Meeting with clients online through Skype is a great way to give your firm a competitive advantage. For starters, it's a neat use of technology that is bound to stand out. Second - and somewhat surprisingly, Skype is a less-intimidating way to use technology than, for example, requiring a client to log-in to a site and fill out a form. Many otherwise tech-challenged folks (my parents, for example, come to mind) are being introduced to Skype as a way to keep in touch with family members who may be stationed overseas or who've moved to other parts of the country. As a result, they're more comfortable with Skype than they might be with a conventional online portal. Third, Skype adds credibility to the attorney- client relationship and builds trust. Through Skype, clients can see that they are meeting with an actual lawyer. Though of course it's conceivable that a charlatan could hire an actor to pose as a lawyer and collect payments and run, it's far more difficult to set up this type of ruse than, for example, to create an anonymous website. Finally, since most computers have video recording built in, you could (with a client's consent of course) record Skype calls to avoid any future misunderstanding about what's been said.
In addition to holding client meetings on line, lawyers can also use Skype to set up a proverbial "walk-in shingle" on the main street that is the world wide web. As with any walk in arrangement, a client could just come in and wait, first-come, first-served for a turn. Or a lawyer could use some of the online scheduling tools that I discussed here and ask clients to make an appointment. Moreover, Skype can facilitate the kind of after-hours availability that is convenient to clients who work 9-5. Though many lawyers may not want to cut into their weekend to trek to the office to meet clients, through Skype, they can meet at a home office.
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