This One Tool Will Improve Your Client Communication

As a criminal defense lawyer, you’re committed to serving your clients to the best of your ability. You understand that your clients are under stress and eager to check in with you. But you also have a heavy caseload, and client queries can come at inopportune times, interrupting your workflow and making it even harder to support everyone who’s depending on you.

Fortunately, one tool can dramatically streamline, simplify, and improve your client communication:

Text with clients directly through your criminal law software.

There are a number of tools that can help you perform the functions of a phone from your computer, including stand-alone texting tools that help you compose messages faster, or automate them.

But for legal professionals, the real benefit comes when texting tools are part of your case management platform. Platforms like Filevine allow you to send and receive text messages from within the platform where you manage your work and keep your files. 

It has proven invaluable to criminal defense firms and legal professionals, who find they’re able to keep in close contact with their clients, without sacrificing their peace of mind.

Top 10 Benefits of Texting Your Clients

1. Manage heavy caseloads

Typing out a text message on a computer is almost always faster than trying to track down a client on the phone. Additionally, the messages can often be sent by a member of your support staff. This allows you to stay ahead of heavy workloads and spend more time on crucial work, like improving case outcomes. 

2. Use clients’ preferred method of communication

As of 2008, texting overtook calling as the most popular communication method. Since then, the gap has rapidly widened. 

Clients like texting for many of the same reasons that lawyers like it. It’s fast, efficient, and can be done anywhere. When you give clients the opportunity to text with you, you boost your image as a lawyer who cares about and wants to stay in close contact with clients.

3. Protect your privacy

When you text through your case management software, your clients receive a dedicated phone number just for text messaging. You can receive and quickly respond to their messages while keeping your cell phone number private, helping to protect your safety and sanity.

4. Send routine reminders

Nearly every dentist, doctor, and dog groomer sends reminder texts to make sure clients don’t forget their appointments. Lawyers can benefit greatly from doing the same. Improve your case outcomes by sending text message reminders before meetings, consultations, and court dates.

5. Get faster responses

On average, people in the US check their phones nearly a hundred times a day (about once every 10 minutes). In contrast, only 20-25% of people check email more than once a day. This number is probably lower for Millennial and Gen Z clients. Your clients are also more likely to read a text message from a new number than they are to answer a call from an unknown source. If you communicate through text, clients are likely to see the information and respond to it faster.

6. Ditch the tiny keyboard

I would always prefer to type on a computer keyboard than a phone. This feature lets you harvest the benefits of phone texting without being limited by the small screen and keyboard. 

7. Keep a full communication record

When you text through your case management system, you automatically archive the conversation. This helps ensure that information isn’t lost, and that you can revisit each new development in the case in its full context. It can also be a line of defense: if your client claims wrongly that you never informed them of, say, a court date, you can show the record in your case files proving you sent the reminder to the correct phone number.

8. Don’t let anything fall through the cracks

If you fail to immediately respond to a text message or email, it’s easy for it to get lost and be forgotten. But when a message is in your case files and part of your taskflow, you’re more equipped to follow up with each one. This format also allows authorized staff members to respond to incoming messages. When communication happens through individual phones or email accounts, it is siloed with one person. But a shared system allows members to catch each other's mistakes and hold each other accountable.

9. Stay up-to-date

Because texting is so easy for your clients, they can inform you immediately of any new developments or problems. Also, when all your text messages are stored in the case files, each member of the team can see what the previous communication has been. This gives you all more context and understanding when engaging in new conversations with the client.

10. Build your reputation for client care

When you communicate with your clients in their preferred method of communication, you’re building your reputation as a lawyer who cares and is attentive to their clients. This helps your clients trust you more fully, and enhances your prominence in your field.

Know when to pick up the phone

Of course, you can’t conduct all of your work through texting. When communicating complex and sensitive information, it’s important to talk on the phone or meet face-to-face. At those times, text messages can be a useful tool to set up the phone or in-person appointment to have the longer conversation you need.

By using legal texting services when appropriate, you can establish a deeper rapport with your clients, manage your work more efficiently, and build a reputation for true client care.