NuLaw is a legal software package with integrated tools that make communicating with clients easy and secure. But let’s face it, communicating with clients is about more than just the mechanics and security of IT. There is an art form to effectively communicating. How a law firm approaches communication affects the success of that firm in both the short and long terms.
Practicing law as a moneymaking enterprise puts the legal profession on the same plane as any other service-oriented business. As an attorney, the representation you offer clients is a service no different in principle than the services offered by real estate agents, investment brokers, and so on. In light of that, every opportunity you have to communicate is an opportunity to further develop your client-centric focus.
Speaking the Client’s Language
One of the most egregious mistakes attorneys and law firms make is failing to communicate with clients using their language. It is fine to bandy about complex legal terms and case law references when speaking with colleagues, but that does not work with clients. You could talk about tort all day long and your client may think you are referring to a pastry.
The art form of communication dictates speaking to clients in their language. In the real world, that translates into every form of communication you utilize. Your website should be written using plain English principles. You should avoid industry speak when writing e-mails to your clients. When you talk on the phone and in person, your communication should be governed by the reality that your client is indeed a client, not an attorney.
Marketing Your Law Firm
Next, consider communication as it pertains to marketing. Most law firms today rely on their websites and social media as their primary marketing tools. Assuming that is the case for you, what does your website actually look like? Is it a generic site lacking any real detail, a site that looks like it was produced by a robot?
A better way to effectively communicate is to create website content that speaks directly to the needs of your clients. If you specialize in personal injury, market your specialty by discussing personal injury principles in detail. If you specialize in criminal defense, discuss things like criminal charges, court proceedings, etc.
Communicating Throughout the Case
The art of communicating in the legal world involves a lot of time spent communicating with clients as their cases proceed. There are so many factors here that it is impossible for us to discuss them all. Let us look at a few highlights:
- Initial Consultations – Communicating during the initial consultation period is about two things: setting the client’s mind at ease and determining how to proceed with the case. For the attorney, this is more about listening than anything else.
- Scheduling – Meetings need to be scheduled with the client’s needs placed first. Often times this means attorneys and their clients actually have to speak.
- Status Updates – Clients appreciate being kept in the loop. Unfortunately, this is one area in which attorneys tend to fall down on the job. What doesn’t seem like important information to them is critically important to their clients, and part of the art of communication is learning what to tell clients and when to tell them.
The NuLaw legal software platform provides a range of tools designed around streamlined, secure communications with clients. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to help attorneys learn the art form of communication. We supply the tools; it is up to attorneys to put those tools to the best possible use.