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Using Individual Productivity Data to Improve Law Firm Operations

As I mentioned in my first post on productivity, tracking performance against KPIs gives me an idea of who my best people are. But I want to go much deeper than that. I want to know why they are the best at what they do. I want to study our data to see what our best people do and use that to build best practices. I also want to look for negative outliers, which shows me who may be struggling and needs attention.

Here are some of the data points I use.

  • How long are lawyers, paralegals, and other support staff spending on calls? I look for outliers.
  • Are some calls too abbreviated? Or do some people appear to be unable to control the conversation by staying on the phone too long? Outliers may indicate we may have to have some coaching conversations.
  • What do call lengths look like for my best people?
  • When entering information in our software for cases, what tasks are people spending their time doing? How long are certain tasks taking? Again, the data is available to me upon demand, so I can study it. Where are my outliers?
  • Who is spending an unusually long time on certain tasks? Why is that?
  • And, more importantly, how do my best people spend their time? How long does it take them to make a note in the system after talking to a client? How do they organize their day? I can review this because I have a complete trail of what everyone has done and when. A record of, not just what work product they produced, but which screens they opened, and for how long. What they were reading. I have powerful information available, on demand, which most law firms can’t produce, even if they can dream it.
  • Having productivity data on demand gives me a competitive advantage, because I can build my best practices across practice areas and job descriptions, based on actual data.

DEEPER DIVES EVALUATE EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE

Unfortunately, all of us who run law firms have had times when we developed apprehensions about certain employees. Maybe their numbers didn’t look good. Maybe another employee said that they weren’t pulling their weight. Maybe we just had a sense that “something isn’t quite right.”

In these situations, I want to take a discreet deeper dive. I don’t want to alarm anyone, because I am just checking things out. If there is no problem, the data can serve to correct my impression and I can remain fair to the employee. But, if there is something wrong, I want to know about it. And the sooner, the better. Fortunately, I can get key information from my software so that I can proceed confidently and discreetly.

Don’t misunderstand. We don’t want to create a paranoid workplace. Quite the opposite. I simply believe in the “trust, but verify” axiom. And the fact that employees know that I can take a deeper dive and check out their activities makes them much more likely to stay in line with the standards our firm expects. When they do that, everybody wins.

What Do I Look for in a Performance Deep Dive?

One of the first things I look for in evaluating an employee with a deeper dive is integrity violations.  With our software, I have a complete and permanent record of every change that’s been made to a case in our software. If something is erased, I have a record of it. Have they changed any notes after the fact to make themselves look better in retrospect?  That’s a great audit trail. To be fair, there may be good reason why a note was changed. The point is, I can see when notes were altered, and evaluate if they were done for good reason. On the other hand, I can also see if someone is engaging in CYA behavior to try to hide something.

Another integrity violation can be misreporting time. This can be a particular problem when someone works remotely. How do I know that they are putting in the time they report when I can’t observe them, particularly if their numbers are down?

Again, with our software, I can instantly obtain a report of everything they did in the case management software on any day. What cases did they work on? What did they do? For how long? I don’t have to ask them (and get a defensive response). I can simply access the software and see for myself. If I see there is a potential problem, I have factual data to present to that individual. I no longer have to rely on someone’s word. I can verify at any time.

Deep Dives Uncover Issues of Effort and Competence

Sometimes issues are about effort and/or competence. These things can also be unearthed through a deep dive. Are some employees spending less time actively using the software than they should? If so, why? Is it because they are on excessive breaks or maybe talking too much around the office? I can see that at a glance.

If someone is spending too long on various tasks, and not accomplishing what they should, that could signal a lack of competence, which the data supports. I know from the KPIs that someone is not a great performer, but the deeper dive shows me why they are falling short. If it is a training issue, the data allows me to focus on what training this individual needs to bring them up to speed.

