Automate and Streamline Your Practice: A Discussion of How Legal Technology is Transforming the Practice of Law with Michael Chasin, CEO of Lexicata
Today, we’re going to be interviewing the CEO of Lexicata, Mr. Michael Chasin, and I’ll let him explain what Lexicata is, but essentially it’s an all-in-one intake and CRM for lawyers helping them automate and streamline their sales and intake process. We’re making a big announcement today, which is that Unbundled Attorney has completed integration with Lexicata. We are basically finishing up the final touches. We’ll be launching it next week and this basically allows us to post our leads directly to a Lexicata account. I’m really excited because this is going to automate and streamline a lot of the task that go into following up with clients, both to make the initial contact and also once you make the contact with the client and let’s say they need some time to follow up or maybe they’re ready to go right away, there are systems in place where you can stay in touch with them with a click of a button.
So, Michael is going to do a great job of not only describing the birth of Lexicata, how it came about, and what are primary features that most attorneys are most excited about and taking advantage of, but it also we’ll be talking about the integration and how that’s going to impact lead generation. Then we’ll also talk about a much broader topic, which is how lawyers are trying to implement these types of technologies in order to be able to deliver services much faster, much more efficiently, and start to compete in an internet and tech-driven world. Once this integration is completely launched next week, the lead generations from Unbundled Attorney will be integrated into Lexicata. Lexicata integrated into Clio and of course, LawPay integrated to Clio Payment. So, your marketing, sales, practice management, and billing all integrated into one system.
So, it’s really exciting to see all these different technologies now available under one, you know not one platform but a streamline flow so that one integrates with the other, integrates with the other and all is available on line with a click of a button. So, let’s get right into this interview. It’s going to be a great opportunity for attorneys to learn a little bit more about Lexicata, learn more about the integration we’ve developed, and also a broader picture of how technology can help you start to leverage your time and streamline your practice. All right, hey Michael, welcome to the show.
Michael Chasin: Hey Dave, thanks. I’m excited to be here.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, this is going to be great. This is going to be a lot of fun man. We’ve been working together for some time. We’ve got a big announcement coming up here, but we’re really looking forward to unpacking what the CRMs are all about. There’s certainly been a trend towards attorneys being more technologically inclined, building more streamlined automated practice, and certainly, you and your company has been one of the forefronts of that trend and enabling attorneys to be on that track. So, really appreciate your joining us today to share some insights and give attorneys that maybe aren’t familiar with Lexicata, CRMs, and some of these new technologies, an insight on what it can bring to their practice. So, thank you so much.
Michael Chasin: Yeah. I’m excited. I love talking with people who were more on the like lead generation side of things. I think we really understand each other on what the industry really needs as a whole.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. Well, thank you and we certainly see the value in developing systems that can help lawyers be more effective, automate things that are repetitive or things that are doing over and over again and allow them to do things faster and more efficiently. So, that’s certainly something that you guys do at Lexicata and so looking forward to learning more and having you share a little bit more about what you guys do. So, maybe that’ll be a good place to start is just explain in just a real simple way what Lexicata is. Obviously, I know it’s a CRM that focuses on intake and conversion, but maybe you can unpack that briefly and then maybe we can get a little bit of background of how it came to be.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, sure you want me to start with the background or just kind of describe Lexicata a little bit?
Dave Aarons: Yeah, maybe give a general or share what Lexicata is and then that’ll help give some context to why it’s founded in the first place.
Michael Chasin: Sure. Yeah, so Lexicata, what we are is basically the number one CRM and client intake software for lawyers. We focus only exclusively on law firms. We basically focus on two main things. One is going to be what we call people management, right? That’s what CRM stands for, client or contact relationship management. So, we help you manage your referral relationship, your professional relationship, as well as your general contact leads, clients, those types of people. Then more on the intake side of things is going to be more of the conversion of people, right? So whenever you’re basically tracking people in the CRM, traditional CRMs basically are more built for marketing and sales where our CRM is more developed to help you convert your prospects into client and that’s really what we do. So, we focus on intake forms, automated engagement letters, e-signature, all the tools that will really help you convert those leads into clients.
Dave Aarons: Okay, awesome. So in other words, a way for you to keep track of all the leads, understand where they’re at in the buying funnel, and then also have systems, templates or whatever it may be in order to continue to maintain and stay in contact with those clients?
Michael Chasin: Exactly, right. Nurture that relationship. A lot of leads come through referrals. So it’s not necessarily about the “sale” because they might already be sold coming in. It’s more about keeping that relationship fresh and keeping it on the right track to get them to hire you as quickly as possible because the longer it takes them, the more expensive of a process is this for you and also, just getting them to make sure that you’re the right person. So, it’s all about this whole process around getting yourself hired. It’s quicker as long as that may be, and really assisting with the transaction and making sure that that goes as smoothly as possible.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, making it easy for people to click a button to retain you and all that kind of stuff you mean.
Michael Chasin: Exactly.
Dave Aarons: One of the things I’ve really appreciated about learning more about your products in Lexicata and the power that it has to help lawyers be more efficient and keep track of clients and also effective at converting them into paying customers from prospect to paying clients is that technology is still … you know, where in an industry that is quite conservative per se or at least it hasn’t embraced technology in the way other industries have, like internet marketing or some other internet-based type of businesses and I think a lot of attorneys may not appreciate or embrace the power of a CRM like other sales-based companies or things like that in other industries may. So, what was it that you saw when you originally started to think about getting Lexicata going and how do you see that impacting lawyers’ firms in the future?
Michael Chasin: Yeah, so interestingly enough, we didn’t really think about Lexicata and starting it up. It kind of just happened. So, basically, the background story is, my business partner, Aaron George, he and I went to law school together. We are on the same group of friends. We played ball together. You know, we just hang out. Basically, one day while we’re having lunch, someone came up to him and said, “Hey Aaron, I’ve got a great idea for an application,” and we’re like, “Okay, well what is it like?” I kind of was just sitting there listening and I’m like, “Aaron, why is he asking you about apps?” He’s like, “Oh, I actually build iPhone apps like games and things like that. I go, “That’s really interesting. I didn’t realize you had a background on entrepreneurship.” I too had had a background. I’d started a couple different companies in college and different organizations in college so I have some background. I said, “Let’s join up and do something together.”
So, basically what we did was we started effectively was a very highly catered and highly targeted lead generation software for lawyers. So, basically what it was, “Hey, I need a lawyer.” You come to our website and then basically, you submit a proposal like I needed a DUI attorney or a contract attorney, and then they would send in leads or the leads would go out to lawyers and the lawyers would say, “Yeah. I’ll do that for this price.” And it was added to the platform.
Basically, two things happen. One, the clients would complain. The client would complain for one main reason. They would basically say, “I love the software called LawKick. I love the website. It was awesome. This lawyer sounds good, but it’s a crappy experience.” What they meant by that was they would talk to a lawyer. The lawyer would take them offline and then they would send them a paper form or a PDF or ask them to pay with check or send them a PDF they have to download, sign, print, send, upload, all that stuff, and they hated the experience.
