Have you ever worked with client portal software? Even if you haven’t, it’s possible you soon will — especially now with more attorneys working remotely and many clients wanting to avoid going into the firm’s office for meetings.
What is client portal software?
In the most basic terms, a client portal is software that allows you, the attorney, to interact and work with your clients in a secure online setting. As long as the client has internet access, they can log into your firm’s client portal and instantly share and review documents as well as send messages, among many other tasks. And you can do the same.
Why use client portals?
For many firms, client portals are now the go-to solution for working and communicating with clients. It allows everyone to review things on their own time, wherever they may be.
Here are four reasons why client portals would be a great idea for your firm:
1. Client portals make attorney-client communication more secure
When a client needs to get ahold of their attorney, what do they do? Send an email? Call the firm’s front desk? What about the lawyer’s direct line or cell phone? In some cases, a client will try any and all of these options — and the lawyer is left having to respond to every single one, wasting valuable time.
Law firm client portal software can fix this problem by creating one private location for clients and attorneys to communicate. There are many advantages to this:
- More secure than email: The best client portals provide excellent security for attorney-client communications and shared documents. Emails can sometimes be hacked, and even if you take great care to protect your firm’s email accounts, there is no guarantee that your clients are doing the same on their end. With secure client portals, communications are not only encrypted, but also protected on both ends.
- Faster and easier communication: With a centralized location, client portals simplify things since attorneys no longer have to monitor multiple methods of communication (i.e. email, cell phone, direct line, voicemail). And keeping everything in one spot means improved responsiveness.
- Better client experience: Clients don’t have to guess the best way to contact their attorney when using client portals. They send their message, and the attorney responds in the same place. No more playing phone tag trying to get ahold of each other.
If you are worried about the technical expertise necessary to create a client portal, don’t be. There are enterprise-level solutions available that include easy-to-use client portals. They are ready-to-go right out of the box — meaning you don’t need an engineering degree or coding background to quickly get to what you and your clients need.
2. Secure client portals are the new “lobbies” for law firms
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown firms anything, it’s that physical office locations and ornate firm lobbies are not nearly as important as they used to be. Clients don’t want to have to come into the office for every single meeting. They crave the simplicity that client portals and other online solutions provide. And if clients view your firm as being behind the times or lagging in technology, they may think twice about doing business with you.
As the attorney-client relationship quickly moves online, however, you need to make sure your client portal looks professional, thereby fostering a level of trust and ability in the firm. After all, your client portal may be the primary location in which your clients interact with you and your firm, essentially making it your new “lobby” — so it should look good.
3. Client portals simplify attorney-client collaboration
With client portals, you can easily share documents and files with clients, and they with you. You and your clients can also discuss the documents and immediately share your thoughts or concerns through portal communication. Some client portals even allow you to edit documents and create new versions, which your clients can see immediately.
No longer must you schedule client appointments and phone calls to discuss each and every detail of the case. You can do it all in the client portal. It simplifies and streamlines the collaboration process, plain and simple.
4. Client portal login is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
And speaking of collaboration, your client can do it on their schedule, 24 hours a day. Whether it’s 2 am, 2 pm, or any time in between, clients can access, review, and provide feedback on any of the documents related to their case – from any device.
Client portals give clients on-demand access so they can stay informed without actually having to contact you.
Make the best choice for your firm
Realizing your firm needs a client portal is the easy step. Next — you must figure out how to get it done.
Given all the solutions available for law firms today that include secure client portals, you certainly have a lot of options. Ultimately, your main concern should be finding the solution that best fits your firm’s specific needs. Making the right choice can greatly improve attorney-client communications and increase firm efficiency, so don’t take the decision lightly.
When choosing what solution works best for your firm, keep in mind these 4 building blocks that create a well-rounded client portal.