How to Build a Top Law Firm by Leveraging Technology with Tim Bedford
Sep 23, 2021
Working in the legal field involves doing a lot of tedious tasks. Can you imagine having to manually fill out every form, take every call, and contact every client who hasn’t paid? Who’s got that kind of time in today’s world? But we shouldn’t have to do that anymore — technology offers a solution to automating many menial tasks in the industry.
If law firms don't adapt to this fast-changing world, they will get left behind in a backward practice that can’t serve anyone. That's why today, leveraging technology is key to becoming a top law firm.
In this episode, Ruby's Partner Development Manager Tim Bedford talks about the importance of investing in technology, particularly for law firms. He uncovers the essential tools and practices lawyers must implement to streamline their business processes. Tim explains that, above all, it's crucial to build a client-centric practice that makes your firm more approachable.
If you want to know more about how you can use technology to build a top law firm, then this episode is for you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode
- Learn how adopting technology solutions can streamline your processes and propel your business to becoming a top law firm.
- Discover the importance of human-to-human interactions in the legal field.
- Find out the most crucial factors you need to note when handling phone calls in your law firm.
How Tim Ended Up in the Legal Vertical
- Motivated by his father, he was a serial startups kind of guy.
Tim: “A lot of those law firms out there are essentially small business owners. They obviously went to law school to practice law, but there's definitely that component of running the firm as well.”
- The legal realm spoke to him when he ended up at Ruby. He works together with bar associations, thought leaders, and integration partners.
- Tim has been with Ruby for three years and counting.
What’s Making Top Law Firms Tick
- The pandemic has shaken up the legal realm.
- The number one change: firms that leaped toward a truly virtual practice are thriving the most. These top law firms integrated technology into their business processes.
- Some of the technology solutions these top law firms are investing in and streamlining are online payment collection and client portals.
- In 2019, firms accepting electronic payments had 7% more revenue per lawyer than those who didn’t. This number increased to 16% in 2020.
Tim: “A lawyer who makes 100k a year would actually make an additional 16,000 just by providing their clients with a safe and secure way to pay them electronically.”
Why Firms Should Offer Payment Plans
- Another easy win for law firms is to accept payment plans using platforms like LawFundAR. Listen to the full episode to learn more about LawFundAR!
- The number one reason people don't seek legal help despite needing it is the lack of flexible payment plans.
- Creative payment solutions open your law firm to an unaddressed market. Simply having various payment methods and plans can propel your business to become a top law firm.
- Payment plans are in the top three things clients want when looking for an attorney, according to Clio's Legal Trends Report.
The Silver Lining of the Pandemic for Law Firms
- Staying at home allowed people to see the value of human-to-human interaction. That type of interaction is what Ruby provided pre-pandemic and will continue to provide now that human interaction isn't advisable.
- Ruby has a great angle versus automated response systems as they train their employees to lead with empathy and tone matching.
- You are outsourcing your frontline communications using Ruby’s services.
- The silver lining Tim has seen is everyone has been more appreciative of human-to-human interaction.
Tim: “That human-to-human interaction, you just can't grow that or replace that with technology.”
Remote Video Conferencing as a Tool for Law Firms
- Like accepting online payments, incorporating remote video conferencing tools makes firms more approachable.
- Tim says that we will see a downward trend in remote video conferencing in law firms.
- However, video conferencing tools are here to stay.
What Law Firms Should Focus on Moving Forward
- Time is the most important to firm owners as they get charged by billable hours.
- Time falls into three buckets: administrative tasks, marketing, and business development.
- Smart delegation helps top law firm owners run the firm more efficiently.
- The legal vertical has been laggards in terms of adopting technology. Firms must take a leap of faith and do due diligence on which tools to adopt.
Tim: “The ones that are doubling down and kind of taking a step back approach and looking at their firm and where they want to be in the next two years and seeing how other successful firms have kind of adapted, those are the folks that are making the big leaps.”
The Shift in Clients' Priorities and Expectations
- Tim recommends reading the book The Client-Centered Law Firm by Clio’s CEO Jack Newton.
- Firms need to know the client and what they want and identify how to win them over.
- Clients now use search engines to find a top law firm.
Tim: “Having that client-centric vision is what's going to pay benefits in the long run.”
The Current Phone Call Landscape in the Legal Field
- Ruby answers around 50,000 calls per day, 45% of which is from the legal field.
- High-risk calls are prominent; people want answers to their questions right away.
Tim: “If you don't answer someone's question or inquiry within 24 hours, you failed to meet the needs of 85% of callers.”
- Clients will call the highest-rated firm in Google, and if they don't answer, they move on to the next.
- Critical factors when handling phone calls: timeliness and responsiveness, having an answer for every question, being approachable, and friendliness and likability.
Virtual Reception Services for Law Firms
Moshe: “Even if you're one person, you need a phone number for your law firm. You don't want to give your cell phone number as your law firm number.”
- Practice management software is essential for top law firms today, and so are virtual reception services.
- Ruby has a highly functional mobile app that allows you to carry two phones in one for personal and work life. Listen to the full episode to know more about its features!
Three Key Takeaways
- Invest in technology.
- Free up your time so you can focus on billable work.
Tim: “You went to law school to practice law, not to answer your phones, not to push paper. So be smart about that. Do the work to defend your clients.”
- Meet basic client expectations by returning calls, answering their questions, and offering them empathy.
Tim Bedford is the Partner Development Manager of Ruby, where he dedicates his expertise specifically to the legal vertical. He works closely with over 40 bar associations and other legal organizations. Tim ensures that Ruby's offers work closely aligned with the needs of attorneys and top law firms across the country.
Tim has six years of successful sales and partnership experience and is a highly motivated and results-oriented professional. He has worked in a startup environment selling SaaS-based platforms, driving performance to meet goals efficiently.
If you wish to get in touch with Tim, you may reach out to him on LinkedIn.
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