Then on the other side of things, the lawyers were complaining that they weren’t getting hired, which is a constant issue that any lead generation or any marketing person is going to tell you is the conversion rate is not high. We basically figured out that the clients were all hiring someone, just not the lawyers. Then we basically would talk to them about their sales process and they said, “You know, we are not following up with this people effectively. I’ll send one e-mail, yeah, I can help you, and then I never hear from them.” So, we basically said, “Are you crazy? We didn’t realize that this was the case that law firms did not use any kind of sales or lead management platform. So basically said, if we can kind of help with at least the intake forms, would you use that?” Petty much unanimously all of our users, all of our lawyers on LawKick said, “Yeah, I would.”
So, we build a very basic version and that kind of what the genesis of Lexicata was. We thought it was just going to be a tool to assist our LawKick lawyers to better convert people and then very quickly, everyone started getting wind of it and like, “I want this. I want this,” and people outside of the platform started asking for it. That’s kind of where it came from. We originally set out to just solve the problem on our platform, which was converting leads into clients, and we didn’t realize it was an industry-wide problem until it started getting really requested across the board.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. So, maybe we could share first to give stories that are listing a little bit better understanding. What were the key features or key components of the Lexicata platform that make it easier for attorneys to enroll their clients electronically or just make it easier for them to convert those prospects into paying clients?
Michael Chasin: Okay. So, we could break those tools down into two segments. One is going to be what we call the CRM segment, which is going to be more of like the sales and lead management, and then one is going to be what I call the intake segment, right? So, the intake is more about the actual transaction whereas the CRM is more about just like tracking people generally.
So, on the CRM side of things, we have a lot of cool stuff. One of our core elements is going to be what we call tags feature. A tag is basically like a keyword or a label that you can assign to people. So, for instance for Dave, I might want to put tag good looking or tag you know tech or tag like marketing or something like that, right? Some sort of category industry that it’s a part of. If I’m an estate planning lawyer, I might want to tag them as high net worth or I might want to tag them as soft lead versus cold lead or I might want to tag them as marketing and so I know if they came to a marketing chain or not. Then you can run reports, do searches, all that kind of stuff.
What you can also do is hook that up to something like a MailChimp. But if you don’t know what a MailChimp is, MailChimp is a campaign that does mass emails. So, if you want to send out a monthly newsletter to a mass group of people, you’ll be able to break your list up into groups. So that way you’re not sending the same email to list X that you would be to list Y because they’re different types of people. So, a tag is going to be a really important feature.
Then more of like the hybrid between the two of intake and CRM, and this is where the line kind of gets blurred that’s why we combine the two together. The first thing is going to be appointment scheduling. We can help you with consultations. So, if you want to send out auto-reminders before their consultations and confirmation emails, we help with that. We also have what’s called the pipeline, which is, it’s hard to describe it, but it’s basically a visual chart where you have columns for different stages of the intake process. So column 1 might be new lead Receive. Column 2 might be new lead contacted. Column 3 might be consultation scheduled and so on and so forth until they’re actually retained. So this chart really helps you have a visual idea where all your leads are iatany given time.
Then you also have things like email automations. So for instance, if someone calls your office, you talk to them, they say, “I’m not ready to hire you. I’m thinking about buying an estate plan in six months from now.” Well, you can set up a series of five emails in the future to go out to them. You can also do things like online intake forms. So, rather than asking to fill out a PDF or piece of paper, you can send them something online that they can fill out on their phone, tablet or computer and then also, you can use that information to automate documents like an engagement letter or something like that and then also electronic signature. So, they don’t have to download and print. Again, they can sign like a retainer agreement or engagement letter online through their phone, computer or tablet.
So, all those tools together make a really comprehensive product that’s going to help assist you through the tracking of the lead and the conversion of them into potential clients, which is obviously not only good for the law firm and organization, but it’s a really good client experience which makes them more likely to hire you, in the future more likely to refer you, and more likely to just have a good lawyer-client relationship from the start.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, exactly. You know as you’re saying that, in my mind, I’m picturing what lawyers would do without these specific features. Like for example, you have that the online intake where you know in the past, put in all the information, turn them into a PDF, email it. The client would then have to print that out, sign it, which means they have to have a printer, they have to do that, then scan it back up to the computer, and then send that back. Each of these little steps that take time are nuisance to the client.
You know, there’s an old saying that if you make clients work harder than they have to to enroll in your products, you’re screwed because you’re going to lose some people in the process no matter what. It’s the same thing with marketing, right? If we add additional steps that they have to go through just to get connected to an attorney or to use a service, you’re going to lose people in the process. So, what do you think are the things that you found have really been the biggest game changers for attorneys and just being really a lot more streamlined in their role and in management?
Michael Chasin: Yeah. So, I think there are a couple different areas of that. So, the first thing is just going to be mental approach to doing things. You know, a lot of my friends who I went to law school with, they fall victim to the same thing and particularly, ones that went out and did their own firm. They are lawyers who happen to be running a business, not business people who happen to be running a law firm. So, they just don’t have the right mentality going in, right?
So, you know Dave that when you put up a form on a website, if you have 10 fields to fill out to buy a product versus two, like let’s say you want to start a free trial on Clio, they’re going to make it really easy. They’re going to do just do like put your name and your email and that’s it. I don’t need a credit card because they just want you starting to use it and engage with the brand. A lot of lawyers do the exact opposite and some of them should, right? If you’re a worker’s comp attorney, where you’re getting a thousand leads a month, there’s no way you have the bandwidth and most of them are crappy leads, you should put up a little bit of wall, but 99% of firm shouldn’t. So, just making it really easy and understanding that your goal is to get as many people in the door as possible and curate those leads further down the road.
So, what a lot law firms do … I remember when I was working for the Department of Justice my first year of law school in the Bankruptcy Court, I saw somebody’s bankruptcy intake forms that they would make their clients fill out and we still see them to this day. Actually, I’ll tell you a better story. We do setups for attorneys. For our lawyers who sign up for Lexicata, we offer a setup package where we’ll basically build out their hold accounts for them. We just got this week and it was a record, someone sent in a 71-page intake form.
They make their client fill out a 71-page form before they retain them. I don’t know who in the hell in their right mind, unless they literally love this lawyer, ’til death do you part, would ever sit down and do 71 pages just to decide to hire the lawyer or not. So, just putting out these barriers and get it out of your way is going to be a really big thing and then obviously, the client experience too. Having them do all that stuff on paper or pen rather than that makes a big deal.
Then last thing I’ll share is going to be some people might be listening and might say, “Oh yeah, a lot of my clients come in-person.” Like if you’re a criminal offense attorney, you have a lot of people come into your office and do in-person consultations. Well obviously, having software or any kind of online tool is going to help you with that too because if you walk through the process in what they would do, they come in the office. They have to come 20 minutes early. Why? They have to fill out paperwork.
