Navigating the maze of software options can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to find the perfect fit for your law firm. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
In this week’s episode, Grace and Liel get real about the software that can take your law firm to the next level. Forget the jargon; we’re talking about what actually works. From case management to document automation, we break down the tools that can make your life easier and your practice more efficient.
And it’s not just about the tech. We also dive into how to pick the software that vibes with your firm’s unique needs. Whether you’re flying solo or part of a bustling practice, there’s a game-changing solution out there for you. Tune in to learn more!
Resources mentioned in our episode:
- For 2023, which tech tools might help your law firm flourish?
- Top Tech Tools for Lawyers in 2023
- Zoho CRM
If you enjoy the show, subscribe and leave us a review! Don’t forget to send us your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liel: [00:00:00] 93% of small business owners rely on technology, typically using three different platforms. Among them, 85% attribute their business launch to technology, and 94% highlight how tech enhances their daily efficiency. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and author of Beyond Se Habla Español How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market. And this is the in camera podcast where we break down, which are those three platforms for law firms. Welcome to In-camera Podcast Private Legal Marketing Conversation. Grace Welcome back. How are you today, September 1st?
Grace: [00:01:04] Good, How are you?
Liel: [00:01:05] Liel I’m great. Thank you so much for asking. I mean, really, really crazy last month, last month of Q3 and that’s it. We are in Q4 before you can even imagine it.
Grace: [00:01:19] This year has just gone by so fast and so fast. Yeah, it’s so fast.
Liel: [00:01:24] Um, and I think it’s going to be a very interesting month in retrospect to see because it’s the first year, maybe 2023, where kind of like the Covid and the pandemic is kind of like well behind us, the economy landscape with maybe or maybe not a recession, uh, inflation rates. I mean, I think it’s been a very, very, very unique year and it’s going to be very interesting to analyze and look at it in retrospect. However, however, today we’re going to have a really valuable conversation. And I think it’s really great because a lot of the conversations that we have here are kind of like us jumping into topics, right? Whether it’s hot new marketing trend or whether it’s a new update into something or just reviewing what’s happening on the mass tort landscape or in the business of law landscape. But it’s been a while since we’ve actually kind of like taken the approach of creating sort of like a guide, right? And that was a lot of what we used to do on, on our first season when we just launched the episode, our podcast, we used to actually go through a lot of ideas into how to implement processes or implement solutions. And one Grace that as I was just telling you a minute ago, like it really blew my mind that we have someone here that’s such an expert in really creating systems for law firms at all levels, from very basics to very sophisticated ones as as a co-host in this show. And we’ve not yet really leveraged that right. We’ve talked a lot about things that relate to the topic running remote teams, I.T. software, security, all of those things. Right. But we’ve never really had a conversation that is as simple as this.
Liel: [00:03:17] If you are about to open up your first law firm or you’ve not yet really created a software stack to make your law firm more organized, more efficient and better integrated, what are some of the initial steps and solutions that you can take? And I think the goal here, Grace, is, number one, affordability, right? Because come on, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of software solutions out there, case management software, some of them that are very expensive now to the point that they are case management softwares that flex a CRMs that flex US marketing activity tracker, right? So there’s those things, but they come at what can for some law firms that are just getting started is cost prohibitive costs right. And that doesn’t mean that the lawyers are not willing to see this as an investment. It’s just like the money is not there. The cash flow is not there to want to make that investment. So I do want to be mindful of that. Yes, the end goal is for them to move to something a little bit more sophisticated that will allow them to scale more easily, more organized. Because one of the things probably you’re going to get into is like, what happens when you have so many different platforms trying to talk to each other? What are the issues that you can encounter there? But let’s start with a baseline of, number one, what are the most basic software? Implement solutions that you need to have in place to really set yourself up for success. And once we get there, we’ll continue looking into, okay, which one is priority number one?
Grace: [00:05:08] Okay. So I’d say the initial tech stack that everybody, whatever business you’re in, but I would say law firms in particular need to understand that the very first thing that they need access to is email. And I know that sounds very simple, but how you set up your email and where you set up your email is going to then determine what functionality is available to you as integration within your CRM case management software or literally anywhere else. And there are two that I always go to that I think everybody knows, and that is G Suite. And Microsoft Office. Now, if you are a mac company, you can use some of their stuff. However, I would suggest you not do that and I’ll tell you exactly why. Because it does not play well, technically speaking, with almost any other program. And it’s very specific to Apple or Mac products. So if you are a fully Mac or iPhone or Apple user, then you need to go that route and understand that you’re going to be limited potentially to certain integrations and aspects. And the way it will work will be different than if it’s a PC. So I would say the first piece of software you need to understand is what email suite you’re going to use and what computers. Are you going to be a PC firm or are you going to be a apple firm?
Grace: [00:06:38] It’s a big deal.
