Customer journey map for customer-centric lawyers

Customer Journey Map For Customer-Centric Lawyers

Hannele Korhonen
6 min readJul 18, 2022

Hello? I don’t understand? What’s a customer journey map for customer-centric lawyers?

Drum roll, please.

A customer journey map for customer-centric lawyers is a visual representation of a customer’s service experience with you.

One of the most insightful tools of legal design is mapping the service journey of a customer. Why I hear you ask? Because unless we understand our customers, and I mean really, truly understand their needs, wants, expectations, apprehensions, fears and aspirations, we can’t serve them properly. Customer-centric lawyers will have a detailed and evolving customer journey map.

Sounds a bit full-on, right? Not really.

Psst, I’ll let you in on a secret, all successful businesses map their customer journey because it’s critical for winning new customers. Don’t tell anyone I told you.

So, here’s where I confess, I’m a crazy advocate of the customer journey map (for obvious reasons). Legal design switches up the service model, making it human-focused (or customer-centric), not lawyer focused. For me, customer-centricity is about sustainability and access to the law. It might be finding meaning in your work or finding a new tool to motivate and spark up your legal team. In reality, the shift to legal design and customer-centricity is about money, and I’m cool with it because adapt or die is here. I’m not fussy about the “why” I’m here to help make sure it happens because it’s the kinda gal I am. I want lawyers to be happy and humans able to access legal services.

Why is a customer journey map important?

Customers are hungry humans, and the last decade has bought a rapid technology change, and we can’t get enough of anything seamless, simple, and fast. Do you agree? Need a new suit, tap your phone, need some food, tap your phone, an Uber car, tap your phone, an accountant, tap your phone. It’s mind-boggling and I love it (although I never tire of allowing myself to be idle and let my brain explore, cos that’s weird ol’ me). Given how bloody expensive the law is and the turtle speed pace of change, I completely understand why people are pissed and why they’ll move where they receive solutions for their issues delivered in a way they can understand.

If you want to move beyond the customer-centric buzz words, you need to look at the legal issues through your client’s glasses. They might not have the same prescription as you.

It means being able to step into your customer shoes and empathize with their situation. It makes sense I guess because no one wakes up full of excitement about seeing a lawyer because it often means they have a problem, a big problem, so their anxiety is high, possibly out of their comfort zone and they want to make their issue go away. To map your customer journey, you need to ask your client and listen to where they are at, what they need, and establish the best way to deliver the service for them.

Clients will appreciate lawyers who take the time to step into their shoes, think about how best to provide a solution and then deliver something of real value to them. Practicing legal design also enhances your client relationships because listening, engaging and collaborating with them to provide tailored solutions will increase trust and understanding.

The clever lawyers (the ones who will thrive in the customer-centric legal world) already get the change is happening. I see more and more lawyers come to my workshops ready to embrace customer-centricity and legal design thinking.

Want to know it works?

We use the map to explore the customer experience fully and step into their world to see how the customer experiences different parts of our service.

When we do the mapping exercise in a workshop I see each lawyer have an “a-ha” moment when they realise the customer’s journey is much broader than they see as a lawyer. Your customer is a person and their journey with you doesn’t begin when they first make contact.

When you understand your customer’s journey and the moments on the journey that means something to them, you can serve them in the right place and in the right way.

We always visualize the map because it makes it more tangible, allowing discussions about service to be more fluid. We can then transform the service into a shareable and experiential form, making it easier to improve. Because it’s why we create the map, to improve the journey.

Essentials of a customer journey map

When we map we combine all the experiences of your customer on a timeline and the timeline captures what your customer sees and experiences on their journey.

In the map, the service is a process with different phases and we include the service events and touchpoints as the customer sees them. Remember, we are in their shoes or wearing their glasses. Comfy?

We must look at the whole service experience:

  • phases before the actual service delivery
  • during the service delivery
  • and after the service

Customer-centric lawyers understand the service in the broader context as opposed to simply executing the legal bits.

You can simplify the journey into three phases:

  • before
  • during
  • after

Think about your customer journey with you (start with one, large firms will have oodles of different customer personas). Ask: Where does the customer come from, where do they go and what happens in between? Who do they talk to, how do they feel about their experience, do they feel understood?

Your likely interaction will be in the typical touchpoints with the customer, a call, meeting, phone conversation or document draft. How you handle those touchpoints is why we map the journey.

So we go deeper.

Tap into ideas

I always recommend adding any ideas for improvement you discover while mapping the journey. Physically write them on the map because this helps move insight into action.

Don’t assume things

The big downer. Don’t try to think like your customer because you’re not her. (When we do this exercise in the workshops, we focus on real humans the lawyers have interacted with and how they fit on the map). The only true way to understand your customer is to ask questions and listen.

When learning about what is concerning your client forget all about being an expert with all answers. Listen to the customer.

Get to know them without guessing or assuming.

Have you heard the saying “one mouth, two ears”? My parents used to tell me a lot when I was always asking questions. It was their way of saying you have two ears so you use should use them twice as much as the one mouth you have to speak. Did your folks ever say it to you?

I’ve since learned about the power of listening. Some of my greatest inspiration has come when I’ve been in the moment listening, not anticipating what I will say next or preparing my answer. Real listening requires you to be present and curious and also willing to learn from others. For us lawyers as the experts in our fields, this can be a new idea. The key is to focus on what we don’t know instead of what we do know.

Every customer has a different customer journey, and over time you’ll see patterns emerge. The start and finish are always asking and then listening and creating a solution to fit.

Still sounds a bit abstract, I get it? When we deep dive in the Lawyers Design School workshops we look at practical issues and work through real life ways we can improve service delivery. Early adopters of legal design thinking have created new markets and services forged through legal design thinking, and they’ve moved beyond the billable hour model by productizing something human’s value and selling it as an out of the box product as opposed to billing hours for it. All you need to do is allow room for a new mindset and an entirely new world opens before you. Legal consumers are calling for change. You’ve arrived at the right time. The possibilities are endless.

If you’ve enjoyed a little taste of the legal design world and want more information, subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll pop into your inbox once a month to keep you up to date with all the latest developments. I’d love to chat.

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Hannele Korhonen

Founder & CEO Lawyers Design School. Passion for access to justice.