Then that paperwork has no time to be reviewed by the lawyer, then, let’s say, by the grace of God, they end up signing up the client. Now the client have to sit there in the office for 20 minutes while they draft up an engagement letter, print it off, then they have to sign it, then they have to upload it, and the law firm has to do all the data entry. The entire process can literally be expedited to a matter of 60 seconds or 2 minutes rather than 20 minutes. So, it’s a lot of time and money that’s wasted on both sides.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, exactly. You think about the way things are going as far as people having access to a smartphone, having access to the internet, especially the new generation that they’ve never known a rotary phone, you know. Most kids younger than 25 never have owned a printer unless they’re in school and printed out. So, it’s a new industry. It’s a new marketplace and nowadays, a lot of people want to just do things electronically with a click of a button. It seems like the more attorneys can embrace that and make it seamless and easy for clients to be able to enroll and just take it and just say, “Yeah, okay that sounds good,” and like, “Okay, click a couple of buttons here. Let’s move forward,” that’s only going to lend itself well to having more of them want to retain and move forward with their services.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and I think you’re 100% right, Dave, but I think you’re also focusing on a segment of the market, right? A lot of law firms work with older clients, right? Like for instance, estate planning. Most people in their 20s are not due using estate plan lawyers as people on their 30s, 40s, and 50s, and especially if they’re doing probate or elder law, people on their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. So, those tools are helpful, but they’re not going to be across the board.
What is helpful are going to be tools that assist the law firm with the process on the backend of things, right? So, there’s going to be the operational workflow. Again, rather than having to do all the data entry, and uploading, and scanning and all that stuff that takes time and obviously, time is money because you’re paying employees to do this for you, and if you’re solo, if you’re not paying an employee, you’re effectively paying because you’ll have less time you can spend doing other things. But on top of that is going to be actually tracking of people, right? If the more time you spend on admin, the less time that you can spend on organizationally tracking these people through the process.
So, that guy that might takes six months to convert into a client, you have no way of following and keeping up with them if you don’t have a system for doing that and a lot of people try to use something like Excel or a piece of paper, like a folder system on their desktop and that might work, but you’re going to lose a ton of people and obviously the more people that you lose, the less money you make which puts you further away from where you want to be, maybe hiring people for help, hiring admin staff, whatever it may be. So, everything that you do when it’s on paper an old school way, you’re just compounding your own problems because you’re not allowing you to get you where you need to be.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. One of the things that are common in any sales organization selling any product, but certainly in the legal industry, is there’s inevitably going to be folks that come in, they call your office, and you talk to them once, and they say, “Okay, well let me think about it. Let me talk to this person,” or the court is not for a couple of months so they have to wait and then they just fall by the wayside or they come in the office and maybe, for whatever reason, they don’t retain right there. They have to get their resources together and you know what happens. Well, normally that file might end up in a drawer and may not be heard from again. So, maybe you can talk a bit about how some of these tools and having these features available to them can help maintain that relationship without having to do the manual calling them and trying to keep in touch with them as a day-to-day task.
Michael Chasin: Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing, people just don’t have time to do. I have 40 people who are potential clients right now in my system. How am I going to find the time to do that? That’s going to be where we have automated sequences built in, right? Obviously, you want to know who your client is and whom you’re talking to, but a lot of our business firms, PI firms, criminal firms, they really use these features a lot. So for instance, one of our higher usage firms that we have, they have like 40 attorneys in multiple states, what they have is what’s called drip marketing. Now, drip marketing is a term also called the email campaign. It’s a fancy term that basically means an automated sequence of emails.
Now, a good example of how a firm might use this in our software is like this criminal firm. So, what they do is basically, when a client comes in, they call their firm. They say, “Hey, I just got a DUI. Hey, I just got a this, I just got a that,” right? A lot of people don’t know, but I think most people, like the majority of criminal offense firms are retained within 45 minutes of the person first searching for an attorney. So, when they move, they move fast.
So basically, what they have is they have an automated sequence that goes out. A minute after they get answered in the system, an informational email goes out. You just got a DUI, here’s what to consider. Then literally, a half an hour later another email goes out that says, “Hey, did you know our attorney was featured on CNBC talking about DUIs blah, blah, blah.” So, they really send out an email sequence to get the client really acquainted with the brand and really trust. A lot of lawyers don’t realize this, but the number one reason why a client hires an attorney, the number one factor, they’ve done studies on this, is trust. So, building that trust is really important.
Now, if you’re on a longer timeline, you might do an automated sequence to get them to stay in touch with you, right? So, for instance, a client comes into a consultation, doesn’t hire you. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to hire you eventually, but it does mean they might forget about you or forget that they even need it. So, months later, they go out, “Hey Michael, it’s been a month since we did our consultation. Here’s a blog that I wrote on why estate planning is important for families.” Two months later, “Hey Michael, just want to check in and see how things are going. I thought you might be interested to read this other article on this, this, this,” or six months later, “Hey, blah, blah, blah,” and you can do this for existing clients too. “Hey Michael, it’s been a year since we did your will. It might be time to hop on a quick call and see if there are any revisions that we need to make, any big purchases that you made or any big debts that you acquired. Maybe we need to kind of talk through that stuff a little bit.”
That obviously makes you look altruistic, but really what you’re doing is trying to generate more business from those people. So, a lot of cool things you can do with email marketing and email automation to not only keep the relationship fresh, boost your revenue, but also help educate the client because the more educated they are, the less annoying they are for you as a lawyer. Anyone knows that the more educated your client is, the less problematic they’re going to be. So, a lot of cool things you can get out of email automation.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, and I’d like to just highlight that for one more second because you know, it sounds like that email is likely they would have to custom send that to each client. But what I want to reiterate it and make clear is that each of these emails can be customized or built in such a way that the data from the record, from each client record can basically auto-populate into these emails so that the way that the client receives that is, “Hey, this is a personal email from the attorney thinking of me six months later and sending me this content that he feels is relevant to me. Wow, you know, that’s pretty nice of him to be thinking of me.” That’s the perception the client, but in the back end these are things that are built out with templates and with a system so that they go out automatically for specific types of areas of law.
So, can you shine a little bit of light on, Michael, like how, you don’t have to go to the nitty and gritty of it, but just help the lawyers understand like mechanically, how that actually happens such that they can set it once and build it once and have that system in place so that it’s automated and streamlined, and hands off, and continue to maintain those relationships regardless?
Michael Chasin: Yeah. So, you know the term that tech people use is going to be what’s called scalability. The economy is a scale, scalability. So basically, what that means is do some work upfront and that pays dividends later, right? So basically, what you have to do is all you have to do is once you build your email campaign or email sequence or email automation, whatever you want to call it, once you’ve built it once, literally … so let’s use the example that I’ve already built it and then I’m going through, let’s say, Dave, we’re going to your firm.
