It's 2018. Do you know where your clients are?
For many legal firms, finding ways to adopt, adapt, and implement new technologies is ultimately an attempt to make the legal world more convenient for the people paying the invoices — a goal common to public-facing organizations everywhere, from retail and restaurants to healthcare and finance.
It's this high-level need that makes video conferencing so attractive to businesses, and legal practices are particularly suited to the medium's advantages. Modern law firm video conferencing solutions make a greater number of processes and services possible over the phone, saving clients from visiting the office and counsel from making house calls. They can also mean the difference between a closed deal and a lost lead, given the industry's focus on grooming, presentation, and decorum.
Establishing Good Counsel–Client Relations
"Clients cannot assess the quality of the service." This thought, quoted in the Journal of Dispute Resolution, belies a notion most lawyers grasp instinctively. In a field where most work is highly complex and undertaken behind the scenes, projecting competence, confidence, and care is just as important as spelling out the details of a proposed strategy.
A client may not understand the differences between personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction, but their gut feeling on the lawyer discussing them can have major ramifications for a case. When the client trusts their counsel, they're more likely to share information and follow instructions.
As the same article notes, many factors that determine the level of trust between attorney and client are difficult to fully quantify. One client claims to have fired their counsel because they were "perfectly competent" but came across as unsympathetic. Several others describe problems with past attorneys due to their lack of ability to communicate — underscoring again that mastery of the law is only one factor when it comes to establishing relationships with clients.
While law firm video conferencing tools are great at helping clients read body language, they're also excellent practical tools with real potential to save time, bolster productivity, and increase efficiency.
How Law Firm Video Conferencing Helps Establish Trust
At first glance, law firm video conferencing solutions may not appear to have much to do with this problem. But looking deeper, video conferencing capabilities can do things a standard phone call can't, with benefits that help meet both the client's productive and emotional needs. It isn't just digital natives who benefit when a law firm bolsters their communicative ability, either. Any client with a smartphone, laptop, or webcam can come away with more confidence in their counsel when video conferencing is part of the interaction.
Consider the average attorney's ability to project empathy or interest when discussing topics that don't lend themselves to friendly conversation. Over the phone, expressing warmth or care in these situations can be exceedingly difficult. A client may leave a call thinking a perfectly well-meaning, personable attorney sounded terse or clipped. A sympathetic shrug or quick smile can convey emotion words simply cannot, and only video conferencing capabilities give attorneys the ability to show these and other nonverbal cues.
Additionally, video conferencing tools can also help emit an appropriate level of interest, giving clients the feel of a one-on-one meeting and undivided attention even outside of the firm's office. A bit of virtualized eye contact with their attorney can be all it takes to assure the client their counsel isn't riffling through papers or nibbling at lunch while they take a call.
Practical Applications, Financial Savings
It's a bit of a cliché to call law a living thing, but it does impose order on the living world — a place where visual data can be every bit as important as written or spoken words. While law firm video conferencing tools are great at helping clients read body language, they're also excellent practical tools with real potential to save time, bolster productivity, and increase efficiency.
Depositions are one such example. Because video conference capabilities maintain the advantages of a standard phone call, firms gain an upper hand while deposing those who may benefit from voice-only questioning. The same nonverbal cues that convey confidence and care may help teams refine strategies and formulate new lines of inquiry.
The financial benefits of video conferencing are also worth consideration. As above, deposing remote subjects may save the organization and their clientele significant expense, since teams no longer need to be sent to remote locations. Similarly, training is an increasingly popular use case, saving legal organizations costs related to travel, lodging, and facility accommodation.
Making Complicated Matters Easier
Finally, firms with remote offices and field teams can use the technology to more easily share visual information during calls. Depending on the situation, this may be far preferable to saying, "Send it after the call," allowing the entire team to see visual data in real time and resolve matters more quickly.
Perhaps most encouraging, modern video conferencing solutions are easier to implement than ever before, with managed cloud-based solutions requiring little more than baseline software installation and configuration. Much like cloud technology has revolutionized the teleconference, adding a visual element to calls no longer requires extensive rewiring, specialized hardware, or scores of IT pros.
In all, the experiential improvements, operational efficiencies, and savings offered by these easy-to-implement tools paint a compelling picture of law firm video conferencing — one that has the potential to improve almost every aspect of the practice's operations, client-facing or otherwise.
Ready for an affordable, lightweight entry to the video conferencing world? Let Vonage Law Firm Solutions help.