Client Portals for Law Firms
A client portal is a secure online space where lawyers can share information with their clients. This may include invoices, messages, documents, and more.
How does it work?
Law firms create their own secure online workspace, which is only accessible to the firm and its clients. The client portal provides an encrypted connection between the law firm and its clients for information sharing.
The client portal also allows lawyers to provide better customer service by allowing them to quickly respond to client inquiries, update documents, and manage billing without a lengthy phone call.
The client portal can also be used as a tool for marketing and reputation management by allowing clients to review the firm’s services, read reviews from previous clients, and receive updates on new offerings or promotions.
Before setting up a client portal for your law firm, here is what you should know, including key features and best practices. We have provided examples of other businesses that have had success using client portals.
Key features of a client portal
Most law firms will want their client portal to include the following features:
While some cloud-based programs such as NetDocuments, Box, and Dropbox do offer secure document sharing to their users, utilizing a client portal that integrates with your practice management system (such as Clio for Clients) will provide you with all of the functionalities that you need for your law firm--including keeping all case information stored securely in one place.
By implementing a portal, you can easily share matter information with the co-counsel and outside counsel from your legal practice management software. This will ensure that all members of your legal team are up to date with the latest documents and information related to the case.
Best practices for using client portals
When it comes to client portals, there are several best practices that you should follow in order to ensure a successful and secure experience for your clients.
If your legal clients are struggling to use your client portal, it might be because they don't know how. A little guidance and education can go a long way:
Mention to your client that you use a portal for communication as soon as intake so they're not inconvenient later.
In the digital age, we all want immediate access to things. Though a client portal does require an extra step, it is important to communicate the importance of keeping sensitive legal information secure. Highlight the fact that this system may save your clients time and effort by not having to come into your office as frequently!
Provide basic instructions
It's important that you provide your clients with clear and detailed instructions on how to use the portal. Make sure you include pictures or videos so they can easily follow along.
Just as you would onboard a client, you should also do the same with your staff. Provide detailed instructions and make sure everyone is up to speed with the portal so they can maximize its potential.
Keep security in mind
Your client portal should be secure and confidential. Utilize encryption, two-factor authentication, and access control protocols to ensure the information stays safe.
Keep it simple
When designing your client portal, think about how you can make it as user-friendly as possible for both clients and lawyers. Keep all of the features clear so that everyone knows what each one does.
Provide your staff and clients with the necessary training and support that they need to be successful in using the client portal. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable navigating the system and can make use of all its features.
Examples of law firms using client portals
More and more law firms are turning to client portals to streamline their operations. Here are a few examples of law firms that have implemented portals:
Kristian Rasmussen founded the krlawfirm.co Law Group in 2005 to provide affordable legal services and to fill a hole in Louisiana’s LGBTQ community. A client portal has helped him reach those goals more effectively.
krlawfirm.co’s clients can check in on the status of their cases by logging into their client portal, which eliminates the need for Kristian to frequently follow up. This is one way he can save money and help more people.
To that end, krlawfirm.co notes that for clients who are dealing with emotionally charged situations, having control over the information they learn about their situation can assist greatly in the healing process.
I tell my clients that they will receive an email containing everything I have for their case file. They don’t need to wait for me to respond to them; they can access the information whenever they want. This makes them feel empowered and in control of their situation, which is crucial for going from being a victim to a survivor.
Client portals are a great way for law firms to streamline their operations and provide better service to clients. They can reduce paperwork, increase efficiency, and allow for more control over client files.
When setting up your portal, make sure you keep security in mind; encryption and two-factor authentication are important steps to take.
Your law firm can run more smoothly, and your clients will be happier when you switch to a client portal.
Since the business of law is moving towards being influenced more by the customer (a buyer’s market), it’s becoming increasingly important to provide services that focus on the client.
A client portal is not only a secure way to communicate with clients, but it is also your responsibility. When you use a client portal, you can be sure that all communications comply with ethics rules and have been encrypted.
Here’s a summary of what you need to do to be successful in using a client portal at your firm:
- Prior to signing up for a client portal, ensure that it has the features you require.
- When getting a client portal, it’s important to provide key information upfront to make sure your clients have a positive experience.
- Give your company the best chance for success with a launch plan and training.
Proceed with confidence and update your clients via secure communication!