States across the country are starting to reopen their economies, which means courts are opening as well. If the courts haven’t opened up in your area yet, you can expect them to do so in the near future.
As the courts start rescheduling hearings and trials that have been put on hold, you can expect an increase in calls from prospective clients as they look to secure the legal help they need. This means your law firm should be ready with an airtight action plan so you can hit the ground running and capitalize on the surge in potential new business.
While it may be tempting to go back to “business as usual,” it’s important to be aware of how the business climate has changed and what adjustments you might need to make in how you’re marketing your services and serving your clientele.
To help you better prepare for life after COVID-19 and allow you to better assist your clients during this transitional period, we put together a few best practices to follow.
Reflect and evolve
While the coronavirus pandemic brought a lot of hardship, it also brought a lot of important lessons—lessons about how to switch gears when demand for certain areas of your practice dries up, lessons about how to continue serving your clientele even in the midst of office and court closures, and lessons about how to run a more efficient practice overall.
As we make the transition into the post-pandemic stage, it’s important to think about your firm’s processes and infrastructure. Ask yourself these questions: What is working well for you now? What do you want to take with you when things get back to normal? What do you want to leave behind? (For more about this, check out the advice shared by Jonathan Dichter of DUI Heroes in a recent interview.)
We also recommend reading Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. This book is a quick read and provides valuable insights into the best ways to to deal with change in both your professional and personal life.
Meet clients halfway with their finances
The economic impact of the pandemic has hit consumers pretty hard, leading to unprecedented numbers of unemployment claims. Taking that into consideration, it’s most likely going to take some time for many of your prospective clients to get back on their feet, even when shelter-in-place orders are lifted and businesses are up and running again.
With that in mind, you may want to consider setting up a financing option for your legal services. These folks need your help, and financing can assist them in getting that help. This will make it easier for clients to afford your services without you having to incur the risk of them defaulting on a payment plan. The more accessible you make your services, the easier it will be to sign up more clients and get your practice back on firm footing.
Continue offering teleconference meetings
It may be tempting to do away with the Zoom and GoToMeeting calls once you’re able to meet with clients in person again, but it could actually do your business some good to continue offering teleconferencing as an option for communicating with your firm for the long term.
Even as businesses reopen, many consumers will still be concerned about their health and safety and may still want to limit their exposure for an extended period of time. Additionally, some people may just have grown accustomed to the convenience of being able to meet with their attorneys virtually, so continuing to offer this option could give your practice a competitive advantage when many other firms are returning to in-person meetings and phone calls only.
Consider diversifying your services
With some fields of law being harder hit than others during the coronavirus pandemic, many law firms have to make shifts in the types of cases they’re pursuing in order to keep their practices afloat. Depending on what type of law you practice and the specific demands of your market, it could be a smart idea to expand your focus to additional service areas. This can help your firm recover if it’s still dealing with reduced demand from the pandemic, and it can also make you better prepared to weather the storm for other adverse events in the future.
For example, if you’re a criminal defense attorney who mainly focuses on DUI, you may want to think about expanding to bankruptcy or family law, areas which are seeing an increase of activity as a result of the current economic situation.
Build your brand awareness
With shelter-in-place orders and altered work routines giving people more time on their hands, they’re spending an increased amount of time engaging with digital media. They’re reading news online to learn updates about the virus, streaming more shows and movies for entertainment (Netflix saw more than double the subscriber volume they were expecting in Q1 2020), and logging more hours on Facebook (Facebook has been experiencing record usage during the pandemic).
This shift in consumer behavior creates the perfect opportunity for your law firm to get in front of potential clients in the places where they’re spending most of their time and build brand awareness for your practice. By sharing content like helpful updates, blog posts, and videos on various platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and news and entertainment websites you can keep your firm visible and on the minds of potential clients so they know who to call when they’re eventually ready to look for legal help.
We advise all law firms to take advantage of brand-building marketing efforts like these both now and in the future so they can better prepare their firms to capture more business as things start returning back to normal.
Fine-tune your client intake process
To make the most of the new influx of calls and cases, it’s important to evaluate your client intake process and make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. Treat every single lead with kid gloves.
Answer the phone and speak with the PNC on that first call. Follow up via call or text with prospective clients who wanted more time to think things over, discuss it with their spouse, try to find money, etc. Demonstrate heightened levels of compassion, and be extra patient with callers. You can also give yourself a competitive advantage by adding live chat to your website to help you capture and qualify leads faster.
While there will be a spike in prospective clients looking for attorneys, there will also be scores of attorneys in your area going after those very same leads. Therefore, you’ll need to do whatever you can to give people a seamless experience with your firm right off the bat and make your practice stand out from the competition.
Remember that you CAN rebuild
One important thing to remember as you forge ahead in the post-pandemic world is that it’s always possible to rebuild your firm, even if your practice has financially depleted due to COVID-19.
In the aforementioned video interview with Jonathan Dichter of DUI Heroes, Jonathan shared some advice he heard from another attorney who was talking about the possibility that we could all end up broke at the end of this pandemic.
“The thing to remember is we all started there, and we know how to build a business because we’ve already done it,” Jonathan shared in the video. “So, if we just continue to function with our businesses and we stay aware of what’s going on...we’re going to be fine. Even if financially we take a hit, we’ll get it back.”
The key to success is taking advantage of this time to build up your firm’s brand and fine-tune your operations and strategy so you’re ready to take off and succeed once cases start rolling in again.
Get started on your recovery plan
At Scorpion, we help law firms maximize their visibility on the Internet so they can attract more business and set up their practices for long-term success. If you need help creating a strategy for getting through COVID-19 and preparing for business growth after the pandemic, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our legal digital marketing specialists. You can also get more helpful tips on our COVID-19 resource page for attorneys.