A LAW FIRM IS ONLY AS GOOD AS ITS PEOPLE

As law firm managers, we need to know who is doing what. That information can give us peace of mind when things are going well. And being able to spot problems early on gives us a chance to fix them before they spiral out of control.

Sound, objective data is key to driving performance.

By having certain data at our fingertips (quite literally), top performers can be easily identified, and reinforced and rewarded, based on objective KPI criteria. This helps to motivate them and, I believe, compels them to want to stay and become even better at their craft. By studying how they work you can identify proven best practices and apply them to other teams.

Sound, objective data can be an invaluable training aide.

Finally, good data can help you make the right decisions when you have a nagging feeling that someone might be struggling or not a fit. Making those judgments can be difficult. It’s a solemn responsibility. You want to be fair; livelihoods are in your hands. But you also don’t want to be taken advantage of, or to be unaware of performance issues in your midst.

Unearthing factual and objective data from a deep dive helps you make those difficult decisions with confidence. The data can tell you when to back off, when to try to correct a problem with training, or when you have to take more serious steps. Armed with sound, objective data, you have the facts that give you the supporting ammunition you need to make the right calls for the good of your business – and for the good of clients and employees who rely on you.

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.

How to Measure Paralegal and Lawyer Productivity in Your Firm

Our law firm has roughly 200 employees. Many of them work directly on behalf of clients. As the head of our firm, I want a way to track who is doing what. Not necessarily to play gotcha. (Although I do want to be able to dive deep and find out if I have a problem with a particular employee – more on that below.) Mainly I want to know that key work is getting done. I also want to know who my most productive people are so I can study what they do right and use it to teach others. And I want to use this data to make sure that these employees are properly rewarded at bonus time.

In this two part series, I will discuss how I use data to track and measure productivity on a firm and individual level.  This first post will show how I make sure the critical work gets done by individuals regardless of their role in the firm.  The second post will cover how I use this data to improve firm productivity as a whole.  Let’s jump into my three steps to tracking individual productivity.

Step 1: Setting KPIs for Your Staff and Attorneys

Start by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for each position where someone works on cases. At our firm, we like to focus on file movement measures rather than revenue figures. Why? Overemphasizing revenues instead of file movement is a mistake that I believe many law firms make.

While we all want revenue growth, we have seen firsthand that focusing on the right processes allows the revenues to naturally follow.

Revenue figures can be misleading because a few big hits can cover a multitude of sins and mask some fundamental problems. I want files to flow through our system at roughly the same rate that we bring them in. If this doesn’t happen, logjams can surface down the line creating bloat in the system, and this can lead to extra work, time, and frustration by fellow teammates to try to remedy.

When establishing KPIs, your key measurements may differ, depending on your workflow and who is responsible for what in your firm. For our PI staff, each week we measure:

  • How many files complete treatment
  • How many files are completed and ready for a demand
  • How many files disburse

We keep two key principles in mind when setting a KPI.

  1. It should reflect how the employee is performing – above, at, or below par
  2. It should directly correlate to the firm’s success goals

The KPIs for our PI staff meet these tests. Good staffers will stay on top of their clients’ medical treatment and move files to the next stage of a case as soon as they are ready. They will get the files ready for demand promptly and accurately. And they will schedule disbursals after a case settles. Each of these measures propels file movement for our firm, and the better our paralegals are, the more files they will be able to move.

Similarly, for our PI attorneys, we measure each week:

  • The number of demands they send out
  • The number of cases they resolve

Again, these are factors that our attorneys can influence or control, and they allow us to make sure that the attorneys are keeping pace and not causing a logjam or bloating our system.

Step 2: Track What Work Is Getting Done

Every practice is different, and what you want to measure is up to you. But, once you have arrived at the right measurements, you need to be able to see that the work is getting done. I use our software’s Matter Trackers to display all the KPIs I want to see for any period of time I want to measure. I can quickly and easily see what was completed this week, this month, or whatever period of time I choose. I can then compare the completed work with the number of files in the system. I know what is being completed on pace, and where we may be falling short. If we are falling short, I want to be able to dive in and analyze why, and if there is a problem, fix it as soon as possible.

