Written by Carson Bailey, M. Ed.

Before you can implement new legal software, you must convince your lawyers and staff to adopt it. And to adopt new technology, legal professionals must understand its features and functions — and how they will benefit from them. That requires in-depth training.

But training can’t be one size fits all. After all, no two people learn the same, and you need to cater to their learning preferences to maximize their information intake — and the return on your technology investment.

The success of your new legal software hinges on user competence and confidence. In this article, we’ll share how to design a training program as part of your change management initiative when adopting new software that will appeal to your team and ensure your new solution achieves its expected returns.

But first, let’s explore why you should invest in training.

What are the benefits of investing in new software training for legal teams?

While balancing employee training and billable hours can be challenging, the rewards that stem from well-trained staff far outweigh the initial resource investment. Here are just some of the benefits of prioritizing staff training.

To achieve these benefits, you must ensure that your training follows best practices.

What are some best practices for conducting law firm technology training?

Setting up training for lawyers and staff on new law practice software requires a strategic approach to ensure a smooth transition to new software. To encourage lawyers and staff to engage with training, you must align it to their needs and make it valuable and motivating. Time is precious, so training must be efficient and effective, given the responsibilities already filling legal professionals’ plates.

Consider following these best practices to strengthen your next software training:

Improve tech adoption with customized legal software training

The successful implementation of new software in a law firm requires a comprehensive training strategy. Adult learners have distinct needs and preferences, and tailoring training to meet those needs is critical for a seamless transition.

By adopting the right training methodologies and involving the right stakeholders, law firms can navigate the challenges of software implementation and equip their teams with the skills needed for a competitive edge in the legal industry.

Contact us today to learn more about how Centerbase training is designed to ease the transition to new technology and accelerate your law firm’s productivity.

Executive directors and legal administrators play a crucial role in the smooth operations of a law firm. They wear many hats, ensuring organization, facilitating communication, balancing accounts, and scheduling dockets, among many other things. They’re the drivers behind the business of law  making sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

But all of these responsibilities require a specific kind of person and can add up to a highly stressful job. Fortunately, legal technology makes it easier than ever to support legal administrative staff so they are able to focus on higher-level work and do so with and less unneeded stress.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to attract and retain law firm administrative staff, including how technology can help you deliver the support that administrative personnel need.

Why is it hard to recruit new talent to administrative roles in law firms?

2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market from the Thomson Reuters Institute and the Georgetown Law Center noted “serious retention challenges with respect to professional staff other than lawyers.” In a tight talent market, “many [administrators] feel empowered to shop around to improve their compensation and working conditions. Law firms may have to confront something they haven’t seen in the legal industry in quite a while: leverage owned by those who are not attorneys.”

In today’s environment, legal administrative professionals know they have earned better work conditions. They want to feel valued in terms of compensation and recognition and want to have a better work/life balance. It’s clear that law firms need to act now to ensure that they can both hire and retain top administrative talent.

What can I do to attract and keep new top administrative talent?

To attract and keep legal administrative talent, your law firm needs to take a strategic approach. Here are a few ways that your firm can get started.

Offer competitive compensation and benefits

Money talks: it’s an obvious reason that people choose a job and stick with it. People want to be paid what they are worth and receive compensation consistent with the value that they bring. By offering compensation and benefits packages that align with what’s being offered in the legal market, you’ll show new talent that your firm values their role and prevent them from looking to jump ship to your competitors.

However, it takes more than just compensation to make a staff job at a law firm fulfilling.

Build a law firm culture that appreciates the value of administrative staff

Over the years, some law firms have maintained a de facto caste system that separates lawyers from nonlawyer staff. The very word “nonlawyer” is part of the problem, minimizing the importance of the work that law firm staff do. This type of firm culture sometimes also leads to heavy investment in tools, technology, and benefits to support lawyers but less investment for staff. This approach hurts the efficiency of the entire firm.

To ensure you build a culture that supports legal staff, emphasize the strategic importance of administrative work and highlight the varied responsibilities that administrative personnel have and how they help your law firm function and grow. We also recommend outlining clear career progression paths for administrative professionals in your organization. For example, a firm can offer opportunities for continuous learning and development, such as training programs, workshops, and certifications. Also consider how you can implement technology designed to support them working more efficiently, such as tech platforms that enable them to streamline calendaring, simplify document management, improve billing practices, and handle other strategic  tasks.

Find ways to improve work/life balance

Work/life balance is important across the board and it plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining top talent, including legal administrative staff. Administrative staff typically face demanding workloads, tight deadlines, and high-pressure situations along with attorneys and both sides appreciate benefits such as paid time off and flexible work arrangements.

Hybrid work arrangements are an important perk for today’s admins, and enabling staff to work from home requires the right legal technology. Cloud-based legal software allows administrative personnel to work from anywhere. The right matter management platform will put all of the essential information about a matter or client at your staff’s fingertips, keeping all related records such as texts, bills, and documents corralled in one place. A cloud-based client portal avoids back-and-forth, time-consuming emails and reduces the repetitive work on your admins’ plate by giving clients direct access to the answers they need. Leading cloud-based document management platforms preserve client confidentiality and protect sensitive matter details, eliminating the risks of sending confidential documents in unencrypted emails.

Simplify tedious work

But improving the work life for your team goes beyond access. A critical part of making work more fulfilling requires firms to give staff the tools that simplify their work.

