huge decision, and choosing a divorce lawyer can also be an emotional and stressful experience. Read our seven tips for finding your ideal solicitor – for both yours and your family’s wellbeing.

Ending a marriage or a civil partnership is going to be a difficult and emotional time. It may involve children, assets, pets or large amounts of money. Choosing an experienced, professional family solicitor to guide you through the process will help to alleviate some of the stresses, however complicated you think your case may be.

Many law firms offer free consultations with experienced family solicitors. Use this opportunity to ask the right questions and decide if that lawyer is right for you. The idea of divorce might be daunting to some people, so the consultation will also help prepare for the case ahead. 

DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED A DIVORCE LAWYER? 

​You may have decided on a DIY divorce. Perhaps you have been separated from your partner for two or more years, or you have an amicable relationship with them, and you’ve made mutual decisions regarding children, assets or wealth.

But even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry. In other words, more often than not, there will be unforeseen circumstances that need professional legal help. Family solicitors

are accustomed to dealing with all eventualities concerning divorce, and it will be worth having the peace of mind that using an experienced professional can bring.

CHOOSE A RELIABLE LAWYER 

Seven Tips for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

 

​Your divorce or civil dissolution can go through many stages, some more difficult than others. What may seem simple at first could become more complex further down the line.

Find a lawyer that’s accessible and contactable at short notice, should you have any questions or need to talk about any disputes that may arise. You will be meeting your lawyer in person, so it’s useful to have one in your local area or who will travel to see you at work.

DO YOUR RESEARCH 

​Find out what other people have to say about the law firm or lawyer you’re going to be using. Read online reviews or ask friends or colleagues who have personal experience of dealing with law firms or solicitors.

Find a lawyer that specializes in divorce law or civil dissolution. Perhaps your case involves a high-net-worth individual or a child arrangements battle. Many law firms list their lawyers’ specialties and expertise to help you narrow down your search.

During your first consultation, don’t be afraid to ask your new lawyer whether he or she has experience dealing with cases similar to your own.

ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LAWYER 

​Use the consultation as a chance to get to know your lawyer on a personal level as well as professionally. Talk about your needs, and ask about their experience in similar cases. It’s important you feel comfortable with your chosen solicitor, as you’ll be talking to them about personal and potentially difficult matters.

You may find that the lawyer you meet at first is not the lawyer for you.

A reputable solicitor will guide you to a more suitable colleague in their firm, or even suggest another law firm altogether.

FIND OUT THE COSTS UPFRONT 

​It’s important that you get a good idea of how much the legal services will cost so you can budget accordingly. Lawyers may charge an hourly rate, either billed in intervals or at the end of proceedings.

Some lawyers offer a fixed fee for some work, so there are no nasty surprises. For your piece of mind, find out how and when your lawyer charges.

PREPARE FOR YOUR CONSULTATION 

 

Make the most out of your initial consultation and don’t leave any stone unturned. Book your appointment when you have enough time to sit down and have a conversation with a lawyer. Choose a time when you’re not in a rush to get somewhere else, so you can focus on your meeting.

Your solicitor will want to know basic details so make a note of these if you’re not 100% sure. They will need to know your marriage dates, personal and spousal income, what assets you have, estimated property valuations, and what pensions you have. It’s also a good idea to get this prepared so you know what kind of settlement you want to achieve.

STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE 

 Although the process will be an emotional one, try not to bring any bitter feelings into your negotiations. Anger, hate, and revenge may raise their ugly heads, but letting negative emotions take over will make the divorce or dissolution more complicated, longer, and possibly more expensive. And, while your lawyer may be sympathetic to your cause, keeping your situation factual will save time and get you the best possible outcome.

Be clear about what you want (and what you need) from the start, and stick to your action plan.

MORE INFORMATION 

If you are in this difficult position and are looking for divorce advice, Pinney Talfourd is here to help. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers based in our offices across Essex.We have evening and weekend appointments available and offer a free initial 30-minute consultation for all new family law inquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half-hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimize stress and delays.

Importance of Social Media for Law Firms and Solo Attorneys

Social Media for Law Firms and Solo Attorneys - Smokeball

Social media is a force to be reckoned with when considering the development of your business and professional networking. The social media marketing strategy is one of the biggest marketing strategies out there, and when used properly, you can navigate your law firm towards a successful opportunity in leveraging one of the most powerful tools available. The social media community is constantly growing at a rapid rate, and marketers are fully aware of this. Do not miss out on the fight to create the best social media account to advertise your business and generate more clients. Here are some of the ways your firm may benefit from the use of mixing social networking and the law.