Liel: [00:06:38] Yeah, it is. It’s huge. And I think, you know, Grace, Um, I think personally, I know that there comes a level or a point in which you really need to narrow it down to one operating system or the other operating system. But I think for most of the early years of a young company, you can have a hybrid model where whatever solution that you’re using can fit a mac user and can fit a Microsoft user, a PC user. And I really think that you should if you already have a team in place, you should survey your team members and understand if it’s kind of like bring your own technology sort of model, which is not rare at all anymore, right? With with teams working remotely, with cyber security being able to be implemented through IPS and such like. Bring your own technology is not necessarily a compromise anymore, right? It’s not as secure as if you’re handing over and you have full control of your team’s devices. But it is a possibility. So have an understanding on that. But quite frankly, I think that both of these email server solutions that you’re giving here play well with both platforms. If you’re going to go Chrome, you’re going to have to sorry, If you’re going to go G suite, you’re probably going to have to heavily rely on on Chrome as your as your web browser, which is which is great. It works beautifully in Mac, arguably you know better than Safari. And if you’re going to go the Microsoft route, I’ll let you explain us because I have no idea. How does Microsoft play on other operating systems outside of PC?
Grace: [00:08:28] So Microsoft Edge is the Microsoft search engine, which is leveraged by Bing, and it actually has ChatGPT integrated with it. I still use Google. I’m a PC company, so I still use Google Chrome. I do have additionally edge available to me, but I pretty much automatically change my search engine to Chrome because I heavily use Chrome. I am not a G suite user. We are a Microsoft office company. Yeah. So it’s just how all of our licensing is set up. And that’s why I’m saying it is one of the first software programs you need to understand and know and just know that it will operate slightly differently on a mac or a PC. But you are 100% correct in saying that nowadays everyone, you know, we’re almost most companies, I’d say law firms in particular, that have gone fully remote or have a hybrid model, have people that bring their own laptops or their own computers, and they’re going to get Mac users. And, you know, but understanding who uses what and how it could potentially have slightly different permissions and things like that. The only reason I know this is because we had the same situation, us personally as as the law firm, where we tried to allow some, particularly our designers and things like that to use Mac. However, teams and some of the office products did not operate as expected, nor did it work. Uh, the way we needed it to, to operate as a whole team remotely. So that’s why I’m saying it’s. Yes, it is, um, more common and there are a lot of things that aren’t a problem, but the more, the quicker and the more you expand and the bigger your firm and your practice become, it will become an issue and you should be aware of it at the outset.
Grace: [00:10:18] That way you can sort of determine going forward what the minimum requirements, if you’re allowing people to bring their own technology, what the minimum requirements are, because that’s what we have. If we’re allowing you to bring your own technology, which we don’t, we we tend to we require you to have our laptop and our computers because we load it up with all of the requirements on there. But let’s say there’s somebody who is starting. We want them to start. We load up there and we still have minimum basic requirements for their computers. Has to be windows this when you know. Et cetera. Et cetera. And that is because we have taken the stance that we are all going to be PC in order to comply and make sure that security is across the board exactly the same and that if an error comes up, we know how to handle it as our department knows how to handle it, Rather So that’s why I’m saying it is. It doesn’t seem super important when you first think about it, but it really, really is that deep where you need to understand, am I going to be a PC or am I going to be a mac? And if I allow anybody to do their own as a mac, understand that that one person or two people, whoever you’re allowing, are going to be outliers and their their computer will behave differently security wise and everything else.
Liel: [00:11:38] Great, great point. Now, I just, you know, before we move on into other things, is that particularly when you are doing G Suite, one of the great things that it has is the capability of you to log in to other platforms using your Google G suite credentials. And that is very convenient for the standpoint that you do not have. Then to have every single user create new accounts with new passwords for every single platform that integrates to your operations. That could be that could be vulnerability depending on how guess you are set up or it can actually be a great benefit. So I would like to just keep it at a very simple level and not get into sophisticated and complex security models. But for the most of it, you know, when you’re looking at companies like Google and such, they’ve already took steps to make their platform safe enough where two step verification is necessary for logging in on your devices and that sort of thing, or new connections. And so I think you’re pretty safe there with going on one of those routes. I believe Microsoft also has something like that where you can use your kind of 360 or whatever they call nowadays their business stack solution where you can where you can also use those credentials to log in. I think in LinkedIn you can do that, but because it’s owned by them and and ChatGPT probably. But that’s, that’s about it.
Liel: [00:13:18] I’ve not seen I’ve not seen the Windows logo show up in many other places outside of their own company, the companies that they own but that you know there’s still a huge player arguably bigger than than Google in the business world. And so 100% the choice by default of many organizations, particularly bigger ones, just because of their capabilities. All right, great. So good email done. We understood. Go with one of the two big players. Go with Microsoft. We’ll go with Google. That’s it. Like, don’t overthink that. Just do it there. Now, I guess the only thing here to point out is obviously use your own domain on your right. Like do not go. I mean, you can you can certainly operate out of a Gmail account like at gmail.com. But you don’t want to do that. Right? Don’t do that. That’s yeah, that’s more for the, for the marketing sort of side of thing. But it’s still, it’s a presentation card of your firm. Grace Can you talk to us a little bit about deliverability and that sort of thing, Like just, just a tiny bit there? I don’t want people to have a headache because that’s a very it can get a little bit complex to understand. And I just want us to keep in mind what are the considerations to have when you’re using your domain and impacts the server and deliverability and that whole shenanigans? Because it’s it’s important.
