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Utilizing Technology for Building an Online Legal Practice

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Utilizing Technology for Building an Online Legal Practice

Online legal products being built in all areas of law. The possibilities are limitless. In this enlightening course, Dorna Moini will address the current state of online legal services and how the traditional attorney-client relationship is shifting with the use of online services.

Transcript

Hello everyone! My name is Dorna Moini and I am the CEO and founder of gavel. And I'm going to be doing this presentation on building legal products, specifically on how you, as a legal professional, can use technology to build an online legal practice. Now, we'll be getting into all of the reasons why you should be building an online legal practice in a few moments. But to begin, I want to tell you a little bit about myself and my journey to this point now, because I think it'll really convince you that I'm the right one to be doing this, given given my background. So I am a former attorney. I still hold my bar license, so I guess I'm still currently an attorney, but I practiced for almost a decade and I was last at a big firm, Sidley Austin, and I did mostly corporate litigation and lots of employment law as well. However, I also did a lot of work pro bono with domestic violence survivors. And I'll tell you in a moment why this is all relevant to the presentation that we're doing today. So I was finding that I had certain number of clients who were coming in our door every day, and I was only able to serve so many of them because I had limited amount of time, and I was spending a lot of my time on the rules based and process oriented parts of the case. So I started to think to myself, what if I could introduce technology into my legal practice and allow my clients to actually participate in part of that online legal practice, part of the data entry, going down different paths to determine what they need to do next in their case. And so I as an attorney, I did not have any technical skills. I don't I'm not a coder myself by background. So what I did is I got together with a friend of mine who was an engineer and I what my goal was was to build something like TurboTax or Legalzoom or Rocket Lawyer. If you guys are familiar with any of those tools, but build that specifically for domestic violence survivors. The goal was I would be able to put a platform in front of them, have them answer questions, sort of like a client intake, show them videos, show them images, route them down different paths, and then at the end of each phase of the case, serve them documents, give them documents that they would be able to review and potentially file. And I would have various different tiers of service in which I would also potentially be allowing them to have additional attorney time so they could potentially have me help them for two hours, or me review their documents for a few hours. So I built this tool with my friend, my engineer friend. We launched it. We called it Help Self Legal because the idea is you participate in helping yourself, even though it's a hybrid relationship with an attorney and we started getting a ton of traction, I was generating revenue from this tool. We were able to serve many more clients from this tool, and I was actually able to spend my time on the more fact intensive, legal, intensive parts of the case. So, for example, I was able to spend more time in court with my clients, I was able to take on more of the appeals, and I was able to take more clients on. And the first few months of launching this legal product, we had about 1400 monthly active users on the platform, and they were they were just really in love with the platform because it was helping them, empowering them to go through the legal process. And for me, as an attorney, it was starting to generate revenue for us. So what we did is we, we we got a little bit of press for this tool, and we started hearing actually from other attorneys that they also wanted to build similar tools. So flash forward to now. We decided initially we were thinking, let's build out all the different tools that people want us to build for them. And we built out an expungement tool for an attorney. We built out a divorce tool for one attorney, and then we realized that as a company, what we could be doing would was to empower these attorneys to build the software products on their own without ever having to hire an engineer and without ever needing to actually code anything at all. So what we did is we built a company called gavel, and that is the company that I run now. And gavel is a platform on which any attorney can, you know, it's you can come on board, build these legal products and launch them. So today I'm going to be talking to you a little bit about why legal products are important, why these are the wave of the future for the legal industry and and how if you want to launch with one of these legal products, how you can do that today. All right. So let's go ahead and dive. In. I want to start with a quote from a man, Richard Susskind, who is a legal futurist, and many of you may be familiar with him. And what he has said in one of his recent books is more and more legal services will be enabled by the support of new technology. You can say that is for the technology industry to sort out, or you can be part of the technology industry. So the reason that I love this quote is because I think it really epitomizes and explains to us the fact that legal, legal and technology are really one industry now. We have seen this with a lot of the ethical rules that have come into play in many different locations, in terms of just understanding and knowing technology in order to run your practice. But it's also true about the future of law. It has been estimated that about 980% of legal services are going to be delivered online in the next ten years. So as a result, it's