Law is one of the most conservative professions out there, but Millennial communication is anything but conservative. That’s making many lawyers turn to new ways of communicating with their clients so they can do their job. One of these methods is Slack, a real-time communication platform with incredible search and archive abilities.
Initially released in 2013, Slack has become the email-replacement app of choice for many businesses, especially startups. It’s also used by the public to create personalized chatrooms. It’s this ability to create private and secure chat rooms with clients that makes it appealing for lawyers who want to reach clients who don’t want to talk in person, call, or email, while also getting around the security worries of texting.
Trails of Discovery
But Slack provides more than just a Millennial-friendly way of communication. It also creates an excellent paper trail of client communications. Even the free Slack version allows you to store thousands of messages. Clients and lawyers can go back through a conversation and pluck out that little nugget of information that could help a case or resolve a billing dispute.
This ability to store information and search it easily also makes Slack conversations open for evidence discovery. As people use more and more chatting applications, this will force lawyers to stay on top of these messaging technologies so they can get the evidence they need for cases. A lawyer who doesn’t know how to use something like Slack could find themselves at a serious disadvantage.
Advantages for Clients
What does a client get out of using a lawyer’s Slack chatroom over traditional calls and emails? Several things:
– Real-time communication lowers the anxiety of wondering what is going to happen in a case.
– No missing emails disappearing down spam boxes or archive folders.
– No missed calls to or from the lawyer.
– A full trail of communication you can use to call out your lawyer if a problem arises.
– Easy sharing of files allows upload of text and photo evidence without having to go to their office to deliver it.
In short, it’s like having your lawyer always on hand when you need to send them a message. True, they might not respond to you immediately but the message will be there and they won’t be able to dodge it.
The file sharing feature is an especially powerful one. Imagine you were injured in an accident and an insurance representative came to you with some paperwork. You could photograph the documents and send them via Slack to your personal injury lawyer for analysis right there and wait for their opinion. Some insurance companies do like to play sneaky tricks to pay out less money. Slack could nip this kind of tactic right in the bud.
Jason Baril, attorney for OEB Law, often uses Slack with his clients. “It’s much easier for an injured client to photograph documents or communicate with my office via Slack than traditional methods. I also find it more reliable for keeping a trail of communication than email. It’s not that hard to teach even a non-technical person the basics.”
Lawyers already savvy with Slack set up their own client portals once they take on a client. It doesn’t take long to learn the program either. If you’re already familiar with chat rooms and how to attach files to email, Slack will be very easy to pick up.
If you’re seeking a lawyer, you should expect that they will communicate with you in the manner you request unless there are good legal reasons not to do it. If they don’t offer a communication method like Slack, it may be a sign they’re too far behind in the times and you should take your business elsewhere.