Automating tedious, repetitive, manual work like pre-billing and client intake not only makes admins’ work more efficient, but it also means that your team can devote their time to higher-value work that requires a higher skill level. Allowing administrative professionals to focus on more strategic tasks creates a more satisfying work environment. You can also improve their workday with tools that foster communication and streamline project management. This technology reduces administrative bottlenecks, enhances efficiency, and fosters collaboration, all of which can help attract and retain legal staff.

Enhance your law firm’s brand

There are lots of reasons to invest in branding, one of which is that legal administrative professionals in the market will Google your law firm’s website and assess its online presence, including not just its job listings but also its culture. A well-designed, informative website enhances your firm’s credibility and professionalism, which can attract high-quality administrative staff seeking career opportunities with reputable, forward-thinking organizations.

We recommend a professional yet friendly website that includes staff and administrator bios. This will emphasize to candidates that administrative professionals are a valued part of your firm’s legal team. You can also share testimonials from staff and offer a glimpse into what it’s like to work for your law firm, so candidates can determine whether they’re a good fit.

Use legal technology to attract legal administrative professionals now

In today’s competitive job market, your law firm needs to do more than offer a competitive  salary and standard benefits. You also need to invest the overall importance of your administrative staff, including in legal technology, showing them that you value them and their work enough to help them do it more efficiently and with fewer headaches.

Attracting and retaining top legal talent is critical in today’s competitive market. A team of top attorneys gives your firm a competitive edge and ensures your firm will continue to impress clients with quality legal work.

In this article, we’ll cover four ways to attract (and retain) top legal talent, with an emphasis on how legal technology can help you do both.

What are the expectations of today's top talent?

With recent layoffs at large law firms and the incoming classes of law school graduates, there are great opportunities for smaller and midsize firms — if they can compete effectively in the job market.

Today’s top legal talent has high expectations: competitive pay, opportunities for professional development, a meaningful work/life balance, and leveraging advanced legal technology. While meeting these expectations may seem challenging, it’s essential for law firms that want to attract and retain the best lawyers and staff.

Let’s get into some specifics.

1.   Competitive pay and benefits

Top legal talent expects to be paid what they are worth. Offering a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package is crucial to attracting new lawyers and staff. A higher starting salary and market benefits (e.g., health, dental, and vision) will translate directly into more applications for open positions and higher retention rates.

Of course, if you get into a salary tug-of-war with your competition, you’ll eventually run out of cash. Increases are only sustainable to a point. That’s why your firm should focus on the totality of what it has to offer, including training, work/life balance, and technology that makes the job easier.

2.   Professional development opportunities

Top legal talent typically wants opportunities for professional growth and development so they can stay ahead of the curve. As a law firm, it’s important to offer these opportunities at all levels of practice.

For both lawyers and staff, constructive feedback and positive encouragement are important. By providing personalized feedback and having one-on-one meetings and not just waiting for end-of-year performance reviews, your attorneys and staff members will feel supported in their learning and will believe that there’s a path forward for them in the firm.

More formal learning opportunities are also essential for attracting and retaining skilled attorneys. Incorporate opportunities for continuing legal education (CLE) sessions and conferences in your learning and development budget. Investing more in learning and offering growth opportunities means your lawyers will be prepared to deliver better work to your clients — and more satisfied clients mean more income for your firm.  

3.   Work/life balance and flexible work arrangements

Work-life balance is key in attracting top talent, especially if that top talent consists of younger attorneys. Lawyers work long (and often stressful) hours on cases and acquisitions, so offering a supportive environment is crucial in counterbalancing the other demands of the job.

By offering flexible work arrangements — like remote or hybrid work or adjusted work hours — you’ll provide lawyers with the tools to manage their personal responsibilities. This includes flexible arrangements for new parents or employees who might need to work remotely to care for an aging family member. By providing flexibility, your firm will emphasize its commitment to supporting its attorneys and staff, and in doing so will attract the best of the best.

Legal technology can be employed to make it easier for attorneys to get their work done anytime, anywhere. Cloud-based legal software that enables secure remote access of case files, documents, and other client materials means lawyers can work from home or on the road more easily. Leading legal software platforms can enable lawyers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with team members and clients through document sharing, messaging, and videoconferencing.

4.   Advanced legal software

Advanced legal technology isn’t only important for offering flexible work arrangements — it’s also an expectation for incoming top talent. Good legal tech makes life easier for attorneys by streamlining work processes and increasing efficiency. It allows lawyers to work smarter by calendaring deadlines, prioritizing billable tasks, and ridding themselves of mundane or repetitive tasks through automation. Time capture tools make it easier than ever to keep valuable billable minutes from falling through the cracks.

The bottom line on legal recruitment and retention: Money talks, but so does legal technology

While lawyers may be wooed by an attractive compensation package, they won’t stay if they don’t like working for your firm. An important part of your firm’s culture rests on how well you enable your lawyers and staff to work. That requires an investment in the latest legal technology.

This means tools to help with everything from case management to removing the tedium of timekeeping and billing (maybe the most frustrating of all law firm tasks).

And tech that enables internal collaboration, helping teams build a collective knowledge base that everyone can access and improving work quality, avoiding duplicative efforts, and accelerating results. For instance, a fully integrated matter management system will help keep everyone on a team up to date on matter status and highlight roadblocks where someone may be able to offer their expertise. Teams can also collaborate in real-time and track matter status, allowing for greater flexibility while also building a sense of community.