Grace: [00:14:49] It is. It is. And that’s also why I’m saying, you know, I’m agreeing with you don’t use a Gmail account because if you use a Gmail account that will not only affect deliverability, I don’t think any of your emails are going to come out. So, you know, it’s super important that you when you’re sending out or deciding on what you’re going to be using specifically for email, G, Suite and Office 365 have their own components of deliverability and that comes into that affordability conversation that you wanted to have and you were talking about. Cost is a big component of this. So you’re either going to have to depending on the domain that you’re going to use, you’re either going to have to warm up the list because it’s a brand new domain. Or you’re going to have to use a different domain that’s specifically like a sub domain or something of that nature to be able to send out emails that are marketing in nature. There’s two more other ways of doing this, and that is you can actually pay for the deliverability. The other component that you have to remember and you also have to think about is in deliverability. You need to make sure that your domain and when I say warmed up, I’m what I’m talking about is the systems have to get used to seeing emails coming out that aren’t a hundred plus a day. So yeah, domains the domain will have its own ranking.
Grace: [00:16:16] It will have basically sending out signals to Can-Spam, Act compliance, all of those compliance things that you guys hear about, particularly being a law firm and a lawyer. You understand and know these things. So you have to warm up your list. You cannot hit using your domain. 100 contacts or plus per day unless you have email deliverability already set up. So you can do it through Amazon Web Services. It’s actually a fairly inexpensive cost that is something like 0.001 cents per email where they will guarantee deliverability. Obviously you have to go through, you know, making sure that that you are a legitimate company. This is a legitimate domain, give them registration information and that kind of stuff. But once you do that and you kind of go through the compliance steps to make sure that you are a legitimate business and not some fly by night company in the middle of nowhere, then your deliverability will not only increase, but it will be guaranteed by Amazon Web services. So that’s one way to do that and make sure that your emails are going out and the deliverability is good. You can also do it yourself. And since we’re talking about kind of setting it up initially new, I would suggest that if you want to do any type of marketing, you start off slow. You start with anything from like 10 to 15 emails a day. If you can increase that and you can increase it up to approximately 99 contacts a day.
Grace: [00:17:49] And that’s out of just simple email, not using a system that’s just you setting up your emails and scheduling them to go out using whatever G suite or office 365. So if we’re going to talk about standing, starting brand new, you know, you have some clients potentially or people that you know that you can talk to to ask whatever you want to ask them. Just start slow, 10 to 15. You can start ramping that up after about 30 days. So I would use the 30, 60, 90 day model. You don’t have things getting rejected back. Make sure you’re telling people to add you to their safe senders list. And so very important. Exactly. Because you are now continuing to send signals out to the Ethernet and the Internet in general and domains from your domain stating that this is a legitimate business, this is a legitimate domain. These are legitimate emails. Yeah, Most importantly, these are legitimate emails and there’s tons of tools out there that are free that you can use online to help you to determine if your email itself will have a problem with deliverability. Because I think a lot of lawyers forget the fact that they’re lawyers, so they don’t necessarily think about the marketing thing. And if you put too many links, too many exclamation points, it’s too heavy on the images. Those simple little things will help your deliverability or hurt your deliverability.
Liel: [00:19:17] I think is when it becomes really a matter of a challenge or potential threat is is when. You start building up your email list, right? Because your client base is growing, the list of leads that you’re generating is growing. And so now all from the sudden you have 1000 subscribers to your communications and your you want to send them a monthly newsletter or a weekly newsletter. And we’re not I don’t know if we’re going to get a chance in this episode to get all the way down to email marketing solution, right? But when you use an email marketing solution, some of them give you the option or actually require you to use your own email server or your own domain for delivering these emails. And that’s where it can backfire on you because you may have kept, you know, a perfect track up until the point when you realize that I have 1000 emails in my contact list and they have all opted in, yet I’ve never sent them a marketing message and marketing email and now I want to start. And then all from the sudden one day you’ve sent 1000 emails to all of the people who are in your list, and that can or could in some instances create, create issues and in and in a matter of hours, ruin your deliverability.
Liel: [00:20:53] So I just, you know, want to make sure that as we are talking about email, this is mentioned. Yes. But not with a not with a intention of scaring you or making things over complicated. It’s not a problem that you really need to think of on day one, but it’s something that you just need to keep in in the back of your mind. And so whenever you know, you’ve become aware that a lot of emails are going out, out of your organization’s server, you need to start thinking about these things. Okay? But these are not problems that a lot of firms. Would have early on because outbound it’s not the default strategy that that most firms follow. So I guess it’s safe to say no panic. All right, great. So email great. What would be the second? Software solution that needs to be. Implement it.
