In an industry notoriously slow to embrace change, legal technology has not been an easy sell — even when it benefits your client relationships. But it’s indispensable for the modern law firm. Automation, communication tools and billing platforms, among other technologies, help lawyers deliver top-notch work, focus on their clients and grow their practices.
Thompson Reuters’ Law Firm Business Leaders Report found that a whopping 92% of firms are likely to adopt additional legal technology to boost overall performance; 60% did so with the goal of providing additional value to their clients.
Here are five ways legal technology tools boost both the law firm client experience and loyalty.
1. Improving accessibility, communication and efficiency
Your clients likely rely on your law firm at one of the worst times in their lives and are paying much more than they’re comfortable spending. Part of your job as a lawyer is to help make this experience less stressful for your client.
Smokeball’s Communicate feature puts your client in the driver’s seat, offering a secure portal to share files, monitor their case and send messages. Best of all, Communicate works from the comfort of your client’s home via a mobile app, eliminating time spent travelling, waiting and dealing with cumbersome files. Need additional details or paperwork from your client? Send them an upload link.
At the end of the day, Communicate improves that client relationship. The legal technology you use directly reflects how you function as a firm and as a lawyer — and clear, consistent communication shows you have nothing to hide.
2. Simplifying file sharing and e-signatures
Every lawyer understands the frustration of drafting a time-sensitive document and sending it to the client for their final review and signature, only to be stuck waiting while the client prints, signs, scans and sends it back.
But Smokeball’s matter management software solves this problem —thanks to a seamless DocuSign integration. Just create your document in the related Smokeball matter and email it to your client. They can sign with the click of a button – even from a mobile device – and you’re notified when your document is complete. Plus, Smokeball automatically saves a copy to the corresponding matter, so you’ll never dig through physical files for signed documents again.
3. Organising your inbox to keep track of important emails
Few lawyers can appreciate the importance of a well-organised inbox better than family lawyers, who typically handle as many as 30-40 matters at once. The sheer volume of communication makes it impossible manually track every message – especially important ones that could make or break a case.
Without an integrated system, lawyers need to save each email, convert it to a PDF and file it on their computer. And when you have hundreds of incoming emails every day, “it’s just not possible,”.
Smokeball’s email management tools integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook, automatically saving and filing each message to the related matter. Every member of your firm gains access, so everyone’s on the same page with the same information.
4. Improving accuracy and building trust
Trust is the foundation of every business relationship and starts with accuracy. Even a court document's factual or spelling error is enough to break trust. And if firms rely on copy-paste to fill dozens of legal forms, mistakes are inevitable.
Smokeball’s Document Automation tools eliminate human error — because humans aren’t filling out legal forms. Instead, the platform pulls pre-populated details from the related Smokeball matter into every court form. You save time — and embarrassing errors. And because Smokeball’s automated legal forms and precedents library contains more than 6,000 up-to-date forms from 250+ matter types, you also save time seeking the right forms for your case.
5. Tracking time for more accurate, expedited billing
The odd lawyer has never reached the end of the work week and realised they’ve neglected to document time spent emailing your clients, drafting documents or holding conference calls. Multiple studies have shown that the average lawyer only bills about 2 hours daily, missing out on valuable fees.
You always lose time because you forget something or you spend longer on something than you think. What Smokeball does with this kind of time tracking software is it helps eliminate that issue because it’s already logged this for you.
Smokeball’s Legal Billing Software has the power to double your billable hours every day — without any additional work. That’s because our legal practice management software automatically captures every minute spent working in the system. Daily tasks are broken down incrementally for easy transfer to client invoices. Because clients receive a detailed picture of your work, they can trust your value for their dollar, increasing client retention rates and speeding up the payment process.