Everything is connected this way: better tech leads to less tedium, allowing lawyers to get their billable work done more quickly, which gives them more time to focus on their personal lives and find their own preferred work/life balance.

Of course, one of the best ways to convey to talent that you are the right choice for them to excel in their legal careers is to have an up to date and professional website. today’s talent expects a robust digital presence, and the first place they go to research employers is online.

Your firm’s webpage should highlight your firm’s culture and include statements or videos on your website with partners, associates, and staff explaining the benefits of working for your firm.

Junior and senior lawyers alike expect access to advanced tools that make work easier, enabling them to deliver exceptional client service and improving their work/life balance in the process. Law firms that invest in legal technology platforms can attract better talent and position themselves as industry leaders.

Compliance is a priority for law firms. And legal software can be a key tool in helping you meet your firm’s compliance requirements.

In this article, we’ll cover major compliance issues that law firms need to monitor and solutions that can reduce your risks.

What online compliance risks does my law firm face?

A primary compliance concern for law firms is staying on top of compliance related to both data and processes: for example, storing firm and client data safely in the cloud, managing online client portals, processing online payments, handling trust accounting issues, and following ethical requirements relating to online advertising and marketing.

In this section, we’ll go over a few major buckets of compliance risks in the digital world that your firm should recognize and address.

Ensuring cloud security

When it comes to storing data, security is the top compliance priority. Law firms must make “reasonable efforts” under ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6 to prevent the disclosure of client-related information. That means law firms must understand what client data they store, where they are storing it, and what the potential entry points for data loss and disclosure are. Additional compliance requirements vary depending on the size and type of law that your firm practices, but it’s best practice to review applicable requirements and make sure that your firm’s cloud infrastructure has the robust protections necessary to safeguard your clients’ data.

Choosing a reputable provider of cloud-based legal platforms is the first step in ensuring compliance. The provider should have a proven track record and, ideally, have suffered zero data breaches in the past. Make sure that it offers robust security features like encryption and access control, such as password policies, two-factor authentication, and role-based permissions.

Sharing data in online client portals

Much like the cloud, client portals require firms to pay special attention to how they secure client information. Your law firm should implement strong access controls, such as two-factor authentication and secure file transfer protocols, to prevent unauthorized access to client data. Law firms that use client portals also must comply with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which include requirements for maintaining client confidentiality (Rule 1.6), establishing competence (including with technology) (Rule 1.1), and keeping clients informed of matters (Rule 1.4).

Processing client payments online

There are a host of considerations when deciding how to accept online payments from your clients. Clients overwhelmingly prefer to have the ability to pay online and to pay with credit cards. Turning to legal software to do the behind-the-scenes work of processing online payments for your law firm is your best bet.

The right legal technology platform can ensure that all online payments accepted follow the ABA Model Rules, Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) guidelines, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). The right legal payment and accounting software will ensure that your legal team does not commingle client trust account funds with the funds they use for operations.

Following rules for online law firm advertising

Law firm websites must meet certain ethical requirements set forth by their state bars. For example, websites shouldn’t advertise a lawyer as an “expert” or as “specialized” in a particular practice area unless they hold a specific qualification permitted by their state. They should also not hold themselves out to be the “best” lawyer to handle a type of matter. Attorneys may also need to include a disclaimer noting that the information on their website should not be considered legal advice. Lawyers should check their state bar’s requirements to ensure compliance. In some states, the bar may require or permit the submission of the law firm’s website content for ethical review.

Additionally, prospective clients want to see that your law firm is capable of handling matters like theirs. One of the best ways to highlight your expertise is through the words of satisfied clients. But there are limits to what you can share online — and you also need to prepare for how to handle a negative review. ABA Model Rule 7.1 requires that all communications about a lawyer and their services must be true and not misleading. Marketing statements, such as testimonials, could be misleading if they set an expectation that a lawyer can obtain the same results as another client without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client’s case.

Finally, law firms should make sure that their websites meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That means your site’s design and visual and audio content need to be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

A digital marketing company that focuses on helping law firms can help identify and avoid online marketing pitfalls and help you comply with your state bar’s requirements.

What other steps should my firm think about for compliance?

True compliance starts with your people. Your law firm should have a data protection plan (especially when it comes to client data) that outlines steps and safety procedures. It should include policies on who can access client data, how and when they can access it, and how data is retained and backed up. Also, make sure that your attorneys and staff are trained on how to handle sensitive data and best practices for compliance.

Legal software is critical to your law firm’s compliance

Legal software plays a critical role in helping law firms remain compliant with laws and regulations. As touched on throughout this article, the laws related to compliance are plentiful, and navigating those waters yourself is unnecessarily risky.

With advanced legal software, your firm can ensure data security through the cloud, keep client information confidential, and process online payments both quickly and while fulfilling your legal and ethical requirements. By leveraging legal software, your firm will streamline compliance processes, reduce the risk of data breaches and other violations, and ultimately protect your law firm’s reputation.

Almost nine in ten Americans use some form of digital payment. It’s no wonder, then, that law firm clients expect to be able to make payments online. Not only does this make handling bills easier and faster for your clients, but it’s also good for your law firm’s cash flow. Online payments close the gap between the time a client is billed to when that client makes good on payment.

In this article, we’ll cover how your law firm can accept online payments while remaining compliant with applicable law and ethical guidelines. We’ll also note some of the best features to look for in your payment solution software.

Do clients expect online payment options? 

