How to formulate innovative app ideas at your law firm

The Law Society’s 2017 report on technological innovation in the legal sector found that three quarters of law firms surveyed believe innovation is critical to stand out from the crowd.

More than 50%, however, said they were likely to wait for others to pioneer new technologies.

If technological innovation is “critical” to exploiting opportunity and beating the competition, why are over half of the world’s top law firms dragging their feet?

In our long history of speaking with law firms, we have found that many departments do not know how to begin nor how to convince senior decision makers and other departments of their ideas. We’ve also seen first hand how hard it is for teams to find the time to come up with ideas and create plans for innovation in the first place.

Top law firms shouldn’t have to wait for someone else to lead the way in technological innovation. So if your firm believes that there is value in technology ventures and specifically in the potential that’s lying in the mobile and cross-device remit, what do you do next?

Knowing where to start in apps can seem daunting, but they’re actually one of the fastest, most cost effective technologies to adopt if you have a clear plan. In as little as 15 minutes, firms can build sophisticated no-code apps for clients or internal communications.

Top law firms using apps currently have an average of 6.4 apps. To find out more, see our 2017 report.

Key questions to ask yourself:

1. How do I come up with an app idea?

Brainstorm business problems or potential optimizations. These problems could include issues like:

  • rapid growth within your company coupled with a lack of internal connectivity,
  • lack of online readership
  • a general drive to improve innovation in the firm.

These points of improvement, for example,  can easily be solved by internal communications apps or reporting apps.

Borrow from the competition. If an immediate opportunity doesn’t spring to mind, find other idea-triggers. There are already some great law firm apps available on the app stores. Why not borrow your competition’s idea and improve it? If Instagram can take ‘stories’ inspiration from Snapchat, why can’t you?

  • Want to see what the competition are doing? See our report on apps by the top 300 firms

Reach out to the experts. There are plenty of app building experts with a wealth of information. They can advise you on which apps are particularly popular in your industry and how they can increase revenue. Fliplet’s blog is a great place to start. We aim to advise on apps in the legal industry.

2. How do I inspire others in my firm to come up with ideas?

Internal workshops. Getting your colleagues engaged and excited is simple. Brainstorming sessions or innovation workshops take up very little time and often produce incredible ideas. Some firms have even implemented a ‘HackDay’ where teams have to come up with, and produce, a technological idea. The winner’s idea is taken up by the firm!

 

Fliplet is full of creative innovators who have run plenty of workshops of this kind in the past. If you would like us to run an innovation workshop at your firm, drop us a quick email!

Stress the competitive advantages. Encourage your firm to download apps made by competitors. Show them the successes these firms have had and the rewards they are reaping. Instead of keeping up with competitors who are innovating, out-perform them! Check out Fliplet’s guide to the best legal apps on the market in 2017 to get you started.

Take a closer look at internal structures. There are always ways businesses can improve internal processes. Ask your colleagues what systems aren’t working for them. Invite them to think about how an app would make their lives easier. Giving your colleagues an active role in the solution, will inspire them to make the most out of the opportunity. HR/Training apps and internal communications apps are revolutionising law firms from within.

3. How can I make the most out of my ideas?

Let’s say you’ve formulated an initial app idea but when it comes to designing the app itself, you’re not an expert. No matter, we have many suggestions.

Add in bespoke features. There are so many potential features your app could have. Social media feeds, media libraries and accordions are particularly popular with event apps. Interactive sliders and checklists have been successful with GDPR apps. Make the most out of your idea by adding these extra components.

Explore templates. If you aren’t sure what your app should look like, templates are an excellent framework. These pre-made plans provide suggestions on how your app could look, and which bespoke features will suit the app best. You could end up with a highly personalised, aesthetically stunning app that exceeds all expectation. Fliplet currently has 7 law firm specific app templates you can use, contact us  and we’ll share them with you.

Find the right support. Begin by isolating what aspects are most important to you. Do your apps need to be quickly updated? Highly bespoke? Coding-free? Easily integrated? Once you’ve listed down the high priorities, finding the right support is be easy. Many app builders have demos and comparing various sites will improve your app-building experience. Fliplet’s app building service is ideal for those who may not have large amounts of resources but want to build multiple apps. Our demo is available here.

Our brainstorm

To get the creative juices flowing, here are some app ideas we have come up with…

  • An Associate feedback app – An app centerd around a point system where all staff members can give associates feedback and points. Social apps tend to be the most used apps. Personal profiles and push notifications makes this app addictive!

If you’ve seen the show black mirror – picture the social scoring app!!

  • A buddy system app – An app that enables staff members to partner up from different departments. This encourages mentor/mentee relationships and cross-department teamwork.

  • A client training/support app – HSF have done a version of this but innovation can always be taken one step farther. It could log CPD activity and hours, provide podcasts, webinars, videos, articles, assessments and track the learning and much more.

  • Newsletters app – Convert tired email newsletters into celebrated apps. With constant updates and many filters, each user gets a personalised experience. Relevant news notifications can be implemented so that app users are always up-to-date. Our research has found that people prefer to read the news from a mobile device – so picture a BBC news app and help to keep your clients keep informed on the go.

Turning your idea into reality

Convincing your firm to prioritise your app idea may seem difficult but Fliplet has the perfect pitch suggestions. Whether it’s your boss, IT or marketing, they won’t be able to ignore the benefits apps can bring.

If you already have a pretty good idea of what you want to do with apps, find out how to put it into a business case (and download our template!) here.

If you have any other questions or would like to hear more of our ideas, click the button below.

Or tweet us! @FlipletApps is here to help.

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