Business growth

Social media marketing is strongly connected to successful business growth. How? You can increase leads, improve search engine rankings, drive traffic towards your website, keep an eye on your competitors, develop a trustful relationship with your clients, create incredible brand recognition, maximize possible conversions, and establish your brand as the best out there. When you post regular informative posts on your social media platforms, it will draw interest towards your website as well as help you build a reputation. Make sure to always link back to your website in all your posts so clients know where to sign up for your services.

Also, make sure you create a visually appealing brand through the use of logo and color scheme. There should be consistency in overall looks of your posts and that look should convey your business personality to the users.

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to introduce your law firm to new clients. In fact, make it a part of your strategy to connect to people who would not have typically heard of your organization.

Social media for lawyers: Build an online presence for your firm |  RingCentral

Marketing campaign tools

Traditional marketing campaign tools are the use of radio and printouts, but these are both costly options and are hard to track. Social media does not cost you anything, so you save a lot of money in leveraging the ability to provide an effective yet cheaper marketing strategy. You can even pay certain social media platforms to have an advert placed at the top of your users’ timelines, such as on Facebook. So that money you save on radio and printouts, you can use that instead towards the occasional purchase of strategic advert marketing campaign tools, especially for those posts you really want to increase the visibility on.

Informal communications 

Even with just the captions under your posts, you can engage with your clients by asking questions where you can view and respond to your client’s reactions. Social media is a great tool to determine how your clients are feeling about your services, and where you can make improvements.

You may even find that any complaints coming your way are posted through social media, as users like the use of publicity to gain attention as a means of attempting to resolve a dispute quicker. No business wants negative comments from users under all their social media posts to put off any potential clients, and this can be one of the biggest challenges. Learn from the comments under the posts in how you can provide a better service. Provide immediate and sympathetic responses to any negative feedback to show you care, so that users keeping an eye on messages get a positive vibe that you genuinely care about providing an excellent service to every client.

By using social media marketing for your law firm, you get the chance to convey an authentic voice for your service to help you stand out from the crowd. Authenticity is always attractive and generates attention through its differences. Figure out what your organization’s main mission and vision is, and carve that out into your social media posts to present your unique voice.

Younger Workers Might Benefit From Social Perks of Being in an Office

Contact us for more information.

5 Tips to Improve Law Firm Client Relationships

Written by Teresa Matich

78 percent of lawyers say that acquiring new business is one of their top challenges, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group. In other words, if law firm business development is difficult for you, you’re not alone.

There’s more to building a business than buying a few online ads and praying for clients. You’ll need to spend time building relationships, while also keeping existing clients happy to ensure repeat business—all of which can be more difficult than it sounds.

We’ve rounded up a few best practices surrounding client relationships, based on our webinar, Business Development Strategies for Law Firms, held by Clio’s own Lawyer in Residence, Joshua Lenon. As he puts it:

Quite frankly, a lot of your own career development centers around your ability to bring in business, so it’s something that you should be focussing on from day one.

Whether you’re starting a new practice, or just looking to brush up on your law firm business development skills, this list includes several valuable tools to build positive client relationships and ensure sustainable growth for your law firm.

Client relationships and law firm business development

For any law firm—or any business, for that matter—it’s important to focus on building strong client relationships. Happy clients will keep coming back, and they may also recommend your services to others.

There are plenty of ways to build relationships, but some approaches work better than others. If you want to build the best client relationships possible, take a look at this chart from BTI Consulting, which outlines 17 activities to consider.

Source: BTI Consulting

The two activities in the Business Magnets quadrant are less important. As Joshua says:

For the most part, your clients aren’t searching for an innovative approach. They’re not searching for a law firm that anticipates their needs, because they know that information already. They know what their needs are. So if you’re marketing yourself solely on these two features, while you might stand out a little bit, you might not be able to close the business. To close the business, you have to at least meet the price of admission.

In other words, the six activities listed in the Price of Admission quadrant outline the basic expectations most clients will have for you. Clients won’t single you out as exceptional for keeping them informed and dealing with unexpected changes, but you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re capable of these activities to close new business.

So how do you build client relationships to reach relationship bliss? According to Joshua and BTI, there are at least five things that you as a lawyer can do to keep your clients coming back:

1. Reach out with unprompted communication

Joshua states:

Unprompted communication is something that I think is really easy for lawyers to do, but so few actually do it. Reaching out to a client with an update—whether it’s significant or not—is a great way to show involvement in a matter, but a lot of lawyers don’t necessarily do this.

