Going Hybrid: A New Working Model for Remote Legal Services

Michelle Wong, December 3, 2021

Legal professionals are looking to modernize how they interact with their clients as businesses see a steady rise in remote working. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, both lawyers and their clients have enjoyed the flexibility to request legal aid and offer consultations remotely with any device they choose and at their own convenience. But despite the surge in all things digital, human connection is still highly valued in legal assistance. To balance digitization with client expectations for a human connection, the human-digital hybrid model is an effective strategy for law firms. Whether nonprofit, pro bono, or traditional legal advice, it allows professionals to replicate the in-person experience in the digital world – and provide a differentiated client experience for their legal issues.

In the webinar, Hybrid Work Model: The Future for the Legal Profession, Aaron Davis, Director of Product Marketing, and Francois Leblanc, Director of Technical Sales at OneSpan, share examples of how lawyers, legal aid organizations, and legal services providers can apply technologies that integrate a human connection into their processes and how a hybrid model will build a stronger connection and loyalty with clients over time. You can watch the full presentation on-demand.

COVID-19 Accelerated Client Servicing Challenges

The long-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are seen across every industry as organizations try to catch up to market demands. A report by McKinsey & Company found that on average, the pandemic has forced companies to accelerate their digital transformation by an average of seven years.

However, for client-servicing areas like the legal profession, unique challenges arise with the lack of ability for in-person interactions. Results from the American Bar Association’s Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward nationwide survey of legal professionals found that 52% of respondents are having trouble getting business from new clients, and over a third experience difficulty with setting up client meetings and getting decisions from their clients. The pandemic has impacted every stage of the client journey, from acquiring new clients to servicing them with legal help and growing business further. With business relations now forced to be conducted through digital channels, legal professionals can best position themselves for servicing clients across their online journey by integrating technologies that provide mutual flexibility and accessibility.

With the right technology and business model in place, work processes can be simplified and enable increased productivity and business continuity. From a client perspective, the increased demand for convenience can be addressed to fit their everyday digital lives and build trust and loyalty.

How the Human-Digital Hybrid Model Enables Better Client Experiences

Clients are looking for holistic digital experiences, and this will only continue to increase as other customer-focused industries like retail and banking integrate more tools to enable smoother online journeys. People are putting a premium on convenience and value. It’s the “anytime, anywhere” effect that digital communication technologies have created. By just tapping an app on their phone, clients expect to be able to get the legal information they want fast, in a personalized way. They want differentiated services that speak to them and solve their unique problems.    

For more complex legal matters and agreements, the need for remote legl support in the form of high touch, high impact digital client engagement is crucial. Legal practitioners are integrating a mediated virtual experience to supplement traditional face-to-face meetings. Common use cases include client intake, real estate closings, virtual witnessing, and many more. These all require what’s referred to as human-assisted agreements.

Zoom is simply not enough. These digital agreements require secure access and robust authentication, real-time communication, simultaneous review, and clarification that allow clients to be walked through an agreement, e-signing and notarization - all while capturing electronic evidence that is compliant with legislation requirements.

Technologies like OneSpan Sign Virtual Room help recreate the power of the face-to-face meeting. It brings the human element to your remote signing and agreement processes by allowing legal documents to be reviewed, modified, and signed in a secure, live videoconferencing session between the lawyer and client.

What is the OneSpan Sign Virtual Room?

The OneSpan Sign Virtual Room is an all-in-one digital mediated agreement solution that helps law firms and legal professionals guide clients through complex, multi-step agreement processes. The Virtual Room includes built-in videoconferencing, collaboration, e-signature, and recording capabilities.

Benefits to legal professionals:

  1. Speed and convenience. This platform is built on OneSpan Sign e-signature technology, with videoconferencing to eliminate the need for in-person meetings to review and sign documents.
  2. Real-time assistance. You’re able to provide clients with a premium experience to address questions in real-time and get them the help they need, when they need it.
  3. Fully branded experience. The platform can be fully white-labelled to keep the spotlight on your brand and maintain trust and credibility with your clients.
  4. Secure agreements. Data and documents are always secure throughout the entire process, whether in transit or at rest. Digital signatures ensure document integrity.
  5. Strong electronic evidence. You’re able to capture vendor-independent audit trails with the option to keep a video recording of the Virtual Room session.

How It Works

Explore the virtual signing process below:

virtual signing process

7 Steps to Implementing a Human-Digital Hybrid Model

For legal professionals interested in integrating a human-digital hybrid model into their business, we’ve highlighted a few key steps as part of the roadmap:

  1. Assess corporate culture. Keep an eye on the culture of your firm and whether a readiness for change already exists or significant education will be required to persuade decision-makers.
  2. Develop a holistic strategy. The pandemic forced the adoption of technologies at a quicker pace just to keep operations afloat. If adopting a hybrid model, it will be important to consider what’s required for the entire end-to-end experience.
  3. Start incrementally. You’re not going to be able to solve all your problems and gaps with technology right out of the gate. Integrate step-by-step, test, and optimize as you go.
  4. Be clear on the role of technology. Be sure to identify which specific issues will be addressed, and whether it's expected to be a quick win or require more investment.
  5. Identify and prioritize high value opportunities. Prioritize the areas that can yield the greatest impact and return on investment.
  6. Measure and evaluate outcomes. Since technology should be implemented incrementally, evaluation should be done frequently.
  7. Develop a framework for sustainment. These technologies are going to evolve very rapidly in the next decade as the industry moves to a digital cloud paradigm. Developing a framework that can be sustained within your own practice will be the key to long term success for legal services organizations.

In Conclusion

Clients prefer remote digital interactions that are fast and convenient, but when things become more complicated, they want help from a trusted advisor. Technology will never going totally replace that human need, so the hybrid human-digital blended experience helps you effectively bring together the best of both worlds.

Towards a Human-Digital Hybrid Model

Hybrid Work Model: The Future for the Legal Profession

In this webinar, expert speakers share examples of how lawyers and other legal professionals can integrate human connection into their processes and build best-in-class remote experiences.

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