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Lawyers spend lots of time and money on professional development, even in the few remaining states where continuing legal education is not mandatory. It’s because they want to be as prepared as possible to perform for their clients at the highest level. That makes sense. But, if you asked the average lawyer how much time she’s spent actively engaging in improving her client’s performance, the tally would pale in comparison with the number of hours the same lawyer spent prepping herself.
In the best-case scenario, the attorney-client relationship is a partnership. So, maybe law firms should consider expending more resources in relation to client performance beyond the traditional preparation measures, which may not be the optimal choice for modern clients. Enter EmpowerLegal, a video-based client preparation tool for law firms and their clients.
EmpowerLegal grants lawyers access to proprietary video content (featuring professional actors) aimed at demystifying aspects of the legal process, and focused on helping firm clients perform better under pressure. And make no mistake about it: Law firm clients do feel tremendous pressure when facing down the legal process. While attorneys are involved in that process every working day of their lives, their clients may only have a single experience with the legal process — the one their attorney is guiding them through right now. So, it’s imperative to do the best possible job in your role as guide, including assisting your client in building his own case, when he can contribute to advancing it. EmpowerLegal helps you to do this by supplementing your normal prep work with high-quality instructional videos that feature guiding narration and dramatizations of real-life situations.
Empower’s client video portal is mobile-accessible, and clients can take notes on what they’re seeing … and ask direct questions of their lawyers via email.
Its current offerings include long-form videos covering depositions, mediation and an overview of a trial. In addition to creating some beautifully crafted video content, Empower has taken pains to streamline both the law firm and client experience. Purchased videos are accessible via a portal hosted by Empower that can nevertheless be customized for the law firm client, including by adding an introductory message and the firm’s logo and contact information. Law firms can also monitor client engagement with the videos they’ve made available by tracking views in real-time. Empower’s client video portal is mobile-accessible, and clients can take notes on what they’re seeing (which they can then email to themselves) and ask direct questions of their lawyers via email.
The baseline product is easy to use, both for attorneys managing client access and for clients accessing the software directly.
More videos are on the way and will be added, in part, based on client demand. Plus, the product admits of the potential for additional application-based features, including engagement features for clients — even ones based on gamification.
At the most basic level, Empower familiarizes your clients with the court system and the specific aspect of it in which they’re engaged. That is valuable in its own right. But once that client feels comfortable, he is able to focus more on optimizing his performance. This is the same path that lawyers take to developing their skills: familiarization and building competency.
Pricing for Empower is by monthly or annual subscription, and the rate is based on the number of video types selected and the number of attorneys at the law firm. The law firm maintains the license, and firm clients needn’t pay for individual licenses. Enterprise options are available for in-house counsel, law libraries, government entities and law schools (including law school incubators). The variety among those possibilities offers a window into the usefulness of Empower’s video prep tools across the entire legal industry. A library could make free or reduced-fee access to the product available to its members. A corporate legal department could make free or reduced-fee access available to its outside counsel, both to improve the performance of engaged clients and to standardize the client preparation workflow. Large law firms could focus on specific practice groups, based on the level and quality of client preparation required.
If the difference in winning and losing in professional sports can be based on video preparation, well, the same could be said of your lawsuit — and the personal and professional stakes could not be higher. So, when it’s time to perform in the clutch, you want to explore all the options to empower your firm and your clients.
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