Yes! Clients expect law firms to deliver a memorable client experience, which includes making payments quick and easy by offering a variety of payment options. Clients want the flexibility of making payments via credit cards, e-checks, and digital transfer services like ACH. In fact, a recent study found that 40% of clients would never hire a lawyer who didn’t take credit or debit cards.

This variety of payment options is also good for your firm and its bottom line. By offering several convenient payment methods, law firms incentivize their clients to pay invoices faster and completely. When you expand your firm’s acceptable methods of payment, you’ll likely find that you spend less time waiting for checks in the mail, less time hounding clients for late payments, and more time on billable work.

Is accepting online payments complicated?

Accepting online payments isn’t complicated, but it does require planning and a little help from technology. It’s not inherently risky for your law firm to accept online payment. Nearly every jurisdiction in the United States has given the green light for law firms to accept credit card payments for legal fees and expenses. But, as with all legal fees, your firm must comply with applicable legal requirements and ethical responsibilities.

In broad strokes, your firm must comply with the rules requiring the separation of client and third-party funds from your law firm’s operating funds. What is the best way to do this? Use payment software developed for attorneys with this exact ethical issue in mind. Without it, your firm might not be compliant.

While your law firm accepting online payment isn’t dicey, using a non-legal payment solution is. These software options often fail to properly handle law firm transactions according to the trust accounting principle noted above as well as Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) guidelines. The result can be noncompliance, which is bad for everyone — including your law firm’s reputation. The right technology ensures that your law firm has separate operating and trust accounts and ensures that processing fees are deducted from your operating account only.

If you set yourself up correctly, your firm will never have to worry about an inadvertent ethics violation and can focus on delivering exceptional client work.

What makes online payments compliant or noncompliant? What can I do in my firm to ensure compliance?

With the various rules and regulations regarding legal payment, fee collection comes with a host of unique considerations, especially when accepting credit card payments. The right legal payment processing platform will do the behind-the-scenes work for your law firm, ensuring that all online payments accepted comply with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and IOLTA guidelines.

When picking a payment solution, we recommend looking for the following four features to ensure compliance and improve ease of use.

1. Manage multiple trusts/retainers under a single matter

Not only do clients expect to be able to pay online, but they also expect that your firm will manage their multiple trusts and retainers. Rather than falling short of their expectations, with the proper tools, you can easily manage multiple trusts and retainers under one or many matters and even track them at the client level.

By having the power to track both your firm and client finances in one central place, you can keep an eye on money moving in and out of your firm with complete faith in your firm’s compliance.

2. Separate earned revenue and unearned revenue

Under most state laws, law firms must keep earned revenue and unearned revenue separate. The right payment tool recognizes when payment revenue is unearned (that is, applied to a trust replenishment) and when it is earned (applied to a billing entry) and deposits it accordingly.

You need a legal technology platform that can take an invoice payment and split it between two accounts, keeping your firm in compliance, saving your accounting team time, avoiding mistakes, and raising your collection realization rate. Avoid tools that require you to have either a trust account or an operating account and then require a bookkeeper to determine whether and how to apply and move the funds. That’s asking for human error and compliance woes.

3. Easily manage your IOLTA accounts

You need an efficient way to track multiple IOLTA accounts. With a robust legal platform, you can automatically assign accounts for each client trust so that you can track the flow of money, giving you visibility into where your firm and trust money meet at all times.

4. Apply available funds to pay off client bills automatically

Instead of waiting for that check to arrive in the mail, you can sweep through accounts to find matters with accounts receivable balances and available funds. With this information, your firm can quickly create bill payments and then write checks from your IOLTA account to an operating account. This way, you’re always efficiently applying your client’s money (and making them happy).

For many law firms, the “client experience” is simply about results: if lawyers win a case or close a deal, they consider that a positive experience. Resolving a problem is  offering good client service. There’s more to creating a great experience.

Meeting basic client expectations for good service won’t be enough to stand out to new clients among your competitors. Instead, law firms need to find new ways to deliver a holistic client experience — spanning from first contact through the final bill — that will help you be distinctive from other firms, keep existing clients, and help your law firm weather a market downturn.

What does an exceptional client experience look like that will help you reach new prospective clients during an economic slowdown? Let’s take a look.

Make a great first impression on clients with a fast, efficient client intake process

The client intake process is likely your firm’s first substantive communication with a new client. And it’s a reputation-altering opportunity.

Your client intake process should be quick and painless. An automated process can collect all the information you need and populate it into other forms and systems so there’s less lag time while your staff manually enters client information. It can also schedule appointments and route people to the right contact so there is less friction for prospective clients. Advanced intake technology can also sift through leads to determine which are worthy of pursuit so you can prioritize them before they look elsewhere for help.

The right system will also allow your team to complete a thorough conflicts check quickly. It should also capture your clients’ concerns so you can understand their goals and tailor your services to meet their needs. Whatever system you use, collect information about how clients find out about your services so you can focus your marketing dollars on those channels.

A smooth intake process is the first way that you can showcase to clients that you’re able to meet their expectations. The longer and more painful your intake process, the more likely clients are to choose a different law firm.

Engage in regular client communication

Communication is the foundation of a positive client experience. No one likes to be left in the dark, wondering about the status of their case. And no matter how busy you are, clients don’t like to hear that their call or email went unanswered because you were working on a different client’s matter.

