January 1, 2012
NextSteps is a platform designed for modern lawyers and consumers.
This site is a prototype of our concept. But instead of showing a client’s history, it shows the history of the site:
- The developments in the legal industry that have led to the creation of this website
- The different elements of the website
- A sample case relating to a school exclusion
- What we’re looking to do in the future – OUR next steps.
Please take a look at our timeline down the left-hand side.
Our particular focus is helping lawyers engage with a new type of consumer:
- A member of Generation X or Generation Y
- Has access to the vast information stores of the web
- increasingly value driven
- Would like the advice, support and reassurance of a lawyer, but not entirely sure what a lawyer can do for them
- Will look to the internet first
NextSteps is an easy way for clients to record their activities – think of it as part diary, part filing cabinet.
- The blog provides useful information to keep the clients on legally safe ground.
- It provides an opportunity for lawyers to signpost to their services as the clients are going about their daily business.
- Lawyers can jump in and provide that ’litte piece of advice’ that clients want, or more complex advice/support as required.
We foresee a different way of providing advice in the future:
Set your goal
It is important, at the outset, to consider what you are looking for. This will help an adviser picking up the case, but will also help to keep you focused. Try to make sure the goal is a SMART target (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) so that you can evaluate your progress towards it when you come to review.
Select a basic step-by-step guide
There is a huge amount of information out there to help you. A lot of this is produced by government, advice agencies, or solicitors themselves. We want guides which are easy to follow, and also give you the basic structure of the timeline. Producing a guide could be a revenue stream for a solicitor, or a way to market their expertise.
Update timeline with chronology of events
The step-by-step guides give the basic structure - but these need to be fleshed out with the client's experiences. You should be able to update it, like a diary or a blog. We want to be able to include documents and correspondence so that the adviser can hit the ground running.
Review your progress
A good guide will set periodic reviews for you to ensure you're still on track.
Engage an adviser if/when specialist problems arise
One of the problems we find is that people don't know where to look for solicitors, or when they might be useful. A good step-by-step guide will highlight how a solicitor can help at each stage.
Repeat as necessary until...
The timelines should be kept up to date, and regular reviews used to ensure progress.
We see this system as win-win.
As consumers enjoy free/cheap basic information, lawyers get to demonstrate their expertise.
Lawyers can educate the consumers on just what a lawyer can do for them.
Consumers get a better deal as lawyers can pick up the case quicker – you’re not paying for the lawyer to get up to speed.
This will open up a latent legal market, for those who do not think a lawyer can be of use to them, or do not value their services.
Lawyers transition from a position of low-value basic information provider to a higher-value adviser and supporter.