very important for us all to be engaged in that, to be practicing at the forefront of technology and to be ensuring that we are providing our clients what they need today. Now let's launch into a little bit of discussion on the current state of the legal market. So historically, many of the different industries outside of legal have been moving online over the past many years. As you can see, accounting, tax, marketing, payments, health care services, financial services they have all successfully transitioned online and almost a majority of those services are now provided online. Meanwhile, the legal industry really does lag behind. And right now that number is 8%. So about 8% of legal services have transitioned online, some of them through these tools that are not actually necessarily created by attorneys, which is which definitely leaves a huge opportunity for attorneys to be participating in this economy and some just within the scope of many attorneys practices. So let's dive into some of the reasons behind why the the legal industry has lagged on the delivery of online legal services. So legal has lagged for two reasons, and it encompasses both the supply side and the demand side. So on the lawyer side, US lawyers who are actually providing the services, historically, we have had a lack of tech and marketing skills. So I can speak from my own background. When I was launching that tool specifically for my clients in the domestic violence arena, I did not know how to code. And so I had to hire an engineer. And at the time, there wasn't anything like gavel that could help me get up and running and building these different automation tools. And so what I had to do was actually pay someone outside of the firm at a much higher cost to help me build this tool and upkeep it. Now that tide has changed, there are out of the box solutions that you could be using to build your legal products, build your automation and get them up and running and put them in front of your clients immediately at a very low cost. Similarly marketing skills. So marketing skills have typically been marketing has been a you know, it's a very huge arena and lots to learn about in the marketing area. However, these sources and the tools to actually be able to take control of your marketing destiny as a law firm have become more robust, and they are much more consumable by the average non marketing expert. So those are two areas where we have been able to to advance and allow lawyers to really build and launch these legal technology tools. Now another. Another aspect is cloud use. So when I first started a gavel, at the time we were called document, but we're now called gavel when we first started. I cannot tell you how many people I got questions from on whether or not we had a. An on premise solution meaning not a cloud solution. Now I would I would bet that 99% of you who are watching this, this today have incorporated some form of cloud technology within your practices, maybe even 100 if you count email. So what I would like to, to, to, to mention about this is that this is another huge factor in the development of lawyer first legal technology products, because lawyers have cloud use tools at their disposal and they're willing to adopt them. Now, the final reason I want to put there are probably many more reasons we could dive into, but these are some of the top, top ones. The final reason I want to mention is narrow. The narrow view of pricing. Typically and historically, the billable hour has been the only way that lawyers have built. Meanwhile, in recent years, many attorneys have been adopting alternative models or alternative business models. And that's both at the push of clients clients actually wanting some more of these flat fees, which we'll get into in a second. But it's also lawyers realizing if they are creating efficiency within their practices, why not translate that efficiency into more revenue instead of less? So there are huge opportunities to actually take technology and allow yourself to gain more profits and more margins from that use of technology. That's the lawyer side. Now we're talking both about the supply and the demand. So let's talk now about consumers. When I talk about consumers I mean any consumer of legal services. So whether you are serving individuals, small businesses or large corporations or entities, those are still legal consumers. So I don't mean that these are these are individual consumers always. But some of the reasons why consumers are pushing for this is that one, historically, self-help is hard and error prone, and self-help we typically think about as being something that individuals use. But if you think about it, a lot of your business users are also probably taking the law into their own hands. You give them a few resources, a few templates, and they never come back to you because they're afraid of how much you're going to charge them, and they don't want to be charged more. So they think, well. Do I need to go to an attorney for this piece, or can I just handle it myself? Which sometimes leads to issues that they come to for you, come to you for later. When things have when things have gone awry. So that's an area where people still want their lawyer in their corner. They just want to be part of the process. They want to be empowered, and they also want to know that they have transparency. So to rising standards for digital convenience consumers in general, whether it's your in house counsel, who is your client at a, at a large corporation or it's your divorce or estate planning client who's sitting at home and filling out a client intake. They have rising standards for digital convenience. They really want to be using something that is easy. They don't always want to be driving into your office or coming to meet you in person. For all of the different matters that you're that you're talking to them about. Sometimes they need it to be to be clean and streamlined. And so that's why client intake is very, very, very