Clients expect regular communication, and they expect that communication to be thoughtful. (This means that your lawyers and staff should communicate with clients in plain language instead of legal jargon and offer clear explanations of what your clients can expect.) Whenever there’s a development in your client’s case, you should let them know about it in a timely fashion. And if your client emails or calls with a question, you should quickly acknowledge their concern, even if you don’t have an immediate answer. Responsiveness can avoid conflicts and misunderstandings and strengthen the client relationship. You should also touch base regularly with your clients even if you don’t have any significant news to report, so they know that their case is still on your radar.

But all of this communication can become tedious in a lawyer’s busy day. Back-and-forth status emails and calls take a lot of time away from pressing legal work. Fortunately, there’s an easier way to keep clients apprised of their case status.

A secure, cloud-based client portal makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with clients. An online portal allows clients to access the information they need at their convenience, whether it’s a deadline, a document, or a bill. For example, an online portal allows clients to log in to view their current billing status and share and view documents. Some portals also offer a chat function that delivers automatic text notifications when new messages or other updates arrive, improving lawyers’ responsiveness and raising client satisfaction because they won’t have to play phone tag or go back and forth over email.

Ensure your billing processes are predictable and transparent

Transparency builds trust and strengthens the client relationship, which is essential when creating a client-centered practice. To deliver a good client experience with regard to billing, you need to explain your firm’s rates up front. You should also set a budget that includes all anticipated fees so your client fully understands their potential financial outlay.

Many clients also prefer to understand their billing status before they receive a surprise in the mail. An online billing portal keeps clients updated so there aren’t any unexpected expenses that can damage your relationship with clients.

You can also improve the client experience by offering a variety of payment options. Many clients enjoy the flexibility of making online payments through credit cards, eChecks, and digital transfer services like ACH. An online portal makes it easy to take these payments while expediting the firm’s receipt of funds — you won’t have to wait months for a check or hound clients for overdue payments.

Embrace legal technology now to improve your firm’s performance in a recession

Your law firm should set a perpetual goal of improving your clients’ experience — regardless of how the market is performing. And one of the easiest ways to increase your clients’ satisfaction is by adding client-centric legal technology.

When the market is tight, law firms may initially question the expense of adding new tools. However, tech tools should be delivering savings in the short and long term. They can reduce manual work, improving employee satisfaction and reducing turnover. They can streamline the intake process so prospects don’t have to wait as long for an initial lawyer contact. And they can ensure clients are always kept up to date about the status of their matters and bills.

Legal technology tools make it easy for clients to work with your law firm — and to share their positive client experience with others.

The practice of law — even in a firm environment — is typically individualistic. The siloed nature of the practice of law can lead to duplicative work and bottlenecks. One key to making legal work more efficient and profitable is working together as a united front, and the best way to create that front is through collaboration.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of internal collaboration, including why it’s important for productivity and your firm’s bottom line, how you can use it to retain clients and legal talent, and where legal technology can lend a helping hand.

What is internal collaboration, and why is it important?

At its core, internal collaboration means working as a team. It acknowledges that together we can accomplish more than if we act alone.

Some lawyers think collaboration is antithetical to the practice of law, which they view as inherently competitive. But internal collaboration is an important part of working in any organization and is important if your law firm wants to find new ways to reach its productivity and profitability goals. Research shows that law firms that get collaboration right earn higher margins, attract more lucrative clients, and inspire greater client loyalty.

Does internal collaboration improve the client experience and profitability of my law firm?

A better-connected law firm means more access to the internal riches of the firm. Your firm is likely full of expertise — experts in litigation, real estate, accounting, and human resources, to name a few. But unless you have collaboration, a lot of that expertise may go untapped.

Lawyers often face complex issues that fall outside of their practice area expertise. If you’re a litigator dealing with a benefits issue, knowing how to access and work with your employment and benefits team is important to providing the best client service. If you practice in family law, when it comes to alimony across state lines, you might require some assistance from a colleague with tax expertise or before a different jurisdiction’s courts.

Better collaboration means better business, and better business means more business. Frictionless internal collaboration is good for your clients, and it’s good for your bottom line.

How does internal collaboration affect firm culture and its ability to attract and retain talent?

recent McKinsey study looking at employee retention rates in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic asked employees why they quit their jobs. The top three factors cited were that the employees didn’t feel valued by their organizations (54 percent) or their managers (52 percent) and that they didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work (51 percent). The third response is particularly important to law firms.

Unpacking the term “belonging” goes beyond compensation and benefits and into something much more human. All employees, regardless of their level, want to feel that their contributions are noted and appreciated by both their leaders and the organization as a whole. Internal collaboration plays a critical role, allowing law firms to build camaraderie by recognizing that everyone has something to offer. People want to stay where they are seen and appreciated.

Organizational culture is a big part of this too. A law firm culture based on collaboration that prizes collective knowledge is preferable to one where lawyers gatekeep resources and compete with one another. Creating a great law firm culture starts with an open dialogue of free-flowing ideas and feedback, which areimportant components of internal collaboration.

Three steps to improving collaboration at your law firm

There’s no silver bullet that will improve collaboration today at your law firm. However, if you follow these three steps, you’ll develop an environment that encourages collaboration — one where team members work together to accomplish their goals.

1. Foster a culture of collaboration

Law firms can promote a culture that rewards collaboration by setting appropriate expectations and incentivizing teamwork. Firms should create opportunities for cross-department collaboration as often as possible.

