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How Legal Technology Made a Difference for Law Firms During COVID

The rapid emergence of new legal technology and a global pandemic have significantly disrupted the law industry. Long before COVID, consumers were growing more and more dependent on technology. As they became accustomed to the convenience it provided, that dependence evolved into a baseline expectation in their interactions with businesses.

Change was slow. Organizations that didn’t keep up became less competitive against their more tech-savvy counterparts. COVID literally lit a match to consumers’ expectations. Suddenly, convenience wasn’t a luxury, it was imperative … not just for clients but for employees now working remotely.

This need drove organizations of all types to implement technology that transformed their client experience. The 2021 Clio Trends Report shed light on the technology dividing line for law firms during COVID: Those firms that leveled up their legal tech saw different results than those they did not. 

And there’s no going back. Legal technology is reshaping the profession in unexpected ways. The benefits of legal tech will continue to differentiate the firms that evolve their internal and customer-facing digital interactions. 

Here are 3 highlights of the 2021 Clio Trends Report:

Cloud-based Technology Improved Business Performance

Not every practice area felt the effects of COVID-19. Criminal law casework dropped by 59% in the spring of 2020, while intellectual property, insurance and real estate actually increased. But no matter the focus, “the use of technology to adapt to remote working conditions correlated strongly to business performance across all practice areas.” 

The report data shows that law firms that adopted key technologies, such as electronic payments, client portals, and client intake and CRM solutions softened the impact of the pandemic. These firms had already seen nearly $28,000 more in revenue in 2019, but with the increase in remote work, they earned over $50,000 more revenue in 2020 than those that did not adopt legal tech.

These increases are attributed to “greater efficiencies and client satisfaction that built positive business returns.” 

Incremental Gains Added Up

Cloud-based technologies that improved client experience and automated client management raised independent firms’ casework by 19% and revenue by 18% in 2020. These advantages appeared marginal at first, growing exponentially month after month. Annual revenue results told the whole story.

The moral of that story: Play the long game. Choose solutions that integrate to save time and frustration. Utilize every platform to the fullest extent possible to shave time and money savings everywhere you can. It adds up.

Tech Stacking Yielded Greater Recovery

Firms that were using a combination of client-centered legal technology before 2020 saw a faster rebound by the summer months of 2020. Firms not using these solutions never quite recovered. They experienced lower casework and revenue than during the same period in 2019.

The boost that complementary and integrated systems provide highlights the importance of meeting client expectations. Each layer adds a benefit for clients. But the key here is integration. Systems that don’t play nice together will not have the desired effect.

Some interesting findings:

  • 65% of consumers prefer electronic forms of payments. Prior to the pandemic, electronic payments didn’t help bring in new matters, but did raise revenue (compared to those who didn’t use electronic payments.) But during the pandemic, electronic payments raised both casework and revenue. 

  • When combined, client portals and client intake and CRM solutions resulted in greater revenue during pandemic recovery because of their significant impact on client experience and satisfaction. At the same time, firms not using them felt the detrimental effects more strongly than in previous years, increasing the overall revenue differential between users and non-users.

  • 52% of private practices say that technology has improved their work-life balance.

  • 69% of consumers prefer to share documents electronically with their lawyer. E-signature services make this process even more seamless.

  • When it comes to communications, 37% of consumers prefer videoconferencing for first-time consultations, 50% prefer the technology for follow-up meetings, and 56% prefer it over a phone call.

  • Legal analytics solutions enhance the power of your different systems by aggregating data from different systems into easily accessible reports and actionable insights. 

LawKPIs is a legal analytics solution designed to integrate with Clio and other LMS platforms. It provides the easiest, most intuitive drill-down into the top KPIs law firms should be tracking. In a fraction of the time it takes to compile manual reports from disparate sources (i.e. Your LMS, Google Sheets, Quickbooks), you can see exactly what is impacting your bottom line … and how to course-correct.

With both out-of-the-box reports and custom analytics, LawKPIs helps you easily and accurately pinpoint exactly where to optimize your practice to take advantage of the industry’s pandemic learnings.

Schedule a demo of LawKPIs today.

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