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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Petersen

Embracing Innovation: Enhancing the Client Experience in Law Firms

Embracing Innovation: Enhancing the Client Experience in Law Firms

Effective response, communication, and personal engagement are fundamental components of any exceptional client service experience.

In the legal sector, however, innovation has traditionally been approached with caution. But with the rapid growth of new technologies, working practices, service delivery models, and client solutions, this attitude is shifting.

Despite this, only a quarter of clients report working with law firms that use technology to add value to their client relationships. This presents a significant opportunity for law firms that do leverage innovation to enhance their clients’ holistic experience with their legal service provider.

Below, I provide a round-up of articles that focus on the role of technology, innovation, and their impact on client service. While the focus here is on law firms, the insights and learnings presented are applicable to all kinds of professional services firms.

Role of technology and innovation, and their impact on client service

An important question raised in this article is whether innovation comes down to an attitude, which means it’s inherently cultural for any business. Some law firms have successfully embraced innovation by assigning responsibility to a person or group of people, such as a Chief Strategy Officer, instead of seeing it as solely an IT responsibility.

Raising awareness and assigning responsibility to every part of a business to adopt and employ innovative thinking and technologies in work practices is a key factor in driving innovation forward.

Ultimately, a culture of innovation is not only beneficial for the clients but also for the business itself in terms of creating a competitive advantage and improving the bottom line.

How AI will revolutionise the practice of law, John Villasenor, Non resident Senior Fellow – Governance Studies, Brookings.

"AI is most effective when it is used to complement human skills, and the people who learn how to leverage this collaboration well will get the most mileage out of AI tools.” 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal sector is becoming increasingly common, but there is a growing recognition that AI is most effective when used in collaboration with human expertise.

The best results are achieved when AI tools are used to complement human skills. By providing clear parameters and guidelines, AI can help lawyers save time and effort in routine tasks such as drafting legal documents, allowing them to focus on providing strategic and bespoke legal services that add value to clients.

ChatGPT is a notable example of how AI can be leveraged to enhance the capabilities of legal professionals. By working alongside human experts, ChatGPT provides a timesaving and game-changing experience. Lawyers can set clear parameters and guidelines for the AI model, and then modify the content it produces to suit their needs.

This collaboration allows lawyers to leverage the best of both worlds, combining the speed and efficiency of AI with the nuanced insights and creativity of human expertise. The result is a more efficient, effective, and client-focused legal service.

Opportunity in crisis: Innovative ways law firms are stepping up client relationships, Jennifer Carr, Director of Business Development, Attorney at Work.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many law firms to rethink how they engage with clients, leading to the adoption of new, innovative approaches to communication.

This shift was not limited to the professional sphere, but also extended to our personal lives. In this context, it has become increasingly important for firms to explore new ways of building and strengthening relationships with clients.

In this article, a dozen business development professionals share their insights on the innovative approaches their firms have taken to engage with clients. These approaches have not only helped firms maintain and build upon existing relationships but have also led to the development of deeper, more meaningful ties with clients.

By embracing new technologies and communication channels, law firms have been able to stay connected with clients, even during times of physical distancing, and have demonstrated their commitment to providing exceptional client service.

Lawyers often find themselves bogged down with paperwork and other routine; mechanical tasks associated with drafting legal documents. This can take away from the time and energy that they would otherwise be able to devote to providing bespoke and strategic legal services, which clients value highly.

In her article, Grace highlights the importance of being an agile partner rather than a transactional supplier in the legal sector. Leading law firms are taking an innovative approach to client service by offering support in navigating digital transformation, providing access to specialists such as lawyers, technologists, and knowledge management experts.

These firms are focused on designing, developing, and delivering novel solutions to clients, rather than simply providing legal services. This adaptive approach is a necessary step for forward-thinking firms to meet the growing demand for greater innovation in the legal sector. By embracing new technologies and working practices, law firms can position themselves as strategic partners to clients, rather than just legal service providers.

In her article, Michelle outlines a series of actionable steps that law firms can take to apply innovation in a legal environment:

  1. Commit to innovation as a core business strategy: This involves making a conscious decision to prioritize innovation and embedding it into the fabric of the firm’s culture.

  2. Appoint a person to manage legal innovation: Having a dedicated person or team responsible for managing innovation can help ensure that the process is streamlined and effective.

  3. Prioritize each legal innovation idea: It is important to assess each innovation idea based on its potential impact, feasibility, and resources required. This helps to identify the most promising ideas and allocate resources accordingly.

  4. Develop a plan: Once the most promising ideas have been identified, it is important to develop a detailed plan that outlines the goals, timeline, and resources required to execute them.

  5. Put your plan into action: This involves executing the plan, monitoring progress, and adjusting as needed. It is important to have a structured approach that allows for continuous improvement and refinement of the innovation process.

Insights in action: establishing more innovative legal solutions, Becky Halat, Client Services, Thomson Reuters.

In her article, Becky provides a comprehensive overview of innovation in the legal sector, covering everything from what it is to how to achieve it, and the benefits of being an innovative firm.

One crucial insight that emerges from the research is the strong correlation between innovation and client service. Law firms that are rated higher on innovation tend to receive higher client service ratings across the board, as reflected in their Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This indicates innovation can significantly impact the client experience and underscores the importance of adopting an innovative approach.

Similarly, law firms that are identified by clients as innovative tend to capture a larger share of external spend. This is not surprising, given that clients are increasingly looking for law firms that are at the forefront of technology and service delivery. By prioritizing innovation, law firms can not only improve their client service ratings but also gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Conclusion: law firms that can innovate & effectively leverage technology to enhance client experience will stand out

As clients become more tech-savvy and demand more innovative solutions from their legal service providers, law firms that can effectively leverage technology to enhance the client experience are likely to have a competitive advantage.

However, simply implementing new technologies is not enough. To be successful, law firms need to focus on developing solutions that address client priorities and pain points. This requires a deep understanding of clients’ needs and a willingness to tailor solutions to meet those needs.

Additionally, it is important for law firms to ensure that their lawyers are comfortable and confident using the new technologies. Training and support programs can help ensure that lawyers can use the new tools effectively and efficiently, which will help build trust and confidence with clients. By focusing on both client priorities and lawyer acceptance, law firms can maximize the impact of their innovative offerings and create a truly holistic client experience.


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