2. Pay attention to regional reputation management

For lawyers responsible for business development in solo, small, and medium sized firms, Joshua notes:

You’re going to be dealing with regional clients, and they’re going to be asking their colleagues whom they turn to. If you have a regional reputation—and that can be demonstrated in a variety of different ways, whether it’s by participation in community activities, or by coverage in the local news—your ability to demonstrate that reputation will help you build a stronger relationship.

3. Offer a breadth of service

Lawyers can’t claim to specialize under most states’ ethical advertising rules, but many still fall into the trap of keeping a narrow focus and missing out on clients.

As Joshua explains:

We tend to focus on a particular area of expertise and seek clients for that. But clients are actually seeking lawyers that can handle their needs, not necessarily just your expertise.

Make sure that you’re open to helping clients, even if it means referring or handing a client off to an appropriate source for aid.

4. Demonstrate your value

As a lawyer, you need to be able to demonstrate your value. But while some lawyers charge upwards of $1,000 per hour, demonstrating dollar value can sometimes be difficult. And, clients can sometimes see lawyers as interchangeable, regardless of their skill or expertise.

That’s a problem—in that scenario, clients see cost but not value.

“You need to show the client you’re actually saving them money or time or emotional grief because they’re hiring you,” Joshua states.

5. Show a commitment to help

“You need to be able to understand the client’s business,” Joshua says. “It may be family affairs, it may actually be a business, but you need to be able to recognize what they’re actually seeking, focus on it, and demonstrate a commitment to help.”

How do you demonstrate this? Dan Pinnington does it with a simple question for clients: “What’s your greatest concern?” He finds that this forces his clients into a moment of clarity, and allows him to reassure them that he can help with their greatest worries as they apply to the matter at hand.

“Dan didn’t arrive at this question because he was told about it,” Joshua says. “He arrived at this question because that’s what worked with the clients he was seeking.”

Key takeaways

To sum up, here’s what you need to focus on to build strong client relationships for sustainable law firm business development:

  • Reach out. Unprompted communication does wonders for showing your clients that you’re involved.
  • Manage your local reputation. Get involved in your community to build relationships with potential clients.
  • Broaden your horizons. Be ready to help anyone who comes through your door—even if it means referring them to another lawyer.
  • Communicate value. Take extra care to explain how your services save your client money and/or time.
  • Focus on helping. Ask your client what their greatest concern is, and show your commitment to helping with that.

There’s a lot more to successful law firm business development beyond building client relationships. Traditional networking activities and online promotion should also be part of your plan. You’ll also need to track your efforts to ensure they’re effective.

Joshua talks about all that and more in the webinar, which you can watch here.

Want to do a deep dive into law firm business development? Watch our webinar, Business Development Strategies for Law Firms, for tips to on how to grow your firm.

We published this blog post in December 2016. Last updated: August 6, 2021.

Categorized in: BusinessMarketing

The 5 most important qualities your divorce lawyer MUST have

The 5 most important qualities your divorce lawyer MUST have

Aside from the death of a loved one, a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. Finding a divorce lawyer can be a daunting task when you’re faced with so many other worries. The lawyer you hire will be representing you for several months, or even a year or more, which means finding the right lawyer can make the divorce process a lot easier on you and your family.

When looking to hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce, you should look for someone with the following qualities:

1. The Ability To Communicate Well

Clear and easy communication with your divorce lawyer is critical. During your case, you will need to be able to effectively communicate your concerns and expectations to your lawyer, and your attorney will need to be able to clearly explain things to you regarding your case and provide you with realistic expectations. If an attorney doesn’t listen to you well or can’t explain things in a way you can understand, you should continue your search.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, your attorney’s ability to communicate with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney is also essential, because good communication between the attorneys can facilitate fruitful negotiation and keep costs down. A good divorce lawyer will try to negotiate resolution of some of the issues that are important to you before heading straight to court. (Of course, the ability to communicate well with your spouse and his/her attorney does require some cooperation on their part as well.)

If you end up in court, your attorney also needs to be able to effectively communicate with the court and litigate passionately. This is important because you will need your attorney to represent your interests clearly and to be trusted by the court.

2. Skill And Experience

3 Important Qualities Your Divorce Lawyer Must Have - Liberty and Justice  United

You should look for an attorney who not only can represent you, but can represent you well. And in order to represent you well, the attorney must be skilled. Your divorce case is likely to touch all aspects of your life-family, finances, retirement, career, etc. To protect your interests, your attorney should be knowledgeable and experienced enough in his or her practice to deal with the complexities of your case, while allowing you to continue your daily life as much as possible.