Grace: [00:22:03] So I do want to just add one very last thing about email, because I think it’s important component to mention. Mailchimp handles deliverability very, very well and it’s free for up to 2000 contacts. So I would say. There’s your solution. If you want to do email marketing, use MailChimp again. Free up to 2000 contacts. They handle deliverability for you. And so it’s one of those systems that I’ve used for years and I use it in conjunction with other systems that are email marketing systems. But I would say take a look. If you’re brand new, new to this stuff, MailChimp is the easiest, like most Integratable product I’ve seen yet to date. So to move on the second stack, you absolutely need and honestly, you can use some components. I know I’ve seen it in G Suite and I’ve seen it in Office 365 where it has a customer manager. So. For me, the first thing besides email I actually would say is your CRM or case management software. Now, a serum is not always case management software. Case management software is technically always going to be a CRM. What do I mean? The way people talk about serums, its client relationship management software. So there are different types of CRMs out there, but they all manage your relationship with your clients, whereas case management specifically does that right.
Grace: [00:23:35] And I know many of you know that there’s tons of these out there, everything from Smart Advocate to Clio to some of these smaller case management softwares that you may not have heard of. And then there’s lead management software that integrates with case management like Lead docket as an example. And then of course, there’s File Vine and all these other ones. So there’s a ton of case management software out there. What you have to look at and. This is how I always suggested it when we actually did this. I did this probably about close to 20 years ago with another firm that I used to work with. It was an import export law firm. Nothing like personal injury, right? Nothing like Social Security disability. So it had to be custom built for our use. Hopefully you don’t have to do that because that is probably one of the harder kind of things to do and kind of assess. But if you do, I would say that’s going to be your first thing to look at. What practice areas do I run? Is there software out there that’s out of the box that will help me get off the ground immediately and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg per user per month?
Liel: [00:24:43] I don’t think nowadays in the year 2023, anyone not one firm. That is consumer focused should have to build their own software solution. The only instances where I can see that maybe being the case is because the organization is huge and they want to and it becomes more cost effective for them to have their own software solution than licensing one. But other than that, I don’t think that there is not enough solutions that can be customized to what you need. And and I think that’s where probably we’re going to hit Now next is that you can you can work with a liquefy, which is Salesforce, Salesforce powered case management software and pay an arm and a leg for every single customization that you need. Or there are a few other more affordable ways that you can get yourself started. So, Grace, I do you know, I think it’s so interesting that you say like the way that you explained CRM and case management software and define that a case management software is up to a certain extent a CRM. But. What would be the differentiation? Is that the case management software will retain information on people who have actually turned into clients, Correct? Whereas a CRM, I believe that a law firm would allow contacts that did not convert because either the case did not qualify because they’ve decided not to sign the contract or they reached out for the wrong type of practice area. But yet, you know, their location, their demographics, everything about them would make them eligible for whenever they actually do need your services. Those would still be contacts. You want to have their information, their access and such. Right? And that’s where you would want to differentiate. You may want to have a cleaner case management software where you’re actually only logging information from open cases and your CRM where you’re actually keeping up information for everything. Is that still Grace the way that law firms organize themselves, or is that the five years ago model?
Grace: [00:27:16] So it’s not five years ago. It’s actually not even a year ago. And still a bunch of them do it that way where because they’ve had this case management software for so long, they they don’t know any other way than to run their leads using another system. Yeah. So a lot of people have, you know, kind of lead docket is phenomenal for that for actual lead generation and you know processing and all of that. So a lot of people will use lead docket and then feed their their actual cases into file Vine as an example. So I don’t do that. I never did that from the very beginning because we are very unique law firm in that we process mass torts. We don’t really process PII the way, you know, a firm would. So our campaigns and the way we run things is cases and leads are in the same bucket. We can tell the difference by workflows, you know, modules and certain things that we have in place within our CRM that is not case management software, technically speaking, but it is case management software the way we use it because we manage all our cases and it’s a HIPAA compliant CRM as well, which is another thing that I think most I’d say 99.9%, if not all of the case management softwares out there, as far as I know, are HIPAA compliant.
Grace: [00:28:33] Crms are not always HIPAA compliant. So that’s something that you have to kind of think about. And that kind of brings me to like, how do I pick the case management software or the CRM? Like that’s that’s probably the first question I always get is how do I pick it? Well. Three ways. You have to make three notes to yourself. One is what is my ultimate goal with this case management software? Am I going to be running leads and cases everything through the same piece of software? If it’s yes, then that helps you determine your second answer kind of in question. Which ones do I want that will do most of what I think I need. There’s some that are out there for pie. Some that are out there for Social Security disability. So depending on your practice area, that’s where you go next. I would say do not research more than ten ever. And that’s really, really too much.
Liel: [00:29:33] Yeah, but no, it’s nuts.
Grace: [00:29:35] I do that because I’m a little crazy.
Liel: [00:29:37] I get it. I get it. You’re one of a kind. I don’t think everyone puts more than four or.
Grace: [00:29:43] Would never say that on.
