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Is video conferencing the future of client and solicitor meetings?

The Coronavirus lockdown has prompted many companies to quickly adopt new technologies in order to continue to deliver their services, and solicitors are no exception.

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Law tends to be a very traditional field, and historically has had a high reliance on paper files and sending letters or documents by post, however, recently more and more firms are utilising technology to make processes more convenient and efficient for both lawyers and clients.

At Hegarty Solicitors for the past few years we have been working on changing our processes to use email as the primary means of sending written correspondence to our clients wherever possible, as this vastly improves the speed of communication and our clients tell us it is usually more convenient than letters sent through the post. We are also increasingly conscious of our responsibility to be aware of our environmental impact and reduce our paper usage.

Just before the lockdown began, we worked very hard to ensure our solicitors and support staff could utilise the technology available to continue to deliver our vital services remotely, with many of our solicitors and staff working from home throughout the lockdown.

Using video calls to meet your solicitor

Catherine Chapman, IT Manager at Hegarty Solicitors said “Our solicitors have used video conferencing for some time to meet with clients and verify identity for residential property clients, however since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed, we quickly adapted to using this as the sole method of meeting our clients face to face.

“We use Microsoft Teams for video calls, as it offers more advanced security and compliance capabilities compared with other video conferencing software, to ensure the safety of our clients. We have found that it has been really important in helping to maintain relationships with our clients and enable our team to work together effectively.”

You don’t need to have a Microsoft account to join a Teams video call, you can join easily as a guest. Catherine explains how:

  • A member of our team will email a link to a Microsoft Teams meeting on an agreed date.
  • Check your email for the Teams Meeting invite and click the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link.
  • Select Join on the web or download the free Teams app to your tablet or mobile device.
  • There is no need to set up an account, choose Join as guest, enter your name and choose your audio and video settings.
  • Click the Join Now button to be admitted into the meeting.

Lockdown and beyond

Our offices are now open for essential pre-arranged appointments only, as long as social distancing rules are followed, to ensure the safety of both our clients and staff. We will still continue to utilise Microsoft Teams as our primary method of meeting with clients whilst social distancing rules remain in place. Of course, we do also continue to speak with clients via phone and email, however it is likely that video calls will continue with clients long past the coronavirus lockdown, as we know many of our clients have found it beneficial.

Andrew Heeler, Corporate Partner commented “We are aware that many of our clients are working from home at the moment and having this facility available has meant we are still able to deliver vital services to our clients, both businesses and individuals, throughout this period to progress matters and maintain relationships.

“Many clients have commented that they are pleased to be able to meet with a solicitor to discuss their matter from the comfort of their own home at a time that is convenient to them without having to travel. Our solicitors have also been able to meet with each other to discuss matters and work with other organisations to progress matters. By utilising this technology going forward we can ensure we deliver a service that is convenient for our clients, for example, we can meet with clients who are on their lunch break to quickly discuss a matter in person, without clients having to find time to visit our office.”

Are video calls here to stay?

Ensuring that we are still able to deliver our excellent levels of service to our clients throughout lockdown and deliver our important services to clients when they need us has been the main driver in implementing Microsoft Teams across the firm. However, this is one lockdown change that may be here to stay as part of our focus on delivering a service that puts our clients first. Of course, nothing can compare to meeting our clients in person, however, it is a positive change to be able to give our clients more options for meeting with a solicitor.

If you have any questions about using Microsoft Teams for the next meeting with your solicitor, please contact them directly and they will be pleased to explain what to expect.

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