By Brandon Huffman

I recently attended the Clio Cloud Conference in New Orleans – thanks to an NCBA social media contest (#myNCBA)!

The conference was a tremendous chance to surround myself with other lawyers and professionals who view changes to legal technology as opportunity.

I was able to see the reveal of a new Clio UX/UI and now have insider access to it for my firm. I was able to connect with vendors and get up close and personal with the developers behind the software that is the backbone of my organization.

The biggest single takeaway for me, though, was about a larger trend in the legal industry. Last year’s Clio trends report showed the dismal efficiency in most small law firms (three quarters of work hours are not realized as collections). This year, there was a bit more nuance in the report, and the most interesting nugget, to me, was the survey of legal consumers.

In that survey, they discovered that the single most important factor to consumers considering legal services is the speed with which the lawyer contacts them. This means your “I try to get back to inquiries within 24 hours” policy is a dinosaur. If attorneys are waiting a full day to reply, especially to a potential new client, they should count on that client moving on.

We live in an on-demand culture. From Netflix to Uber. There is no waiting. And consumers want the same from their attorneys.

I am not saying to wait by the phone and sit on the computer staring at Outlook or Gmail all day long to the detriment of everything else. But, when a new inquiry comes in, be mindful that the single biggest factor in whether or not you land that client is not your qualifications. It is not your website. It certainly isn’t where you went to school. It is how fast you reply.

In short, hit reply. Engage. And do it quickly.

If you are interested in learning more about Clio’s findings, you can get the whole trends report here.  Next year, I would invite and encourage you to join me at the conference.

NCBA member Brandon Huffman won tickets from the NCBA to attend this year’s Clio Cloud Conference for his entry in our Membership Twitter contest.  North Carolina Bar Association members receive a 10 percent lifetime discount on Clio.