With cloud computing being all the rage, be very cautious about thinking that you can undertake your business development activities from behind your desk utilizing only your computer. It is true that the “clouds” may actually increase efficiency in handling and collaborating with your client on a case or transaction. The danger arises when it comes to marketing in that such efficiency also reduces face time, and THAT can be bad.
What raised this red flag in my mind was an article on Attorney at Work by Jack Newton, president of Clio, a web-based practice management systems company.
Granted his article focused on secure, efficient virtual client service, not specifically on marketing. His key points:
- Cloud computing is a lot safer today (I know lawyers that are not all comfortable with that point yet);
- Not only increases efficiency, but can reduce overhead (couriers, printing and mailing costs, and I would add, space (since with less visits to law firm offices, the need for size and number of conference rooms could be reduced); and
- Faster, real-time communications no matter where everyone is located.
It isn’t that I take issue with the basic premise espoused by Newton, in fact, I even endorse his viewpoint from a legal project management standpoint – which is all about efficiency. But from a marketing perspective, not so much. My concern is that it may make it way too easy for lawyers to have more excuses (not that they need any more) to avoid spending quality face time with clients for business development purposes.
It’s tough enough getting lawyers out from behind their desks, if cloud computing helps fuel the actuality of even less face time, it does not bode well for successful business development by those same lawyers.