5 Ways Legal Technology Boosts Your Client Relationships

In an industry notoriously slow to embrace change, legal software has not been an easy sell — even when it benefits your client relationships. But it’s indispensable for the modern law firm. Automation, communication tools and billing platforms, among other technologies, help attorneys deliver top-notch work, focus on their clients and grow their practices. 

Thompson Reuters’ 2021 Law Firm Business Leaders Report found a whopping 92% of firms are likely to adopt additional legal technology to boost overall performance; 60% did so with the goal of providing additional value to their clients. More recently, Smokeball’s Law + The Great Resignation survey found 89% of firms with one to 30 people adopted at least one new form of legal software in response to COVID-19 and remote work.   

“2020 forced a lot of attorneys who swore that they would never adopt legal software to do so,” says Jordan Turk, attorney and legal technology advisor at Smokeball. “All of a sudden, they had to make their firms fully remote. And more and more attorneys are realizing that this is a necessity for their office.”

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Here are five ways new technology boosts both the client experience and loyalty. 

1. Improving accessibility, communication and efficiency

Your clients likely rely on your law firm at one of the worst times in their life and are paying much more money than they’re comfortable spending, Turk says. Part of your job as an attorney is to help make this experience less stressful for your client.  

Smokeball’s Communicate feature puts your client in the driver’s seat, offering a secure portal to share files, monitor their case and send messages. Best of all, Communicate works from the comfort of your client’s home via a mobile app, eliminating time spent traveling, waiting and dealing with cumbersome files. Need additional details or paperwork from your client? Send them an upload link.  

 “At the end of the day, Communicate just improves that client relationship,” Turk says. “The legal software that you use is a direct reflection of how you function as a firm and as an attorney — and clear, consistent communication shows you have nothing to hide.” 

2. Simplifying file sharing and e-signatures

Every lawyer understands the frustration of drafting a time-sensitive document and sending it to the client for their final review and signature, only to be stuck waiting while the client prints, signs, scans and sends it back.  

But Smokeball’s case management software solves this problem —thanks to a seamless DocuSign integration. Just create your document in the related Smokeball matter and email it to your client. They can sign with the click of a button – even from a mobile device – and you’re notified the moment your document is complete. Plus, Smokeball automatically saves a copy to the corresponding matter, so you’ll never dig through physical files for signed documents again. 

3. Organizing your inbox to keep track of important emails

Few attorneys can appreciate the importance of a well-organized inbox better than family lawyers, who typically handle as many as 30-40 cases at once. Turk says the sheer volume of communication makes it impossible manually track every message – especially important ones that could make or break a case.  

Without an integrated system, attorneys need to save each email, convert it to a PDF and file it on their computer. And when you have hundreds of incoming emails every day, “it’s just not possible,” Turk says. 

Smokeball’s email management tools integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, automatically saving and filing each message to the related matter. Every member of your firm gains access, so everyone’s on the same page, with the same information.  

4. Improving accuracy and building trust

 Trust is the foundation of every business relationship — and that starts with accuracy. Even one factual or spelling error on a court document is enough to break trust. And if firms rely on copy-paste to fill dozens of legal forms, errors are inevitable.  

“If I’m manually doing a final decree of divorce, I’m spending the first 15 minutes probably finding and replacing things in that document that are very simple, like my client’s name, opposing counsel’s name, opposing party’s name,” Turk says. “The problem is, there’s always human error.” 

Smokeball’s Document Automation tools eliminate human error — because humans aren’t filling out legal forms. Instead, the legal software pulls pre-populated details from the related Smokeball matter into every court form. You save time — and embarrassing errors. And because Smokeball’s Legal Form Library contains more than 20,000 up-to-date forms from 250+ matter types, you also save time seeking out the right forms for your case. 

5. Tracking time for more accurate, expedited billing

It’s the odd lawyer who’s never reached the end of the work week and realized they’ve neglected to document time spent emailing your clients, drafting documents or holding conference calls. Multiple studies have shown the average attorney only bills about 2 hours per day, missing out on valuable fees. 

“You always lose time because you’re forgetting something or you spent longer on something than you think,” Turk says. “What Smokeball legal software does with this kind of time tracking software is, it helps eliminate that issue, because it’s already logged this for you.” 

Smokeball’s Legal Billing Software has the power to double your billable hours every day — without any additional work. That’s because our legal practice management software automatically captures every minute spent working in the system. Daily tasks are broken down incrementally for easy transfer to client invoices. Because clients receive a detailed picture of your work, they can trust your value for their dollar, increasing client retention rates and speeding up the payment process. 

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