If you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking at client portals and are in the process of deciding whether your law firm should invest in them. In this guide, I’m going to cut the fluff and get straight into what client portals are all about and what they can do for you.
What is a Client Portal for Law Firms?
A client portal is typically a service that exists for several reasons, but primarily you’d use one to ensure safe document transfer and sharing among parties in a legal situation.
A client portal serves as a virtual lobby for clients and prospective clients within your legal practice. All documents are shared, developed, and exchanged on digital forums and virtual platforms. This means everyone has access to everything all the time and in a secure way that keeps out people with malicious intent while preventing data breaches of sensitive information.
Keeping papers and information safe and secure is the most challenging aspect of going digital. Security breaches, hacks, and data leaks occur frequently, and they are a significant source of concern in an industry where confidentiality is so important.
Capterra maintains a list of a few great examples of client portals for law firms such as Clio, Filevine, Mycase, Smokeball, and Zola Suite.
Client Portals are Becoming the Standard
Especially in the business world and for law firms that operate for commercial clients, client portals are becoming the industry standard, which means that people are looking to work with businesses that offer them. If you don’t and your competition does, the chances are it will be your competition getting all the business.
Larger organizations frequently acquire and employ practice management tools and software bases because they consolidate all of the necessary administrative responsibilities and tools into a single, straightforward (and usually less expensive) acquisition.
In recent years, these solutions have typically included the ability to construct client portals within an existing system, allowing all information to be securely exchanged through one system rather than many systems.
The consolidation of these systems makes it easier for both the legal firm and the customer to upload and share documents while also enhancing the peace of mind provided by a client portal.
In any legal office or other business, the safety and security of client information is essential. Nowadays, more people than ever before are focused on safety and data privacy and want to see the businesses they work with maximize how they’re being treated. This is crucial in the legal fields.
This means taking time and making investments to avoid problematic, data-related situations. In most cases, this can be achieved simply by logging into a closed-communication, secure client portal and ensuring that all vital information and data transfers are handled through it.
In the best-case situation, no physical papers should be transferred via any other manner that does not totally protect the client and their information.
Getting Set Up with Your Own Client Portal
Although it may appear at first that a client portal is merely a place where documents can be shared and moved between a firm and its clients, it is much more than that.
Your virtual lobby must be elegant and well-designed, allowing both the technologically proficient as well as the unfamiliar to easily traverse and explore it.
What to Include in Your Client Portal
- FAQs and How-To Guides: These are particularly useful for new customers or those who are unfamiliar with the procedures you are following with them. Include guides that explain how to utilize the portal and answers to commonly asked questions about legal processes. The easier your client portal is to use from the perspective of your client, the better.
- Appointment Booking and Management: Because waiting rooms or phone call queues aren’t particularly enjoyable or productive, the ability to book and check-in for appointments can be introduced to the client portal to streamline the process further.
- Billing and Payments Features: Because secure money management is so crucial, make sure a payment schedule is available to display previous billings and upcoming payments.
- Other Custom Legal Instruments: Show your client what other services you can provide them, as well as paths they can take if they ever need to. This gives them a sense of being well-informed and educated.