Lawyer/ Client Engagement

Lawyer/ Client Engagement

A Feature Exploration

The ask is to design a  collaborative tools that allows attorneys and their clients the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, monitor the status of engagements more conveniently, and deliver legal work more efficiently.

A bit of background:

Email was never intended to be a project management system. However, most attorneys rely on it to make requests, provide updates, and present work product. The result is that both attorneys and clients end up with disorganized workflows that are difficult to follow, check status, and reuse.

Here’s a typical process:

  1. Client contacts attorney to explain problem/need
  2. Attorney does conflicts check if cleared,
  3. Attorney asks client to sign and engagement letter
  4. Attorney has one or more follow-up conversations to summarize work to be done
    • Unstructured Emails/Phone Calls
    • Make task requests (e.g. review, sign, provide, approve, etc.)
    • Status updates and discussion pointsWork product delivered
    • Matter recap and value summary (rarely done and not very well)

The Pain Points

Client Pain

When hiring an attorney, I want to understand the overall process and what will be required of me.
  • “I don’t understand the process—how complex is this, what are the phases, what terminology/concepts should I understand?”
  • “I want to check status (budget, timeframe, deliverables) at my convenience (i.e. without having to contact my attorney)”
  • “I need to know exactly what my attorney needs, when, where, and how to provide it. I’d also like to know what my attorney will do.”

Attorney Pain

It’s difficult and time consuming to track and communicate matter status (especially external task requests).
  • “My clients are slow to respond to my requests, which slows up the process and then they get mad at me for delays/ over billing on the matter.”
  • “I need to quickly assemble a ‘matter plan’ and create re-usable assets that speed up the process for the next client” 
  • “I spend a lot of time sending status emails and phone calls updating clients on what I did for them.”

Objectives

Creating a system that is easier than attorney’s current process (email/phone/paper)
The platform needs to appear simpler and superior to attorneys current planning and communication process, otherwise they’ll just see it as just another hassle in their already busy workday.
Connect the value of planning engagements with key benefits
Traditionally, attorneys have not recognized the need for educating clients on the process (and some see a           downside). Thus, we’ll need to help connect the value of matter planning with internal efficiency gains, better       visibility, and happier clients (which means more referrals).
Position the platform as an advanced client communication/engagement tool
One possible approach is to leverage attorney’s familiarity and comfort with email. If we can position this platform as a client/ attorney engagement tool that allows for advanced communication, then we may be able to overcome the anxiety around extra work involved.

Now for the work

This is the interface that attorneys and clients would see when interacting with a plan. For this exercise I have used the matter of Estate Planning.
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