Effective Legal Communication Requires Modern Tools
The practice of law requires mastery of several skills. A lawyer must be competent in practice areas, be able to network and develop a client base, and have practice management abilities as well. But, even more crucially, lawyers need to be good communicators. Of course, this extends to corresponding with courts and other parties, but effective legal communication is most important between lawyer and client.
The attorney-client relationship is somewhat unique among professional relationships. Clients count on their lawyers for accurate information and instant access to case statuses. Because of the sensitive nature of attorney-client communication, clients look for attorneys to secure their data. Confidentiality is critical, but so is service. Effective legal communication requires a balance of access, connectivity, privacy and trust. One of the primary steps in determining what constitutes effective legal communication is bridging the gap between client needs and attorney perception of those needs.
The role of communication in the attorney-client relationship
The American Bar Association surveyed clients and attorneys to gain greater insight into the role of customer satisfaction in the practice of law. The results were surprising — at least, to the attorneys surveyed. While lawyers firmly believed that results were the most important element to gauge success in a legal matter, clients overwhelmingly pointed to service. Results are significant, but clients' desire for more excellent customer service is enlightening; not all legal matters end in a win for the client, but every attorney-client relationship holds the potential for either good or bad customer service.
Communication is the cornerstone of customer service, no matter if the business services being provided involve legal advice or selling shoes. Clients want to know the status of their cases. Attorneys traditionally can be tight-lipped about certain aspects of their cases, such as chances of success. Or, they can be overwhelmed by a large caseload and consequently unable to answer every call and email from a client. Since clients value in-progress communications, lawyers may want to rethink their focus. By trying to avoid over-promising results, attorneys can come off as uninterested in providing assurances to clients. Worse, clients can feel neglected as unimportant. But, beyond communicating expected results, an attorney can engage in effective legal communication to strengthen the attorney-client relationship, without burying themselves in messages and administrative tasks that may distract from the practice of law.
How can attorneys improve their client communication? Effective legal communication can be as simple as providing frequent updates and being responsive to client calls and emails, but it can also take the form of transparency and increased access. Lawyers can increase their responsiveness easily through the use of modern communications tool.
Leveraging technology for more effective legal communication
Technology can help provide a high level of client engagement and connection. Contact center as a service (CCaaS), unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) each can augment the practice of law. These technologies involve migrating communication and, in some cases, client relationship management to a cloud service. Cloud services provide the following benefits to law firms and other businesses:
- Reduced equipment costs
- Reduced maintenance expense and need for in-house administrators
- Scalability. Use only the amount of service to fit your needs
- Quick deployment: be up and running in days, not weeks or months
- Best practices for security that overcome cloud concerns
The legal industry can also benefit from the collaboration tools inherent in virtual contact center solutions. Unified communications tools enable efficient workflows for both client communications and co-worker collaboration. From web conferencing, to chat and other multi-channel forms of communication, cloud contact centers seamlessly encourage highly productive work. In the past, client communication was limited to phone calls and status letters. Today, clients can reach their attorneys whenever they need information through mobile. Tools such as find-me, follow-me call forwarding enables this connectivity without requiring lawyers to hand out personal cell phone numbers to their clients (if this is not desirable).
8x8's virtual contact center and unified communications solutions provide the tools lawyers need for effective legal communication. With 8x8, lawyers can focus on practicing law, without having to become experts in unified communications. Attorneys can rest assured that their communications system is modern and responsive to client needs while being secure, scalable and feature-rich.
When it comes to ensuring legal communication, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.