How to Make Your Law Firm a Leader in Mobile Innovation

Our research on the current state of mobile in the legal industry showed us that 24.33% of law firms are currently using apps. Of those firms, our ranking system allowed us to sort them based on our predefined criteria, taking into consideration things such as:

  • Number of apps for each firm
  • Number of app stores where each firm had an app presence
  • Whether firms use web apps
  • Purpose served by the app (divided in categories)
  • Sectors and practices supported

But what are the top law firms actually doing? How do they become leaders in mobile innovation? We thought we’d investigate exactly that, and found that there are six tips to take from the law firms leading the mobile surge.

More apps isn’t always better, but expertise coverage is

Make sure your areas of differentiation have a mobile presence, especially if you’re able to create single apps to cover your specific niches.

One thing we know from years of apps being in the market is that they are most popular and easily adopted when they serve a specific purpose – that’s why apps that try to do everything, such as the old ‘website-in-an-app’ apps, are not really well adopted.

What this means to your firm is that, if you cover a range of niches, it is likely that you will need an ecosystem of mobile apps. One way to support this so-called ecosystem is through a portal app. Find out more about how portal apps have become an effective way of maintaining and distributing multiple apps.

Take your blog or email newsletter to the next level

Bird and Bird Cloud Computing App

Bird & Bird’s Cloud Computing app was compiled from content they already had on their full website. They effectively converted it into a user-friendly mobile format.

Put them into an app so your audience gets a notification when something new is published in their areas of interest.

These days, every firm has a range of blogs and publications that get sent out, but inboxes are ever busier and it gets harder to grab clients’ and subscribers’ attention. An app will enable the user to get notifications about just the topics they care about, which in turn makes them much more likely to read and respond to them.

This is one of several quick-win ideas in the realm of apps. You could also use existing guides, PDFs, brochures, event presentations. Content is all around in law firms, and many times it’s perfectly suited for a mobile application.

Apps don’t need to last forever, they can be time specific

Norton Event App

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Event Platform helps event attendees find useful details about the events

Keep your app store tidy and remove any apps that are no longer relevant.

Whilst we’re on the subject of time limitations, it’s important to mention that many apps have a limited lifespan. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and most cutting edge companies have apps that expire, such as those related to events, seasonal reports, and similar.

Don’t forget about the importance of internal app use cases

Skadden Internal App

Skadden’s Associate Life App helps new associates navigate their mentorship opportunities and network with different groups across the firm.

It’s been proven that one of the best investments companies can make to internal productivity and synergy is taking advantage of mobile technologies.

20% of the law firms with apps in this report had internal apps such as staff directories, internal event and meeting apps and project support apps. Consider these in your mobile strategy as well.

Own your mobile app strategy

Firms with a central mobile strategy generally have better expertise coverage and do more than those that have created some apps but in a more disorganized, department-centric way.

Look into Mobile Centers of Excellence to find out more about who should take ownership of mobile initiatives and why.

Don’t launch an app unless there’s an easy way to keep it up to date

17% of the apps launched by law firms on the app stores haven’t been updated in years (2015 or before).

Whilst some apps are suitable for completely static content, the chances are most of them are not. However you choose to publish your app, make sure you check first what would be the process and resource necessary to push updates through.

Learn from the best and improve your mobile strategy

We carried out our research into how law firms are using mobile so that other firms could learn and improve their mobile strategy. In summary, the top law firms leading mobile innovation:

  • Have multiple, high-quality apps serving specific purposes
  • Convert their existing content into mobile format
  • Use apps only for as long as they’re required or beneficial
  • Use internal apps as well as external or client facing apps
  • Own their mobile strategy to grow and improve the impact of apps
  • Have processes and resources in place to maintain and update apps

Is your firm’s approach to mobile aligned with these aspects of the top law firms strategies? If not, you might find the full report of value. It contains further information on exactly what these top law firms are doing with mobile, and why they’re focusing on apps.