This sample management-focused Matter Tracker provides real-time reports based on criteria customized to the user. Red text alerts the user that a deadline is approaching or overdue.

I like to review all this information for the firm as a whole. But I want each employee to see how they are doing on their KPIs. And, whether someone manages a few people or a larger group, I want them to be able to see what those people are able to get done, and in what time frame.

This sample paralegal Matter Tracker provides a personal injury paralegal with a big picture overview of all the cases she is currently managing, which stage or status they are in, and follow up items that need to be completed.

Information is power, especially when it is relevant and customized to meet the needs of each individual.

Step 3: Uncover What Needs to Get Done

Besides measuring what has been completed, I also want clear vision of what needs to be accomplished to keep files moving. I want anyone who works on cases to be able to easily see, at a glance, what is due and needs their attention. If they have 100 cases, what tasks are most important? I don’t want them to have to try to guess or to arbitrarily work on whatever happens to come across their desk. We have given them the tools to help them prioritize strategically and take action on issues that need immediate attention to keep files moving.

As with the KPIs, what needs to be done, by whom, and when, depends on your practice and workflow expectations. Yet, once you have decided on them, it is easy to have the information available in real time, at all times, to whomever you want to see it.

At our firm, for example, everyone sees their own list of action items. Lawyers see theirs and those of their paralegals. Department heads see their entire department’s lists. I see everyone’s. If someone’s list is out of control or needs attention, we can jump on it preemptively, get them help, and assess whether they need more training, fewer files, or whether some other solution is called for.

As you well know, there are many moving parts to workflow in a busy law firm. When everyone can see for themselves what key things they have addressed, and what they still need to do, our experience has been that they tend to focus on prioritizing those key things. And having the ability to check, at a glance, what is being done and what needs to be done allows me to solve problems before they spiral out of control. That leads to better results and peace of mind for me.

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.

5 Qualities That Define a World-Class Law Firm Intake Department

Imagine your marketing worked perfectly. Thanks to a well-produced and perfectly placed TV ad, a potential client with a high value case calls your firm to ask about representation. Your marketing taught the client that your firm has a great reputation, a proven ability to handle cases like theirs, and a drive to get them the settlement they deserve quickly. Now that they’re on the phone with your firm’s intake department, this case is as good as signed, right?

Not so fast. While a strong marketing strategy is essential to drawing new clients to your firm, without a world-class intake department you will miss out on some of your best cases. Why? Because of human errors, missed communication cues, and other small delays that add up to a mediocre intake experience.

Alternatively, a world-class intake department can not only help you engage and sign more high quality clients, but also provide long term insight into new kinds of valuable cases that will drive your firm’s future. In this post, I’ll describe the characteristics that set a world-class intake department apart from the forgettable crowd.

#1: Great Intake Departments Take Training Seriously

The stakes for intake are high. If you handle a caller with a good potential case well, chances are you will sign the case and make money down the road. If you don’t handle the call well, you will probably lose the case to a competitor. You are not likely to get a second chance. Once a case is in your office, you will have a much longer period of time to solve the problems and work the case to resolution. But first, you have to expertly handle intake—and that takes great training.

You cannot schedule when a high value intake call will come in, but you can train your staff to know what to say and do when the call happens. Ideally, you have dedicated, highly-trained intake specialists if you have enough volume to justify those positions. If not, you need to train anyone on your staff who might handle intakes to do so with professionalism, empathy, and attention to detail. This is a much harder proposition, but remember this: Intakes need to be seen not as interruptions, but as the most important thing a law firm does.

Even if you have a dedicated intake department, you will want to train some of your staff to handle overflow to ensure you continue to engage and sign high value clients. You also need a competent call center to handle phone calls, web inquiries, and chat leads that come in after hours. Shop around and get a service that understands and focuses on personal injury intakes. Don’t try to save money here. The cost of a good case slipping away will be measured in the thousands of dollars, dwarfing any savings you would gain by hiring a cheap but substandard service.

