Communication is everything. It’s the way we connect and relate to people. And it’s the hallmark of the legal profession, the one skill that we pride ourselves on.
In our day to day practice, we need to communicate effectively with our colleagues, our clients, the courts and a whole range of stakeholders.
We need to explain complicated legal concepts in basic, understandable terms so that clients feel at ease that we can provide the best solutions and advice (ie, heavy use of Latin terms are ill advised). In fact, 90% of all legal malpractice claims in the US are a result of poor communication. And as many of us now service clients internationally, the link between technology and communication has become increasingly important.
So what is the best way for lawyers and clients to connect and communicate in a secure way? Well, apart from face to face meetings, the best way to connect is using secure cloud technology. Here’s why we think lawyers should be using communication portals.
Providing a place where lawyers and clients can communicate securely is vital to legal professional relationships. And if communication is improved and enhanced, it’s quite likely your workforce is going to feel happier and more engaged. Less clients will be angry because you’ve kept them up-to-date on their matter. A parent working from home can tap into ‘watercooler’ conversations and stay tuned in to what’s happening at the office. There’ll be less emails to check. Even more importantly, it will be secure.
Lawyerist’s Sam Glover pointed out recently that the ability for organisations, governments and employers to read and have access to email communications is unprecedented and lawyers have a duty to ensure that third parties (other than their client) don’t access private, confidential communications. He notes that email encryption can get a little clunky, ie, even Edward Snowden got it wrong.
So how do we solve this problem? Well, Sam Glover makes an argument for secure communication portals for lawyers and we think he’s right.
Clutter Free Inbox
So is email dead? The talk about email clutter and the need to reduce email overload has been around for a while now but the conversation seems to have picked up in speed and intensity over the last year or two. Long chains of firm wide emails, endless exchanges that don’t really involve you and ‘reply alls’ about subjects you don’t care about with headers you hate (think RE: RE: RE: RE: Who stole Milton’s red stapler?) are the bane of our working existence. Emails involve linear discussions and lack the ability to seamlessly group and archive discussions into matter or subject-centric categories.
So how do we reduce dependence on email? Well, with the right communication portal (and yes, ours is obviously the right one!), those emails can be allocated to a specific channel or group and archived automatically to the appropriate matter. That way, not everyone needs to receive communication that it is not meant for them but they can still enjoy access to information to peruse at their convenience when they check in.
Whether you’re in a global law firm with squillions of teams and departments or you’re in a small dispersed firm where staff work remotely, collaboration is critical to team and business success. With online communication portals and handy cloud-based tools, you can talk to your team from wherever you are – court, meetings, client offices, cafes, your kitchen table. And just because you’re on leave or away from the office doesn’t mean you have to miss out on important team chats or project discussions.
Big litigation firms require armies of staff to work on one single case, often for years, so the ability to tap into team collaboration software is a game changer from a workflow and efficiency perspective. When collaboration, flexibility and mobility unite, then you really have an empowered and engaged workforce.
OK so all of this warm and fuzzy talk of collaboration brings us to the next point, in fact, the most important thing: the client!!
Attorneys might be happy using these secure portals but what about clients? Well, clients receive a range of benefits from communication portals and platforms – the ability to receive timely progress updates and notifications about their matter and upload and share documents (and share their screen view) whilst talking to and instructing their lawyer all in one secure place. Sounds OK to me.
What do you think lawyers need to communicate securely with clients and each other? Sign up for exclusive early access to our platform here and we’ll chat to you online. See you there.