One place to start is assigning team members to work on projects outside their usual practice area. Or you could create a cross-functional team to tackle a challenge a client is facing, to address lawyer recruitment, or to devise new business development ideas. Simple team-building activities, such as coffee breaks, lunches, and other social events, can also build bonds between people who wouldn’t otherwise interact.

Whichever avenue you choose, be sure to recognize and reward collaborative efforts. You may also want to incentivize collaboration by including it as a metric in your firm’s yearly evaluations.

2. Encourage open communication

Communication is the foundation for effective collaboration. Start encouraging open communication by creating an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. To build a more collaborative environment, schedule regular gatherings, including team meetings and brainstorming sessions.

If your lawyers and staff are willing, you can also bring in outside experts to help develop collaboration and teamwork skills, including communication and conflict resolution.

3. Use collaborative technology and tools

Technology is a powerful enabler of internal collaboration. Legal technology helps teams build a collective knowledge base that everyone can access. In turn, this improves work quality, avoids duplicative efforts, and accelerates results.

For instance, a fully integrated matter management system corrals data and documents in a single source of truth. It can keep everyone on a team or in a firm up to date on matter status and highlight roadblocks where someone may be able to offer their expertise. With a matter management system, teams can collaborate in real-time and track matter status, no matter where they are in the world. And lawyers can exchange messages seeking help from each other, such as whether anyone has experience dealing with a novel legal issue or has appeared before a particular judge.

Cloud-based document management systems also make it easy for multiple people to work simultaneously on documents, accelerating your results. You can also avoid the lag time of waiting for people to turn drafts around or trying to figure out which version is the most recent, both of which can discourage teamwork.

Take the next steps toward collaboration

Law firms can start improving their service delivery — and their bottom line — by taking steps now to remove the barriers to collaboration. To learn more about how technology can make it easier for your legal team to get work done, get in touch.

Law firms across the country are buzzing, and it feels suspiciously like 2008. The word “recession” is being whispered in hushed water-cooler conversations. Many firms are looking to optimize their operations and hunker down in anticipation of lean times.

Weathering the storm will be challenging, but the law firms that come out strongest on the other side will be the ones that have figured out how to optimize their performance as part of their recession-proofing strategy. That optimization begins with a strong foundation of legal technology.

To start, take a look at your current legal technology stack. Are you getting everything you need from it? If not, consider what tools will give you the best return on your investment. Choosing the right legal technology tools now can help you save time and cut costs, ensuring that your firm can operate efficiently.

In this article, we’ll cover how to determine the ROI of your legal tech investment and what your firm should focus on as it prepares for a potential recession.

How do I calculate ROI when it comes to legal technology?

Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important performance metrics that your law firm tracks. When your firm puts money into a project or investment (like updating its legal technology), measuring ROI lets your firm understand the value of the investment. Basically, it tells you whether it’s a winner or a loser.

ROI is a bit easier to calculate in some areas (for example, digital marketing) than in others. When it comes to evaluating your firm’s ROI for legal tech, it’s more involved, and you’ll need to consider several factors.

Start by thinking about what task you want to make easier (or eliminate) or what cost you’re looking to reduce. Are you trying to lower the time that lawyers spend on intake? Are you trying to expedite your billing and collections process? Or are you looking to lower data storage costs by moving to the cloud?

Once you have a firm grasp on what you want to achieve with technology, start evaluating the following factors to evaluate the ROI.

Calculating the ROI of legal tech is somewhat subjective and deeply personal to your law firm and its lawyers and staff. As noted above, the important components to keep top of mind are saved time and saved costs weighed against the cost of the tech and speed of deployment.

What’s the best way to figure out whether legal tech is working? We recommend asking your lawyers and staff first. They know best what features they use daily and which ones aren’t worth the time investment.

What legal technology should I prioritize in light of the recession?

We recommend prioritizing legal technology that allows lawyers to minimize non-billable time as well as tech that focuses on clients and client relationships. Technology in each of these areas prioritizes money coming into the firm, whether through direct billing or ensuring the longevity of a client relationship.

Technology can also help improve staff morale, as it eases their administrative workload and reduces the need for repetitive work — two things that bog lawyers down and keep them away from their core work. Lastly, if your firm hasn’t already, moving to the cloud is a way to both save money and heighten security.


Work smarter, not harder. Your lawyers’ time is their most important asset, and your legal technology should help them prioritize billable tasks. Good legal technology helps lawyers rid themselves of mundane or repetitive tasks through workflow and document automation.

Legal technology can also upgrade the way your firm’s lawyers track time, increasing captured billable time (and thus your firm’s revenue). An organized and automated system will help to ensure that no billable hour goes untracked. Many legal productivity tools remove the tedium of billing, so your lawyers can spend less time writing descriptions and more time writing briefs. The removal of tedium is also good for morale and general employee retention.

Client experience

Good legal technology also takes care of your clients. When thinking about ROI in this regard, it’s less about the dollars and more about ensuring that clients are satisfied and sticking around. A healthy client relationship can lead to years of business.

We recommend legal technology that streamlines client intake, allows you to communicate with clients easily and through different means, and has a secure client-specific portal that allows your lawyers to share documents with clients directly and for your staff to send bills. Keeping clients around during a recession is key to keeping your firm running.

Move to the cloud

Your firm may have hesitated to move to the cloud before, worried about the amount of effort and security. However, the benefits of using a secure cloud infrastructure far outweigh the risks.

