Professional growth          Court news           Productivity           Technology          Wellness          Just for fun

Leveraging technology to strengthen client relationships in personal injury law

This article comes from Kenny Eliason, founder of RECORD and an accomplished entrepreneur in both technology and the legal industry.

Maintaining a great relationship with your client is critical to success in personal injury law. Most attorneys leverage paralegals and other staff to stay connected with their clients. But many PI lawyers miss the opportunity to extend and deepen client relationships through the use of technology.

Over the course of my career in legal case management, I’ve worked with thousands of clients. I tried calling clients at least weekly, if not more often, which always resulted in a better relationship with the client at the end of the case. I have always focused on the client experience, and due to my love for technology, I’ve always looked for ways to improve the client experience that doesn’t unduly increase the burden on the business.

We all remember when we started texting clients and how clunky that was. Do we give them our cell numbers? Do we respond outside of business hours? It was incredibly painful when it started out.

Now, here we are years later using it every day, and we can’t imagine how we ever survived without it. Technology keeps improving, and I have found that the proper use of technology with your clients can dramatically improve the client relationship, all while reducing costs and increasing value.

The good and bad of your legal staff handling your client relationships

Your legal staff is likely both the best and worst things about your job. Legal staff can make your life tremendously better or painfully worse. Who knew that going to law school for three years meant playing the role of Human Resources for the rest of your career?

When your legal staff performs well, your client relationships are likely going great as well. Phones are answered when they ring, messages are returned quickly, and meetings are quick and meaningful. Things just…work.

But just as quickly as a good legal staff member can help, a bad staff member can really hurt your client relationships. A client can start feeling neglected, forgotten, and burdensome, and eventually may even decide to hire another attorney if they don’t get the attention they deserve.

How can being like Iron Man assist in building a stronger client relationship?

I’m a huge fan of the Iron Man movies. Do you know what makes Iron Man unique compared to all the other superheroes? Iron Man doesn’t have any superpowers; his superpower is technology. So, how can attorneys and their staff leverage technology to improve the client relationship?

Use a cloud-based phone system

Most attorneys like the safety and security of tried and true methods of communication. If it ain’t broke, am I right?

When it comes to your twenty-year-old phone system, it may be causing you more harm than you realize.

With modern technology, phone systems have come a long way from their predecessors. You can now have a completely digital telephone system that includes multiple lines for different people, personal voicemail, mobile apps to answer calls on your phone, text messaging, and much more.

Now, you’re probably thinking: I can’t afford a new fancy phone system; it’s probably too expensive!

To that, I give two counterpoints:

The first point is that these new systems have come down dramatically in cost. You can actually get an account set up for as cheap as $20 per user.

You must also consider the potential lost revenues due to unreturned calls, voicemails, and unanswered phones. A cloud-based system can dramatically impact your firm for good.

Use a digital case management system

When I started working at a law firm in 2004, one of the first things we did was migrate the entire office from the paper filing system they had been using since 1969 to a completely paperless one.

It took a few iterations and a lot of trial and error. Still, eventually, we ended up in a case management system that provided a tremendous overlook of not just what was happening inside the firm but, maybe even more importantly, inside every case.

Case management has come a long way since 2004, with top names like MyCase, CasePeer, and Filevine building systems that are focused on organizing the information in a more understandable format and increasing the value of the case by promoting efficiency and accuracy from every person working in the firm.

In the ABA’s recent study on Practice Management software being used by attorneys, the number is surprisingly lower than one would expect, with only 63% of people reporting the availability of case/practice management software at their firms. What are the other 37% of people doing with paper file systems in this day and age?

If you still use an old paper file system, you can possibly relate to a story I heard.

Back in the day, attorneys using paper filing systems had to keep track of an actual manila folder containing everything related to the assigned case. Sometimes, those folders would get very large and fill an entire filing cabinet. Sometimes they would be very small and only have a few pages of paper. Well, the story goes, an old attorney had been in his office for something like 30 years, and when they were moving to a new office, in the back, behind an old filing cabinet that hadn’t been seen in years, laid the folder of an old case that wasn’t ever concluded. It had fallen out of sight (and out of mind).

Don’t let your cases fall through the cracks, use a digital case management system to help you and your staff stay on top of every case, ensuring every client relationship is remembered and built upon.

Give the client digital tools to help them stay connected to the case

In today’s digital world, we’re more connected than ever before. Everything is now “smart,” and we can control all of it from the phone in our pockets.

If we want lunch delivered? There’s an app for that.

Too cold in the office? There’s an app for that.

Need to watch the game later? There’s an app for that.

Where’s the app for clients of a personal injury attorney? What would that look like?

Clients want to help with their cases. They know it’s important to be involved and not screw anything up, but often, because most people are only in one car accident in their lifetime, clients have no idea how to be great clients.

That means, as the attorney, you will have to help two kinds of people: those who ask a lot of questions, and those who don’t. Both types are a huge concern.

Clients that ask a lot of questions can become a huge pain in the butt. You’re constantly fielding messages or phone calls, meeting requests or emails, and there’s always going to be another question that needs answering.

As you attorneys know, most of the questions being asked are the same ones every other client asks, so you’re left to answer the same questions repeatedly. You don’t have the bandwidth for that! So you hire more staff, right? Well, we’ve already gone over the issues with that idea.

Then there are the clients that never call. Seems dreamy, right? Well, guess what — those clients are saying without you knowing…

“My attorney never calls me.”

“I have no idea what’s going on in my case.”

“Why am I even going to this appointment? I have better things to do.”

And those are NOT the questions you want your clients to ask.

Using a client tool like RECORD to assist in the management of a case is exactly what clients are asking for. With RECORD, clients are able to connect seamlessly with their cases. They can provide updates, expenses, photocopies, and more, all while being educated on why they’re doing what they’re doing. This improves the quality of their case and dramatically affects the client relationship because now the attorney can focus on the higher level, more meaningful interactions than just fielding questions all day.

Improve the client relationship, one digital step at a time

People are the most important aspect of my life.

I regularly use technology to better my relationships with people around me, whether I’m using the calendar on my phone so I don’t miss a school play or the reminders app so I don’t forget to call someone back. I’m always looking for ways to use technology to make me a better person.

This same logic applies to your personal injury clients. Let technology help facilitate a better relationship with your clients. The hard work of making the transition will be worth it.

Don’t leave thinking about this as an overwhelming task to switch everything to being online; that’s a sure way to get nowhere fast.

Instead, consider this the first step towards a more digitized future. Choose the easiest one for you to understand and start working on that one thing until you figure it out. Then, choose the next one, and move on from there.

Technology doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming. Focusing on little improvements daily can become the superpower that makes you the Iron Man of personal injury.


  • Kenny Eliason

    Kenny Eliason is a seasoned legal case management expert who has worked with thousands of clients over the course of his career. He has always been passionate about providing an exceptional client experience and using technology to enhance client relationships. As the founder of RECORD, he has built a client tool that helps personal injury lawyers better communicate with their clients, improve case management and overall efficiency, and ultimately build stronger relationships. Kenny aims to make the transition to a more digitized future as easy and accessible as possible for personal injury clients.

    View all posts

Our recommendations

Follow InfoTrack