With the on-going growth of the legal tech industry, there are more choices than ever before. Legal tech can help you in two distinct ways. First, it can help you streamline your practice. They are time-efficient solutions that, when properly used, improves office operations. Second, when properly chosen, legal tech could also help you avoid an ethics complaint. In this post, we’re going to give you some simple legal tech tips that can help protect you from a bar complaint.
Legal Tech Helps You Remain Diligent and Competent
Two of the most common complaints filed against lawyers include lack of diligence and incompetence. Legal tech that provides you with scheduling help can help protect you and keep you on track for all of your deadlines, appointments, consultations, and meetings with opposing counsel. You can get reminders sent to your email or to your phone. If you already use software to manage many of the functions involved in running a law office, you may already have the power to better control your schedule.
Online Consultation Scheduling
Legal tech can help make it easier for potential clients to schedule a consultation. Online consultation scheduling tools allow your potential clients to see your open slots for consultations and to choose the best date and time that works for their schedules. If you charge for consultations, choose a scheduling tool like Acuity Scheduling to make sure that you get paid before the consultation.
Ensure Invoices Are Sent Out
Another common bar complaint filed against lawyers involves invoices not being sent out on time and high fees that clients didn’t expect. Often, the higher than expected total happens because the lawyer neglected to send out invoices on a regular basis. So, the client gets an unhappy surprise in their mailbox. Of course, we know that one reason why invoices may not go out as they should is because creating them can be time consuming. This is particularly true if you’re a solo lawyer and do not have designated staff to handle the billing. Legal tech such as Clio with LawPay, MyCase, or other online billing software created for lawyers reduces the amount of time that billing takes. It also enables lawyers to send their invoices electronically and allows clients to pay their bill online. Sending out timely invoices also helps you meet your ethical obligation of keeping clients informed on the status of their matter.
Using Legal Tech to Improve Client Communication
Failure to communicate with clients and provide them with regular updates is another common reason why clients file ethical complaints. Lawyers may not feel as if they have time to make phone calls to update clients. They may not feel like they have anything to say if they’re waiting on opposing counsel or a third-party. Legal technology allows you to quickly and easily send out updates (regardless of whether they are detailed or short) to clients in a way that is secure. Client portals where clients have the ability to log-in enables the client to get their updates on their schedule and provides you with assurance that the message is delivered in a way that is secure. It also provides you with a way to quickly communicate something to your client without picking up the phone.
Embrace Legal Tech to Improve How Your Office Functions
Consider the unique needs of your practice and think about the potential ethical risks you face. Then, do some research to find the legal tech solutions that will benefit your practice. Finally, embrace them!
If you receive an ethics complaint from the California Bar and you’re not sure where you should start, check out The State Bar Playbook. This is Megan’s interactive and easy to use guide (and community!) that will help guide you through the process from receipt of the complaint all the way through the appeals process!