#2: Great Intake Departments Provide a Quality Experience for the Caller

The intake call is likely the first experience a potential client will have with your firm, and first impressions matter. I cannot begin to tell you the number of clients who have said it was the professionalism of our call center and receptionists from the very first call that put them at ease and made them want to sign with our firm.

Remember, you are probably not the only law firm the caller is considering, so your team should make every effort to treat the caller with empathy and respect. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m sorry that happened to you,” once a potential client has finished describing a personal injury or loss. Beyond listening with empathy, your intake staff needs to gain the caller’s confidence. Is your staff professional, do they ask good questions and get quality information? Good questions help gather key case details quickly and put the caller’s mind at ease because they are relevant and to the point. In addition, asking good questions can also give you information on whether you want to take the case.

#3: Great Intake Departments Easily Identify and Prioritize the Clients They Want

The kind of cases and clients you want are up to your firm to decide. That said, there are universal qualities that high quality clients share: they’re organized and motivated, possess strong evidence, and have the potential for a large settlement. Your intake department needs to know how to verify these details quickly on the initial intake call. Identifying cases you want in real time is necessary, but can be challenging. Our law firm can have 100 intake calls coming in most business days, often in rapid succession. We have to be organized and mobile to identify and sign the cases we want.

Because you don’t know when high value clients will call, you also need to be able to identify the priority inquiries you receive after hours, and respond immediately to them. Great cases can come in on nights and weekends, but the injured person is not likely to patiently wait for a return call. They’ll probably leave the same message with several law firms and sign up with the first firm to answer their questions and reassure them that they are the right choice. Speed of response matters outside of business hours, and knowing which cases are likely to be good ones allows you to focus on those instead of wasting energy chasing cases you don’t want.

Once your intake department identifies a case you want, you need to reassure the caller you are interested in the case and focus on signing them up. Potential clients want to know if they have a case, and whether the law firm is interested in representing them—so tell them so on the initial call if possible. If it takes too long for the client to get answers or if they have to wait on a call back, they are likely to call someone else. Many injured people will call three to four law firms until they get the first satisfactory experience. If you can gain their confidence and reassure them this is a case you want and are able to expertly handle, they usually will end their search and sign with you.

There are times, however, when you are not sure you want a case, and you need more information about the caller, the incident, or their insurance situation first. A great intake department excels at getting this information quickly so that you can make the decision on whether you want the case or not. Again, if you take too long or seem indecisive to your caller, you will probably lose most valuable cases. Those with bad cases will have a hard time finding someone to take their case, so they will likely still be waiting for you—but that’s not much consolation.

#4: Great Intake Departments Excel at Workflow Management

Intake at its heart is a business process—the more you can clarify which steps to take when and how to respond to different situations, the more cases you can handle and the more revenue you will earn. In short, great intake departments excel at workflow management.

There are a lot of moving parts when your intake team handles multiple calls a day and dozens of potential cases requiring different follow-up actions. Your intake team need to be able to clearly see what needs to be done on each potential case, when it needs to be done by, and who is accountable for doing it.  As a manager, you need to be able to recognize if follow-up action is drifting or delayed, and how to get on top of it and make sure it gets done right and on time. When all these things come together in a smooth and elegant intake workflow, you will show your incoming clients the urgency and focus they deserve by default.

#5: Great Intake Departments Find Cases Clients Didn’t Know They Have

One more reason to listen closely to your potential clients on intake calls is you can help them find cases they didn’t know existed. Sometimes callers call about one legal problem, but they also have another claim they would never find without your help. For example, recently someone called our firm complaining their landlord did not maintain their apartment in good condition, which was exacerbating respiratory problems. That apartment maintenance case wasn’t of interest to us, but our follow-up questions revealed the caller’s underlying respiratory problems were caused by mesothelioma. We signed the asbestos-related mesothelioma case and estimate that it will be worth over a million dollars.