Liel: [00:29:43] There.
Grace: [00:29:45] I was going to say. And no less than three, though, and no less than three. And I know most people want to do two because it is a lot of work to suss out these things and truly see a demo and understand what you’re trying to achieve for yourself. But it’s super important that you try at least three. Yeah, and one of those three needs to be kind of a standard CRM that has the ability to become case management software.
Liel: [00:30:11] I like that.
Grace: [00:30:11] If you’re able.
Liel: [00:30:12] To. Okay. Because.
Grace: [00:30:14] And say if you’re able to because it is difficult for a brand new lawyer just getting started to sit on demos and to look at these things. So if you have a kid, you know, a young person, someone in your life that can help you with this part of it, take it and run with it, because this part is going to then dictate how you run for the rest of your practice until you change your CRM or case management software. This is probably one of the biggest decisions you’re going to make for your practice.
Liel: [00:30:49] Grace. I actually think that’s a very, very good point. But I also see it like from affordability, right? To get up a entry level membership or license on, um, general market CRM that is not necessarily specific for the legal industry. You’re probably going to have maybe more compelling price points and potentially you’re not going to have to pay high onboarding fees and setup fees. And because that’s really sometimes where where the bottleneck may may come, right? Like, okay, the monthly fee is reasonable, but to get it up and running, you’ll have to pay the company a few thousand dollars to to, to get there. Right. So I think it’s not. Totally wild thing. Okay, well, maybe to get started, I can actually figure out a way to make Zoho or HubSpot or something work for me. Right. Um, so I know that. Most of your operations is built powered by Zoho or a big part of it and like it. And I’d like you to tell us a little bit why. And again, if what, what would be the path that someone that is going to go for a slightly more do it yourself solution should plan for.
Grace: [00:32:27] Perfect. Yeah that part when you and I were discussing when you sent me that information about talking about this, that excited me honestly, because it’s where I came, where I came into the law firm. And when we decided to move away from the case management software and that we wanted to run everything kind of the way we do it versus all these other case management software out there doesn’t do it the way I want to do it. So I sussed out ten different places, but I did end up on Zoho CRM, Zoho CRM. Is $45 per user per month. It is part of what we have is part of the Zoho one solution. The Zoho one solution includes Zoho surveys. Zoho CRM. Zoho Sign. So those are all things that you guys need to think about when you want to do intake. You want to get people to sign retainers digitally. This is all included as part of the Zoho one subscription for 4 to $545 per user per month.
Liel: [00:33:30] Collect payments. Yes. Invoicing payments.
Grace: [00:33:36] Yes. Everything.
Grace: [00:33:37] Even email.
Liel: [00:33:38] And then the marketing component. Yeah. And then the marketing component also of it.
Grace: [00:33:43] Zoho.
Grace: [00:33:43] Campaigns operates even better than MailChimp. It’s a little bit more complicated because it has full drip campaign functionality. Et cetera. Et cetera. So it was an all in one solution for me and for somebody that wants to get off the ground running and is capable of doing some of this themselves. They could literally go on pay for a subscription for Zoho one and turn around the very next day or same day and add an app for case management. It’s that simple. It’s an app that they have out of the box template available for your industry. They do this for real estate. They have it for almost any of them. Zoho is a fantastic product. I You would think I’m a reseller of it the way I, I kind of promote it. It’s because it is so versatile and it allows so much API and like work that I do on different things and the way we function, it’s just easy. We also have a Zoho serum administrator, but even if you didn’t and you were just even somewhat technically inclined, the user interface on Zoho is very easy and it makes sense out of the box. So again, I would say if you are more of a do it yourselfer and cost is the biggest factor for you. Zoho CRM and Zoho one in particular is a great product and you can just add an app, the template for your case management. And now your CRM is also case management software. Yeah.
Liel: [00:35:16] Now Grace. Let’s talk about since we are in the in the CRM and case management topic, first thing that I think we can conclude here is you want us platform that’s going to do both for you. The idea of having a CRM and a case management software is a dated one. It had to be that way because case management solutions have been around for decades. But the concept of also having a CRM that is more tied to your marketing initiatives is rather new. And so some solutions have emerged over the past five years that have allowed case management software’s flex a little bit as CRMs as well, kind of like through an integration, but you can now just get your case management software from the ground to do the whole thing without necessarily having to to rely on multiple licenses. So I think that’s a very effective and convenient way to approach things. But here is the bottom line. The bottom line is that for whatever reason, at some point you you’re you’re going to want to potentially do something that. A you may not be able to to do through the solution that you’re using. Right? Let’s say, for instance, for this instance, Zoho, it may not be the case that it doesn’t have the capability. It probably it could maybe have within itself, within its own ecosystem, a way for you to be able to send documents to sign. But for whatever reason, it doesn’t work for you because of the limitations that it has, because of the user experience, because of the deliverability specifics that they operate on. So you may want to have another thing take care of that. So what’s that like, how those scenarios are called and what is the best way to set up yourself for success if knowingly or unknowingly these things are going to emerge? What are some considerations that you can take?
