Today’s law offices face unprecedented challenges. Like businesses in so many industries, law firms serve clients that are becoming more sophisticated procurers of products and services, many of whom are being poached (at least in part) by a growing list of legal alternatives such as self-help websites, offshore legal vendors and virtual assistants. Other delivery models are certain to emerge and gain momentum in the coming years, putting even more pressure on traditional law firms to reduce costs while delivering better client experiences in order to prosper.
Demand for legal services is growing, but client behavior and purchasing patterns are changing. This, in turn, is placing enormous pressure on many traditional law firms, according to a recent Deloitte study. The challenges they face include:
- Intense competition from non-lawyer service providers such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer
- Increased insourcing of legal services by corporate clients
- Pressure to offer value pricing, fixed fees and other alternative billing arrangements that are simultaneously more risky and less lucrative
Thanks to all of these factors, legal professionals who make their living serving the interests of others are having to pay more attention to their own operations—particularly when it comes to cost efficiency, which is becoming more important at exactly the time lawyers need to deliver better experiences to their customers.
The Case for UC
Time is money, for both the law firm and the clients it is billing. Consider that the average lawyer charges $232 per hour – and yet, only bills for about 2 hours per day. Do clients want to spend that kind of money for their lawyer to be sitting on a plane, organizing their files? Do lawyers want to rack up even more non-billable time trying to reach their colleagues back at the office? I’m sure the answer is No in both cases.
Reducing the costs of doing business while delivering a better client experience is a tall order. But let’s include “raising productivity” and “enhancing security” as well, because hosted unified communications (UC), in tandem with the right managed IT services, can accomplish all four objectives for law offices. Here’s how:
With no up-front expenses and an affordable pay-as-you-go model, hosted UC offers an especially strong value proposition for law firms. With a solution like UCx, for example, employees can connect to a range of powerful voice, video, messaging and collaboration tools – all for about a dollar per user per day. Hosted UC also helps to reduce IT staff workload.
Better Client Experience
With the right hosted UC solution, it’s easier for employees and contractors to provide more responsive and personalized service to clients with phone calls and video conferencing at any time, from anywhere, on any device. This is growing in importance as law firms increasingly are using temporary staff at remote locations to support salaried staff, essentially creating “virtual” firms.
With an advanced solution like UCx, employees can quickly determine the availability of colleagues, open up a virtual conference room to collaborate on a case, and instantly share documents across various departments and remote locations. They can send instant messages and have voicemails automatically transcribed and forwarded to their email account. They also have the ability to integrate their phones with Outlook or their company’s CRM systems.
At law firms, the importance of protecting client information and meeting various state and federal statutes and regulations goes without saying. Business continuity and disaster recovery are equally important because access to digital legal libraries and client files is critical for deposition and trial preparation. At TPx, our UCx infrastructure is securely hosted at our own datacenters, which have multiple layers of redundancy in geo-diverse SSAE-16 facilities – providing always-on assurance.
The benefits of seamless communication and collaboration tools can be welcome surprises for law firms that have never been free to communicate fluidly inside and outside of the office. But when used in tandem with managed IT, managed firewall and business continuity services, all backed up by a state-of-the-art security operations center, UC can be a game-changing proposition and a valuable asset to any legal team.
We’d love to show you how. Ask your TPx representative for a UCx product tour, or, if you prefer, schedule a demo.