Alt Legal Connect Session Summary: Creating a Client-Centered Law Firm
Alt Legal Team | October 29, 2020
On Wednesday, October 28, Clio Co-founder Jack Newton delivered a keynote address at Alt Legal Connect, “Creating a Client-Centered Law Firm.” During this session, he shared insights from his book The Client-Centered Law Firm and spoke about how attorneys can provide a client-centered experience and still run an efficient, profitable law firm.
Jack began his presentation by indicating that there is a massive gap between what consumer expectations are and what lawyers believe client expectations are. The first step towards developing a client-centered law firm is to understand what the consumer expectations are. Jack has found that consumers value effortless experiences.
Jack began by discussing the consumerization of legal services which was inspired by the consumerization of the IT industry. This concept really flourished when the iPhone first came out and users got accustomed to a seamless, painless interface, and how easy to use and intuitive the software was. As legal services consumers have experiences in other industries, their expectations of what professional services look like are being reshaped. When we ask consumers what they care about most and what drives long term loyalty, they want an effortless experience.
One way to create an effortless client experience is to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Jack recommended offering a client-centered approach to unlock the latent legal market. Jack cited the downfall of Blockbuster, noting that the company was overly profit-centered rather than client-centered. Netflix, on the other hand, is very client-centered in its delivery model, and created a market that was bigger than Blockbuster at its peak. Jack noted that the same story played out with businesses like Uber and Airbnb, taking business away from taxi cabs and hotels, respectively, with their client-centered approaches. To avoid losing business, Jack recommends going after the latent legal market by applying a start-up mentality of product-market-fit.
Jack then moved on to building a client-centered law firm. Jack reassured attendees that being client-centered doesn’t mean that you must put them first all the time. Instead, it means putting clients at the center of everything you do and the way you think about your law firm. Being client-centered should come from a place of deep understanding of and empathy for your client’s needs. By understanding your client’s needs, you are able to give them what they want. Next, it is important to practice attentiveness and respond to their needs. Naturally this flows into generating ease with communication and communicating with clients using their preferred method of contact, whether that be phone calls, emails, texts, etc. By responding to client demand for an effortless experience with each touch point, you will be able to establish clients for life.
Jack outlined a multi-step approach to designing a client-centered law firm:
Design customer journey map
Gather data on that map
Define the problem or job to be done
Design your process prototypes
Test how well it works
Repeat and reiterate
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