Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Can Law Firms Be App Based?

When it comes to providing legal services, the future looks increasingly digital. While certain functions may still require in-person contact with clients and people, more and more can be done from the palm of your hand these days.

While lawyers can effectively (though maybe not as efficiently) do 99 percent of the job on a smartphone, the apps that cater to legal consumers are generally lacking. This is due to the fact that apps and online services do not generally provide the same level of full service as a traditional law firm does. However, with the pace of legal technology, that may be changing.

Legal Consumers of the Future

With more and more services becoming online and app based, the legal tech space has yet to really master solutions for legal consumers. While chatbots could be created that could answer specific consumer legal questions, the peace of mind that comes from a lawyer's personal accountability can't be substituted via technology. Clients who need a lawyer to be confident in a legal answer applying to them aren't likely to settle for a chatbot.

Most legal tech focused on legal consumers is geared towards helping with legal forms, providing generalized information, or connecting consumers to attorneys via directory services. Full service online offerings like It's Over Easy are few and far between. But, with services like that, it's worth noting that when an online client wants the full service treatment, there's a real life lawyer behind the digital scenes to do and review the work.

What Should a Law Firm App Do?

For most law firms, dreaming up the next big legal tech innovation is probably not in the cards. But, that doesn't mean your firm has to get left in the tech dust. You can actually create an app or website, now, that enables your clients to maximize the value they receive, and make them feel like their lawyer isn't technologically inept.

To start with, creating a client portal with confidential messaging, document sharing, and even calendaring capabilities, should be a top priority if a firm wants to create a useful app or website. Next, firms can look to streamline their intake processes via their app or website by using forms and chatbots to gather information about new, or even prospective clients. However, note that if you're gathering info from prospective clients, there may be ethical considerations to keep in mind.

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