Grace: [00:37:24] So there’s always kind of three questions I ask myself when I’m looking at case management software or CRM, and that is, what are the items that I absolutely need and I know I’m going to need. One being digital signatures. As a law firm, you’re always going to need that. And two. How do I send emails from my CRM or case management software? What are those? What does that look like? Is it going to cause a problem with deliverability? Because you may not be thinking about that right now because you’re small, but it can and may become an issue when you start marketing to them, let’s say, on something else. Or if you have to send a mass email to the list of as an example, three m just settled. We had to send a ton of emails to our three M clients and we needed to make sure that they all went out and they were all marked somewhere and that it was tracked, that it went out. Et cetera. Et cetera. So if you’re doing any of that, you want to ask yourself. Does this integrate with other digital signature systems? What popular digital signature systems out there would work with my. My current case management software or CRM. And how easy is it to use and integrate? So I went through this kind of with actually Lydia.
Grace: [00:38:45] I was helping another law firm kind of set up their Lydia instance, and we went through the docs. We went through hello sign, we went through DocuSign. And I forget what the fourth one was because it was just kind of a bust. But DocuSign was the most expensive, but. It. It seemed to integrate initially the best with solidify, but in the end it actually didn’t leave you the right information you needed. Panda Docs wasn’t so expensive, but it didn’t seem to. The user experience wasn’t as great. And then we settled on Hellosign because the integration was so tight and it wasn’t as expensive for multiple people to send the same hellosign using templates than it was for DocuSign. So I’d say for someone that’s just looking at this at the outset, you do want to think about besides your CRM or case management software, what digital signature platforms are available in there and what does it integrate with besides what’s available? Because we have Zoho sign available within Zoho, But like you said, the user experience, sometimes people can’t sign that, so we send it. Guess what? Using sign now because sign now seems to be a really easy user interface for people when it gets to them.
Liel: [00:40:05] Yeah, very mobile friendly.
Grace: [00:40:07] Yes. Yeah.
Grace: [00:40:08] So, you know, those are all things that you kind of have to think about when you’re doing this. And I know it’s not easy, so you want to kind of make yourself a list email. Does it integrate with my CRM, the CRM I use, does it integrate with digital software that’s kind of popular out there? And what does it look like when it does for me? Meaning you? Because eventually you’re hoping you can hire paralegals and intake agents, right? People that were going to do this instead of you being the only one doing this. So what does it look like to you? What does it look like to the user, your client, and does it integrate? I mean, that’s a simple, seemingly dumb question to ask yourself, but you’d be surprised how many times people don’t realize that there’s not like a native integration with some of these popular digital signature platforms out there, except for maybe DocuSign and DocuSign. Honestly, at the high level is very expensive.
Liel: [00:41:02] Oh, yeah.
Liel: [00:41:02] It’s it’s it’s gone super expensive. And as you’re starting to add more features, it just increases and increases. But you know, I think it’s another beautiful, great example of just dominating the space and having just such huge market share, just just for the sheer fact that they were first. That’s a that’s another great example of good execution of being first, Right? Same as ChatGPT with AI, right?
Grace: [00:41:30] Yeah.
Liel: [00:41:31] Like Bart can be improving at a great rate, but it doesn’t matter. People already got used to using ChatGPT. The value proposition is not compelling enough for someone to want to to to move. But I think the the the pricing component here is what has made a lot of business owners, just like you’re doing search and look for what alternatives are out there. Grace I think just kind of like to wrap up on this on this particular topic and we’re going to pick it up on our next conversation because obviously we’re just scratching the surface right now. But I think, you know, just trying to put up a process of, okay, how to make the decision. Ideally, you would want to come to the table knowing exactly what you expect the software to do for you in terms of CRM and in terms of case management. But the here is here is the thing, right? You’re also just getting started, so you don’t know those answers. One of the thing that annoys me a lot about whenever I was starting up with my business or I was learning something new for the first time, was sitting up at a webinars or talks or workshops, and then kind of like seeing that there was a habit of taking for granted that a lot of the information, you already know it. And the reality is that a lot of it, you don’t know it, you don’t know what you want from your case management because A, you’ve never really had to to think outside of your position what a case management does. And now if you’re becoming the business owner, you need to think about other things than what it just did for you back in the day when you were working at a different law firm and just using it for very specific things.