important here. It's important to have a streamlined client intake that is mobile friendly, that you can put in front of your clients. And that's one of the things we also focus on at gavel as well. But what a lot of these customers want to do is a lot of your clients want to do is they'd rather be sitting in front of their TV in front of Netflix, filling out your client intake form on their phone, and that's something that you're going to want to start providing them in order for, for their streamlined happiness as a client. Now. Three the fear of the billable hour. The billable hour is typically very uncertain and uncertain. We don't always know as a client how many hours are going to be consumed on a particular case, even when there's a when there's a range, typically a large one. So billing in these alternative fee models, by bringing in technology tools into your practice and allowing yourself to really understand the business model metrics of your practice. This will allow you to have a scalable practice. You'll be able to give flat fees as subscription fees, portfolio fees, alternative fees to your clients that make them happier, that make more people sign up, and that also allow you to to gain more margins. And finally, wariness on this list is wariness of non-lawyer alternatives. So historically, you know, as you know, there are tools like legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer and many other tools online that people can access for legal online legal services. However and not I'm not making any assessments of whether these tools are good or bad, but I've heard from many, many attorneys and from many clients that the clients actually want to be talking to an attorney. They want an attorney to be backing the product, and they want touch points with the attorney. And so when we're able to give our clients a tool that is tech enabled and is easy to use as something like a legal zoom or a rocket lawyer or a TurboTax type of a tool. But when they know that a lawyer created it, a lawyer has has given it the expertise and backing and stamp of approval and the lawyer is there to answer questions. That means the lawyer's tool is going to win over any of these other legal products outside of that arena. So another huge opportunity, and I want to dive a little bit deeper into into some of this. Let's move over to talking about what that relationship looks like when we are shifting our client over to the new way. So historically, why don't we look at this chart. This chart gives you an example in the estate planning context that I took from a few of our customers who work in estate planning. And on the left hand side, all the different row titles are the different areas where you could be bringing technology into your practice. The right hand column is the way that the average lawyer conducts this. The right hand column is the the new way, which is what you can do with gavel or by introducing technology in general. So looking at the old way, data collection, let's start with data collection. Typically an in-person consultation in maybe some form that you sent over to send over to them to them by. The email, potentially a zoom call with each of the different spouses. Obviously, these are very specific scenarios. The new way is you have one mobile friendly intake that has a guided interview, that has images and videos that explain basic concepts to them, so that you don't have to repeat yourself when you are explaining something over and over to different clients. Now drafting. That's the second piece. And that's a big, big piece of that functionality. So that's the document automation piece. Really important to introduce document automation into your practice. This is going to really if you haven't already, it's going to completely streamline the way that you practice law. So on the drafting side typically maybe this took you seven hours to take that data from the client intake and enter it into the different documents, draft the documents. Maybe you have some revisions sent over email. You miss emails, you have some delay, and then you have tons of documents that your client is sending to you. Uploading files over email. The new way those file uploads and those communications happen through the intake and automation, and the documents are automatically generated. So we could probably dive into just document automation and talk about that for for several hours, but at a high level. Document automation is the taking your documents, turning them into rules. So anywhere where you could be drafting that document based on an if this then that type of a statement. Document automation can come into play. So let's really think about how we could be turning some of our templates into automated. Tools, because then that what happens is in the new way, we take seconds to generate those documents, and then maybe you also have some review time because you don't want you want to make sure that everything looks perfect. And maybe you have some specific tweaks that you want to make, but a huge portion of that time that you were spending drafting can be taken away by building rules into a system. Now. Finally, I'll breeze through a few of these last ones fairly quickly. Communications. Having communications with your client through an easy portal and payment. So typically we we found that in surveying some of our customers, they took it took them about six billing notices on average until they got paid. Hopefully yours are much quicker than that. But in the new way you can actually embed payment modules inside of these different workflows at any point that you want, which helps you get instant payment, instant realization, and ensure that you are not having to run a collections operation. You're instead able to run a law firm. And then finally, is recurring work so very important that whatever tool you do choose to use has data management and data storage so that you can take that that information and reuse it in future matters that