You should look for an attorney who has experience in divorce and family law with cases similar to yours. For example, if you are dealing with high-conflict custody, or perhaps a substantial net worth, find out if a divorce lawyer is knowledgeable in those specific areas. Check their credentials thoroughly and look for attorneys who continue to seek knowledge and experience through continuing education opportunities.

3. Availability

When considering hiring an attorney to represent you in your divorce, look for someone who is available at the key points in your case (or who has the support available if an issue comes up while your attorney is in court on another matter or out of the office).

A good divorce lawyer should be available to respond to your questions in a timely manner or, if not available right away, give you a time frame within which to expect an answer.

You should also look for an attorney who is not so busy with other cases that he/she does not have time to devote himself or herself fully to your case. Don’t expect to be your attorney’s only client, but you should not be lost in a sea of clients, either.

4. Composure (A.K.A. Working Well Under Pressure)

Your attorney’s ability to maintain composure is not just about staying calm and focused with you, but also about exhibiting self-control before the court or with your spouse’s attorney, even if frustrated. You should look for a divorce lawyer who will represent your interests strongly, but who will not take it personally when things do not turn out exactly as your attorney intended.

Surprises happen in divorce, because you cannot fully anticipate what the other side or the court will do. Your attorney should maintain composure so that he or she is always representing your interests and is willing and able to adjust their strategy when needed. Your attorney should be focused, composed, and professional, especially when representing you to the court.

5. Support And Resources

It is unlikely that you will be your attorney’s only client, and because your attorney is human, your attorney will not always be immediately available to you when you have a question. You should look for an attorney who has support staff and other attorneys available to assist in the event of an emergency. It is also important that your attorney have support and resources available to prepare your case in a timely manner, such as experienced paralegals, support attorneys, and legal assistants.

All That Sounds Great. But How Do I Find A Divorce Lawyer That Meets These Standards?

Finding a divorce lawyer you are comfortable with, who will also skillfully prepare and present your case and represent you zealously, can take some work.

The Benefits of a Specialty Law Firm

The Benefits of a Specialty Law Firm

For most of us there is nothing more daunting than having to stand before a judge in a courtroom. Whether we are the plaintiff or the defendant, the experience of a trial or legal litigation can be incredibly intimidating. The outcome of cases often has a huge impact on the lives of all parties involved and so it is absolutely vital that expert legal representation is sought. Lawyers are highly skilled in both the letter of the law and its application and can be a decisive factor in the outcome of a case. What are the benefits that a specialty law firm can provide?

Understanding Laws and Regulations

UNDERSTANDING THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN THE LANDLORD-TENANT  RELATIONSHIP IN BELLEVUE AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS - SJA Property Management

The single biggest benefit that a specialist law firm can provide is expert knowledge which can help you negotiate the complex web of laws and regulations. To most people, legal jargon can seem like a foreign language altogether, but highly skilled and experienced lawyers can take care of everything for you. Whilst some of us may believe that we have acquired professional legal training from watching courtroom dramas on television, the realities of litigation are much more complex. Highly reputable law firms and lawyers will have years of experience and knowledge and will be able to represent you immeasurably better than the majority of us are able to represent ourselves.

Financial

The 5 Categories of Financial Ratios

Another benefit that a specialty law firm provides is that they can make a huge difference in the level of compensation that their client is either entitled to receive or is ordered by the judge to pay. Whether you have a skilled lawyer defending you in a lawsuit that has been brought against you or a lawyer who is fighting for your just reward after being involved in an accident, specialized legal representation will enable you to maximize your opportunity through their knowledge and experience. As stated by the experts at https://www.brookslawgroup.com/truck-accident-lawyer/, “it’s important to have an experienced lawyer to help ensure that you get the total compensation you’re entitled to.” In traffic accidents in particular, insurance companies are always trying to find ways to payout less than the value of damages incurred, leaving many claimants out of pocket. At other times the compensation you are due could exceed the limit of the other driver’s insurance. In both these cases, a law firm that has specialized experience in similar cases is absolutely vital.

