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Scheduling Effective Client Lawyer Meetings

A seamless approach to ensure optimum efficiency within client and legal team meetings

by Fatima Freifer

case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

Introduction

Lawyers can make appointments with the use of a legal document management system, meet clients, and meet deadlines on time thanks to well-organised scheduling. Being organised is an important aspect of being a lawyer.[1] It aids in avoiding office interruptions from walk-in clients, multiple phone calls, and losing focus. Being a lawyer can be difficult at times, especially when adapting to remote legal work [2], but by employing various organisational skills, a lawyer can make things less stressful.

Meetings must be scheduled quickly and efficiently to avoid unnecessary delays or problems with ongoing cases. However, if scheduling meetings into everyone’s calendars is a slow, tedious, and complicated process, it may harm a law firm’s reputation and client retention, which is why a law office management system is a useful feature.

Scheduling client meetings

Reverse Scheduling

A reverse schedule works backward from a task’s due date to its start date. Reverse scheduling enables a lawyer to start the process from the deadline and determines when the company should begin the task. Beginning with the deadline, lawyers can determine what specifics must be completed between the start date and the deadline. It is critical for lawyers to use tools for law to understand when paperwork is due and what other motions may need to be filed before the deadline.[3]

Digital Scheduling

Lawyers and their teams can use a computer programme to schedule meetings and deadlines using digital scheduling. Everyone on the team has access to the information, which makes it easier for everyone to stay on top of upcoming projects. Digital scheduling via a digital document storage system is advantageous because it eliminates double bookings. Multiple people can schedule and update events at any time, and the information is available to everyone even when they are not in the office. [4]

Maintaining Lists

To-do lists enable lawyers to write down their numerous tasks on paper in order to help them remember everything that needs to be done. A to-do list may appear daunting, but keep in mind that not everything must be completed at once. It is possible to arrange the items according to deadlines to get a clear picture of when work needs to be completed with the use of office document management tools to simplify the process. Writing down all of the information allows a lawyer to know what needs to be done, where they need to go, and when tasks are due. [5]

Setting reminders

It conveys professionalism while also being courteous. Everyone’s time is priceless. One to three reminders are sufficient depending on how far in advance the appointment is scheduled. A confirmation email, a reminder a few days before, and another reminder 24 hours before is a fairly standard template used by professional and medical service providers. Reminders can be sent via email, text message, or phone call. They can also be personalised or automated.

When using tools like Calendly, email reminders with online rescheduling options are automatically sent. They also include calendar invites, allowing the meeting to be added to your client’s calendar software. If you don’t have scheduling software, a simple email sent by you or your staff will suffice.

Areas of Law with high-rate of no shows

No-show rates in certain areas of law are much higher. Bankruptcy, estate planning, and family law are all areas where difficult decisions must be made, and uncomfortable topics must be discussed. Clients in this area are more apathetic, unless coerced, and this increases the likelihood that they will put off working with an attorney. Clients could also be put off by some legal terminology [6] which they may struggle to understand, so taking the time to explain it effectively will aid client lawyer relations positively. The no-show rate naturally decreases as a practice skews more toward work that solves pressing problems, saves money, creates opportunity, and potentially serves more business professionals. [7]

Following up with missed meetings

Just because a potential client fails to show up for an appointment does not mean they are lost. It’s worth a follow-up phone call to ensure they didn’t simply forget or had an unavoidable conflict arise. Remember that meeting with an attorney can sometimes feel like admitting defeat, especially in a situation like a divorce or bankruptcy consultation. Sitting down in a law office and confiding in a professional may make problems seem more real, and some people find it difficult to take that step.

In other cases, a prospective client may call for an appointment in the midst of a crisis, only to feel better about their situation by the time the appointment date arrives, even if the problem they initially called about still requires resolution.

Preparing the agenda

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to office preparation and management for legal meetings. Ascertain that your company has an effective paperwork management system. Client and court documents are thus easily accessible before a meeting, even if time is limited. It is imperative to use solicitor software tools which assist with document management and simplifying the logistics of the meeting.

Allow enough time for discussion. Depending on the nature of the meeting and the total document management system in place, it is possible for the topics to diverge. It is easier to keep the meeting on track if time is built into the agenda, and you will not have to worry about missing important team contributions. [8]

Make an agenda for the meeting. Depending on the schedule, an assistant may be completing this step, so detailed notes are helpful. Make sure that only one person on your team creates the agenda. That same person can lead the group discussion and ensure that all pertinent points are covered. [9]

Conclusion

The less time your law firm spends on utilising law firm billing software for non-billable tasks like scheduling, the more time you have to devote to building a strong case for your clients and, eventually, wowing them with your work ethic and performance. This will hopefully keep clients returning to your law firm for additional work, as well as establish a trusting relationship that will contribute to bottom-line growth. [10]

case management software, practice management software, legal accounting software, legaltech, technology for lawyers, case management, immigration, london, united kingdom

References

[1] Remote working and British Legislation, Fatima Freifer https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/remote-working-and-british-legislation

[2] The Importance of Scheduling for Lawyers, Claudia F, https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-importance-of-scheduling-for-lawyers.html

[3] 3 Ways Online Scheduling Can Improve Your Law Firm’s Client Success & Retention, Doodle, https://doodle.com/en/resources/blog/3-ways-online-scheduling-can-improve-your-law-firms-client-success-and/

[4] Arranging and Conducting Effective Legal Meetings, Mike Campbell, Jul 8, 2021, https://www.lawyerminds.com/arranging-and-conducting-effective-legal-meetings/

[5] Scheduling Practices for Successful Attorneys, May 2021, https://www.sitepronews.com/2021/06/04/scheduling-practices-for-successful-attorneys/

[6] Fatima Freifer https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/key-british-legal-terminology-and-its-etymology

[7] How Can Attorneys Reduce No-Shows?, March 29th, 2018, Brendan Chard, https://www.themodernfirm.com/blog/qotw/reduce-no-shows/

[8] Law Firm Client Communications, https://lawyerist.com/client-service/communications/

[9] The Client Relationship Meeting, Sally J. Schmidt, https://www.attorneyatwork.com/the-client-relationship-meeting/

[10] Breaking away from the billable hour, Fatima Freifer, https://goodlawsoftware.co.uk/law-firm-billing-breaking-away-from-the-billable-hour