the client comes to you for. And we found that for of for any of you as. Let me start with the there's a there's a concept called NPS Net Promoter Score. And for those of you who are not familiar with this concept, it is the idea or question that you may ask your clients of how likely they are to refer you to another one of their friends, and we found that. Our customers who implemented this new way, they were able to 2.5 x their NPS. That means the satisfaction of their clients. And they're not only just their satisfaction, but their willingness to actually go the extra mile and refer them to someone else. What went up by 2.5 x? So if referrals are at all a big portion of your practice, this is definitely something you should be thinking about. Now let's dive into the business model. And I want to give you really, really want to inspire you guys a little bit through some of the tools that are out there and why you should be trying to do even better and building even more amazing products than what exists out there. So let's start with Legalzoom. Legalzoom. Most of you are probably familiar with if they were a law firm, they would be the largest law firm in the world in terms of number of transactions and number of customers. So if we take a look at their business model, brings in about 4 million to 4 million customers, 10 million transactions, 620 million a year. And you know what? I know a lot of people think that Legalzoom is a broad based tool, but most of their revenue comes from business entity formation. And they they do about 10% of LLCs that are formed each year, 5% of new corporations that are that are created each year. And this should really indicate to you that there is a huge opportunity here, not only in the business entity formation tool, because obviously they haven't saturated that. So if that's an area that you do, if I were running a legal practice, that's the first thing I would do is just go build a competitor to that and capture capture part of that market, because you know that the market exists and people are looking for a lawyer backed solution. But second, the second thing I would do would be to make sure that I could launch that in any other area, because Legalzoom is doing this mostly in this area. They have a few other areas, but this is where most of their revenue comes from. If you look at their financial reports that are all public, but if you are practicing in a different area, this business model works, so why not replicate it and and really set yourself apart in terms of a law firm. So huge opportunity for legalzoom like tools in other practice areas. Now we've talked a little bit about the opportunity and hopefully you guys have so far been inspired and are seeing both dollar signs and beaches. Ahead of you and super, super happy clients ahead of you with this type of model. So let's talk a little bit about what are these different legal service delivery models, and how could you be implementing them in your practice. And if you go, the concepts we'll be talking about is whether you're providing bespoke 1 to 1 services, whether you're providing a hybrid model of services, whether you're providing subscription services, whether you're incorporating your hourly rates or additional flat fee rates within those models. So let's take a look at this page right here on new legal service delivery models. At the top you can see I have a few different ways that you could be collaborating with your clients. And those are the top three. And at the bottom these are some of the different models that we might be implementing from more of a financial and user experience perspective. So at the top you can see informational products. I know that I can't see any of your faces right now, but I want you. If you have ever written a blog post, written an article about a legal area or two, given your clients a checklist, I want you to raise your hands just in your seats. Might feel a little silly, but it will. What I want you to know, for those of you who raised your hands, is you have already started on the journey of building a legal product. Content, checklists, blog posts. These are informational products you've already taken that first step. Now, typically, informational products are provided for free. Why is that? Because you're typically trying to generate leads from that informational product you don't necessarily want. Maybe, maybe you also could be charging for these informational products. But for the most part, what I've seen is these informational products are just put out there in the world to build up your brand, to build up your credibility and get these clients to come to you when they actually need your services. So you've taken the first step. Congratulations. Now internal technology. This is another way that you can incorporate technology into your practice in a way that doesn't necessarily touch your clients, yet they don't know that you're using technology, and that allows you to price differently or change the pricing dynamics of your firm to increase those margins, which is really one of our goals. One of our more selfish goals here, obviously, as lawyers, is to be able to just build a bigger business and have better, better revenue margins. So one of the ways that you could do this is by introducing, for example, document automation into your practice. You introduce document automation. It reduces the number amount of time that you're spending on these different cases, and it allows you to price in a little bit different, different of ways or just realize more of those those profits. Now. Third is in terms of the way that you are putting technology in front of your clients. Third is lawyer, client, lawyer. Collaboration. This means you're putting technology in front of your clients, and you are allowing the technology to help you collaborate with them. So, for example, a client intake that flows into document automation, that allows you to manage that data inside of your system and see it and