Time

Governments Worldwide Consider Ditching Daylight Saving Time - Scientific  American

Another hugely important benefit that hiring a specialty law firm can provide is that the lawyers will assume the burden that the case places on your time. Trying to represent yourself in even a minor case can be extremely time consuming as you have to investigate the details of the case, teach yourself the minutiae of the law, and prepare your case for court. What would take you hours and hours of research can be performed in a fraction of the time by an experienced law firm operating on your behalf. Cases can be long drawn out affairs that can totally consume your time and energy. By hiring a specialist law firm to represent you in your case, you will be able to continue with your life and work as normal, confident that all is being done to deliver the best possible outcome in your case.

Emotional and Mental Relief

specialty law firms

Even a relatively minor court case can be extremely draining both emotionally and mentally. Most of us are not accustomed to going up before a judge or a jury and the weight of the situation can be very demanding on ourselves and our families. A specialist law firm has extensive experience in these situations and can provide much needed emotional and mental support to their client and their client’s family. The piece of mind that comes from knowing that you have a knowledgeable and skilled lawyer fighting your corner can make the process far more bearable. A specialist law firm will be able to explain the facts of the case and its outcomes in a simple and easily understandable manner which can go a long way to relieving you of the anxiety that comes from a lack of understanding. 

The truth of the matter is that the law is a very complex machine and that without professional assistance it is very difficult to understand. In even seemingly minor cases, an experienced law firm that specializes in the subject of your case, for example a coup contrecoup injury, will provide innumerable benefits to you. Good representation can be the deciding factor in a decision going your way or going against you. Legal proceedings are not something that should be taken lightly and it always advisable to seek professional representation.

What are 3 Types of Product Defects That Can Result in a Lawsuit?

Product liability is an area of law that ensures consumer safety from hazardous, defective or unsafe products or items that are offered for sale in the marketplace. If or when a consumer is harmed by a defective product, a product liability lawyer can advise the person injured on any claim or cause of action against the responsible party. Those who manufacture, sell, design or distribute a product have a legal responsibility for its safety once it enters the marketplace. If the product fails, the consumer can hold the responsible party liable for injuries sustained in using it.

The basis for product liability claims by consumers are most commonly a result of defective automobile parts or design, vehicle recalls, unsafe or recalled pharmaceuticals, recalled baby toys or child safety seats, food recalls as a result of poor packaging or contamination, poorly designed medical devices, recreational equipment, defective power tools, and industrial equipment defects.

Though there are numerous instances in which a defective product could injure a person, defects that give rise to supplier, seller, or manufacturer liability are categorized by three types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Defects may occur due to poor workmanship, careless packaging or assembly, faulty design, failure to warn of risks or hazardous consequences if a product is not used as intended, and so on.

Liability for a defective product that causes injury is the responsibility of all sellers in its distribution chain. A product must meet ordinary expectations by those who purchase it. When the product poses an unexpected danger or risk to a consumer, i.e., it does not meet ordinary expectations of the consumer, then the parties responsible for selling it can be held liable for the product’s defect. In a case of liability, an injured party, the plaintiff, must show that the product that caused the injury was defective and that defect caused the product to be unreasonably dangerous or unsafe in its use, causing injury.

Contact an Attorney

By consulting with a product liability lawyer, he or she can help establish a case for product liability not the result of user error. With nearly four decades of experience, the product liability lawyers of Hardy, Wolf & Downing have sought damages for their clients injured by defective products. Hardy, Wolf & Downing has long established a network of qualified industry experts who can determine a product’s defect, whether by fundamental design flaws or faulty manufacturing. To establish liability for a defective product, your product liability lawyer will look at the three types of product defects to decide which cause of action against the responsible party to pursue.

Design Defects

A product liability lawyer will first determine if a design defect caused the injury. A design defect results from a poorly designed or improperly tested product or item. Poor design will show that all the products are more than likely defective and unsafe or dangerous to consumers.

Manufacturing Defects

If design defects can be eliminated as a cause of action then a product liability lawyer will look to manufacturing defects as the cause. A manufacturing defect is not a result of a product’s design but the process, meaning, what made the product unsafe was introduced when it was made.

Marketing Defects

The third type of product defect is referred to as marketing defects. These types of defects relate to the warnings and instructions that are included with a product. Failure to provide clear instructions or warning labels on a product by the manufacturer can result in the manufacturer being held liable if a consumer is injured.

There are many times that a product is defective but does not cause injury or other times that injuries are caused by simple human error. However, if you believe you have been injured as a result of a defective product it is important to meet with a product liability lawyer—for your own sake and the sake of others who use that defective product. A product liability lawyer at Hardy, Wolf & Downing will help protect your rights and ensure you receive just compensation for those losses associated with medical expenses, lost income, diminished earning capacity, pain and emotional suffering.