In 2020, the world underwent a transformative shift in how we work, shop, conduct transactions, and maintain connections with clients, family, and friends. The rapid spread of COVID-19 acted as a catalyst for the widespread adoption of technology tools within family law firms. These tools included conducting court hearings via Zoom, collaborating with colleagues and clients by sharing documents in the cloud, and implementing Artificial Intelligence to provide guidance and information on law firm websites to clients and potential clients.
Whether we like it or not, many of these technological trends are here to stay. Family law firms that embraced this new reality not only survived but thrived throughout a year of lockdowns and crises. To help you adapt to this evolving landscape, here are some of our favorite new or significantly improved apps and technology tools for family lawyers.
1. Remote Video Recording with HD Quality
Due to the pandemic and the need for social distancing, in-person video recording became impractical, leading to a pause in video production for many of our clients. However, we were fortunate to embrace new technology that enables us to shoot high-definition videos remotely. We utilize two options for this purpose: OpenReel and StreamYard. These tools allow us to record top-quality videos featuring multiple participants located in different physical or geographical places simultaneously.
For optimal lighting in remote setups, we recommend using a ring light equipped with a smartphone holder, which you can easily purchase from Amazon for approximately $50. This setup ensures excellent lighting and enhances the overall video quality.
Even from a remote location, our videographer has the capability to adjust lighting and sound quality during and after the recording process, ensuring a professional outcome.
Comparing this remote approach to the traditional in-person video shoots we conducted before the COVID era, remote video recording significantly reduces disruption to our client’s office. Much like virtual meetings, remote video recording has proven to be an efficient solution for certain scenarios and is likely to stay as a viable option moving forward.
2. Kenect: Texting to Get More Prospective Clients
If your website doesn’t have a texting feature yet, now is the perfect time to consider implementing it. The good news is that you don’t have to use your personal smartphone number for this. With just one click, visitors to your website can send you a text message and provide their mobile number for your response.
By incorporating texting functionality, you can instantly acknowledge the receipt of messages by sending a text back to the sender. Setting it up on your website is a quick and straightforward process, and you can even differentiate between messages from existing clients and prospective ones.
Clients who have already integrated texting on their websites have found it to be incredibly convenient, and potential clients also appreciate the ease of communication. We recently hosted a video webinar on this topic in collaboration with Kenect, one of the leading providers of this service. If you’re interested in exploring this further, we recommend checking out the webinar for more insights and information.
3. Speech-to-Text Apps
Don’t have the time to write that blog post or article for your website? No worries, because there’s an app for that!
Back in 1990, Dragon Dictate pioneered dictation software, and now, after 30 years of advancements, we have Dragon by Nuance. This powerful speech recognition software, including the specialized Dragon Legal Everywhere for the legal industry, allows you to effortlessly dictate contracts, briefs, and format legal citations. With speeds three times faster than typing and powered by AI, this tool offers secure encryption and boasts an impressive accuracy rate of up to 99% right out of the box.
If you prefer working with something you already have, look no further than your smartphone. Most modern smartphones offer built-in speech-to-text features. For instance, Samsung smartphones allow you to dictate for up to 10 minutes, while Apple Enhanced Dictation eliminates Siri’s 30-second limit by adding a local file to your device, enabling offline dictation.
Another great option is Google Docs voice typing, which is free, highly accurate, and user-friendly. You can dictate an entire document and watch it appear as if it’s being typed right before your eyes. In the Chrome browser, simply go to docs.google.com, start a new document, click on the “Tools” menu, and select “Voice Typing.” A microphone icon will appear on the left—click on it and start speaking. If you’ve ever used a dictaphone, you’ll love how your spoken words are instantly transformed into text. However, keep in mind that for legal jargon and specific formatting, it may be necessary for your assistant or paralegal to review and make corrections.
These speech-to-text tools offer invaluable time-saving benefits and can significantly streamline your writing process, especially when dealing with legal documents and articles.
4. Text-to-Speech Apps
Reading aloud without stumbling can be challenging for many individuals, especially if they have a strong regional accent that might make their speech difficult for listeners to understand. At our firm, we utilize Google Cloud Text-to-Speech, a powerful tool that converts text into high-quality audio files. These files can be used for various purposes, such as office phone greetings, directories, voiceovers for videos, or even turning written articles into podcasts. Google’s AI technologies power this API, offering over 220 male or female voices and support for more than 40 languages, each with a variety of accents. Additionally, you have the option to create a custom voice that can represent your firm consistently across all your communication touchpoints. With the ability to control the speed and pitch of each voice, the possibilities for customization are nearly endless. Just be mindful of avoiding overly robotic-sounding voices unless that aligns with your intended image.
For branding purposes, consistency is key. We recommend finding a few voices that you like, adjusting their pitch, speed, and accent, and then using them consistently. For example, you can use the same voice for the firm overview on your website and for your phone directory.
While Google is a reputable choice, there are several other excellent text-to-speech tools available, both free and paid. Some notable alternatives include:
- Amazon Polly: Offering a wide range of lifelike voices and support for multiple languages. Amazon Polly Brand Voice even allows for the creation of a custom voice for your firm.
- Linguatec Voice Reader: Capable of converting text into remarkably high-quality audio files, available in up to 45 languages depending on the version.
- Natural Reader: The Commercial version includes an extensive selection of 173 voices from 27 different languages, suitable for various commercial purposes like YouTube videos or podcasts.
No matter which tool you choose, incorporating text-to-speech recordings can enhance the accessibility and appeal of your content across different platforms and mediums.
Technology is a Great Marketing Asset
Indeed, technology has been a game-changer, enabling us to enhance our creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness, even amidst challenging times like a pandemic. Embracing new technologies not only empowers us with knowledge but also requires us to effectively implement and leverage these tools for our benefit. As a team, we have adopted various tools that have proven valuable in marketing our clients’ family law practices. While the list shared above highlights some of the tools we use, there are many more that we can explore to suit specific needs and goals.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of these tools or want to explore additional technologies that can benefit your family law practice, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to assist and guide you in making the most out of technology to achieve your marketing objectives. Feel free to contact me, and together, we can discover the best strategies and solutions for your firm’s success.