visualize it, that would be a form of lawyer client collaboration. And this is where I want you guys all to be thinking on all these models moving towards the right hand. Now let's talk a little bit about the more more of the pricing and user experience models. So subscription model. Let's take some inspiration from the technology companies that exist out there. Netflix I call this the Netflix model. Subscriptions sites where you have an all you can eat model. You. I'll give you an example here. Maybe you are an employment attorney and you do litigation, but you also do advice and counsel and some of the advice and counsel you do involve giving your clients an employee offer letters, separation agreements, really basic templates that they are using on an ongoing basis. Now, what you could do here is you could potentially take that and turn it into a form site. So you build these automated workflows that you can then have data entered into that automatically generate these different templates in their full form. So with all of the information filled out and you put that in front of your clients and you can charge for that on a, on a subscription basis, you can say as long as you have access to these forms, you pay me a monthly fee. It could be. And you, you are able to generate as many of these as you want. Now this is something that you could provide for a fee. It's also something you could provide for free depending on what your goals are as a practice, maybe you provide a very limited form for free because you want these these folks to come back to you for your litigation work. Or maybe you have actually a fairly robust set of set of templates, and you want to give them everything and make this your business model and no longer necessarily need to have as much one on one talking, chatting time and advice and counsel with your clients. Now let's take a look at the TurboTax slash Legalzoom model. This is where you have end to end technology that could be decision automation or document automation, and that allows you to provide that and put that in front of your clients. This is this is this model I think is pretty clear to all of you guys. Have you put this in on your on a site. You have your clients go through it and they are able to generate their documents pretty easily. Now, the final one, which I really want you all to be thinking about is the hybrid model. That's where you have combination technology and advice. So you may be putting one of these types of tools in front of your clients. I'll give you an example in the family law arena. So for example, you may be a lawyer who does a lot of divorces, and you found that some of your some of your cases are uncontested divorces with no children, no assets. Those might lend themselves better to the TurboTax or the Legalzoom model where you can create a tool, charge them on a on a flat fee or on a on a subscription fee for however long they're using it. And. You allow them to basically pay you once and never necessarily talk to you? Now the hybrid model is a step above that, where typically we might see this in an area where you have maybe children or where there are assets, or maybe it's a little bit more contested. You might have a hybrid model where you have your clients, your client or your clients taking care of part of this matter on their own. So they are going through the technology platform, generating certain documents, but then they have you to consult with at different stages of the case. So you take them to court or you review their documents or you give them, maybe there's a declaration that you need to review and work with them on. So that hybrid model is a really powerful one to ensure happiness of clients efficiency. And again, going back to how can you best serve your clients in a way that reduces the workload for you and increases the margins for your firm? Now let's let's talk about a few examples here. Here are a few examples of really amazing legal technology products that have been created, and what the areas that they're working in working on is. I think the reason I like to really highlight these is because they they do span across legal areas. They are in everything from consumer facing tools like estate planning and divorce, to business tools that touch on lenders and HOA organizations, homeowners associations. And then they also have we have a housing tool that's also individuals. And then they also touch on large corporations, accounting firms, law firms being their clients. So it really no matter what your client, who your client is, whether it's small or medium sized business, an individual or a large corporation, you can use this model to build legal products. And hopefully this inspires you a little bit. All of the products that I'm showing here are built on Gavl, so I encourage you to take a look and see, get a little bit more inspiration. And again, they are not they not they did not have to hire any kind of technical expertise to help them in this process, because a majority of what they're doing is just built on on software to be able to launch it easily. Now the next phase is I want to talk about how we can be building these legal products from scratch. So let's say you're hopefully at this by this point, you have been thinking about why this is important to you and why this is something that you want to incorporate into your practice, whether it's just using some technology within your practice to serve your clients, or whether it's actually generating a revenue generating product that you're putting in front of clients. So the first thing I love to say is that I think is key for no matter what, what type of business you're launching, but particularly a technology first business is one. Think big. To start small and three iterate rapidly. So what I mean by this is I want every single one of you to be thinking very big. Be thinking how? What is what is the ultimate vision for the platform that I'm building here? It could be that you want to solve