Liel: [00:43:16] And the other thing is maybe you’ve never used one because you’re fresh out of school, law school and whatever, right? You’re ready to open up your law firm or whatever is that you want to do. And so I think the demos, like whether you’re whether you can afford or not, some of these companies just sit on their demos, just schedule them and sit on them. Why? Because they are the ones that in their sales presentation they’re going to tell you. And because we know law firms always need to do this, that and that, and they’ll show you how it does it for you. And now you’re seeing, Oh, shit, I never thought about that. But yes, sure, I do need to send these updates or I do need to send reminders or I do need to have a heap of compliance platform. And so those things are going to become evident to you by just sitting them and seeing all of the capabilities that they have, because they’ve already done the work of researching, documenting and being fully aware of what all law firms across the nation are need in order to be able to operate efficiently. And now that you have all of that information, now that you’ve actually seen, what are all of the things that are actually relevant to you? Because there’s going to be a lot of bells and whistles that you’re going to be like, I don’t see how am I going to need that Now, at that point, you’re going to be able to then start looking at, okay, what are the affordable solutions and how can I make all of these other items that I did identify as important and necessary for me work within that platform? And and I guess it’s going to be a matter of really doing a price value assessment and, and see like, can I really make this work right now through this system? And it will allow me to scale up to a certain point.
Liel: [00:45:07] It’s going to be okay. And I think and I think it’s good to to do that and be a little bit careful as well when choosing, you know, to go the road of signing up for another type of solution that has maybe more expensive license and not necessarily a very high onboarding fee, but then as your team starts growing, if that license is expensive, you’re going to maybe. Think that maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe it is. I think honestly, like. Software is mandatory when it comes down to running a business efficiently and sometimes it is 100% worth it to invest and have good, powerful, reliable solution at your disposal. But. If if that is not something that is feasible for you right now, you should not do or opt for a manual thing because you’re going to pay it so much more expensive in just mismanaged time. I think so it is 100% worth the heavy lifting that you need to do at the front in researching and setting it up in order just to be able to have a more reliable platform. Grace What else do you do you have to add to all of this? I’m sure a lot.
Grace: [00:46:33] Yeah. So I would say it’s a requirement, like you said, to have software in place. And so as a lawyer, you should remember what it was like when you were in school. Right? You’re developing a case. How do you develop a case you have to research. Think of this exactly the same way. You’re going to be researching three different companies. These three companies have industry experts, right? Software industry experts based on legal. And that’s who you want to communicate with. You want to understand exactly how it’s going to help you in your business for your use. So make sure you come to the table. It’s a live demo. Great, because you can come to the table with questions that you can ask them and have a list in front of you of what you start developing a list that’s going to be a must have a need to have and want to have. And then from there you’re going to say, okay, it costs this much for the signature platform that integrates with this. If I don’t do it this way, it’s going to cost this much. If I do it that way, it’s going to cost that much. But these are the things that absolutely have to have. These are the things I must have by law, and these are the things I’d like to have. But I can wait. Is it going to allow me to wait? So you will be developing your list after these demos and just like you do when you were in law school, you’re going to be writing this stuff down and taking notes for yourself because this is the most important decision you’re going to make for your law firm. It is the hardest thing to change from one CRM to another. And once you start putting data into something to get it out and have it look exactly the way you want in another CRM is not impossible, but is difficult and definitely not something you want to do, especially since you’re just starting.
Liel: [00:48:19] Yeah.
Grace: [00:48:19] So when your list gets big, you want to make sure that you have something that grows with you. Yeah, and that’s a question you need to ask.
Liel: [00:48:26] Yeah.
Liel: [00:48:27] I think that’s a great first takeaway Grace to this conversation because it really kind of like establishes the fact you cannot delay the need of establishing these solutions from day one, especially when it comes down to to email. And the same for for websites and domains like these are these these are things that always improve with time as they mature, they are just more reliable. And so you do not want to delay the process of doing neither of these things, of acquiring the domain for your law firm. This you should be doing it the moment that you know that you want to have a business right and setting up your email server should be pretty close there so that you can start building that reputation and credibility. So great. Love that. Now let’s do take away number two Grace. Let’s let’s talk about how do you lay the foundation so you can start building things up.
Grace: [00:49:33] Don’t forget research. You are a lawyer. So I think the second takeaway for me is, as a lawyer, research, do your due diligence and check out at least three different ones that you believe can help you reach out to other lawyers. Because we are I mean, there are plenty of people that are here and willing to give you information. Reach out to us. I’m more than happy to provide you with information and my experiences with all the different case management softwares I’ve been involved in over the 20 years I’ve dealt with this, you know, reach out. And that’s something that I know that we talk about all the time. It’s like, you know, ask for help because there’s someone else that’s dealt with this. There’s tons of people that have started new law firms on their own. There’s tons of people that have had to deal with software. They’ve never done business by themselves. Everything’s on you. So if everything’s on you, reach out, reach out for help, do your research and make sure you understand what you want for your firm and where you believe it wants to go. Include that as part of your business plan. Software is such a it is the most important thing in the business nowadays because it could make or break you.
Grace: [00:50:46] Right. Yeah.
Liel: [00:50:47] Do you have any tips about how to budget on this Grace? Like, are there any best practices on like how to. How to decide what’s reasonable to be spent and when do you want to start considering other alternatives?
Grace: [00:51:03] Yes, I do.
Grace: [00:51:04] So I would say one of the first things I always ask is there are three items I always need is what kind of email and do I get charged additional for having email integrated with my CRM? Two What is the license costs? Because that’s always the standard. And then three, and as part of licensing costs, you always need to ask about set up costs. And if there are any additional integration costs, because sometimes there are with Zoho, there aren’t, but there are sometimes with other systems and other CRMs.
