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Should lawyers start using Google Hangouts?

Should lawyers start using Google Hangouts?

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A common client concern is the lack of communication from their solicitor or lawyer. Step forward Google+ Hangouts. It allows for more easier and frequent conversations with clients and is a new tool being exploited in the industry by legal professionals trying to stay ahead of their peers. Lawyers and solicitors are of course approaching these options with caution and are questioning the privacy, confidentiality and suitability – so let’s go through some of these queries:

1. How easy is it?

As with all technology, there’s hesitancy as to whether it’s worth it. Google Hangout is not only worth the fuss, it’s also very easy to use. All that is required is for all participants to have a Gmail account. As long as you have your webcam and microphone at the ready, you’re good to go. This video should help to plug any gaps you may have.

2. Is it private?

There are two types of hangouts; Hangouts on Air (HOA) and regular. HOA are automatically uploaded to Youtube and broadcast on the web. Unless you want to host a webinar, we’d stay clear of these for confidentiality reasons. Regular hangouts are completely private and, therefore, recommended for client meetings. People will naturally feel more comfortable discussing more sensitive details face-to-face and for these circumstances an in-person meeting is certainly advisable. But for many types of legal meetings, especially between a lawyer and client, a Google Hangout provides a more than adequate environment.

3. Why don’t I just use Skype?

If there are only two people in the conversation, Skype doesn’t cost a penny. However, if there are any more than three people it can get expensive. Unlike Skype, Google Hangout allows as many as ten people to participate in a conference call, absolutely free. As long as people are courteous and remember to refrain from talking over one another, this is an extremely effective way to connect with people from around the globe.

4. Is it suitable for consultations?

Not only do you get the benefit of being able to read a person’s facial expressions, you can also share your screen with your client. Any documents or demonstratives can be viewed by both of you. Better than a phone call, this is the next best thing to being sat in a room with your client. The other bonus is that you are presented with a historical record of your discussion immediately afterwards. If a lawyer happens to move jobs for whatever reason, there remains a historical record, available to the replacement.

5. Will it save me time?

Meetings between lawyers and their clients are often short thirty minute affairs. But the travel time alone can make this a ninety minute ordeal, effectively meaning one thing; you’ll be working late. Google Hangout cuts out the wasted journey and means that your meeting doesn’t rip into your valuable working time.

Understandably, introducing Google Hangouts to your regular practices and routine might seem like a big leap – especially in an industry known for being slow to adopt new technology. But why not give them a try and see how they could benefit you and your business? Ensure you are comfortable with the functionality and privacy and then Hangout!