How to Develop an Online Legal Consultation Software for Your Law Firm?
Updated on May 5th, 2021
Mobile apps have been bringing facilities, resources and products closer to the customer for almost over a decade now. From ordering take out to booking a hair spa or concierge services, mobile apps enable us to do a great many things from the comfort of our homes. Mobile apps have made services mobile; now, whatever their need might be, users can find an app for it.
Harnessing the power, reach, and accessibility of smartphones and smartphone apps, lawyers and mobile app developers are bringing justice closer to the users. Major apps stores are packed with legal consultation apps that you can download and use for your varying legal needs. From questionable parking violations, DWI stops and unfair parking tickets to tax-related issues and even something as big as a divorce, users can find instant legal consultation with these apps.
Online Law Consultation Software, What Are They And How Do They Work?
There are various types of legal apps in the market. Some work as a marketplace for lawyers and people who are looking for their services. These solutions have two modules; one is a lawyer module where a lawyer can sign up, create his profile and offer his services. The other is the user module that invites people who are looking for legal aid to find lawyers that they like. The platform provides a lawyer catalog to the users with multiple filtering options so that a user can look for a legal professional who knows how to handle his or her legal needs. Once the user picks a lawyer, he can start interacting with him and share his case details.
Another type of legal consultation app is the one that a particular law firm or a lawyer gets made. These apps don’t allow other lawyers to sign up, but instead, they offer the services that are provided by the particular lawyer or law firm that had it developed. Some lawyers who are experts in finance-related cases might offer those services to their users while on the other hand, lawyers who excel at DUIs and other driving-related cases can offer their services. When the scope of services provided gets smaller, users have to look for an app that serves their needs. So a user who is looking for legal advice about his check bounce case looks for an app that is operated by a law firm or an independent lawyer who handles such cases.
Both types of apps are highly in demand. The biggest hook that these apps have is that they provide instant consultation. There is no need to visit a lawyer’s office and sit in his reception for an hour before you can talk to him. And because it is such a hassle, many people don’t even seek justice for small matters such as an unfair parking ticket. So not only do these apps make justice reachable, but they increase its scope by bringing in smaller cases that would otherwise go unreported.
Top 4 Legal Consultation Software In The Market
4. Ask A Lawyer
BernieSez allows users to upload the picture of their legal documents related to their case/charge or ticket directly to the cloud. Once in the cloud, these images are available to a plethora of lawyers who would then go through these documents and contact the user if they are interested in taking their case. The user goes through all the requests that he has received and picks the lawyer that suits his needs the best after going through all bios, reviews and legal fees. The lawyers can search for a specific type of case online and then bid on the one they like and want to take on. The app also allows the lawyer and the user to chat with each other and talk about the case at length.
For people with cars in San Francisco, getting a ticket is a very common happening. And to reduce the chances of having to pay an unfair parking ticket the next time around, they need Fixed. It is a smartphone app that allows users to take a picture of their ticket and add the violation code. The app consults with Fixed database and tells you what the chances of this ticket getting overturned are and suggests how you can fight this ticket. Then the victim gathers some more photo evidence, digitally signs the complaint and submits it to Fixed. Then the good folks at Fixed take a look at your case and file necessary paperwork. If the user wins the case, Fixed charges 25% of the fine he just avoided.
LawZam is a free web app that allows lawyers and people who are looking for legal advice to find each other. Lawyers come and make their profiles and users can come and, with the help of powerful filtering options, search for an appropriate attorney for their case. It also allows them to video conference with each other. Once they have talked out the details of the case, the user can sign the lawyer onto his case. The app is free since it makes revenue with advertisements.
4. Ask A Lawyer
This app helps users in getting free legal consultations. A user can send a message to an attorney using the app or talk to him live. This app allows lawyers to get more clients. By providing free advice, they charm a user and then slowly turn him into a client.
How To Make an Online Legal Consultation Software?
If you are looking to get an online legal consultation software made, then you can follow our guide. But before you do so, you need to understand that making an app is neither cheap nor easy. You need to put in a good amount of money and be very patient with the process. With that said, let’s see how you can make your legal consultation solution.