The challenge with these hidden cases is they aren’t always easy to recognize. You need a combination of well-trained staff who will listen for the right terms on the phone, and smart legal software that can recognize keywords in case records and alert you to follow up. When we were unable to find software that did this, we developed our own intake software and designed it to do so by parceling out data. 

Finally, great intake departments need to be able to go back and search their databases to find cases that develop over time. For instance, when medical products like knee implants get recalled, mass torts can appear that could earn significant payouts for your clients after you’ve already spoken with them or taken their case. Your intake department needs to be able to search its records and find callers who have a good chance of meeting the criteria for the new mass tort opportunity. If we find that a mass tort exists for a type of knee implant, we can instantly search our records to find clients with knee injuries, knee surgeries, and/or knee replacements—and then market to them. That allows us to inexpensively find new cases that our clients didn’t even know they had without spending another dollar on ads.

Prioritize Intake to Power Your Firm’s Future

As your firm works to perfect your marketing strategy, you cannot neglect your intake team’s role in signing new clients. Invest in the training, practices, and technology you need for your intake department to fulfill its potential in growing your firm for the future. The result is the powerful one-two punch of marketing and intake working hand-in-hand to establish your firm’s reputation as the best in your jurisdiction.

A smoothly-running intake department can take your firm a long way, but it’s definitely not the end of the story in law firm efficiency. In my next post in this series, I’ll take a closer look at the art and science of running your cases better and faster.

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.

Lessons I’ve Learned Growing My Personal Injury Firm

I have run a personal injury law firm for over 20 years. In that time, I’ve grown it from one employee and about 20 clients to easily the largest (and I believe most successful) PI firm in North Carolina. Today, we have more than 45 attorneys, 14 offices, and approximately 200 employees. We’ve recovered over $750 million in gross for 30,000+ individual clients in North Carolina. (And that’s not counting the $1.25 billion we had a lead role in recovering in a class action lawsuit against the U.S. government on behalf of 18,400 farmers who were discriminated against.)

I’d like to think that I have learned something about how to grow a personal injury law firm.

In this post, I’d like to share what I know about how to grow a personal injury law firm by bringing in the right cases – no matter where your firm is located or what size your practice is.

It Starts with Getting the Cases

No matter how good a lawyer you are, you can’t be successful without first bringing in the right cases. Bringing in the right cases depends on two key factors – effective marketing and a robust intake process. A fully optimized intake process is key to helping you find and sign high-value cases.

Marketing Brings in the Cases

On the marketing side, there is no shortage of possible options or vendors who will help you spend your advertising money. The key is setting the right advertising budget and finding which options work most effectively within your budget. I believe most firms are too conservative and don’t spend enough money on advertising. Under spending on advertising is a ticket to slow growth.

Based on my experience, I believe it is wise to budget 10–20% of your projected annual revenue for marketing. This might sound high, but I view marketing as an investment and a cost of doing business, not an expense. I spend 10–20% on marketing because the return on investment is significant. Personal injury was and still is a high-margin field, and you should receive in fees a multiple of what you spend in marketing down the line – at least two or three times your investment. If not, you are picking the wrong marketing opportunities (more on that in the next section).

I don’t like to be burdened by debt. Yet I feel so strongly about the investment potential of marketing dollars that I borrowed money when I had to get to 10–20% of projected revenue for growth. This might seem imprudent, but I’d do it again, and I’d recommend others do the same.

Think about it. If I can borrow a thousand dollars, even at 20% interest, and make three thousand dollars a year later, I’m $1,800 ahead. And if it takes as long as two years, and I only double my money in case revenue, I’m still way ahead. Commit to spending an adequate amount on marketing, and you can grow your practice.