So, let’s say I come to your consultation, I don’t hire you. You can go into something like Lexicata and again, we’re not the only software that does this, but it’s a really valuable tool at what we do. You can click one button that says like post-consultation email campaign, like start the campaign type of thing. Then what’ll happen is those five emails over the next six months will go out to me automatically. So, literally all you have to do is click one button and then potentially, on a Saturday afternoon, at 1 pm, even though you’re on the beach in Tahiti, I might be getting an email from you saying, “Hey Michael, I just want to check in and see how things are going.” So, really personalized and then it’ll say hey, Michael, and you can also customize the content and stuff like that.
But the goal is, obviously, if you build different campaigns for different circumstances, remember I said at the beginning with tag, like list X versus list Y, you can have different content or emails go out to different people based on different circumstances, you can really build a very robust marketing funnel and sales funnel. Like that criminal defense attorney that I was talking about, he has a different email sequence for DUIs than he does for assault and battery, than those for domestic violethen than he does for drug charges. He literally has it completely broken down and he has literally some of the biggest revenues in the States that he’s in. He literally is one of the most successful firms in the country and that’s why. He’s really built out his sequences. Now, not everyone’s going to need the complexity that he needs, but it’s really important.
One of the things that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is passive income. When you make investments, you want to be able to make money without having to do more work, right? I want to be able to make money on a Saturday even though I didn’t go in the office. That’s basically what you’re doing with these emails. You’re saying, “I still want to make communication and create interactions without having to do any extra work besides click a button six months to go.”
The last thing I’ll mention, which a lot of lawyers are concerned about, is the client have no idea you’re using something like a Lexicata. We’re one of the few companies that does this, but we directly integrate with your emails. So not only will this email show up in your sent folder, but the client can reply directly to it and it will be just like any other normal email like he sends. The client won’t have any idea that you scheduled this email six months ago. All they know is that there’s an e-mail in their inbox, which is really cool.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. This is really, really powerful stuff and I think perhaps our perspective on it as being a lead generation company, it really lands, it hits home as far as the benefits that can come from building this kind of system, especially when you’ve put a lot of work into marketing and lead funnels. You’ve spent all this money, like let’s say these lawyers that are doing pay per click marketing, or they’re doing TV advertising and they’re generating all these calls or contacts on their website. That’s money that’s going out for these investments or even just getting referrals.
They put time and energy in these relationships that calls come in and if they’re not doing everything they can, there’s going to be a specific criteria of things that need to happen to optimize and convert as many of those calls into paying clients. They’ve got to be called at a real time. For those that don’t get in touch with them, they need to follow up with them. There need to be reminders. There need to be all these different things to make sure. If any of these tasks are not fulfilled upon, then that means that revenue or new clients are otherwise falling by the wayside.
So, to be able to have this much power of technology in these systems in place, in order to hit all those points without necessarily having to have a staff member, to make every single one of these things themselves, it eliminates a lot of the costs of having to hire the people to do those things for you, those employment, the labour cost, but also streamlines to make sure it happens no matter what.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and I could imagine you Dave doing what you do. I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve gotten yelled at by lawyers, being like, “Why the hell aren’t these clients hiring me,” and a lot of times, as the old saying goes, the buck stops here. Who’s making the decision and I was interviewed, I can’t remember, it was either Forbes or the ABA did an article on what’s the biggest mistake that lawyers are making and I always said, my number one answer was stop spending money on marketing until you have a system sent up to handle the leads because it’s like filling up a pool with water and having a pipe leading out of the pool into the sewerage system or into your front curb just spitting out water. You can spend as much money as you want throwing water into the pool but it’s always going to leak out and you’re just going to be wasting money.
That’s like what people do with what they call leaky funnel is what they call it, right? So rather than spending money on marketing, people need to figure out their system and keep in mind, I’m not here to necessarily say Lexicata is the end-all, be-all that you have to use. I’m just saying you have to have something set up. It could be your own little proprietary system, it could be Lexicata, it could be a different system, but you need to have something established where you and potentially your staff, if you have it, knows what the standardized profit is when a lead comes on the door.
If someone calls you whether it’s a referral, through your website, through a lead generation software like Unbundled, you need to know how many touches you’re going to do until you stop following up with them. You’re going to need to know like what types of emails you’re sending, You’re going to need to know what the process looks like because you have no idea like how many times we talk to attorneys that have literally 10 lawyers. They’re doing $10 million in revenue a year and they don’t have a standardized process for handling their sales call. Literally, well sometimes a receptionist answers, sometimes the lawyer, it’s ridiculous and I don’t know how it happens but it just does, and again it goes back to that like lawyers running businesses, not business people running law firms.
So, I think that’s the most overlooked thing is not having a funnel or a system set up for your standardized thing. Yeah, I’m sure you do this for all of your clients, Dave, where you tell them when you get a lead; these are the emails you should be sending. This is what you should be putting them through. These are the types of things you should be sending, almost like lead coaching. I’m sure it helps your people a lot ,but a lot of the lawyers spend way too much money on marketing when they should be spending more time first establishing their systems and then building up the marketing funnel and they’ll make way more money on less marketing spend or make even more money on the same marketing spend.
Dave Aarons: Exactly. I think what would be really helpful is, you know, one of the things that we’re really, really pleased to announce on this podcast and is something that we’ve been working on for a very long time is that we have now Unbundled Attorney is basically, as of next week when this podcast episode is released, next week we’re going to be launching an integration with Lexicata so that every time an Unbundled Attorney lead is generated, the users, our attorneys have the option if they have a Lexicata account and our paid plan, the lead can be posted directly into their Lexicata account in real time.
So, all of a sudden these features are going to be immediately available to those lawyers to be able to hit all these major points that we talk about on this podcast all day long. How do you become effective at filling the Internet generator leads and offering more affordable options to your clients? That’s the theme of this podcast. Well, I mean the key fundamentals. One of the funnels we talk about. Okay, responding to leads in a real time. Then once you reach them at real time, if you don’t get a hold of them, send them an email, send them a text message. Okay, you don’t get hold of them that first time, then you got to call them again during specific business hours. Okay, how do you remember to do those specific things at specific times? I mean these are the types of things that, you know, if you don’t have a system that’s managing all that, it becomes really difficult to stay organized and know who when you’re calling or who’s calling when and you got to keep sending out the same emails.
So maybe we could talk about, Michael, just some of the key things that pertains specifically to lead generation that are going to help with increase in the conversion rate for attorneys that either are working with a lead generation program like ours and leads are being delivered into their account or into their email box and you know how Lexicata can help with that. Then secondly also, just web forms that are being filled out on their own because Lexicata not only works for lead generation but of course forms are being filled out on your website. Phone calls coming into the firm, whether you’re working with a Ruby Receptionist or a phone service is taking those calls for you. So, maybe what we can do is unpack some of those features as each lead comes in so that they can really manage and have the best chance of converting those leads.
Michael Chasin: Yeah. So first off Dave, I’m super freaking excitement about this integration. Like, I’ve been literally waiting since you and I met at Clio Conference in September of last year. I’ve been dying for this to happen. This is where I think the future of the industry going and really where I see the product heading is real time lead getting pulled into Lexicata, which is insanely awesome. So basically, what happens is, not only with Unbundled but these other integrations that you just mentioned that I’ll go to in a second, basically what happens is, if let’s say a lead comes through Unbundled, it automatically pumps into what’s called Lexicata’s lead inbox. This is effectively your own little email Inbox sitting in Lexicata where these leads reside.
