A virtual law practice provides more freedom with how you use your time. A virtual law practice enables lawyers to rely on various forms of technology to work out of the comfort of their own space. One of the main highlights of choosing a virtual law practice (aside from the previous mention of having more freedom in how you use your time) is in the increase of productivity. There are fewer interruptions by co-workers. You can control when you schedule calls and meetings. You can choose when and where you conduct business. A chatbot can make virtual law practices even more productive.
What Is a Chatbot?
By definition, a chatbot is a computer program that simulates conversation with human users. Primarily, they’re used through Internet websites. However, there are several chatbots that also work on social media platforms. One example is Facebook. Some chatbots integrate with Facebook messenger and allow people to ask questions. The chatbot will respond with preloaded responses. It reduces the amount of time that potential and current clients wait for a response.
How Using Bots Help Virtual Law Practices
Chatbots aren’t designed to replace lawyers. They’re designed to help lawyers save time while making potential clients feel as if they’re instantly connected to the answers they need. Consider the amount of time you could spend answering questions for someone via email, private messenger, or live chat. Using bots, virtual law practices can answer basic questions such as tenant rights, the divorce process in your state, and even help with client intake by recording answers to intake questions.
Chatbots Don’t Have to Be Complicated
There are two common misconceptions about chatbots and how they will (or won’t) work with any sort of law practice. The first misconception is that this sort of legal tech is meant to get rid of lawyers. That’s simply not true. Chatbots are meant to help lawyers better control their time (and the time of their support staff).
The second misconception is that chatbots are complicated. Chatbots can be as simple as you want it to be. You can start by using one that only gives out office hours (or live chat hours) and contact information. You could use one to screen potential clients or answer basic legal questions that you receive on a regular basis. If you are more technologically adventurous, you have a chatbot take on more prolific tasks. Here are some examples:
- Joshua Browder created DoNotPay, a bot that took on 250,000 traffic ticket cases and won 160,000 of them. It’s believed that since 2014, DoNotPay saved drivers around $4 million in fines. The service also helps travelers get refunds on their flights when the price of a ticket drops. What a great use of legal technology! What could your virtual law practice do to serve the community using bots?
- LawDroid, created by Tom Martin, uses Facebook messenger and can help entrepreneurs incorporate their business without a fee.
- In the UK, Robot Lawyer Lisa helps entrepreneurs develop NDAs for free.
Think about how using bots could specifically save your virtual law practice time. Then, weigh your options!
by Dina Eisenberg
If you do everything in your law practice because you believe that nobody can do it better and others will just waste your time and money, guess what? You are a micromanager, Solo!
It seems funny to say that solo lawyers can also be micromanagers when you don’t have team. Yet, it’s true. Because you refuse to delegate you are vulnerable to making the same mistakes that a small firm lawyer would make when it comes to outsourcing.
Whether you are a solo lawyer or a small firm lawyer, you suffer the same bad results when you micromanage: poor work experiences, lower quality work, stress and burnout. Let’s look at micromanaging a little closer.
What is micromanaging?
Micromanaging is a management style where you have excessive control over every detail and aspect of the project without regard to the impact on others or yourself.
You know exactly what it feels like to be micromanaged if you’ve worked for anyone else for any length of times. It sucks.
Signs that you are a micromanager
You need a truthful mirror to reflect to you things that are true but not necessarily seen by you. That’s the kind of clarity I offer to my private clients.
There are signs that you micromanage that you might not see in yourself. Check this list out. You are a micromanager if you…
- Have a hard time asking for help
- Check in frequently to see if the work is being done/done your way
- Monitor every detail, even the smallest ones
- Believe that no one can produce what you can
- Don’t take advice or suggestions from others
- Make all the decisions involved in the project
- Believe that others will waste time or money
What micromanaging says about you
There are so many jokes and war stories about micromanagers. That’s kinda sad. People see micromanagers as difficult to work with, disrespectful and rude.
While some micromanagers like being characterized as ‘particular’, it really is a bad look, especially if you want to grow your law firm. You tell the world these things when you refuse to delegate effectively…
- You lack trust in yourself
- You lack trust in others
- You fear mistakes
- You fear being judged
- You lack the ability to see talent in others
- You lack emotional intelligence
Harvard Business Review reports that collaboration and soft skills are the key skills to possess if you want to future-proof your business. That seems especially true for lawyers as the profession adjusts to new market conditions and demands from clients for more efficiency.
