According to research by IBISWorld, the law firm industry in the U.S. has grown over the past five years at an annual growth rate of 2.3%, and in 2019 surpassed $330 billion in total revenue. There are over 440,000 law firms that support over 1.3 million jobs, with operators ranging from sole practitioners with a local and regional focus, to large multi-service firms with a state-wide or national footprint.
Despite the fact that the law firm industry is growing — largely due to the strengthening overall economy in the years since the Great Recession of 2007/2008 — it is also facing significant technological and cultural disruption. As commented by Mike Abbott, VP of Enterprise Thought Leadership and Content Strategy at Thomson Reuters: “As client needs, expectations and behaviors are changing, we are seeing many firms adopt highly innovative approaches to drive greater efficiency, predictability and cost-effectiveness.”
Elevating to the Cloud
One of the smartest, safest and most successful ways that law firms are responding to this change — both from within the industry, and from external forces — is by elevating to the cloud. As noted by Lexis Nexis’ Business Law of Insights Report “Cloud Technology in the Legal Industry”, 72.4% of surveyed law firms are taking advantage of cloud technology, or are planning on doing so in the very near future.
And one of the smartest and most successful ways that law firms are expanding their cloud-based technology ecosystem is by adding our hosted VoIP phone system!
- Total Mobility: Lawyers and other staff members such as practice managers, researchers, investigators and others, do not have to wait until they return to the office to check voicemail or connect with clients. With our mobile app for iOS and Android they can make/receive calls and chat with colleagues anytime, and anywhere (outgoing calls show the firm’s name on Caller ID). Calls can also be forwarded to any phone, including a home office landline.
- Improve Billing Accuracy: As noted by the firm Legal Ease Bookkeeping: “Some attorneys are not that great at keeping track of their hours. You know you have worked on a client earlier in the week but you do not know exactly how long you worked so you estimate your billable hours and to be fair to the client you make sure you underestimate. This means you are constantly under billing and it could be costing you thousands of dollars a month.” Our hosted VoIP phone system features built-in and automatic call logging, which tracks every second of time spent on the phone with each client, or on behalf of client. This means no unwelcome billing surprises for law firms or clients, which is how it should be!
- Increase Profitability: Our VoIP phone system features a wealth of analytics data that enables law firms to increase overall profitability. For example, firms can see if it’s ultimately more profitable to have a larger volume of shorter calls with clients vs. a smaller volume of longer calls with clients, whether it’s more effective to speak with clients early in the week vs. later in the week, and so on.
- Expand the Marketplace: With our hosted VoIP phone system law firms can add local phone numbers, regardless of their physical location. For example, a law firm in Greensboro, NC (area code 336) can easily and affordably get numbers that are local to clients in Charlotte (area code 704) and Raleigh (area code 919). In addition, toll-free numbers and easy-to-remember vanity numbers are also available.
- Improve Client Service: In a popular essay, highly experienced lawyer Paul Wallin, a senior partner at the California-based firm Wallin & Klarich, wrote: “Above all else, the one thing I wish I knew 35 years ago is the critical importance of communicating with your client. Communicating with your client is so much more than sending a client a monthly billing and a five minute monthly phone call about the status of the case. If you want to be a successful lawyer, you will learn early on in your career that your clients want and need to be able to speak to you when they have questions about their cases.” With our hosted VoIP phone system, lawyers can use advanced calling features such as voicemail-to-email, live call transfer, and auto-attendant to significantly improve responsiveness, timely communications, and overall client service and satisfaction. They won’t just tell clients that they’re important and valued, they’ll SHOW them — and that makes all the difference!
- Business Continuity: During a local power outage, lawyers can’t afford to have clients hear a “sorry, your call cannot be completed” message — especially if the matter is urgent and time is of the essence. Our VoIP phone system is built to continue operating even in the event of a local power outage. This can be a relatively short brownout (which are occurring more frequently these days due to the country’s aging and over-burdened power grid), or longer blackouts caused by severe weather, natural disaster, or man-made emergency.
- Easily, Quickly and Affordably Scale: Many law firms onboard temporary staff, such as investigators or researchers who are associated with a specific case or legal issue. With a conventional phone system, giving temporary hires their own phone number is usually cost prohibitive, and what’s more it can take weeks to reconfigure the Private Branch Exchange (PBX). But with our VoIP phone system, law firms can easily, quickly and affordably scale. Within seconds, new hires will get their very own phone number that can be accessed through their personal smartphone, or if desired through a designated IP phone.
- Substantially Reduce Year-Over-Year Telecommunication Costs: Our hosted VoIP phone system operates at a substantially lower cost vs. a conventional landline phone system, with many law firms poised to save up to 50% or more each year. There are no major up-front capital expenditures, no domestic long distance costs, no maintenance costs, and all ongoing technical support, upgrades and innovations are handled by our expert U.S.-based team. Plus, unlike conventional phone companies that regularly increase fees, our affordable pricing is fixed and predictable — which makes budgeting and forecasting easy and accurate.
- Cloud Faxing: As noted in the ABA Journal: “While many industries have abandoned faxes, lawyers are nevertheless sometimes required to send or receive a fax, whether by courts, other governmental offices, insurance companies or even other lawyers.” Our hosted VoIP phone system integrates seamlessly with our affordable Cloud Faxing Solution, so that law firms can communicate effectively with any stakeholder that needs or wants to fax vs. send an email or use the postal service/courier.
- Robust Enterprise-Grade Security: Our hosted VoIP phone system runs on private and highly secure data networks, which are protected by end-to-end encryption mechanisms (e.g. Transport Layer Security/TLS and Secure RTP for transmitting media). We also conduct 24/7 monitoring, and law firms can configure granular-level security controls based on their specific needs.
To learn more about how our hosted VoIP phone system will help your law firm reap all of these advantages and benefits, contact us today at (336) 544-4000 for your FREE consultation and demo. We can visit you at your location, or connect with you over the web.