The first step in every IT endeavor is research. You need to know what you are getting yourself into. You need to know who your competitors are, who their customers are, and what is it about them that they like and how you can bring it to your app as well. An excellent way to gather more information about your competitors and their apps is by visiting their app pages on app stores and going through their comments section. This will give you a good look at what works and what doesn’t work for an app such as this. This gives you an idea of what a particular age group wants from an app like this. If you know your customer base, then you can start building your app according to their needs, likes and dislikes. Next comes the type of solution you are going to make. You can make a web app, a mobile app, or you can make both. This choice largely depends on your needs and your customer base. You can also decide between an Android or an iOS app if you want to get a legal consultation app made. The choice between the two can be tricky. Android and iOS both have dedicated user bases, but they are very different from each other. While Android has a bigger market share(72.6% according to statscounter), its users are mostly working-class people who are not big spenders and work on a budget.
On the other hand, iOS users may be few compared to Android(27.03% according to statscounter), but they are considered big-spenders. So you need to figure out your target users. Choosing a smartphone OS also depends on your area of operation. Take a look at the numbers for Android and iOS devices in your area of operation before you make a choice.
While getting ready to make your legal consultation app, it would be helpful if you interview a couple of people. Ask them what they want from an app such as the one that you are planning on making. Know the type of services they look for online and the ones they would rather discuss in an attorney’s office. You need to understand that these online solutions are not for everybody. For instance, a high profile business executive doesn’t need your app to find a lawyer; he already has a private lawyer, or he is probably working with a law firm. So your solution should be made while keeping the demographic that you are going to serve in mind and the services that you offer should be the ones they need.
2. Define your scope
The next thing you need to land on is the scope of your solution. If you are a lawyer, you probably have an area you excel in, a particular type of case you have made a name for yourself in. So you might want to make an app for that particular type of case. Or on the other hand, you are good at several things or perhaps, you don’t want to put your best foot forward, but instead, you want all your services out there, so you make an app that caters to that particular side of your business.
The point is, you need to decide the scope of your digital solution before you move to the next step in this guide.
3. Must-Have Features in Online Legal Consultation Software
Now you are in the position to select features for your solution. But keep in mind that you need to think about it from two perspectives- lawyer or the owner(referred to in this article as admin) and the users. The feature list for admins and users vary mostly based on their different requirements.
Lawyer Mode (Admin)
1. Secure Login
The first feature an admin requires is a secure login mechanism. The admin is responsible for everything about the app, from the content that is shared on blogs to the features that are active and inactive on the app, everything falls under him. So you need to make sure that the login procedure for the admin is secure. Even consider a multi-factor authentication method that asks the admin to provide two pieces of evidence to log into his account.
2. Admin Dashboard
An Admin Dashboard is the first screen the admin lands on after logging in. This screen gives an overview of the app. With the help of various counters like- bids made, bids won, cases won, cases lost, number of users, and others, to the graphical representation of data. This screen can help the admin in getting all the crucial information about the solution in one single place. This also helps him in researching trends and tweak his marketing strategy based on the data shown to him. But make sure that this screen is not over cluttered and confusing. The idea behind this dashboard is to enhance the understanding of data, not confuse the admin.
3. Client Database
This is the database of all the clients that the lawyer has worked with in the past. This feature must have powerful filtering options and other information like the type of case, payment information, and the conclusion of the case should be mentioned in the database as well.
4. Area of Operation
This feature allows the admin to select his area of operation. Lawyers need to be admitted to a bar of a particular state to practice law there. Without it, one cannot fight a case in a different state. But with that being said, lawyers can get admitted to bars of more than one state very easily. Some bars have different requirements than the rest, but if they are met then there is nobody stopping a lawyer from practicing law in that state. So this portion of your online legal consultation software deals with the areas where you, as an independent lawyer, or different lawyers at your firm, can practice law. It is a crucial section since people from all over the country will use this app, looking for legal services in their state. So they need to know if you can help them or not.
5. Various Visualizations of Data
Visual representation of data can be an excellent tool for the admins of this app. From pie charts to candle charts and bar graphs, various forms of visual representation of data allow the admin to figure out trends and make changes to his marketing strategy. These graphs and charts can be used to tell the area where most of the clients come from, they can tell the type of case that is most common, they can tell the age group that uses the app the most.
