Editor’s Note: The author of this post is a New York attorney who works at a law practice management software company.
By Nicole Black, Attorney and Legal Technology Evangelist, MyCase
There are a lot of things lawyers aren’t taught in law school. One of them is marketing. After all, if you’re unable to bring business in the door, your law practice will ultimately fail.
Just as technology has changed the practice of law, so too has it changed how lawyers market themselves and their law firms. The legal marketing landscape is drastically different now compared to even 5 years ago. Online business development options are increasing and understanding and navigating the various choices can be a time-consuming endeavor.
Enter Lawcountability, an online tool and iOS app designed to help lawyers build accountability into their business development, marketing, and networking, in addition to assisting law students in improving their career-seeking efforts.
The app was launched in March of 2014 and provides a turnkey business development system for law firms and their attorneys. The app provides new programming each week that is designed to raise each lawyer’s profile, including ideas for networking, marketing, business development, writing articles, finding public speaking opportunities, and using social media. The goal is to offer the equivalent of a simulated coach on retainer for lawyers in firms or for solo attorneys.
In order to create accountability, the app includes an embedded reminder system with point values which encourage benchmarking. Using the data from the app, firms can create metrics and analytics, while individual lawyers can generate business development plans and seamlessly add activities to their calendars through an Outlook integration feature.
According to CEO Ari Kaplan, the company is growing steadily, has a loyal customer base, and plans to move into new markets in the near future. “In the past two years, our usage has grown from fewer than 100 lawyers with active accounts to almost 800. Our law firm subscribers include Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP, and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., among others,” he says. “And, this summer, we are planning to enter other markets when we launch Taxcountability for accountants and Jobcountability for college students or recent graduates.”
Kaplan explained that, as an attorney with no coding experience, he found that one of the more challenging aspects of launching a legal technology software company was having to rely on others to get the work done for him: “Everything takes longer than you think because unless you are performing the development work yourself, you are at the mercy of others who operate on a different schedule.”
After 2 years at the helm of a growing legal startup, Kaplan offers this advice to his entrepreneurial colleagues with visions of launching their own company in the legal space: “Secure as much feedback as possible and continue to seek guidance from peers with greater experience. Be patient, but maintain momentum. The law firm buying cycle can be long, but legal professionals are very receptive to ideas that can help them build efficiency, streamline costs, and improve the practice of law.”