How do you stop micromanaging?
How do you stop micromanaging?
First, realize that you didn’t develop this habit overnight or for no good reason. You won’t lose it without a fight or over the weekend. It will take consistent attention and effort to reshape your thinking and behaviors. Be patient with yourself.
Second, get a coach. You need guidance and feedback. You can’t properly hear what you sound like so you need a truthful mirror to reflect to you and show you where to change. I’d be happy to help you
Third, practice delegation. Delegate more. Start small. Recognize that you and your help have a shared goal: doing the best work possible.
Fourth, shift your mindset from managing to leading. Managers control things. Leaders inspire action, collaboration, and commitment. Leaders focus on the positive, not the negatives.
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity- George Patton
Are you a micromanager? No worries if you are. You can grow out of it and have a happier, less stressful work life with guidance and a little work on your emotional intelligence.
For more information and friendly guidance, connect with Dina Eisenberg at https://OutsourceEasier.com
Can law firm automation really save you time? More importantly, how can law firm automation improve your practice life? Many lawyers are afraid of embracing the automation concept. Yet, automation is already party of the legal industry. Potential clients have more options than ever before when it comes to getting their basic legal needs met. They can choose to use a website that provides state-specific simple legal documents, and many of those sites will allow them to have a lawyer associated with the site complete the form for them.
Automation in the legal industry isn’t about making lawyers obsolete. Law firm automation is about giving lawyers more time to focus on bringing in clients and handling the parts of law that only they can do. Law firm automation is good for clients, too. They get even more value for their money because the basics are completed much faster. Clients won’t feel ignored because you’re busy working on other projects.
Here are 3 law firm automation tips that will save you hours of time in your practice.
Start by Automating Client Documentation
It can take a lot of time to complete, collect, review, and assemble client documentation. In addition to dealing with a mound of paper for each client, you must ensure that you’re creating quality work product. If you’ve ever misplaced (or totally lost) client documentation, you know the fear and dread that can consume you.
Automating client documentation saves you time and helps create quality documents each and every time. Because the process is digital, it makes it more difficult for you (or your support staff) to misplace or lose documents.
For example, consider fee agreements. Even if you have a fee agreement template that you change in Word, you must spend time going through the agreement to change the name, remove unnecessary provisions, add the right provisions, and hope that you remember to do a “Save-As” instead of a hard save. Think about how much time you spend every time you change your fee agreement template. And, if you don’t know, time yourself. However, be careful not to rush through the process because you can end up creating more mistakes, and your time study will be inaccurate.
When the fee agreement becomes a standard part of law firm automation, it’s automatically completed after the client puts their information into your online form. You can choose whether the client will automatically receive a copy of the fee agreement. Using a fill-in-the-blank template that automatically populates from the information reduces the amount of time you spend on something that is non-billable and creates a more accurate document. You can even have your client sign the fee agreement online.
Automated Client Intake Procedures
Client intake is another important procedure, but is comprised of unbillable time. Law firm automation can help you save that time for billable projects. What could you do with the time you currently spend capturing information to get started on a case? Automating client intake also helps your clients. They don’t have to make the trip to your office. They don’t have to take off work. They can complete the intake process in the comfort of their own environment.
The process is fairly simply. The client fills out an online questionnaire. The answers are emailed to you and automatically added to your CRM. You can choose to send the client to a calendar that allows them to choose a date and time to talk with you on the phone. A that time, you can verify accuracy and get any other information you need.
Email is a necessity of law firm life, but it has a way of sucking us in. Even if you create a list of standard responses you can copy and paste to answer questions, it still takes a lot of time. And what about separating out requests, deadlines, newsletters, junk, and assigning firm matters to others? Email can become an all-consuming task.
Automating certain email tasks can save you hours of time each week. Start by setting up email rules and folders that separate your emails as they come in. You can set up rules based on senders and subjects. Create macros for your standard responses. This cuts down on the time it takes for you to handle your email while improving client relationships by providing timely, appropriate responses.
Law Firm Automation Is Your Friend
The time you have limits the amount of money you’re able to make. Lawyers who are better able to manage their time will make more money than those who don’t. Law firm automation can help you save hours of time. You can spend less time on nonbillable projects, make more money, and spend more time with your family.