The pandemic has drastically changed the legal industry. In a relatively short amount of time, a mass-scale adoption of technology continues to shift the expectations of clients and lawyers alike. Using data from Clio’s 2021 Legal Trends Report, here are some of the major trends lawyers can expect into 2022.
1. Clients Want Remote Options with their Lawyer
79% of clients agree that the ability to work remotely with a lawyer is important to them. But what’s more telling is that only three years ago, 23% of consumers responded the same way. Such a steep trend line leaves little doubt lawyers should consider offering remote options soon if they haven’t already.
2. Clients Will Expect the Ability to Pay Electronically
66% of clients prefer online payments. Electronic transactions are hardly a new method of payment for most industries. But law isn’t one of them. There are a number of reasons why law firms have lagged behind in adopting these new transactional standards, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the time for online payments is now.
3. For the Initial Consultation with Clients, Think Zoom
58% of consumers prefer video conferencing for their first meeting or consult with a lawyer. Incredibly, only 4% of consumers preferred to communicate through video conferencing – at any stage within a legal matter – back in 2018. Forced to adapt amidst the pandemic, people have simply become more comfortable with technology and the accompanying conveniences.
4. Shared Documents Continue to Go Paperless
63% of consumers prefer their lawyers share documents through email. In 2021, approximately 85% of all Americans owned a smartphone. With email more accessible than ever before, this statistic might be the least surprising.
5. For Important Matters, People Still Appreciate a Timely Phone Call
75% of consumers prefer a simple phone call when their lawyer communicates key decisions. For the last trend, it’s notable that an old-fashioned telephone call wins amongst clients for receiving important updates.
Changing expectations can be a challenge, but ultimately these shifts are good for law firms. Technology means innovation, and legal professionals should expect greater efficiency, work life balance and resiliency into the future.