I want to achieve three things for family lawyers with this post.
- Demonstrate how digital working makes you more profitable;
- Give you real examples of how other lawyers have already made this happen;
- Give you a link to get you started on the same journey.
You won’t get stock images of robots and humans shaking hands from me. This is not science-fiction and it’s not theory. I’m going to share what my firm, Family Law Partners, learned by using an application called Engage for the last 6 years. This is real-world innovation in family law that positively impacts the bottom line. At the end of this piece I’ll share a link that will let you work out the monetary value for your own family law team.
Let’s get the show on the road.
#1 Telephone Trouble
Most new enquiries come through the telephone – they’re gold dust so we want to show within a few minutes just how empathetic and brilliant we are. What often happens is that prospective clients dive into the details of their case – you start to make a note – some of this is important and before you know it, 30 minutes later you have 3-pages of A4 scrawl. With Engage, we only do enough on the phone to ‘connect’ as human beings, reassure and instil confidence, but politely explain that Engage will gather all the essential information so we don’t have to.
#2 Attendance Note Hell
We’ve all been there. It’s been a long initial consultation. We’ve worked really hard to put our new client at ease, whilst collecting as much information as possible so we can give advice. At the end, we shake hands (increasingly virtually) and then with a sinking heart realise that we have to dictate or type up all of those pages of scribble. To do it properly, recording the facts and nuances of the situation as well as the client’s expectations, will take at least an hour (yes, it really will, we measure this stuff). Generally, clients are not happy to see this essential time activity converted into an invoice. With Engage, the client already has a complete copy of their own submission, and so do you for your file. You just need to pick up on the really important part of your job which is the advice and strategy. Clients are happy to pay for that. So, say goodbye to the hell of the detailed initial attendance note.
#3 Excel Schedule of Assets
In finance cases, especially financial remedy, most practitioners rely upon a Schedule of Assets spreadsheet. Not having one would feel strange, a bit like being naked in a public place! But what a faff it is creating it, even from a template. Someone has to enter all the details, and then you realise your new client has 3 properties or 6 pensions and you don’t have a row for that and it’s going to mess up your calculation fields. We know that this exercise takes about 90- minutes. If only it could be produced magically without having to lift a finger. Well, Engage automatically produces such a spreadsheet for you on finance cases right out of the box.
#4 Unforeseen Digital Dividends
Engage was designed to facilitate and improve the process by which family lawyers and prospective clients first encounter one another. According to the anonymous user feedback from previous clients who have used it, Engage does that remarkably well. What we didn’t expect – an unforeseen digital dividend – was that family lawyers would refer to the Engage submission throughout the lifetime of a case. We then realised it was like one of those paper checklists that lawyers of a certain age will remember from their paper files. It would be stapled to the front of a file and hold key information about the client such as ages, addresses, and children. The Engage submission acts like a turbo-charged version of that paper checklist. It’s an easy way to check the specifics of a client’s circumstances, check the postcode of that third property or the spouse’s NI number for the pension share without trawling through a paper or electronic file. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. This ongoing benefit is hard to measure or value but it’s real because the lawyers tell us so.
All of these time-saving benefits have a value. We know what the values are because we measure them. If you want to find out how much extra value digital working could generate for your family law team, give our Engage Calculator a spin. It takes less than 60-seconds to see what value Engage could generate for you.