Liel: [00:51:36] Yeah, it’s super important. Sorry, I’m not going to interrupt you beyond the point that I just like API keys are not by default given to all to all accounts and integrations have different levels. Some are kind of like native integrations that that they just you connect by logging in logging in. But if you want to do something more custom and you need an API key, then sometimes those require the enterprise level licenses and stuff that you know are four times maybe what you’re paying. So you know, it can you may be deceived there by thinking Exactly. Yeah.
Grace: [00:52:11] But no you’re.
Grace: [00:52:12] 100% Liel No, I’m glad you mentioned that because that’s 100% right. Right. What kind of usage are you going to start at and what do you anticipate getting to? Because you need to ask both. You need to ask how much is the user license cost and will that give me the integrations that I’m asking for right now, or am I going to have to pay for, like you said, enterprise licensing. It’s difficult, I think, for people that aren’t involved in software, particularly a lawyer who, you know, may not understand tech or software in general, to understand the licensing structure, think of it as, um, think of it as fees if you’ve ever done. Because I know generally for them it’s a percentage, but think of it as fees and then costs, right? What it costs you to get medical records, what it costs you to do this, that’s how they’re going to charge you. So what does it cost me for the retainer fee? It’s 40%, right? For a Zoho CRM, it costs this much for the license. That’s one cost. Now, you got to think about in this case, I’m going to kind of, um, compare the two.
Grace: [00:53:14] Right. Somewhat apples to apples, medical record costs that you have to pay. Right. Okay. You pay for those in a CRM. That costs would be what does it cost in additional for sending out Zoho signs? Does it cost me additional? It might. And how many can I send out? Do I have an unlimited amount of emails that I can send out or signs or requests for signature because DocuSign doesn’t? And it’s tiered. So it’s it’s a that’s very difficult, I think, for a lot of people. But you need to write your questions down. How much does it cost me if I have one user? Is there a minimum user count? How much does it cost me if I go up to ten users? Is there a minimum user count at that level? And then how much does it cost to integrate the things that I absolutely am asking you and telling you I need? And is it unlimited? So you’re always going to ask the same questions. Licensing costs, Usage costs. And in addition to your costs. Yeah. Those three costs, licence usage and tearing. That’s how they that’s what they call it in the software world, basically.
Liel: [00:54:29] Yeah. Being mindful of that, it’s as you’ve said, right. I mean and come on, let’s be real up to a certain extent. There’s going to be moments where you don’t know what you’re going to need or whether it’s going to be something really scalable in the future. So I would like just to to close and take away number three, you know. Yes. Do do your due diligence. Don’t make a 100% emotional decision in here. Find ways to justify to yourself that it’s the right choice. But don’t over complicate it. Right? I mean, at the end of the day, it’s much better to have something in place that solves your needs now, then not have something or delay time in getting that up and running to the point that you are being very unproductive and you’re not moving on to your next next tasks in launching your your business just because you’re spending way too much time in trying to set up the operations solutions in the software that you don’t currently have like. Address the immediate needs that the business has and the ones that you’re going to be facing immediately after you solve this initial problem. That’s it. I mean, honestly, that’s it then. Then you start figuring out the other things. Sure. Try to think strategic. Try to make decisions for things that are going to be scalable. But at the end of the day, you cannot predict the future. You can just strategize based on what you know right now. I think that’s good enough to give you the confidence to to move forward with things.
Grace: [00:56:08] Yep. And just to add to your takeaway number three, just get started. You’re right. And there’s an easy way. There are free serums out there and all these free CRMs and even like I said, MailChimp up to 2000 contacts. The free CRMs are open source code, which they kind of let you do what you want with it and they will be a little clunky, but you’ll be able to get your data out of there when you’re done and you can just put import it into a new one. It’s not easy again, but you’re starting off. So to at least just get started. You can use a free CRM and MailChimp and get started with your email and your domain so you don’t have to stop. You should continue forward and do your due diligence, but don’t stop.
Liel: [00:56:56] Yeah, You know, and another thing that you said, there are free tiers as well in several of these software solutions that, you know, they’ll have certain limitations. They’re probably going to be watermarked everywhere and such. But, you know, it’s a great way of testing it out and see do the basics actually work? Do I want to go pay up the annual subscription That’s going to save me 20%, right? Those things are the type of things that you can get out of sometimes doing this type of initial trials, working from the freemium versions of them. Yep. Grace I love that. I mean, I honestly think, you know, we’ve just, as I’ve said, scratched the surface, but there’s a lot to explore because then comes kind of like the fun stuff, which is the automations, right? The things that would make it look like you actually have a team of 20 people staying on top of each one of your client’s case when in reality it’s all a set of sequences of workflows and automations that are just doing what they’re supposed to do so that you can be focused on doing the legal part. So I am looking forward to that conversation. But until then, stay safe.
Grace: [00:58:12] Thank you. You too.
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