Five Key Trends for Family Lawyers in 2021 from the Family Law Magazine
5 Key Legal Trends for Family Lawyers in 2021 that I want to share with other attorneys and if the general public reads this, well that is okay too. 🙂 If you did not read the article. Here are the points in a nutshell.
With everything that has happened in the past year, many family lawyers have struggled to meet the shifting needs of their clients. These challenges have continued as the coronavirus pandemic persists across the United States. We are all wondering what the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will have on how we think about the delivery of legal services going forward.
Most family lawyers have already adjusted how operations in their legal practice run and much of the change includes adopting more online cloud technologies to support secure remote work for both the clients and the staff. I know that I have and it did not take very long. I happen to love this change and see some real benefits to clients as well as benefits for me.
Family lawyers are realizing that some of these changes may be permanent in many ways. For example, in 2020, 83% of family lawyers were meeting with clients virtually and said they will continue to do so in the future. These findings come from Clio’s 2020 Legal Trends Report, which is based on data from legal professionals in the United States.
- Lawyers need to maximize their client opportunities.
Family lawyers have been shown to have done better through the early months of the pandemic, but not in the second half of 2020, family lawyers case loads have been about average. I would agree with that in my office for the most part. We did not see a big rise in divorce. I think many people thought we might. I did not see a rise in any other area either.
But billing has been affected and that isn’t so bad. Many law firms have seen ongoing negative effects in their monthly billings, and they have been below averages compared to 2019. Obviously, the factors relating to the court system handling the pandemic is out of the hands of the lawyers and many potential clients unsure about trying to pursue their legal matters. I think this result is from the fewer hours we bill for court appearances since we are doing them on line and the waiting and driving is eliminated. But this is a great thing for our clients and we as attorneys should be able to adjust and make up for it in other areas of work. The work is there. We just need to do it.
Fighting change does nothing for us. Lawyers need to build the types of potential client opportunities that will turn into profitable work once circumstances allow for it. Eventually clients that may be holding off pursuing their legal matters will seek assistance. Lawyers should identify and support the types of opportunities that can still be pursued. Even if clients are postponing legal work, many are still willing to pursue these matters with their lawyer. I have found that we need to adjust and offer our clients the technology they are used to using now and the work will remain. I agree with this.
- Clients are Seeking Tech-Enabled Legal Services
As the pandemic has stayed prominent, clients have grown accustomed to technology and are using it more frequently. More and more clients have adopted new technologies, they also grow more reliant on the ease, convenience, and time-saving benefits of other solutions such as videoconferencing. This creates far less commute times and allows for more flexibility within people’s daily lives. This further allows for paperless workflows, which are fast, easy, and help keep a clear record of communications. I think this is an amazing change and enjoy working within it more.
- Client-Centered Law Firm Design is Key to Driving New Business
Family lawyers should be securing new clients and ensuring client satisfaction. Client centered law firm requires designing services based on the needs of your clients. People are looking for more flexible and transparent lawyers in the overall pricing and cost of legal services and the people are not caring to meet in the traditional setting. We make every effort to be very upfront on costs and even tell people when they do not need certain services. We explain sometimes how to accomplish their goals without any cost at all. That is just good business. When we do this, we earn trust and when they have something really worth spending money on they will come back. Some of my reviews are people I just talked to on the telephone and offered free advice to when they were in need. This always pays back. I hear way to often that attorneys will not take the call and I hear that is why they hired me. I simply took the call.
- Technology Adoption Leads to Increased Revenue
Firms using more technology shown that they had more cases. These firms were more easily able to adopt to the use of technology and transition to remote online conditions during the initial lockdowns and social distancing recommendations. I am not surprised by this finding as many attorneys I know just shut down rather than try to adapt.
- Virtual Legal Services Should be Part of Every Family Law Firm’s 2021 Roadmap
Data shows that clients do not care that the meetings are not traditional face-to-face meetings. Clients are open to receive invoices and pay online, and video conference, along with other means of online communication. I have created this with Michiganonlineattorney.com and offer reduced fee services when they are services entirely on-line.
This is not wisdom from me but great information from the Family Law Magazine. For more information, please visit www.familylawyermagazine.com/practice-management “5 Key Legal Trends for Family Lawyers in 2021” by Bryce Tarling, Senior Content Strategist.
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