Now, what that means is a couple of things. One, if you get an e-mail from Unbundled, normally there’s a chance you might look at it on your phone and be like, “Okay, I’m going to come back to it later,” and I don’t know about you, I use an iPhone, it happens to be all the time where I mark an email as unread and then for some reason it just gets marked as read and there’s a potential $30 lead that just went down the toilet and a potential multi-thousand dollar client that just went down the toilet as well. So, what’s nice is you’ll never lose track of these people.
What’s also nice is how little work it takes to get them in the system. So, once they’re in the inbox, you can click one button that says intake this person and you can have it automatically add them in. Their name, their email, their phone number, all the information from that lead like what location they are, like what they need help with. That stuff gets automatically pulled into Lexicata. So at that point, what you can do is you can click one button and says send them an email and that e-mail might be an intro email, “Hey, thanks for calling Dave Aaron’s Law Firm. We’re really looking forward to chatting. Expect a phone call from us in the next 10 minutes,” Then what you can also do is obviously send the intake forms and all that kind of stuff information materials.
Now, not only is that great for speed and efficiency but it’s great for organization because now you can track them through the process where if they don’t reply, you can have the tickler come up a day later that says, “Hey, you never heard back from this person. Make sure that you follow up with them.” So, it’s going to be extremely important and then what’s also cool is you don’t have to touch your keyboard. All you have to do is click around on the mouse. So, the lead comes in. All the data’s already in the right place, you just have to click a button that sends them an email. Click a button that creates a task. Click a button that creates a workflow. Click a button and send them an intake form. Click a button that sends them an engagement letter.
All this stuff is super easy to do, so it’s going to save you time, energy, and create a better experience, especially for the people since … one of the nice things, not nice things for Lexicata, but nice things for our Lexicata users is we’re big. We have thousands of firms that use us, but not every firm uses us, which means if you do use something like Lexicata, you’re on the cutting edge of your colleagues, which means inevitably, when people reach out and they have a case, they’re reaching out to multiple parties and you can respond to them quickest, and best, and create the best experience, there’s almost no doubt that they’re always going to choose you over another attorney, which means you’re going to win more business at a higher conversion rate. So, that’s really cool.
Then obviously you talk about integrations, Dave. We have tons of other integrations that do that. This is the first lead gen one that we’ve done, but we’ve done other things. Like for instance, Ruby Receptionist and we have like five or six other ones back up. There’s Betty, Alert Communications. We have tons of other answering services or virtual receptionists where same thing, if they take down the information or message or lead, it can pump into Lexicata’s lead inbox. Same thing with like web forms on your website. You can connect your website to Lexicata so if someone filled out that contact form on your website, pumps into Lexicata. Same thing, if someone contacts you through your Facebook page, you can pump into Lexicata. Lastly, things like Live Chat on your website. So, there are tons of cool things.
So, the point is that all your entire funnel is all pumping into Lexicata and then the only thing that’s pumping out of Lexicata is the good stuff and it’s going to go quicker, faster, and better. So, we’re super pumped on this integration. I think it’s going to game change for your users and honestly, maybe I’m overstating it, but I think it’s going to be a game changer for the industry because what the law firms need and require other tech companies, I think we’re setting a whole new bar for what’s out there.
Dave Aarons: Yeah and you know we’re going to be launching more of an in-depth training next week that is going to break down some of these features. It’s hard to create a picture of what this is going to look like and how it’s really going to impact things for lawyers that are taking our leads or have other advertising sources, but it’s so powerful when everything is going to be in one dashboard, the lead comes in, quick intake. The emails are already pre-written. In fact, I’ve been working with you know some of our attorneys on developing some nice, clean default template emails that we’ve refined and worked on. Those are already preloaded right in Lexicata.
So, if you hit the button, you intake them, you make the phone call, oh, so the email automatically goes out. They don’t answer, you click another button, the next email goes out. Then it automatically sets a reminder to call them again at whatever interval you want to call them again. Maybe it’s the next day or whatever the best practice is that you’re working in and then that reminder comes in, you pop it up, you make the call, they don’t answer, the email automatically goes out. You can follow that system and then let’s say it’s … you know, most of our attorneys get a hold of you know 7, 8, 9 out of the 10 leads they might get, but there’s always those like one or two that they just you know never get a hold of within the first maybe one, two, three calls and inevitably, you get busy with all the new clients and so forth.
Then that person can be transitioned, like Michael was saying, onto a drip list that now you know sends them your content and that can be pre-written or you can customize that and stay in touch with these people. It’s not even just the people that we’ve got a hold of, it’s the people that you’ve talked to, you’ve met with but they need time, and now you can automatically follow up with them. I mean, the impact on the conversion rate, the contact ratio, and just that ability to stay in touch is still key.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and so there’s two things with that. One, so you’re 100% right Dave with the conversion rate on drip campaign. We have that all the time. We would get thousands of leads that come through Lexicata. Hey, I’m interested in the software. But you know what, one, they might find out the prices may be not that expensive but maybe they’re a solo who’s just starting and they have no budget and they’re like, “You know what, I’ll come to this later in six months,” or maybe they just get an email from us saying, “Hey, thanks for reaching out to Lexicata. Here’s a video of the product,” yada, yada, yada, and maybe they didn’t get the email, maybe they were too busy.
But what we do, again we use the drip. We send them into a drip campaign and literally, we have people that come back to us 6, 12, 18 months later. We just signed up a form. I did it because they were … when I was still doing sales for the company, I would handle them at first. They’d been in our marketing funnel for 800 days, so literally like 2 and a half years they’d been in the funnel. You know how many times I’d touched them in the last year and a half? Once, because the system was doing it for me and it kept them in touch, and they were like, “Yeah, we’re really impressed with the way that the system does it, and you really kept us engage, and we’re reading your blogs along the way, and getting educated, and eventually, we need this.” So, it’s being there at the right time when they do it. So that’s going to be a really important piece of how that works and it’s insanely valuable towards your conversion rate and insanely valuable towards the client experience. As you know, Dave, the more educated the client is, the better they’re going to be.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, absolutely. The more streamlined and how much they can … you know, inevitably again, attorneys just get busy. They don’t have the time to continuously, necessarily, consistently follow up of leads and so if there’s a system that can empower them to make sure that these things are getting done and the emails are going to have to rewrite it. Then also when you get the person on the phone, you can just say, “Okay, great. I’ll go ahead and draft up a retainer form for you.” Two clicks of a button as far as the amount. You click a button; it goes right to the person’s email box, they click a button and they enroll.
Then the next level is maybe what we can shine a light on here, Mike. So, it makes the enrollment process so much easier. There isn’t really friction in their ability to just sign up with you and then you’ve got your LawPay agreement setup that allows you just to take that payment and people can just transact right there and then without any friction went off their phone or if it’s someone that’s an older person that doesn’t necessarily work in the digital when they come in, again they can just click button on their computer and it’s still really seamless.