legal services in every single area of law in around the world. That would be a very big vision. But even if it is, I admire you for it. And I would say the next piece is start small. No matter what your vision is, you want to start with something that is bite sized, that you can test with several of your clients or some new clients that you're going to be introducing into this product, and really allowing you to have a launching pad that you can, as the third section implies here, iterate rapidly on, and this might be the most important piece, is that once you launch a product, you need to be constantly shifting. You need to be asking questions on how can this be better? How can how can I take some of the advice and and feedback I've gotten from my clients, from my customers and clients, and turning that into legal intelligence that I could be providing them better through my platform. So we'll dive even deeper into these three topics in a moment. But what we're going to do is we're going to talk about what you should, what you should do before you build, what you should do during the time that you're building, and what you should do after you've launched one of these legal products. So let's get started with the before building phase. So before you build, what should you be thinking about? Three steps that I would highlight here right off the bat is first define that project. So you really want to make sure that the project that you're building is defined in its audience practice area. And what exactly is the payment model going to be? Make sure you know that up front, or at least know what you're going to test up front. This may shift, especially the payment sustainability piece. The audience and practice area probably can't shift that much unless you're building a whole new product, but some of these other areas you want to really get, get, get really granular on and think about what you're going to be launching first. So define that project. I'll give you an example of what I did with our the domestic violence product that I built in the early days. What I wanted to do was I wanted to build a tool for domestic violence across the country, and I wanted it to touch legal aid attorneys at, at at legal aid organizations. I wanted it to touch pro bono attorneys at law firms. And I also wanted it to touch consumers. And I would say that I made a mistake there because I was launching, while the ultimate vision, I could serve all three of those audiences. And that's definitely, definitely a good goal to have to start with. That was difficult because I was trying to market to three different audiences. I was building out wording and and the platform for three different audiences. So, for example, where a legal aid attorney would just want me to ask them their name and ask them the name of the client so they could input it into the system and generate the documents. Consumer might need to have a little bit more information on that. They might need to know, okay, are you asking for first name, middle name? Full name? What's part which part should I put in? That's just a very, very simple example of this. But that translates across the board to so many other ways that you would be presenting the product into to your clients. So start with a very narrow audience so that you can build out from there, and so that you can build a 100% perfect product for your current client instead of something that's sort of half meets the needs of all of these different audiences. So that's an area that we shifted on and we ended up focusing and that enabled us to scale. So define the project. Second is do your due diligence, do some product market research. I really am a huge proponent that just because something exists out there that is in the area of law, that you want it to practice and that you want it to launch something in, does not mean in any way that you should not be building another version of it. That does not mean that that the the market is is too crowded. However, what you should be asking yourself is, is what are you going to be doing that's different and better than what already exists? So that's the important question to be asking yourself. Um, so we have we've defined our project. We have talked about doing your your due diligence. Now third is engaging your early users. So we really want to make sure that you are engaging your early users by determining who, out of your current clients could be your future clients for your new technology product, or for the new models that you're doing and involving them in the process. Because these will be even though there's a there's a saying in the startup world, do things that don't scale early on. This might be one of those things that might not scale later on, but but having these early evangelists who are going to be part and parcel of your product, they're going to give you feedback that no one else is willing to give, you're going to be able to tell them you're building a product just for them. They're going to have a lot of loyalty that's going to help you, give you really free advice going forward on how you can really perfect your product. Now I want to move over to what types of projects are right for automation and building legal products. After you do this session and you watch the CLI, what I would like you guys all to do is go take a piece of paper. And go sit in a quiet room. Don't even bring your laptop or your phone and build it into. Draw three columns and at the top of those columns, write. High volume, high value and rules based, and then start jotting down all the different documents that fall within either of those different buckets. So think about your high volume documents. What are you doing at a very high volume? Maybe it's a real estate transaction documents. Maybe it's a child support documents. Maybe it's the initial estate planning packet that you're providing to some of your clients. Think about what you're doing at a high volume. Then in a second separate column, write