2022 is just around the corner…can you believe it?
A new year holds exciting opportunities, warranted improvements, and unanticipated challenges that are waiting to be solved with innovative ideas. There will be ups, there will be downs, and there will be trends.
While we don’t have the answer for every future possibility that this next trip around the sun holds, one thing is for sure: every law firm owner needs to brace themselves and expect the unexpected.
Check out what’s coming your way in 2022 and how you can best prepare yourself and your employees another year of success.
- Technology Continues to Improve
- Social Media Moves Full Steam Ahead
- The Rise of Automation
- Flexibility is Key
- Video Marketing Continues to Reign Supreme
- Belief Systems Matter
- Online Events Are Here to Stay
- Recruiting and Hiring is Crucial
- Networking Still Matters
- Mental Health Takes the Front Seat
Technology Continues to Improve
As expected, the new year will bring with it an update in some of the systems, processes, and applications you use nearly every day. In this new online world we find ourselves in, it’s important to stay current and make your life and your clients’ lives easier.
Sometimes it can be difficult to put into perspective just how much growth we’ve witnessed over the last 20 years alone. Check out this graph showing the alarming rate at which we continue to move.
Even the simplest of changes, such as law firms switching entirely to digital signatures rather than classic ballpoint are a sign of the accelerated adoption of technology. Applications such as DocuSign eSignature, HelloSign, and Moxtra are all at your disposal if you have not made the change yet.
Ditch the filing cabinets. Devices like ScanSnap are here to store everything digitally, readily available whenever you need them. Keeping your practice clutter-free and organized will help you start 2022 off on the right foot.
Moving everything to cloud storage systems such as Google Drive and iCloud is like storing your documents in a totally separate facility with 24/7 armed security. You and your clients will benefit from these uber-protective systems.
Social Media Moves Full Steam Ahead
If you thought this was the acceptable time to loosen the reins on marketing and advertising on social media, think again.
The number of social media users in the United States was 240 million in 2020, meaning 73 percent of Americans are actively using sites monthly. The numbers are only continuing to grow, and your potential clients are out there waiting for you.
The most popular social media platforms in the United States are YouTube at about 90 percent of internet users per month, followed by Facebook at about 73 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64. But don’t stop there — Instagram and LinkedIn are on the rise, with millions of your potential clients using these platforms on a daily basis.
And let’s not forget about the hottest platform on the market — TikTok. With over one billion monthly active users and more than 52 minutes of consumption on average per consumer, your ideal clients are using TikTok. It has become so popular that lawyers everywhere are starting to pop up with large accounts such as Michael Mandell and Ethan Ostroff.
No matter your area of practice, with statistics like these, your ideal client base is on social media. It’s just a matter of finding them and targeting them.
Continue sharing the latest in your law firm’s updates, news, and big stories. Your clients enjoy interacting and supporting you on social media, and this brings awareness to your brand even after you’re done working together.
The Rise of Automation
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, more and more jobs are beginning to become obsolete simply because machines are equipped to do so and don’t require paychecks. This can be helpful, but it can also be destructive.
Think back to how or why clients came to you in the first place. Yes, they had a need and knew you could fill it. But beyond that, at some point they had to have a discussion with you, or your receptionist, or a paralegal, and someone gave them the confidence they needed to choose you as their legal team.
In a world where we have more choices than we know what to do with, human connection will always prevail.
Tailor your law firm to adjust and adapt to automation where you can, like using email automation services such as Constant Contact, SendInBlue, or HubSpot. Beyond email automation, don’t forget that there are plenty of options for taking the load off of your team members’ plates. By attaching a ChatBot to your website, it can answer basic inquiries from potential clients visiting your website, thus freeing your team to deal with the current workload.
Above all, however, remember to keep your team members’ and clients’ basic human needs at the forefront of your mind.
The point of automating certain practices at your law firm is to make the lives of its team easier. It’s not meant to say that major changes must be made across the board — just that they can be improved.
While this information may sound daunting, it should only be taken as an opportunity to improve your law firm.
Flexibility is Key
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the need for backup plans is all too real. Flexibility is pivotal when it comes to succeeding in the new year, for if we can’t tailor our plans, we won’t succeed.
Being flexible ranges from allowing your team members to work from home when appropriate (while keeping them accountable, engaged, and productive of course) to dealing with sudden changes in plans, meetings, or even court dates. The world is full of last minute changes these days, and remaining cool, calm, and collected are sure to keep you on track.
Video Marketing Continues to Reign Supreme
In case you didn’t know, the radio star is still dead because of video. (For those too young to understand that reference, here you go.)