But then from there, then you have the integration with Clio and maybe what we could do Michael is just zoom out a little bit here and talk about how this has created a streamline for the first time, as far as I’m aware of the legal industry, from the legal marketing. So, we have lead generation tied into, essentially, intake and CRM, tied into practice management, tied into automated billing with Clio payments and how that’s going to impact this.
Michael Chasin: Yes. What I mentioned earlier, I think we’re taking the industry and the technology in the street to new heights. I wasn’t exaggerating and I’m glad you mentioned this because this is something I want to talk about was again, that integrated solution, right? So, a big friction in the industry and other industries is not just law as about then the software is not being able to talk to each other, right? You have a lot of disjointed products and in the ’90s and early 2000s, there was a pervasive thought that I want everything in one place. Outlook should do everything for me. What we’ve quickly realized is that humans are not capable of building everything well. You know what they say; a jack-of-all-trades is an expert at nothing. Same thing, you ask your friends who’s a general practitioner, is he going to be a better estate planning person that the person who only does estate plans? Of course not! Is he going to be a better DUI person than a person who only does DUI? Of course not! So, it’s become specialized.
As specializations have taken hold, like Apple doesn’t build their own games and apps, they just build the platform that other people can build apps on, so that’s what we’re doing. We’re saying we’re the best at intake; we’re going to do this. Unbundled is the best at lead generation, they’re going to do that. Clio is the best at practice management; they’re going to do that. LawPay is the best at payments; they’re going to do that. The problem with that is and has been over the last 5 or 10 years is that they all are different, and separated, and disjointed, which means it takes a little bit of extra effort to get them to be able to go through that process.
While that might be frictionless for the client, it might be a little friction filled for the law firm, more admin time, harder operations to management. But now, what we’ve done is we’ve connected all the pieces together. So now, if you, let’s say, use all these softwares, which I think are the top, I’m going to name the top people. These aren’t necessarily my top people. I’m just saying I think the industry has pretty much picked the top tools as the most popular. I should not say picked the most popular.
Unbundled. You buy a lead, you do that or WordPress website, you have a lead, come through those things. Then it funnels to Lexicata and we’re the number one client intake software and CRM. It comes into us. So you do your marketing, you do your intake, you convert them and they’re client. You pump them into Clio. Clio is the number one case management software out there; I think the most popular cloud-based one. Then it goes into Clio.
You do your case management, you manage the client, you finish the case, then you get paid through LawPay which integrates with Clio. All of this it’s like an assembly line. It’s like a perfect symbiotic relationship that’s just like a waterfall of perfection that just falls into each other and it’s absolutely mind-blowing that we can do this kind of stuff now and it’s really cool. Obviously, hopefully there’ll be more softwares in the future that talk to each other. But since we’re the top ones or the most popular, we have the resources to be able to do this and have the time the do it.
But eventually, that’s what’s going to be here to be able to connect everything into everyone, but as it is right now, that perfect funnel of Unbundled, to Lexicata to Clio to LawPay including things like Ruby Receptionists and other things thrown in between. It creates this perfect symbiotic relationship, which is again, not only amazing for the client but it’s incredibly powerful for the law firm because they can do twice as much and half the amount and effort.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, and they don’t have to duplicate and re-data enter or repeat themselves. Like you were saying earlier, they used to be all different platforms and you’d be using one over here for maybe your lead generation, your leads over here. Then you’d have to data enter here them into your CRM then your sales CRM. Then once you convert them then you data enter them in a practice management, and then you’d have to manually run them on a different platform for your … you have a merchant account over here and so you have to process them over there. It’s a mess. That’s a mess. But now … go ahead. You’re going to make a comment on that.
Michael Chasin: Well, I was going to say and you screw up tons of crap along the way. Excuse my French. We’ve had people that sent the bills to the wrong addresses and we’ve even had that internally with our own organization what we didn’t have integrated solutions because we had some client information here and some client information here and that one was updated or the other one wasn’t. We sent out this. Why are you sending this to me? I’m not a client anymore or I never was a client or I’m a lead and it just screws everything up.
So yeah, that data entry is huge and that’s what a lot of people don’t realize about our intake forms too is if you send a PDF to a client they put it on paper, then you have a person manually putting stuff there. Obviously, there are going to errors doing the data entry and it’s just time. But if you send out an intake form, the client can fill it out and the system does the data entry for you. So theoretically, again let’s go through that symbiotic waterfall I was talking about. A lead comes in through Unbundled or your website, pulls into Lexicata’s lead inbox. You click one button. You can send them an email. You don’t even have to do any typing to get them in the system because they’re already there. Then you click another button, send them an intake form. They can fill out their social security number, their email, all the stuff that you want from them, that gets pumped into Lexicata.
You click another button and export to Clio. It pushes all that data to Clio. Then you click another button, pushes to QuickBooks. Then you click another button and that pushes to LawPay and you can generate bills in all those types of things. So that’s going to be the really powerful element is you have a consistent level of information throughout and you literally, potentially, besides having to draft a motion or an agreement or something like that, you do not ever have to touch your keyboard ever again. Obviously, we as humans don’t want to be completely replaced by computers but we know that computers can do a way better job than we can at being accurate with information.
Dave Aarons: Well yeah, absolutely. That same waterfall, once that … because that information you validate it to be correct once because every time you data enter, like you said, there’s going to be human error, but once that lead’s generated or you get it from the website, it goes into Lexicata and then you look at it. You make sure that data is correct and you verify it with the client.
Once this exports to Clio, it’s going to go into the appropriate fields. You already know that that data is accurate like the name is correct, the social security number or the birthday. You’ll only have to check that once because it’s going to continue to flow down through that waterfall and then finally, what we haven’t really mentioned at this point is, for example, Clio has document automation technology where that same data and information can auto populate right into the same forms you do every day so that you don’t have to recreate the wheel and redo legal work.
It flows down into the actual legal work that you’re providing and the documents you’re getting out the door and that ties right into what we’ve talking about in this podcast for so long as far as being able to deliver document services maybe at a fixed flat rate, an offering and getting that done very efficiently using whether it be Clio or even maybe different system, but Clio has a document automation software where you can become so much more efficient because that data just flows right down. You don’t have to repeat it anymore and you can get these things out the door so much faster and therefore, be able to compete with all these other companies out there that are form service companies like your LegalZoom or something like that. LegalZoom and these other companies, they are a software company. That’s what they’re geared towards.
But if attorneys have the same kind of technology in their back office that empowers them and enables them to be able to get these things done so efficiently and also get them out the door in this similar way that they could actually offer more affordable pricing, unbundled services or other things that are competitive and have the relationship of a lawyer involved in the process every step of the way and be the counsel of law that so many people still are always going to want, always going to need, it really allows attorneys to compete in an industry of technology that so many lawyers were afraid that they’re going to get beat out by AI or some technology. People always want that relationship, but having this technical component’s comfort so that can be as efficient as a software company really is enabling attorneys now to just stay on the cutting edge and compete with all these other companies.
