There’s obviously no way of telling when everything will go back to the way it was, or if it will at all. But we can be hopeful, and we can all do our best to keep ourselves and others safe while we wait to learn more. For lawyers; solo practitioners, small firms, and large firms alike, there are a few things that can be done in preparation for courts reopening and helping potential clients through their legal needs once federal, state, and local governments deem it safe to do so.
Law360 has a great interactive graphic that allows you to see what courts in specific states are currently doing. Check that out here.
As courts continue to lift restrictions, here are some things firms should start doing now to help their clients, stay organized, and most importantly, keep the doors open during these difficult times.
1: Let Your Clients and Prospects Know Your Firm is Still Open
As obvious as it may seem to you that your firm is still open for business, to some consumers, it may seem that everything is closed, and therefore they may be unsure if you’re still working. So, it’s important to post updates everywhere your firm is active. If you have a website, put a notice at the top of your home page and other important pages that states your firm is still open and ready to help. Write a blog post about what your plans are when courts reopen. Post statuses on Facebook, write a short tweet saying you’re open, update your bio; the possibilities are nearly endless. Letting customers know that your firm is there for them is the first step in your office being their first call when they reach out for help.
2: Follow Your State and Local Guidelines, But Do What You Can For Your Clients
While social distancing guidelines may make it difficult for you to meet with clients in-person over the next few months, there are plenty of other ways to keep in touch with those you’re representing. For example, rather than having an in person consultation or meeting, you can meet virtually using Google Meet, Zoom, or Skype. These platforms, and others, will allow you that valuable face time with your clients and prospects, will also allow you to present slides, screen share documents, and discuss your strategies and plan of action for when you’ll be able to move forward with cases. Law firms neglecting their clients now will return to their office with lost and missed opportunities, while firms still communicating with clients have a better chance to come out of the pandemic unscathed.
Make sure your office is also following the State and Local guidelines for reopening. If you are allowed to open with restrictions, make sure you and your employees have face masks, hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing with each other and your clientele. Instruct everyone to wash their hands carefully to help prevent the spread of germs.
3: Hire an Answering Service to Help You Stay Organized and Capitalize on All Opportunities
This might sound like shameful self-promotion, but truthfully, regardless of whether or not you choose Answering Legal to help you better manage your calls, your firm should at least consider getting an answering service. Here’s why: As we all transition into getting back to work, it is more important than ever that firms stay organized and available to prospects and clients. As cases start to proceed, your existing customers will undoubtedly have tons of questions and concerns that they will be calling your office about. Providing them with a real representative of your firm could be the difference between them continuing to retain your services or finding another firm that can help them understand their current situation. It will also help you stay organized; the receptionist answering your phone will provide you with detailed information transcribed and sent the message to you via SMS text and email.
When it comes to capturing new business, it’s no secret that the past few months have hurt our wallets. You’ll want to start getting back to work and start capturing new clients as soon as possible in order to make up for lost time and money. By having a 24 hour answering service like Answering Legal behind your firm, you ensure that your firm has the best possible chance of converting every single caller into a customer. Sending new clients to voicemail is a surefire way to guarantee they call your competitors for help.
Of course, we at Answering Legal specialize in answering for law firms and offer a 7 day free trial for you to experience the benefits of our service.
4: Let Potential Clients Know What’s Happening In Your Area of Practice
As it pertains to your law firm’s area(s) of practice, it’s always a good marketing tactic to share important and relevant information that could be seen by prospects. For example, right now people who have received traffic tickets and have to appear in traffic court might be in limbo, and are wondering when they can either show up to court to pay their fine, present their view of what happened, or try to fight the ticket altogether. Right now, potential customers are looking to the experts, you, to let them know what is happening as far as court dates, openings, and postponements. By writing content surrounding this sort of information, you’ll become the source of information that prospects can rely on and ultimately will think of you first when it comes time for them to hire an attorney.
Think about what your particular area of practice’s potential clients might be wondering right now. Are they wondering when they can expect courts to reopen? Are they frightened of filing bankruptcy once the pandemic ends? Have they experienced any accidents or negligence that they need to pursue a civil case for, but don’t know how to go about doing it during court closings?
There are tons of opportunities being presented to firms across the country as people are experiencing financial hardships and need help. Bankruptcies and foreclosures have increased, employment cases and unemployment fraud are running high, family tensions from quarantining are sure to cause an increase in divorces and family law related matters. People need help from our great lawyers and law firms, so provide them the information they need about where to go for help, and you become the option they go to when they move forward.
5: Email Your Current Clients About Updated Timelines and What They Can Expect
You can’t only worry about new clients as we start reopening businesses, your firm surely has some ongoing cases that have been postponed by court closings and quarantine guidelines. Now is the time to start preparing your existing clients to resume their matters with your office. Let your clients know what you need from them, when they can expect to meet with you (either virtually or in person), and what your next steps are. By keeping them informed, you’ll have a much easier time getting your firm and your clients back into the swing of things. Sharing your office’s plans to reopen, when their cases will resume, and what you’re doing to make sure you are helping to create a safe and healthy environment can help your customers re engage with your office.
Now it’s your turn. What are some things your firm is doing in order to get back to work? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected]! Anything we use in our next article could feature your firm.