What is the future of lawyers? These days as long as you have a good internet connection at home, you can be successful working remotely. There are many people around the world that cannot do that. For example, there are many jobs where remote working is impossible. All lawyers should be able to work from home.
The other advantage of working from home is that you can see your family work. Instead of spending this time in traffic, you can spend more time with your kids.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was obvious that lawyers needed to upgrade their technological capabilities. Lawyers must get around from the traditional requirements, such as scanners and wire-based phone lines.
It’s not a requirement for lawyers to be 100% cloud-based. But you do need to get away from requiring people to sit in their seats from 9 am to 5 pm. Instead, managing partners need to focus on the productivity of the lawyers that work for them.
Artificial Intelligence AI | Legal Issues
Back in 2007, Jack Newton (CEO of Clio) saw that the cloud was going to revolutionize the legal industry. These kinds of disruptive waves of tech don’t come along that often. Mobile phones were the last wave of tech to change the world back in 2010. Artificial intelligence has yet to come through and majorly change any industry.
The other founder of Clio used to work at Gowlings as their IT manager. He realized that the technology that law firms were using was garbage. Around the same time, the law society was looking for better technology to help smaller law firms stay in compliance. Only large law firms could afford a large support staff to stay on track of everything. Solo practitioners didn’t have anyone to help them stay on track.
Therefore, Clio said that small law firms should use technology to catch the ball before it drops. This would help solo lawyers and small law firms stay in compliance. There was no good technology that was affordable. Lawyers would have to hire an IT manager and build a server. So Clio built practice management software that is cloud-based. This meant that small law firms would have to hire a tech manager and build a server.
If you are building something that doesn’t exist, there are two outcomes. Either there is no market for it, or you are about to become very wealthy. Clio was started by the founders of Clio remortgaging their house for capital. There was no investment around 2008 because of the financial crash.
Legal Education | Online Courts
The real question was, will lawyers and the law society be comfortable with the information being stored on the cloud?
Jack Newton suggests the book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany. The book says to forget about the product development exercise. Instead, think about customer development. Understand what your customers need, and then work backward from there. The important part of the book is the idea that if you can find 10 customers, you can find 100.
If you can find 100 clients, you can find 1000. But the key is to understand what the first 10 customers need. And then go and build the product after you know what the clients want.
The job of a tech company is to make it look like their customers have superpowers. Clio’s first customer came around 2008 around the time they built the beta version of their products. They were very strict about who they let into the beta. They would do onboarding for each new customer. During a beta, that means that there are bugs everywhere and the information could be lost.
Their first customer wasn’t just testing the product but was using the product very heavily. The customer loved the product and found a lot of errors. Clio then worked hard to fix all the issues that the customer found. It was a call to action to make the product work for this first customer. If it worked for the first customer, it would work for thousands of other customers.
Access To Justice | Future Of Lawyers
It’s important to use data to settle arguments. If you can use data, your arguments become facts. Affording to Clio, lawyers are only using around 25% of their time for billable work. This was only around two hours of billable work per day. And then clients only pay around 80% of the bills you send out. Therefore, lawyers are only getting paid for around 1.8 hours of work per day.
Many lawyers thought they would get rich when they became lawyers. For many lawyers, this was not to be. Instead, they are just trying to get by and pay their bills.
There is also a massive gap between lawyer expectations and client expectations. There needs to be a bridge between lawyers and clients. When customers are looking for a lawyer, they simply want to be called back. Many clients have a hard time speaking to a lawyer at all. Despite the fact that many lawyers complain about not having enough clients, they do a terrible job closing the leads that they do get.
Many lawyers do not even know what a “lead” is. Lawyers just see people as either clients or non-clients. The lawyers don’t see the need to move a lead through a sales funnel.
Mark Britton, the founder of Clio said that fewer than 10% of people that use Avvo get a callback or email from a lawyer who receives a lead. This is completely unacceptable. Every law firm needs to think about the future of lawyers.
Legal System | Future Of Lawyers
The best companies respond to leads in minutes. Top software companies like Hub Spot get back to clients extremely quickly. When lawyers get back to clients within days, it’s horrible. You need to measure your response team in minutes. If lawyers think two days is good, and customers think two minutes is acceptable, how do you bridge the divide?
There is so much opportunity for lawyers to thrive in the industry. Also, to make their clients happier and to solve the access to justice problem. However, things are not moving fast enough. Lawyers need to do a better job at innovation.
77% of legal issues go unaddressed by lawyers. Any industry that was well put together would find a way to quickly solve this problem. The way that legal services are offered today is the same that it was thirty years ago. Lawyers learn how to practice law from those that practiced law thirty years ago (law school professors.)
In conclusion, if you are a lawyer, please work hard at being more innovative. You need to think about the future of lawyers.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law