Michael Chasin: Yes. A couple of things, I think my business partner, Aaron George, he’s like product genius. He just knows what to build, he knows what to design and he knows where the industry is heading. He wrote a blog recently called Why the Future Law Firm Will Be a Software Company and that touches exactly on what you were just saying as like hopefully, we, meaning the tax community, are going to enable lawyers to perform their job at a higher level, not replace them. That goes on to my next point, which is I him and I both firmly believe it, it sounds like you too Dave firmly believe that law firms won’t be replaced by software. They will be supplemented with software.
Think about how much better life is going to be. I went to law school. I knew what practicing was like. I didn’t love it. Part of the reason was so much added bull crap goes into it. Also, so much your job is not actually practicing law. Some of it is just talking to client, drafting motions, doing all this administrative stuff. But imagine if you could automate a document. For instance, that engagement letter like you can do on our platform. Imagine that you can automate an engagement letter, still legal agreements, you still want a lawyer reviewing it, but you could do that in 10 seconds and just have the lawyer review it rather than having to take 20 minutes and the lawyer speed through it.
I think the future is going to be not I want LegalZoom to draft my business agreement because it’s $400. The future is going to be I want my lawyer to automate my agreement and review it for $400 because theoretically, if you don’t have to take the time to do it, all you have to do is go cross check. You can make $400 on a thing that takes you 15 minutes when your otherwise billable rate is $300. So it’s a win-win for everyone. The lawyers are making more money by doing less. They have more time to enjoy their life, be happier, consult a client and the client is actually getting more for the same amount of money that they’re spending. Computers actually do the stuff for them because the time it takes a computers to do something is instant, but you still want that consultant, that lawyer, that trustworthy person to be able to check in on that for you.
So that’s really what we think the future is going to be. Law firm software enabling law firms to operate more efficiently and more practically rather than lawyers and admin having to do all the work themselves; It’ the same thing with drivers in Uber, how they want to have automated in drivers in Ubers. You’re still going to get to the same place, it’s just you’re going to have to pay a lot less to do it, but the company is going to still make the same amount of money.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, absolutely and that certainly what we’re also seeing as far as where the marketplace is going. We’ve had a completely obviously flip-over in the last 10 to 15 years where we used to have a minority of folks representing themselves and now it’s vastly the majority. For a lot of reasons, it’s just simple affordability. They just can’t afford necessarily the old traditional way of paying upfront and so if attorneys can start to enable themselves with these types of technologies to become more streamline, and rethinking the business model in which they reach and offer more creative services to them, and they have the technology behind them to do so, it really allows them in over these coming years as YouTube and the do-it-yourself type of information available on the internet continues, to continue to offer products that can meet people’s budget and deliver services quickly, and efficiently, and affordably to what’s becoming and ever expanding portion of the market.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and for someone like myself, some people ask me, “Did you do this for altruistic reasons?” I’m not a BS guy. I didn’t start Lexicata because I wanted to make people feel good. Obviously, those are ancillary benefits. It’s a business. But one of the cool things is we are allowing more affordable legal services. We work a lot with pro-bono and low bono firms because we’re enabling them to hit a segment of the market that they never were able to do.
For instance, lawyers, to take the time to be able to review a lead for a low-income person to make sure they’re being taken advantage of in the terms of their leave, there’s no way anyone can afford to do that kind of stuff, right? It’s low pay, maybe spend 50 or 100 bucks to do it, but what we can do is we can say instead of having to spend an hour intaking someone, it’s going to take admin four minutes to intake someone where the client can deliver all the message, all the information to the platform.
Then instead of taking that hour plus the 10 minutes to review the list to make sure there’s nothing crazy in it, all they have do is spend the 4 minutes on intake and the 10 minutes on this and now suddenly, that $50 or $100 project that was not even conceivable, one, for the client to afford it, two, for the lawyer to even deliver it, that hour and 15-minute project now becomes a 15-minute project and that $100 that you are charging now yields you $400 an hour instead of $75 an hour.
So, it’s really cool to be able to see these loading high-volume, low-value types of services that were not accessible to be able to see those and be able to deliver it. Well, I’m not taking credit for it. It’s not just Lexicata. It’s people like Clio. It’s people like Rocket Matter. It’s people like any of these softwares out there that are allowing this, but it’s really cool to be able to see a segment of the market that LegalZoom has been able to capture because lawyers can afford to do it, but we can do that now for them. So, it’s really technology, you got to look at how it’s going to enable you to find different segments of the market and what it really allows some lawyers to do is target areas that no other lawyers are targeting any corner on the market and becoming really successful on that area.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, and of course we’ve seen that with all the attorneys we’re working with, especially in family law, immigration. The competitive lawyers offering a retainer fee upfront of $3,000 to $5,000 and being able to very effectively offer starting payments of $500, $1,000, $1,500 and document services at similar rates. In the past, to prepare someone’s documents, intake them, get an idea what they’re supposedly needing any help with, getting that into the forms, preparing that, delivering it to the client, having it printed out and signed back and forth might have taken three, four, five hours, right?
Michael Chasin: Yeah.
Dave Aarons: But nowadays, with the instantaneous intake, obviously, the features are not going to be able with Lexicata and for those automated leads and also, the document automation system, now they can take that $500 service and they can probably get it done in maybe an hour, hour and a half. So now, when before, the only way they could have gotten something done for say $500 was to work at a hundred bucks an hour, now all of a sudden, they can do a flat rate document service out the door and see an effective a rate, if it only takes them an hour, $500 an hour. So like I said, high value what used to be low value now all of a sudden, high-volume becomes high-value. It’s a general shift.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and not only that, but from a marketing perspective I think a lot of lawyers is lost on them, how annoying the billable hour is. One, a ton of admin time to spend just tracking your time and all that kind of stuff and two, it’s a really just shitty experience for a client. They never know much is going to be charge. It’s like when we used to hop in to a cab, like I’d just took a cab in New York. I took it out to my cousin’s place in New Jersey. I was just there last week and I took a cab. I don’t know why. The Uber, I think I was like in a subway, and I was in a hurry, and I just thought out, I said, “Yo, I’m jumping in your cab.”
I remember the anxiety I was feeling where I would keep seeing the meter go up, and up, and up and had no idea how much it’s going to cost to get there. Compare that experience ordinary Uber or a lift or whatever you’re using and knowing that it’s going to cost you $23.50 to get to that destination. Even it might even be more than what the cab would have charged you, you still like that peace of mind. Think about that for the client. Imagine if you could build your website and said $500 real estate transaction review, a $1,000 business formation, $1,500 estate plan for single people. The fact that you could tell people, and that’s a huge selling point.
Imagine two clients or a client looking at two firms. One firm said, “You know what, your range is going to be $1,500 to $2,500. I don’t know. It could be more. It could even get past $2,500. There is no guarantee.” Then another firms says, “It’s going to cost you 1,500 bucks. No matter how long it takes you, you won’t get paid a penny more than that.” Even if the floor is lower with the other firm, almost everyone is going to pick that flat fee because it’s just a better experience and then there’s no squabbling over bills, there’s no having to write off your billable hour because the client is upset.