If you’re concerned about saving your firm money, cloud-based infrastructure can reduce service and storage costs, especially if you need to scale up and down unexpectedly to meet fluctuating demand.

How do I present the idea of new technology to my firm during this time?

Show law firm leaders the numbers while also focusing on the intangible benefits of better technology. The legal space is becoming more competitive every day, and legal technology is one of the best ways to stay at the top of the game.

Intelligent technology that helps your lawyers work smarter and spend more time on billable hours is good for your bottom line. Your law firm will benefit from their heightened engagement, and clients will benefit from better strategies and advice. The right legal technology will also increase staff and client satisfaction, an important consideration regardless of how the market is doing.

If you’re interested in legal technology that can help your firm increase its billable output, strengthen client relationships, and streamline your lawyers’ workload, get in touch.

Paid online advertising can be an important part of a law firm’s digital marketing strategy, and it yields results in both the short and long run. If you want to optimize your online reach in 2023, your law firm should be looking at its online presence through both organic and paid search results.

Throughout the year as a part of our larger blog series, we’ll be covering digital marketing and how your law firm can build its 2023 digital marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of paid online advertising like PPC and PPL and how your law firm can benefit from incorporating these digital marketing tactics into your strategic plan.

What are the main types of paid digital advertising used by law firms?

The three major types of paid digital advertising that law firms use are pay per click (PPC), pay per lead (PPL), and Google Local Services ads. We’ll cover all three in this article, with an emphasis on PPC and PPL.

What is PPC?

With pay per click (PPC) advertising, your law firm pays for the number of “clicks” it receives from online users. For example, your law firm’s ad is featured on a given platform (e.g., websites, social media, or search engines), an online user clicks on the ad, and your law firm is billed for that click. Google Ads is the most popular system for placing PPC ads, as it enables your business to create ads that appear directly on Google based on a user’s search.

This seems like a straightforward process, but optimization (and getting the biggest ROI) requires strategic thinking and regular re-evaluation. As with all other digital marketing campaigns, you’ll want to begin by getting a feel for your target audience. Think about who they are, how old they are, where they live, and why they might be seeking legal advice. Focusing on your target market is important for creating the keywords that will be used in connection with your PPC ad.

What is PPL?

With pay per lead (PPL) advertising, the amount that your law firm will pay depends on the number of leads generated by a third party. As a reminder, a lead is a person or business that has shown interest in using the legal services that your law firm offers. Typically, your law firm will be able to define what constitutes a lead and thus only pay when those requirements are met. An example of a PPL arrangement is one where a firm pays by the number of leads who provide their contact information or who apply for a free consultation.

Google’s Local Services Ads

With Google Local Services ads, your law firm can connect directly with people who search on Google for services in their area that your firm offers. It works like this: your firm’s advertisement will show up for customers in your geographic area who search for legal services related to your firm. Similar to standard PPL, your law firm will only pay if the lead calls or messages directly through the advertisement.

These Google ads require multistep verification and a fairly rigorous screening process. As with other advertisement strategies, Local Services ads should be optimized to showcase your law firm’s expertise.

When it comes to PPC and PPL, which one is better?

The right answer depends on your law firm’s goals. Both PPC and PPL advertising offer your law firm the chance to increase visibility and build a strong reputation.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose between the two; you can opt to implement both PPC and PPL if your law firm’s budget allows. In making your decision, check out this chart, which highlights some key differences between these paid forms of online advertising.

Time and effort With PPC, you have more control over branding, over which type of clients are acquired, and over what messages your law firm sends. However, this process is time-consuming and requires learned skills, as you’ll need to monitor your performance and tweak your strategy to optimize your results. With PPL, your law firm can rely on the skills of a third-party provider without having to implement strategies or conduct the keyword research yourself. If your law firm or marketing team is smaller, this can take a significant amount of workload off your plate.


Cost The costs of PPC strategies are less predictable than PPL. Law-related keywords have some of the highest costs per click out there: some have even reached $500+ per click. It might be difficult to find keywords that match your budget and your ambitions. Because your law firm pays a specific amount for each lead acquired, you’ll be able to calculate your costs upfront, so you’ll be better able to predict your budget.
Quality PPC is known for its quick results via increased web traffic. By routing visitors who click on your ad to your law firm’s website, you’re creating increased visibility. This is great for your law firm, but it doesn’t guarantee that the click will turn into a lead or paying client right away. However, with PPC, you can retarget these people by showing them your ad again and encouraging them to get in touch when they need your services and are ready to move forward. PPL can lead to higher-quality leads. The leads acquired from PPL have already expressed interest in legal services. That means your firm should have an easier time converting them into paying clients. However, some PPL providers send the same leads to multiple firms, leaving your firm to duke it out and nurture the attorney-client relationship.


In sum, the major difference is that with PPL, a third-party platform captures leads that are far along the journey of buying legal services. PPL services are doing their own marketing to attract those leads. PPC directly links to your law firm’s website through keywords in a search engine. A PPL arrangement is a great option for small law firms or solo practitioners who want their law practice to grow but don’t yet have the capacity for dozens of new clients.

If your firm has the time and capacity to focus on lead generation, starting with PPC is likely the right route. If your firm just wants to follow up on leads and see how they play out, then PPL is probably more your speed.

How does paid online advertising help my law firm?

Paid online advertising takes some of the guessing out of the new-client pipeline. By advertising online through any of the methods mentioned in this article, your law firm will get its name out there and start building a reputation in the community.