down everything that you do that is high value and complex, meaning it's worth it. It's worth automating because it's complex enough. It's not something that you're just filling out a few basic fields and changing, changing the template around in a basic way. But you're really you have rules and logic that you can build into that. So going back to some of the examples we just talked about, maybe your estate planning packet probably has a lot of rules in it, lots of complex rules inside of that. So it's a high enough level of difficulty and ideally high enough volume in this case. So you could write that also in the high value section. And then finally rules based how what areas of your practice are involved, some decision tree logic or process oriented. What areas of your practice could you apply if this then that type rules to think about that and then that is then what I want you to do is take that list, step back from that list for a moment and see where do these overlap. What are document types or practice area types? Really granular practice area types that fall in all three of those buckets. They're both high. They're high volume. They're high value and complex enough to automate. And there are rules based. That's going to give you your answer of what the first area that you should start with is. Now, at this point in this process, you have chosen what you are building. So you have chosen what you're going to actually automate and turn into a full fledged legal product. In order to do this build, what should you be thinking about? One gateway questions. So all of the work that you're going to put together is going to be comprised of client data. Obviously you need to know what your clients at the very basic level, what their names are, whether they're married, what, who their children's names are, who all their grandchildren's names are. Depending on what area or area of law you're practicing in, you have a bunch of different data points that you're gathering from your clients. And what you want to make sure is whether that's if that's going to be put in front of you or your, your staff or, or ideally in a legal product situation, you're putting those questions in front of your clients. You want to make sure you have gateway questions. Gateway questions are questions that allow you to avoid later questions. So that means that by by asking a question about whether someone is in a specific, specific state, for example, you can then ask them about all the different counties that exist in that in that state, or by asking a question about whether someone's in a certain state. You might also be able to kick them out of the process and say, hey, you are in this state, and this actually doesn't apply to your state. So let's let's kick you out of the process. Let's introduce you to to to to a phone call an attorney so we can talk about other matters of your case. So there are gateway questions you could be asking to make sure that you ask as you present as few questions as possible in front of your clients. Now you also in that in that arena, you're going to put logic into that workflow to make sure that you are using rules to tell the system that if the person is in California, for example, then you want to show a certain set of questions. And really, what I like to sort of mention here is this is the opposite of most court forms that we see, because a lot of times I don't know about you guys, but at least in California, I know you go, you see, look at a court form and you have so many different fields on that court form that you might not apply to you at all. So if what what would you do if you could just erase and hide all those questions that didn't exist to the person who's looking at that court form? That would save so much cognitive load. And this applies whether you're building a legal product or whether you're just building internal automation for your firm and for you and your teammates. Now next is plan out the rules in your templates. So you want to make sure that you are planning out rules that are based on what how you want your templates to be generated. So first gather all your templates together, look inside of them and see where if you're modifying the document, what rules are they based on and kind of annotate those for yourself. So you know what you're building out. And then finally think about repeating repeatable places for guided decision making. So for example, if you are explaining a certain concept to your to every single client over and over again, that might be an area where you can create a video. Or if you are telling a client to look in the same spot in a document because they need to find where their case number is on a caption, put a video. I mean put an image or a video. You could also put a video there, put an image or a video into your workflow so that they see what that looks like, and so you can guide them through those parts of the process where you know they're going to come to you for questions. And that's something that you can do throughout that that that tool. And then outside of the actual workflow itself, make sure you're you're putting on putting finishing touches on that workflow. So making sure that you are writing for your audience level. So I typically recommend doing a fairly low grade level between six and the highest eight, depending on your on your specific client client profile. But write for an audience that is lower than their average grade level, because what you want for is for this to be very comprehensible. So questions to be comprehensible, information to be comprehensible and and really, really clear to your to your user. Now data gathering, you want to make sure that during that data gathering process you have that that gating process. So even after you've done it the first time, you may be making tweaks to it to modify those sections. And then also make sure that you've as part of these finishing touches, make sure that you have considered all potential scenarios. So if the