It’s just a better thing for everyone, so that’s what I really want the industry push forward is a lot more flat fee and the more predictable the timing is on all these transactions, the more you can dictate what that flat rate is and you not only make more money, but it’s just a lot more pleasant of a practice experience that way, not only for the client but also for the law firm. I find that the biggest pain in the ass of any business owners is having to deal with billing problems, right? Imagine if through those aside and you got everything paid upfront and you didn’t have to keep track of your hours is a way more pleasant life to live.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, absolutely. There’s always going to be circumstances, certain types of cases where there’s no real way to estimate and deliver things on a flat rate, but there’s becoming less, and less, and less issues and we’ve had just so many different examples of all different kinds of cases that attorneys on this podcast have been able to unbundle and work on a pay-as-you-go basis and just do one phase at a time.
Flat rate for this up to this point and then if it goes to trial, if you guys can’t agree on mediation, then I’ll do the appearance for this, and if it goes to that … certain cases are more complicated. Sometimes, you have to do the full representation, but anything that you’re doing, whether it be within a flat rate model or in an hourly model, it can be done so much more efficiently, but I surely get what you’re saying. If it’s this rate and the client knows that, then flat rates breathe efficiency. Hourly rates breathe just however long it takes. If I’m getting paid by the hour, where’s the incentive? It’s like office based.
Michael Chasin: There’s no incentive to be efficient.
Dave Aarons: I get paid this hourly rate. If I hammer out a few more TPS reports, I don’t see a dime. Whereas if you take a firm that deals clearly on a lot flat rate whether it be for a specific task on an unbundled basis or even they quote flat rates for this case up to trial, for example, then their whole mindset is now they’re rewarded for finding ways to do things faster, more efficiently, getting him out the door, no wasted time, and just being on the cutting edge and enabling any system they can to get that done better because every single thing they can optimize is going to increase their margin and that’s what you want. You want an attorney that’s not efficient and is rocking in that way.
Michael Chasin: Yeah, and I think again, it goes back to that mentality of a business owner who runs a law firm versus a lawyer who runs a business, right? I think a lot of lawyers have the mentality right now, one of the favourite things, it didn’t come from Mark Cuban but I first heard him say it, was pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. I feel like a lot of lawyers try to act like hogs with the billable hour because they’re like, “God forbid that I possibly under bill for something that I worked more for. God forbid.”
But you got to think about yourself as an insurance company especially when you’re dealing with flat fee agreements. Sometimes, you’re going to come out on the better side of the equation, sometimes you won’t. Like there are some people who pay a thousand dollars a month or a year for a car insurance and they totalled a $30,000 car and got $30,000 in value. Then there’s people like me who’ve been driving for 15 years and have never had an accident and I paid a ton of money that insurance company made a crap cut on me because I’ve never utilized the services. It’s the same thing. Sometimes, that flat fee agreement of a thousand might take you an hour and you just had a billable hour of a thousand dollars. Insane. You killed it. Then sometimes, that thousand-dollar agreement might take you five hours and then you got $200 an hour.
But you know what? Whatever it is and that’s part of the reason why data, and that’s one of the things we haven’t talked about at all Dave, is going to be data and why data is so important having softwares like Lexicata and Clio and other people like that who will give you datasets and let you know what your conversion rate is so you can effectively place your legal services. Too many attorneys just look at their friend and say, “Well, that guy is charging at $300. I’m more experienced than him. I’m going to charge $350.” Well, you don’t necessarily need to charge an amorphous number. You can charge based on what your numbers are. Like Lexicata, we don’t just price our services say, “Hey, we’re just going to throw a number out there and then hopefully, that’s it.” We look at what our margins are, we look at what we have to take home, we have to look at pay, and then we set our number just slightly above that.
So, data is extremely important and being able to use technology will give you that data on the backseat that you can basically do. Like Jack Newton over at Clio, that was his keynote speech at Clio, he was talking about data. I wrote an article for the ABA two years ago saying why lawyers are missing the most important things for the future and it was just talking about data and how important it is to place your legal services using data and not just guessing and throwing crap at the wall and see it would stick. So, that’s a really cool ancillary benefit that a lot of people don’t realize is when they adopt a software, the software is going to provide data to be able to make better decisions as a whole for their business.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. I mean, that really sounds like the topic of maybe another conversation when we start to look at how data is going to impact the legal industry in years to come. That was what Jack talked about when we were at Clio, of course, and there are so many takeaways where you just don’t have to guess. It just takes out the guessing game of pricing, of the services you’re going to offer, your marketplace, your demographic, what they can afford. I mean, it just informs so much more about the way you can run your practice so you don’t have to guess, you know exactly what to do, and really can start to optimize accordingly.
We don’t have enough time to address those points this time, but I really hope this has been just a really good dive and hopefully stirred up a lot more ideas of ways in which attorneys could start thinking about how they can implement technology, how they can start creating systems, how they can be more efficient, how they can be a little more creative with the types of options they’re offering.
Then of course, this integration with Lexicata we’re excited about because it’s certainly going to improve your contact rate and automate a lot of things that go into lead generation, and then the intake, and then down into practice management. We’re really entering into a new era of the way attorneys are going to be empowered to really serve people more creatively and more efficiently. So Michael, I just really appreciate you coming on and sharing so many great ideas on not only the way Lexicata can empower attorneys to do that, but also how they can start to think about integrating technology in their office and how it can impact their practice.
Michael Chasin: I appreciate you having me. This is awesome. It was really cool to talk with you. One last thing I’ll leave everyone with is if you haven’t looked it up, Google ABA study on client intake. They did a two-part study about six months ago and it’s absolutely mind-blowing how crappy the average law firm is at doing sales. Basically, the main stats to know is that more than 50% of law firms took three days or more to reply to a lead or a voice mail on their system. So as long as you are not as crappy as that, you’ll do okay.
Dave Aarons: Yeah, that’s something what every lawyer that comes on this podcast goes if they weren’t calling leads in real time or close to it initially, they learn by having a lot of clients say, “Hey, you know, I’ve already hired another attorney,” the hard way that calling leads real time, and being responsive, and very dialled in the way that they reach out, and stay consistently in contact as well if their clients can impact their bottom line.
Michael Chasin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dave Aarons: All right, so thanks once again for all the insights, Michael, and for everyone else who’s listening, I’m surely appreciate your participation in the podcast. For those of you that are providers with Unbundled Attorney, be looking for the launch emails coming out next week, the week I think of the … when is the week of that?
Michael Chasin: 20th, I think.
Dave Aarons: Yeah. So week of the 19th to 23rd we’ll be launching of the integration and have some training videos and stuff, so be on the look out for the that. For those that haven’t checked out Lexicata, check them out, lexicata.com, and we will certainly see you all in the next episode. Thanks so much participating.
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