How to Invest Your Firm’s Advertising Budget

How to spend your advertising dollars most effectively is an important consideration. The answer depends on where you are, what kind of competition you face, and what kind of cases you want. There’s no shortage of options – TV, the internet, Yellow Pages, billboards, radio, public relations, sponsorships, direct mail, print ads… the list is long.

As a general matter, I believe TV spending is still most effective. But it is expensive, and you have to be able to spend near the top level in your market for it to be effective. Direct mail can be very effective, but it is impractical in many jurisdictions due to waiting periods or because the underlying data is not available.

Finally, utilizing the internet is a must these days. But how to most effectively spend in the internet space raises even more questions simply because there are so many options (such as Google search ads, display ads, content marketing, etc.).

Just like investing in stocks, I believe it makes sense to diversify and use a variety of marketing channels. The key is investing in the right marketing channels in the right amounts at the right times. That can be tricky in an ever-changing world. What worked last year may not be as effective this year. Competition may increase, driving up ad costs, or consumer preferences could change (as in the migration from Yellow Page directories to internet searches).

You may have heard the old adage that “50% of my marketing budget isn’t working; but I don’t know which 50%.” Fortunately, you can do better than that. With the right analytics and measurement tools in place, you can keep track of all your advertising spend to ensure you meet your standards.

Maximize Intake to Sign More Cases

Marketing is essential to bringing in the right cases, but you cannot neglect the importance of intake to uncover even more cases. You need to have as close to a real-time handle as possible on where your leads and cases come from. For us, this begins by always asking potential clients at intake, how they found us. Because a well-branded law firm will be known to consumers on many fronts, it can be hard to attribute a call to one specific marketing channel. However, uncovering how they heard about us and why they decided to call gives me critical intelligence. In other words, you need data, not feelings or impressions, to drive marketing decisions for your law firm to grow.

I can measure what seems to be working, and measure it against what we spend on advertising. That way, when conditions change, I can investigate the reasons why and do something about it or move in a different direction.

Optimal intake practices are also critical to getting good cases in the door. Yet these vital practices, like thorough training for your receptionists and clearly communicating next steps to potential clients, are often overlooked.

Intake may not be as glamorous as marketing, but it is a key driver for law firm growth and profitability . Good intake is the difference between hooking a fish and getting it in the boat. There are no prizes for the fish that got away. It is heartbreaking to see a great case get away, particularly since it is likely going to enrich a competitor. And unfortunately, the better a potential case is, the harder it may be to land, because the prospect knows they have options. They aren’t going to settle for a firm that doesn’t appear to have its act together.

Marketing and Intake Are Worth Your Investment

Growing a successful law firm is a result of investing in the right marketing and intake strategies to bring in high-value cases. But you’ll want to measure and analyze where your budget is going so you can focus on the right things.

Having great intake software can make this measurement and analysis much easier for everyone on your staff. In my next post, I’ll dig deeper into what separates a great intake department from an average competitor.

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.

Running Cases Better and Faster with CMS

In my experience, you can’t find a successful law firm that doesn’t have a deep desire to be the best at what they do. Every firm wants to improve at how they manage cases by winning better settlements, treating clients better, and making fewer mistakes.

But at the same time, firms can’t lose sight of speed—the faster you can run your cases, the more clients you can serve and the more revenue you bring in. For a lot of firms, this can create a tricky balance between quality and speed.

In this post, I want to talk about this balance and share a new perspective: With the right case management software, you don’t have to choose between quality and speed.

First, remember what’s at stake here. Our clients want two things: They want us to get them as much money as we can, and they want it as fast as possible. Most lawyers understand the importance of maximizing a recovery, but many underestimate the importance of getting that recovery fast. Our firm’s focus, which I believe gives us a sustained competitive advantage over our rivals, is moving cases fast without sacrificing value. Countless clients have given us rave reviews because they got their settlement months before friends who went with a different law firm—and our clients ended up with the same recovery as (if not more than) their companions. In short, handle cases better and faster and you will see more happy and valuable clients.

