30 August 2021

The Next Generation of Client Portals

Insights

As technology continues to transform nearly all aspects of the legal landscape, offering a unique client experience using digital tools that improve communication, collaboration and enhance service delivery can provide law firms with a competitive edge that strengthens relationships with clients.

In this article, we discuss the next generation of client portals, including the key features and benefits which highlight why client portals are an essential tool for the modern and competitive law firm.

What are client portals?

Client portals are a type of collaboration tool that enables law firms and their clients to share instructions and documents, as well as to manage the progress of matters or projects through a shared and secure interface. In essence, client portals are a digital gateway that assist law firms and clients to manage their relationship and associated documentation efficiently, conveniently, and securely. To date, client portals have predominantly been used one-directionally, either as the tool for which law firms can securely send documents, or for clients to log into and submit documents and requests to law firms. With some exceptions, client portals have not yet become the digital interface for the day-to-day client/law firm interaction. But that is soon to change.

The Next Generation of Client Portals

The next generation (next gen) of client portals looks beyond file sharing and static one-way communication flow, to embrace multi-way communication, real-time collaboration, strategic solutions, project management, Business Intelligence (BI) reporting, and the provision of intelligent automation capabilities. They facilitate agile project and matter management which means law firms can easily innovate, increase their productivity, and have more oversight over matters, whilst clients are provided with more service options and flexibility, in addition to an increased sense of assurance through visual updates.

Features of Next Gen Client Portals

Client portals can be a custom built or ‘out-of-the-box’ solution with different features depending upon the client, the law firm, and their individual requirements. Some common features include secure document sharing, transaction management, self-service options, and client engagement. Supplementary to this, next gen client portals offer collaboration and project management capabilities which can be integrated into other functionalities such as customised intelligent client intake forms, task and document automation and bespoke self-service solutions for unique clients’ problems. These can be combined to provide an all-inclusive, accessible, and user-friendly package for clients that ensures all areas of their engagement with the law firm are covered. An example of this is the recently launched Collaboration Workspace by Lawcadia, which has been carefully crafted to help law firms attract new clients, win more work and improve operational efficiencies.

Benefits of Next Gen Client Portals

The benefits of next gen client portals are twofold, providing unique advantages for both the law firm and clients. In general, however, client portals improve collaboration between both parties, reduce time between requests and responses, and save costs from repetitive and frequent tasks.

Benefits for law firms

The unique advantages that law firms can experience by providing next gen client portals include:

    • Increased productivity
    • Enhanced client relationships
    • Streamlined workflows
    • Automation capabilities using native features or integrations with law firm systems
    • Excellent project management through matter and budget updates, phase and task management, and Gantt charts

These benefits ensure law firms can provide their clients with a superior service and are well equipped to navigate and thrive in the new digital environment.

Benefits for clients

The unique advantages that clients can experience by using next gen client portals include:

    • Customised client intake forms
    • Self-servicing options supported by automation
    • Reporting and Dashboards
    • Secure file management
    • Reliable and accurate matter and budget updates
    • View and access project management tools such as Gantt charts

These benefits ensure clients stay informed, are empowered, and have increased satisfaction knowing their law firm is up to date with the latest technology and leveraging digital tools to optimise their service delivery.

Conclusion

In summary, next gen client portals are an essential tool for law firms that wish to optimise their client service delivery and gain a competitive edge in an increasingly demanding environment. From one-way communication and static interfaces, to multi-way communication and dynamic and collaborative interfaces, the next gen of client portals effectively leverages technology to offer both law firms and clients benefits that deliver additional and tangible value to business operations, whilst strengthening their relationships.

New Client Collaboration Workspace. 

Law firms can enhance their client relationships with a shared collaboration workspace designed for lawyers: sharing files, completed documents, status updates, messages and more.

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