If your law firm is looking for results, paid search campaigns are an important digital marketing tool to consider. They offer tried-and-true ROI in the short and long term. Both PPC and PPL are useful tactics to obtain new clients while simultaneously growing your digital presence and brand.

As a law firm, building authority and a positive online reputation in the community are essential to strengthening your overall brand. Your digital marketing efforts should support just that — the overall position of your firm and its reputation.  

Plus, it’s all related. By emphasizing thought leadership and trust through digital marketing, your firm builds a reputation, and clients seek you out based on that reputation.  

Understanding growth marketing vs. demand generation is important as you think through your strategy. Growth marketing focuses on the entire customer journey from awareness to acquisition and from retention to common growth marketing tactics include search engine optimization efforts and email marketing campaigns.  

Demand generation zeroes in on building awareness and interest in what your law firm has to offer in order to drive leads. Common demand generation marketing tactics focus on one element of your client’s journey, such as increasing online traffic or using call-to-action buttons to convert a web visitor to a lead.   

The best law firm digital marketing plan uses a combination of growth marketing and demand generation strategies. The key is knowing which channel will work best for your law firm by looking at your firm’s key performance metrics and measuring changes in your online position over time. 

Below, we’ll get into the details on four of the digital marketing channels  from search engine optimization and social media marketing campaigns to email marketing and paid ads .that can help your law firm make the biggest online impact— for the best return on your investment.  

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO drives traffic to your law firm’s website by increasing its visibility in search engine non-paid results. Here’s how it works: Google search engine results rank the responses to a user’s search based on multiple factors, including the content of webpages. The more relevant your content is to the search terms entered by the online searcher, the more likely that your content and your firm’s website will appear at the top of a results page.   

SEO is also measured by the quality of your law firm’s webpage. That means navigation and readability matter.   

Lastly, local SEO can be another important aspect of your legal website’s overall SEO. Your law firm can optimize its geographic reach through local SEO, helping to establish your firm as the go-to in your community.  

When properly executed, SEO will deliver returns well above the 5:1 ratio we mentioned in our blog post explaining the return on investment of marketing. 

2.Social media marketing and campaigns 

A social media presence helps prospective clients both find your firm and get to know all about your brand.  

Through an approachable, robust social media presence, you’ll meet prospective clients where they are and encourage them to get in contact with you by demystifying the legal process. In addition, with a solid social media presence, your law firm can engage directly with current clients and leads, marketing its expertise while building stronger community relationships 

As with your overall digital content strategy, your law firm’s social media posts should be helpful, legally sound, visually appealing, and link directly to your firm’s website to capture any leads. We recommend getting started with Facebook, a Google Business Profile, and LinkedIn.

3.Content and Email marketing

Engage current and prospective clients with thoughtful and helpful content and information. You can offer a free weekly or monthly newsletter, or access to your law firm’s blog. You can collect email addresses and stay in contact with current clients (and keep them updated on how helpful your law firm is).  

Entice website visitors with lead magnets such as free guidebooks, white papers, or webinars that visitors can download directly from your law firm’s website once they’ve provided their contact information  .  

Once your law firm has a solid email list, you can plan effective email marketing. The emails sent out through this list should be targeted and positive, showcasing your firm’s expertise and how your attorneys  make life easier for their clients.  

4.Paid marketing campaigns 

If you are looking for the fastest, most direct results, paid search campaigns are another digital marketing tool to consider. The three main types of digital ads are pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and Google’s Local Services ads.  

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising 

With PPC advertising, your law firm only pays for the number of “clicks” it receives from online users. For example, your firm’s ad is featured on a given platform (a website, social media, or a search engine), an online user clicks on the ad, and then your law firm pays for that click. It seems like a simple process, but optimization requires strategic thinking and regular re-evaluation.  

As with SEO, research is important here. Your law firm will need to conduct research on keywords, organize those keywords into logical groupings, and then link to the correct landing page of your website to hook the lead as quickly as possible. PPC is a great tool to boost your law firm’s online performance at a relatively low cost.   

Pay-per-lead (PPL) advertising 

With PPL advertising, the amount that your law firm will pay for an advertisement depends on the number of leads acquired. Typically, your law firm will be able to define what constitutes a lead and pay only when those requirements are met.  

An example of a PPL arrangement is one where a firm pays by the number of leads who provide their contact information. A PPL campaign is a great option for small law firms or solo practitioners who want their law practice to grow but don’t yet have the capacity for dozens of new clients.  

Google’s Local Services ads 

With Google Local Services ads, your law firm can connect with people who search on Google for services that your firm offers. It works like this: your firm’s advertisement will show up for customers in your geographic area who search for legal services related to your firm. Similar to standard PPL, your law firm will only pay if the lead calls or messages directly through the advertisement. These Google ads are relatively new and require multistep verification.  

As with other advertisement strategies, Local Services ads should be optimized to showcase your law firm’s expertise. (Relatedly, we also recommend Facebook ads are another as a route to grow your firm’s local online visibility.)  

Start building your law firm’s online presence now to reap the rewards throughout the year 

The key to meeting your law firm’s business development goals this year is to build your firm’s digital presence so you can start reaching a broader audience of prospective clients. By investing in these four foundational digital marketing channels, you’ll open up new avenues to reach new prospects, build your reputation, attract more traffic to your law firm’s website, and begin building a more robust client pipeline.