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Overcome increased client pressure on solo and small firms

This quote from a small law firm exemplifies how attorneys need to look at the current legal landscape. The industry has shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market and law firms are struggling to adjust. Clients are now in the driver’s seat, so your ability to provide a positive client experience is more important than ever.

Reimagining a successful client service process is a critical step for attorneys to sustain or grow their practice because the margin for error keeps shrinking. According to Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s 2019 State of U.S. Small Law Firms Report, most firms say their top priority and measure for success is client satisfaction, but only 37 percent are tracking client satisfaction ratings.

In addition, nearly 60 percent of small law firms said that clients demanding more for less is a key challenge, yet 76 percent admitted that they have made zero changes to remedy the issue.

This complacency is an issue as law firms grapple with developing business and providing the immediate value clients are demanding. In the same survey, 73 percent of attorneys said that acquiring new client business is a challenge and 53 percent noted that demonstrating the firm’s value to potential clients was a challenge. And with the expansion of legal resources and the ability to find an attorney anywhere and anytime via the internet, it’s not a surprise that the pressure is on attorneys to provide top shelf service to anyone who comes through the door, virtually or literally.

“There really is this sort of access to every realm of possibility of what could happen in the universe of their case, and then asking you about it and wanting to know why theirs is different,” said Claudia Lagos, a criminal defense attorney in Boston. “It is definitely difficult for dealing with clients and their ultimate satisfaction.”

According to the 2018 Thomson Reuters Legal Consumer Report, 81 percent of legal consumers surveyed contacted or seriously considered just two attorneys or law firms. So, while an influx of information has provided today’s clients with access to limitless options to address their legal issues, it’s still your job to get on their short list. Then, it’s up to you to provide an experience that leaves them satisfied and willing to talk about it, online and in-person.

While firms might believe their current relationship strategy is good enough, it could be costing them clients, impacting their bottom line and jeopardizing the future of their practice. Until you choose to create a more modern client service model, the difficulty of keeping clients happy will continue. 

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