6-minute read, 10-minute exercise
#Efficiency #Effectiveness #LegalDesign #HumanIntelligence #ModernLawyer
If we’ve learned anything over the last few crazy weeks, it’s that the “future of law” is here. It’s simply modern practice. It’s efficient. It’s effective. It’s our new normal, and you need to get on board now.
One of the core elements of modern practice is that you offer legal solutions to your target clients. That is, transforming the services that you currently provide to offer a mixture of products and services delivered in a planned way to solve your target clients’ problems.
The legal solutions that will benefit your practice are the unique legal solutions that you design to solve your clients’ problems.
What those legal solutions look like depends entirely on you. There is no one-size-fits-all option. You can’t get someone else to design your unique legal solution for you. And you can’t just bury yourself in busy work and hope that designing and developing legal solutions is a trend that will blow over.
Let’s look at how you can design a valuable legal solution, and why you don’t need to worry.
1. Understand Legal Design and Your Clients’ Problems
Legal design is all about looking at how we do what we do as lawyers and planning to do it more strategically. The key is designing how we do what we do to be human-centric.
However, designing a great legal solution doesn’t mean you need to throw away all the work you’ve done over the years to improve your legal services. So, don’t worry about that. Your most popular legal services probably already have a heavy focus on your clients. All you need to do is use these design steps to transform those services into a great solution.
To understand your clients’ problems, you need to gather information about your clients and their problems. You can do this by having open discussions directly with your clients, exploring available data and checking your understanding. Don’t worry about buying and reading through long reports based on extensive research projects. You’ll get the best information directly from your clients.
2. Commit to a Target Client You Can Help and a Problem You Can Solve
You probably already have a good idea about the types of client’s you like to work with and how you can help them. After you gather information to understand your clients’ problems, you’ll be able to refine those ideas.
Next, you need to commit to a target client that you can help and a problem that you can solve. You may be able to help many different types of clients with many kinds of issues, but it will be challenging to design a great legal solution if you don’t make this commitment. Think about the target clients you enjoy working with and the problems that you can solve well.
Don’t worry about other legal professionals designing legal solutions that are the same as yours. It’s not possible. You, your team and your practice are incredibly unique, and no other legal professionals will be able to replicate the combination of knowledge, skills and experience that your practice can offer your clients. They may use similar processes within their legal solutions, but the legal advice and customer experience that you provide will always be as unique as you and your team.
3. Get to Know Your Tech and Your Automated Documents
Technology will be essential to your design, but it won’t be everything. Explore what software is available and learn what it does and how it does it. Then you’ll know what software to use to make specific processes within your design as efficient as they can be. At a minimum, you should get to how you can use a marketing platform to manage your communications with lists of clients and how you can use document automation software to develop and manage your automated documents. You should also get to know how you can automate the links between different software using workflow software.
However, there will be some processes within your design, where effectiveness is far more important than efficiency. For these processes, you’ll be able to allocate a task to a specific person to complete.
With the rise in document automation, you can now develop quality automated documents which produce personalised and highly customised legal documents within minutes. And that can save you and your team hours of drafting, even if you review the document and make more changes. If your legal solution involves producing documents, you’ll need to seriously consider whether to include document automation to significantly improve the efficiency of your design or continue to produce documents entirely manually and hope that you and your team can keep up.
Don’t worry. You don’t need to learn to code or hire a technical team. If you can follow logic when you draft your legal documents, then you will be able to pick up the skill. You can also rebrand quality automated documents that have been designed and developed by experienced lawyers and work with experienced lawyers who offer design and development services.
4. Design Your Solution and Apply Human Intelligence
Start designing your solution by listing all of the steps that will need to happen to go from your client, taking up your offer to your client’s problem is solved. For each of those steps, note down the purpose of the step and the desired outcome. Then break down each of those steps into the tasks that need to be completed to meet the desired outcome for the step and how that task will be completed. Create manual or automated processes to flow between each of the tasks until all of the steps are completed.
You don’t need to automate your entire solution. It is more important that you find the balance of efficiency and effectiveness that is right for you, your team and your clients. Make sure that your solution effectively manages every manual process, so you and your team know what to do when and why. You should also make sure you have a backup option available.
When you’re happy with the overall design, you can apply the basics of human intelligence so that your solution becomes more naturally appealing to your clients. Refine your design to make sure that your clients are involved in the process, your communication is personalised, there is a good flow between the steps and the design is as simple as you can make it.
Finally, show in your design how your marketing plan connects to the start of your solution so you can see how it all fits together.
5. Develop Your Solution and Test Everything
Commit your time regularly to develop your solution. Start by using software and tools that are available to you now and seek out assistance from marketing or IT professionals if you’d like to develop aspects of your solution further. Wherever your design has manual tasks, make sure that you and your team can effectively manage all of them without interrupting the flow of the solution.
Then test everything again and again until it works well. Refine your solution as you become more familiar with the processes and realise what you can do better. When you think that every part of your solution works well, test it one more time.
You don’t need to worry about automating every part of your solution if there’s a reason you can’t. Don’t let that stop you. Simply organise for you or your team to do that part manually until you can develop your solution further.
6. Deliver Your Solution and Refine It Over Time
By this stage, you will be well and truly ready to deliver your solution. You’ll be confident that everything worked well and excited to be able to offer your valuable solution to your target clients finally.
Connect your solution to your marketing strategy and work on generating sales for your new solution according to your marketing plan. Be ready to deliver your solution with confidence.
Regularly gather feedback from your clients about their experiences with your solution. Look at that information objectively and use it to refine your solution, so it improves over time.
Start To Design A Simple Solution In 10-Minutes
Choose one of the legal services you currently provide to your clients. In the next 10-minutes, note down the steps you usually take to deliver that service. Divide those steps into tasks and brainstorm different methods you could use for completing those tasks. For example, you might give legal advice to new small business owners on terms and conditions of sale for their online business. In this case, you might email back and forth to book an appointment, have a video conference for an hour to gather information and take a few hours over a few days prepare your advice and documents. Then you might play phone tag to organise to have another video conference to deliver that advice and those documents and send an email to check in with them to see if they have any questions (and hope that they don’t).
Now think about expanding on that solution. What could you do with the possibilities?