6. About Us
An about us section is where users mention details about themselves. Their degrees, where their office is located, and other such details. This section allows the admin to tweak information about himself. And in case this app is for a law firm, then this section has a list of all the lawyers and a small bio about them. Clicking on a lawyer in the list redirects the users to that lawyer’s profile page where the user is able to get a better look at the lawyer’s area of expertise, milestones, and other such things.
7. News Letter
The admins are able to generate newsletters from this section, share details about the activity of the law firm or independent law practice. If you want, it can have different email formats for the newsletters as well, to help the admin better customize the newsletter for his firm.
8. Push Notifications
Notifications notify the user every time a new user is added or a new case is received. This way, admin doesn’t miss any critical updates. Push notifications appear on an admin’s cell phone directly. Most apps have this feature to keep the user up to date, even when the app is not open.
9. Booking Forms
It is a form editor where a user can add and remove fields from a booking form. This section allows the user to select the colour scheme and other such details about the form as well.
10. Mail Box
This will be the section where all the client mails will be received. This section is very much like a standard email inbox and allows the admin to send emails to clients as well.
This section helps the admin in making invoices for users for legal services. It also makes keeping track of finances easier as well.
1. Video Call
For a client, there is nothing better than a face-to-face interaction with his lawyer, even if he is consulting him via a digital solution. Video conferencing is a powerful tool for you to have in your law consultation solution. When a user decides to hire an attorney, he can simply videocall him and discuss the specifics of the case. This helps the user in feeling like he is in good hands and builds trust between the two parties.
2. Direct Calling
Being able to call their lawyers via the app directly also helps the user. It is a very hectic task nowadays to save a number from an app then make a call. Instead, a simple call button in the chat window can be so much more helpful and efficient for the user.
3. Sign up using Social Media
When in a hurry, your users don’t have the time to fill out your signup form. So allow them to sign up using their social media accounts like Facebook. Alternatively, if you have a web-app, then you can allow them to sign up using their Google account.
4. Secure Payment Gateway
Whenever money is involved, people are extra jumpy. Online payment is often frowned upon. Given so many online scams that take place daily throughout the country, people find it hard to put their faith in online transactions. So you need to make sure that you are offering your users a secure payment gateway that is popular for its integrity and resilience against hacks and scams.
Once a user picks a lawyer, he should be able to chat with him from inside the app itself. This is a very standard chat window with video calling and direct calling buttons, on top of allowing the users to send case related files.
6. Service and Lawyer Catalogs
Service catalogs is a screen that allows a user to pick the type of legal advice he needs. This feature has options like Finance, DUIs, Divorce, Child Custody, Immigration and others like them. The user can choose the type of service that he wants and then he gets redirected to a form where he fills out the rest of the details. On the other hand, for a law firm, this will also be the page where all the lawyers are listed along with their areas of expertise and a brief bio.
7. Unbreakable Data Security
Another thing that you need to provide to your user is air-tight data security. They share critical information with you on this app, legal information, and if they don’t trust your online legal consultation solution enough, they how then share such information with you? So you need to assure your users that you handle user data well and that it will, under no circumstances, be used for anything else other than their case.
4. Hiring a Professional Developer
Now that you have a blueprint of your digital solution ready, it is time to hire a developer. This can be harder than it sounds. There are a myriad of developers in the market, each one of them claiming that they are the best. So it falls on you to do your research and find an IT firm that suits your needs. One way to find out more about these firms is to visit sites like Clutch where IT developers for every city and every sector are listed. You can go to these sites and see and learn about their previous work, client reviews, the level of complexity that they can handle. And if you find a developer that you like, then you can visit their site and learn more about them there. Customer reviews are very critical. If you are developing your first app, then you are going to be completely lost in the beginning. So you need a developer you can trust. Client reviews reveal how engaging and helpful a developer is, how good their communication is and are they punctual or not? All these details must influence your choice of developer greatly.
You need to find a developer who can guide you through your journey and once the solution is up and running, can provide support and frequent updates.
You never know when you are going to run into trouble. With things being what they are, people find themselves in need of legal consultation very often. From getting pulled over by highway patrol to finding yourself in a financial quagmire, these solutions can be a way to finding quick help. Online legal consultation software is a rising market, helping lawyers reach more clients and allowing clients to hire a lawyer at a moment’s notice. And if you are looking to get a digital legal consultation solution developed, Matellio has years of experience developing state-of-the-art web apps and mobile applications for all industries.
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