A Business Award? Leveraging Technology Driven Results TO WIN!
Is your firm one of the many which has already won an award? Giving you another marketing angle, and increased visibility for attracting new clients. Maybe instead you feel that applying will be a waste of valuable time. Especially when you might not win!
There can be any number of reasons for not applying, despite a business award having the potential to increase your client base.
Award judges are usually looking for evidence of a significant improvement in performance, or an exceptional service being provided. Norton Rose Fulbright in London won the 2021 Technology Venture of The Year award, given by the British Legal Technology Awards. Recognising “outstanding delivery of an individual technology venture, project, or initiative… which delivered a positive and commercially viable impact.”
Shoosmiths was the runner up but went on to win the Legal Tech Team of the Year award. When the Judges took the view that the firm had successfully combined a number of tools in their “New How” initiative. Again adapting their platform to produce a more efficient process and user-friendly products which solved clients’ problems.
If you can find the right performance metrics and evidence of how you improved them, then it’ll put your submission into strong contention to win an award.
Performance Improvements That Can Be Achieved By Embracing Technology & Software
A wide range of technological innovations and software is available now, to enhance business performance or create improvement. Having a good case management system has become an essential part of the financial plan and annual budget. Similarly updating systems and software which may have already been licensed, or bought.
Although it has been argued in the past that investment in technology is too costly, the inCase mobile app is an example of one piece of lawtech that has led to higher levels of revenue and profitability for many conveyancing and personal injury firms. This achievement may be even greater when the data is leveraged, to support an application for a business award, which also has the potential to lead to higher client retention and growth.
The data and statistics which can be collated when using the app provide an excellent way to demonstrate specific and measurable results, as follows:
- Increased productivity. Allowing fee earners and support staff to handle more files. Whilst the facility to send automatically generated reminders keep the case on track, with key dates;
- An improvement in the service provided, by remotely processing documents more efficiently. Forms and questionnaires can be completed by mobile phone, using electronic signatures, before being returned to the fee earner via the app. Resulting in quicker document signing.
- Reduced stress and frustration experienced by clients. Even when the fee earner is working remotely, once a file has been opened clients know exactly what the legal procedure involves, and the stage reached in the case. Reducing the volume of inbound calls and emails which can disrupt productivity;
- Immediate access to relevant documents which have either been signed or need to be;
- Reliable identification of new clients, and a smooth onboarding process. Identity checks can be time-consuming if done in a meeting and add a significant cost to the matter. The automatic feature on the app uses document scanning, and facial recognition technology, which can read the cryptographically signed data on a passport. To confirm that the identity photograph and live recording of the client’s face are accurately matched. This has been designed to protect clients and lawyers from identity theft or fraud;
- A more attractive client service than others offered by business competitors. Clients are encouraged to provide feedback on the app. Providing an excellent way to manage expectations, and regularly identify any areas for improvement.
There are numerous legal technology providers who have the potential to create improvements in performance and service, also to give the necessary data to support an award submission.
Common themes running through most modern lawtech on offer are accessibility; quality, and potential for increased revenue. Ultimately, however, what takes all of this to the next level in making your business an award winner, is the unique spin you can add to the application process.
Going back to the award-winning example of Norton Rose Fulbright, they were able to articulate really well how the technology they put in place, including AI and machine learning, supported the financial sector during its transition from using interbank offered rates (IBOR).
So, once you have identified your performance improvement, how do you best approach an award application to give your firm the best chance of winning?
5 Tips To Help You Win An Award
- Research and find the most compatible award for your business.
Have a good look at what is currently on offer. Instead of choosing the first one or two awards you come across or might have been recommended for you. There is plenty of choice on the UK Legal Awards & Law Awards list.
Also, carefully consider the specific reasons why you could win and the area in which your firm excels. Is it conveyancing; personal injury claims work, or a very specific niche like pensions law? Take an objective view of your strengths, and weaknesses. What are the areas in which your employees outshine others? Or could do next year, with the help of technology. Is this view supported in the reports and data already generated by the software you have licensed, or bought?
It can be helpful to research past winners of the award and take a deep dive into the questions that the panel are currently asking. The more research you do now the better. Aligning your business with the right award or awards at the outset can significantly increase your chance of success before you even start drafting replies to the questions.
- Be confident in your ability to win, and don’t delay in submitting the application.
Remember all of the valuable time you spent researching the awards; thinking about them, and talking to your IT department or managing partner. Don’t fall at the next hurdle! Make winning an award part of your business plan. Create a diary entry for when you intend to submit your application, and others for the smaller steps to prepare for it. Also, of course, complying with the final date for entries. As you would do to action the directions in a Court order or for a limitation date.
- Don’t forget that someone has to win. …Why shouldn’t it be you?
Consider the panel of judges who will be reviewing your submission; their interests, and background. Be realistic about what they are looking for. For example, if it’s a regional award, this doesn’t mean you need to be the best international firm in the world. It’s important not to lose perspective or confidence and look closely at how “your story” fits into the context of the award for which you are applying.
- Check that you fulfil all of the entry criteria.
It may sound obvious, but failing to tick off all of the required criteria is likely to be an automatic rejection. It could be different for each award that you are interested in. So make doubly sure that you comply with the entry criteria, and are providing the appropriate evidence in support of your application. This might be with reference to profit cost figures and client retention data. Illustrating the commercial benefit to your business from embracing new legal technology.
- Focus on the writing.
Again, this may seem at first too obvious to be on the list of important points to consider. However, a lot depends on how your application entry and supporting evidence are presented to the judges. The person who is reading it may not be a legal expert in your area, so don’t make what you are saying too technical. This can be off-putting for someone who has to read through an inbox full of applications and could result in yours not being shortlisted when it might otherwise have been.
You’ll find more tips on this at: awardsintelligence.co.uk.
You might also like to consider hiring a professional writer or ghostwriter to draft and write the content for you. Someone skilled at completing award applications.
Other Benefits In Applying For & Winning An Award
Entering to win an award also allows you to look at what you do in a different light. Taking a step back in comparing your business to others, you may discover something which can be built on to make what you have already achieved even more successful. Remember the software you put off buying, you can see the advantage now of having it. If you don’t feel you are quite ready to go ahead, you could diarise the application for next year. Using the extra time to source, and use the technology you will need to leverage later on for results.
Even being shortlisted for an award is regarded as a prestigious achievement, by members of the public and the legal industry. Something which not everyone has managed to do! So when you receive this recognition or an award, make the most of the free marketing it provides. Adding it to your firm’s brand, and advertising. You might find that it will also boost morale in the office. Giving employees a standard to live up to, then exceed. Resulting in you attracting more of the best solicitors and legal professionals when you are recruiting again.
After winning the 2021 Legal Tech Team of the Year award David Jackson, Shoosmiths partner, commented: “To win this accolade really is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the many talented and innovative people across our business, the businesses we partner with and our clients who have been instrumental in the discussion, design, build and testing stages of these products. Listening to clients and being able to further anticipate their needs is in our DNA as a firm, and so now is innovation and tech. In addition to delivering an exceptional client experience, we are entrepreneurial, innovative and are committed to the adaption of new ideas and nurturing talent. We’re proud of the recognition from Legal Business, which strongly relays our message to the market that Shoosmiths is pioneering and ambitious in the innovation and tech space.”
And finally, as with any new venture, success begins with taking the first step. How would you feel about being in a position to leverage your technology results, and win a prestigious business award?