Upgrading the Client Experience with Online Payments
The way an attorney would go about arguing a case in 2022 is vastly different than it would have been 10 years ago. Similarly, it seems counterintuitive when law firms take an outdated approach to other aspects of supplying legal services—specifically billing and payments. A closer look at the monetary and logistical aspects of hiring legal counsel reveals the standard process of establishing and maintaining a client-attorney relationship is a little dated.
This is particularly obvious when you consider the following:
- 29 percent of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings account.1
- Nearly 30 percent of Americans do not use cash during a typical week.2
- Between 2007 and 2017, the use of paper checks for payments decreased by nearly 40 percent.3
- 84 percent of individuals say they prefer to pay their bills by credit card.4
Updating your payment process is a lot easier than you may think. Here is a story of three law firms that used modern online payments to elevate the client experience in their practice.
Nayar & McIntyre, LLP
Nayar & McIntyre, LLP is a small, boutique immigration law firm that primarily handles family-based and naturalization cases, humanitarian relief, and deportation defense. They are dedicated to providing competent, compassionate, and affordable legal representation to immigrants and their families.
Firm partners Lakshmi Nayar and Maria McIntyre know for many immigrants, the U.S. immigration experience is daunting, overwhelming, and, unfortunately, distressing. The firm’s goal is to relieve that burden and navigate the complicated immigration maze on behalf of their clients to protect their rights and secure their legal immigration status in the United States.
Both partners have personal ties to immigration law. Nayar is a first-generation immigrant, and McIntyre’s mother immigrated to the U.S. in 1970. The firm shares a personal passion for immigration law, as it is about keeping families together and giving someone the ability to work towards the American Dream.
The firm is small by design, as they want to know their clients by name and not by case number. Nayar and McIntyre say the biggest compliment they can get from clients is a referral, but it warms their hearts when they get invitations to their clients’ weddings, baby showers, quinceañeras, and other special events.
Having started the practice in 2009, Nayar & McIntyre has always been reliant on an online presence. When they signed on with an online payment solution, the firm’s clients embraced the ability to make online payments. According to the firm, that is, by far, the #1 way their clients make monthly payments.
Shawn B. Hamp
As a child, Shawn B. Hamp always watched Perry Mason with his parents. In middle school, his interest in becoming a trial lawyer grew and he competed in mock trial competitions. From there, he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Arizona. In 2007, after realizing he enjoyed practicing criminal law and trial litigation and following encouragement from another former prosecutor, he pursued his vision of starting his own private practice.
Hamp has always stayed current with the latest technology since he started the practice, which is why the entire firm is cloud-based. Moving the firm’s client management and document management to the cloud allows Hamp to have the information he needs to represent his clients whether he’s in the office or on the go.
Technology also allows Hamp to stay in constant communication with his clients. The firm’s online case management software keeps clients in the loop about the goings on of their case and lets them contact the firm privately and securely when they need help and want to know what’s next.
With so much of his practice already relying on technology, it didn’t make sense for Hamp to use an outdated payment system. Online payment solutions have made it extremely easy and convenient for the firm to process payments from clients. Clients can pay with a convenient online link and portal, which is particularly helpful when working with clients who are out of state. Recurring payment features also helps clients finance their legal fees.
“If you are going to run a consumer-driven practice,” says Hamp, “you need credit card processing.”
Massachusetts-based Turco Legal is proud to call themselves a family-focused firm. Everyone at the firm is 100% committed to their clients, putting their personal time aside to make sure that their clients’ needs and concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
Damian J. Turco originally chose family law because he believes it’s a great area of law in which to start your career. “Many families don’t have the finances to hire a high-profile divorce lawyer,” says Turco. “So it’s a good way for less experienced lawyers to enter the legal field and start working while providing invaluable help to individuals and families who desperately need it.”
His dedication to reducing his clients’ stress extends to all areas of the firm— including payments. “Online payments have been extremely convenient, both for me and for my clients,” says Turco. “I can email my clients a link to a secure payments page or I can even text them the link if their payments are late or if their retainer is running low. It makes the likelihood of getting paid so much higher because clients don’t have to take out money or find their checkbook. I can keep their credit card on file and they can pay for my services with just the click of a button.”
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- How Much Does the Average American Have in Savings?, MagnifyMoney, 2019
- More Americans are making no weekly purchases with cash, Pew Research Center, 2018
- Consumer Payment Preferences and the Impact of Technology and Regulation: Insights from the Visa Payment Panel Study, Consumer Finance Institute, 2019
- Fiserv 2021 Experiences & Expectations: Consumer Payments Report, 2021