How to Drive the Right Change Quickly

Whether you want to improve the quality or the speed of your case management, you will need to drive change in your firm. You can’t keep everything the same and expect different results. For example, if I have a number of cases and I want to help my clients by moving their cases better and faster, I can try to do that by training people better. Training is important, but it’s also going to be a long road before I’ll see results.

Another change strategy is to try to engineer better workflow systems. This means taking a close look at my firm’s practices and processes to see where we can speed things up or avoid common mistakes. This can work, particularly if I have good analytics to see where work is stalling and where systems need improvement. However, if you don’t have that kind of analysis to power your decision making, you’ll be flying blind.

But I believe the easiest way to run cases better and faster is to have more advanced and user-friendly case management software, or CMS. The right CMS should help my employees do their jobs better and more easily, analyze and measure specific processes to find ways to improve, and deliver many more features that make our work faster and more effective. I couldn’t find any CMS software on the market that did all that to my satisfaction, so we built GrowPath.

Fast Track Routine Tasks with Case Management Software

At a high level, GrowPath allows us to work faster and better by saving countless steps a day. For example, communication with clients is easier because emails and texts go right into our software’s case management record. This avoids duplicative copying and pasting, and reduces the risk of losing an important message.

The software also makes it easy to create merged documents by pushing a button once. Before GrowPath, it used to involve five separate clicks for each merged document. We can also save medical records and other documents to our client’s electronic file. This saves all the documents and client communications in an easy-to-find location for each case. We don’t have to go searching for them somewhere on our network. The case information is right there, at hand.

Speaking of search, here’s how GrowPath handles the process of finding case information. When we need to look up some information on a case we can do a search within the case (like a Google search) and get the results instantly. In the old days, we would have to scroll through an entire case to find the information we were looking for. We can also customize our case screens so that everyone at the firm can see the information that is important to us in each case at a glance. So whether we are talking to our client, an adjuster, or opposing counsel, the information we need is at our fingertips. This easy, quick access to critical information saves time and allows us to advocate more powerfully.

We also move cases faster by using intelligent reminders, reports, and dashboards inside our software. These tools tell us what needs to be done, when, and by whom in real time. When a file is sitting in an attorney’s office waiting on them to review it to decide on a next step, we know about it. And when it is taking too long and bogging down somewhere, we know about it. With our CMS, we can shine a light on the black holes where work would otherwise slow or stall.

Save Time and Do Better Work on Each Case with CMS

So how does this case management software affect the balance between handling cases faster or handling them better? On the faster side, we have found the features of our case management software save us at least 30 minutes per day per employee who works on cases. That means we can either take on more cases or staff more leanly without harming the quality of the work that we deliver.

But the case management software does more than just maintain the existing level of quality in how we handle cases. Actually, the quality of our work is improved, because by doing fewer extraneous tasks we therefore make fewer errors. In addition, our staff loves how the software avoids wasteful steps. That makes them happier in their work, and thus more productive. There is a virtuous cycle of good results set in motion by having software that works so elegantly.

So in conclusion, our case management software helps us rise above the either-or balance between quality and speed in how we handle cases. The result is we manage our cases faster and better by relying on technology to do our best work. 

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.

Law Firm Client Intake Software: GrowPath vs. Captorra

If you’re reading this, chances are you already have or are considering dedicated intake software like Captorra. That tells me you understand the importance of client intakes in growing a law practice. You understand that finding, engaging, and signing new clients is what drives your law firm’s success. And like any industry leader, you also understand competition. You want to keep your law firm ahead of those like yours by using the best possible tools for the job.

So if there were software that does everything Captorra does, but with more features, better usability, and a lower price, you would want to know about it. You’d want to see how Captorra compares and make sure this new software would fit your needs, but if this new software would take your competitive edge and sharpen it further at no additional cost, you’d be all over it.

