Login | April 10, 2021

More tech equals better pandemic survival for small firms

RICHARD WEINER
Technology for Lawyers

Published: April 2, 2021

A report just released by the legal practice management company Clio indicates that solo firms (which I’m extrapolating out to small firms) survived the pandemic better the more tech they had onboard.
The report breaks the firms out into three categories and tracks their income over the last year: firms that did not have tech and did not acquire it; firms that did not have tech and did acquire it; and firms that always had the tech. Although there was a path through all this (as we all know too well at this point), the bottom line was that the latter two categories accord as much as $50,000 more income than the troglodyte firms.
Specifically, the tech in the study mostly comprised client communication platforms. These key technologies include client portals, electronic payments, client intake and CRM products.
Solos who used those technologies saw increases in new client intakes, collected almost $55,000 more in the pandemic year than solos who didn’t, and earned almost $15,000 more than lawyers per capita in larger firms. Before the pandemic, tech-savvy solos had already brought in more revenue than non-techie lawyers, but the gap increased during the past year.
This finding tracks with the fact that attorneys have gotten used to being more reliant on technology during the pandemic. It also tracks with the fact that clients are also more conversant with this tech, being enamored with portals, document sharing and videoconferencing.
This is combined with the fact (that people are just realizing, apparently) that installing technology that makes it easier to practice law and run an office, and that facilitates client comfort is, in and of itself, good for the bottom line. Clients want easy communication with the person they are paying to represent them, and especially in these times. Pretty simple.
The report ends by saying, “As client expectations continue to shift, and new behaviors become more habituated, it’s clear that firms that continue to adapt and innovate in the interest of their clients are the ones that will reap the benefits both in the immediate future, and in the years to come.”
The lesson here is the if you think you can’t afford these technologies, the real world is telling you that you can’t afford not to adopt these technologies.


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