The avenues available for attorneys to communicate with their client become more numerous with each passing day. The constant stream of technological developments introduced to the legal field daily makes these exchanges increasingly easy. With this increased ease of communication comes a decrease in the formality of attorney-client relations. After all, conversations that once could only be had in formal office settings can now be completed across an array of mediums – including texting clients. Perhaps one of the most casual (and ubiquitous) forms of communication in present times, text messaging has been employed by legal professionals with increasing regularity. Of course, there are both benefits and drawbacks to incorporating text messaging into your client communications. If this is something you may be considering for you firm, read on to examine the pros and cons:
A 2017 study by the New York Post revealed that Americans check their phones an average of 80 times a day. The easy, brief nature of text messages renders them highly visible – and tempting to respond to – to our members of our increasingly phone-reliant society. Relying on text messaging to communicate with your clients means increasing the likelihood that your messages will be seen and responded to quickly.
Though an array of platforms exist that generate new phone numbers for your firm, allowing you to receive messages to your phone without revealing your personal number, text messaging clients does remove a layer of distance between yourself and them. Though your phone number may not necessarily be revealed, the most persistent clients can still send countless messages directly to your phone, resulting in a potentially overwhelming – not to mention irritating – situation.
Pro: Scale Your Reliance on Texts
Lawyers texting clients can choose more conservative ways to ease into this form of communication. For instance, instead of jumping directly into making yourself accessible via texts, explore setting up text message reminders for both yourself and your clients through your practice management software. This will allow both of you to receive pings about important upcoming tasks, deadlines, and events while maintaining the precious line of privacy between your professional dealings and your personal mobile device.
Con: Avoid Oversimplifying
Though incredibly convenient, a text message inbox is most certainly not the place to discuss any matters on an in-depth basis. We know you know this, of course; but it may be more difficult to get this message across to certain clients. Opening up this communication channel can backfire, placing you at the risk of seeming negligent or inaccessible to clients who wish to use text messaging as a forum to receive detailed updates or advice. Should you wish to introduce texting into your client interactions, take care to be very clear about its limitations to brief exchanges, reminders, and information that is not case-sensitive.
Lawyers texting clients is the future – if you want it to be
At the end of the day, no one knows what makes your practice run smoothly better than you do. That being said, the increasing array of options available makes it worthwhile to stay open to new possibilities. Texting clients is an incredibly convenient option with the potential to maximize the efficiency of your client interactions – if you take care to establish boundaries and preserve your privacy.