By 2022, online videos will make up around 82 percent of the entirety of the internet. We are in the age of video due to shorter attention spans and a wider variety of content. Take a look at TikTok: short videos that are entertaining or informative tend to do well, hence the app having around 80 million monthly users.
If you take the TikTok route, the five keys to success are following the trends, educating the masses, answering questions from followers, helping explain current events from a legal perspective, and “dueting” a popular video already on the platform. 2022 is a great time to try something new. Why not give it a shot?
We’re not saying you need to turn your law firm into a TikTok filming studio; but we are saying that video marketing has never been more powerful.
Consumers want to see what you’re about. They want to hear testimonials of people who have been in similar situations and how you helped them. Video marketing makes lasting connections and emotional impact, and if you intentionally craft your message to your ideal audience, you cannot lose.
Check out some of the amazing videos we’ve filmed for our law firm clients. All of these videos have helped bring in unprecedented revenue and growth, and have totally changed the growth trajectory of practices of all sizes.
Belief Systems Matter
In a world where it’s so easy to fall in line with the rest of the competition, why wouldn’t you choose to stand out? One easy way to do this is by developing a core system of beliefs for your law firm, and abiding by those every day.
A recent study investigated whether companies with clear values mattered to consumers. A whopping 77 percent of respondents said that, yes, it does matter. In fact, those people also stated that they would be more likely to purchase products from or work with organizations that follow said beliefs.
The same study found that 58 percent of content created by the world’s leading 1,800 brands is poor, irrelevant, and fails to deliver. But consumers crave meaningful content.
When you put two and two together, showing off your core values in a meaningful way really leaves a lasting impression on consumers. This makes your law firm more trustworthy, more likable, and more likely to be chosen over your competitors.
What have you got to lose by sticking to what you believe in?
Online Events Are Here to Stay
Even if you can’t get together in person, your virtual options for connecting with clients, prospects, and colleagues are endless. Thanks to platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype, you can still have your informative meetings, educational webinars, and even exciting events in a digital manner.
In fact, take a moment to check out our popular webinar on How to Host and Promote a Webinar: The Law Firm’s Guide to Getting Results With Online Events (and before you ask, yes, we realize the irony — but trust us!).
Think back on the past two years. It’s likely that you experienced a delayed-then-virtualized court date. While this may have caused a moment of inconvenience, the option to even have a hearing or deposition probably saved you and your law firm in a time when cases weren’t coming easily or quickly in the first place.
In 2022, make it a point to plan an online event — maybe even a few. This will allow you to get the word out about your firm and attract possible clients, all while continuing to actively adapt to an online world.
While you continue to upgrade the technology around your law firm, be sure to figure out which of these systems works best for your business and style of presenting, and make it an essential part of it.
Recruiting and Hiring is Crucial
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of November of 2021, there are currently 6.9 million unemployed people in the United States.
Read that again — that’s 6.9 million people who need a job and are ready to take on something new. If you’re unable to keep people at your law firm, consider reworking your approach.
While there are plenty of people out there in need of a new position, you want to make sure you’re attracting the right people.
Keep your needs short and sweet, and make sure the potential hires are well aware of what you expect from them in an attempt to avoid wasting money by onboarding them in the first place. Invest in your team members instead of treating them like just another cog in the machine.
Networking Still Matters
Just when you thought this world was still dog-eat-dog, it turns out that networking, building relationships, and keeping your competition close by helps you stay in the game. When you bounce ideas off of other law firms, you might discover new tactics and styles that can help you get ahead, and vice versa. The legal industry is huge, and there’s plenty of advice to go around.
We all have advantages and disadvantages in our law firms. Maybe yours is that you have team members who, when added together, have over 300 years of experience in the legal field. Or maybe it’s that you recently hired multiple lawyers who are young, hungry, and ready to take the courtroom by storm. If your two firms come together, you might learn new ways of doing things that you never thought possible.
Sharing common goals is what brings us together. In 2022, see what you can learn from one another in order to get ahead.
Mental Health Takes the Front Seat
Arguably one of the most important trends to anticipate this year, mental health must take precedence.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone in one way or another. In fact, during the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019.
A poll also found that many adults reported difficulty sleeping or eating, increase in alcohol consumption or substance use, and worsening chronic conditions, due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.
You don’t want your law firm to add to the debilitating stress that humans are feeling day in and day out. For your team members in the upcoming year, be sure they have resources available to them. Consider prepping your human resources department for this possibility.
2022 will be full of unknowns, just as these past few years have been. Though we aren’t “back to normal” just yet, these trends are here to get you started off right.
By staying on track, you have a chance to have your most successful year yet.
Is your law firm ready to take this year by storm?