How GrowPath Intake Compares to Captorra

Allow me to introduce you to GrowPath Intake, the software my firm relies on to handle all our incoming cases. We looked at Captorra and rejected it and built our own software.  We wanted something even better.  GrowPath Intake does everything Captorra does to help you connect with clients quickly, but also has these advantages:

Customizable Lead Scoring System

One of the most important parts of intake is identifying high value cases. GrowPath allows you to score your own case leads so you can prioritize the ones that are most important. Using criteria you assign, GrowPath automatically generates a numerical score for new intakes. This means you can immediately measure the quality of your intakes so you know where to focus.  This also has the added advantage of giving you an objective idea on what the quality level is of the cases you are signing.

Revenue-Generating Buzzword Technology

One thing that really sets winning law firms apart is looking closely at intake and finding cases inside existing cases. A “hidden case” might be a potential mass tort from a medical device recall, but the caller is calling for a medmal case.   To help your firm find these hidden cases, GrowPath offers a feature called Buzzwords.  You set Buzzwords so that as your team takes notes on a case, when a key term appears, like mesothelioma, a Buzzword pops up and prompt staff to ask follow up questions, rather than missing the opportunity.

Easy Integration with Your Firm’s Systems

When you add new software, you want to know it will work well with your firm’s other technology like your website, email system, chat, call centers, and case management. GrowPath delivers seamless connection with these systems without requiring your staff to endlessly copy and paste data.

Integrated Document Management

A great intake process depends on reliable document access and storage. With GrowPath, all documents associated with intakes (like police reports or photos) are stored in the intake record. This means you never need to navigate outside of the intake to view key documents.

Automatic Capture of Communications

Great intake depends on great communication. That’s why GrowPath lets you send texts and emails to potential clients from inside the software, and then stores these messages and client responses in the intake record!  You won’t have to copy and paste between multiple programs and risk losing a key message.

Deep Analysis of Marketing ROI

Marketing drives your intakes, but you need to know if you’re spending your budget in the right place. GrowPath’s marketing analytics show you how your ad buys across all channels compare to the number of intakes they create. This lets you quickly generate marketing reports showing cost per lead and cost per case by channel in each hour of the day, giving you a clear picture of marketing performance.

Seamless Report Generation and Intake Monitoring

To know how effective your intake department is, you need to measure performance and review the results instantly. GrowPath’s analytics keep track of every new case in your system, and self-generate reports on any process or case you want. You set the parameters, and GrowPath will email you reports on any intakes you designate. This lets you watch selected intakes closely to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks and ensure that the right follow up action is taken.

Continuous Innovation and Lasting Value

When you invest in software, you want to know the company behind it will continue to make that software better. This is why it matters that GrowPath Intake owns its own code and doesn’t build on Microsoft Dynamics or any other third party software. That means that GrowPath can innovate faster and keep prices lower.

Speaking of pricing, GrowPath Intake charges a flat $59 per user per month for your entire law firm. Compare that to what Captorra charges per user (not to mention their steep implementation costs).

Keep Your Firm’s Competitive Edge with GrowPath

I’ve relied on GrowPath Intake for four years, and it has helped my firm become one of the most successful law firms in the country in a very difficult jurisdiction. Beyond all the features I mentioned, GrowPath offers me peace of mind. I know nothing is falling through the cracks, my staff is empowered with the tools they need, and I have readily-available data to prove my intake department is running smoothly.  And now this game-changing intake software is available to law firms like yours who know the importance of intake, and who don’t want to settle for second-rate solutions.

If you’re a Captorra user, the best part is you can transition to GrowPath immediately at no additional cost: For a limited time, GrowPath is willing to buy you out of your Captorra contract. This takes the cost consideration off of the table, so the debate is where it should be: which intake software is better for your firm? Schedule a demo of GrowPath Intake today to find out.  I think you will agree with me that it’s not even close.

Jim Farrin is CEO of GrowPath.  He is also Founder and President of the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.  His law firm has recovered more than $750 million for more than 30,000 clients over the last 20 years.