product is not the right fit for them, route them to the right place. Maybe that's you to talk to you one on one. Maybe that's to a legal aid organization. Maybe that's to another, another attorney. Give them resources so that if if you're not the right platform for them to be using, they know where to go next. And then on the on the topic of videos and images, this is also an important aspect for accessibility. Make sure that your videos, the audio, the sizing is all accessible and it's it's clear to your users. All right. Now, the next thing I want to talk about is the launch process. So what? You're. Going to want to do is launch with with a few different really aspects of the launch process. So one is launching with support. So. But when you launch your product to want to create video. Photos and images and instructions on the legal process. But also think about should you be creating some YouTube videos or some ancillary materials and documentation that could be useful to your users, as they're thinking about whether your product is the right one for them? This. This involves both guiding them on how to use the platform, but also on actually creating really marketing materials that are going to guide them towards your platform. To documentation. So if there is any external document automation. Documentation that you need to be providing them. Think about that and think about how you can be putting that in front of them in a written format, in video format, all the different ways that you could be providing them. Documentation that are right for your specific client type. Three is support. So with support, what you want to be doing is making sure that because you're launching a tech platform, you want to have some level of human support. If people get have technical issues or if they need anything from you throughout that process, if they're confused, if they get stuck. And so whether that's you or whether you hire someone or have have one of your your paralegal or your assistant be designated as a support person, that's important to ensure that your client, even though you're not going to be there physically with them at every step of the process, they know that you're you're there and that the company that you that you've built, this legal technology platform that you've built is one that is going to support them throughout that process. Now the last piece here is services. So when you're launching with support, as we talked about earlier, there are many situations where your client might not be be be satisfied with just technology. And that's why I'm a huge believer of the hybrid model as I've mentioned. So what you really want to be making sure of is if someone needs more than technology, where can you insert services? And this is also another revenue opportunity for you, obviously, because you can give them some hourly services. You can give them some some document review services. Those are the two areas that I see the most is hourly and document review services. So make sure that you're providing some of those, those types of services and giving them an easy way to reach out to you if that's what they're looking for. Now. After you've thought about this piece of the process of launching with support, you're going to want to constantly test and get feedback from your users. So one of the ways that you can do this is by building user profiles. A user profile. And this is something that I've been introduced to as I as I launched a software company and wasn't really as big of something that I did when I was practicing. But a user profile is allowing you is really allowing you to visualize what your typical user looks like. So in the software world, for example, I, I run a software company. My customers are our customers are typically lawyers. So what I might do is I might create a little picture, a drawing of a person named Jane Doe who is an attorney, a very, very successful attorney who is really transforming their practice and starting to generate more revenue. And then I start writing down pain points for that attorney. So what do they not have? They don't have time. What do they want more of? Maybe they want to spend more time on their free on their free free time and and on their personal hobbies. How how can how can I really describe this person best as a character, almost a character in a novel? I want you to do that with your customers, with your clients. And usually you might not. You probably won't just have one user profile, you'll probably have a few because your clients kind of look different, not just physically, but but in terms of what their preferences and needs are. So you might want to do a few. Give them names, give them fake names, draw little stick figures for them. This is a really fun exercise to do with your team, because it really gets everyone on board your mission and just gets everyone pumped up. So put together these little user profiles and think about who are your clients, and then write about what their pain points are. So maybe your client is Lisa and your Lisa is very, very high net worth individual. And she wants an estate plan typically, typically. And she has a bunch of children and she wants to she doesn't have a lot of time to engage in this estate planning process. So describe all of those different pieces, because that's going to help you determine how you can best serve your client. Now as it with respect to testing and feedback. Another thing you want to do is UX testing. User experience testing. The best way I think to do this, if you're building a technology product, a legal product that you're putting in front of your clients is build it out, build out the first version and then get on a screen. Share with your clients. Unless they're willing to come into your office, you can also sit behind them, but screen share is perfect. Get on a zoom and sit behind them on a screen. Share and have them share their screen and just talk through what they're going. Going through. You don't have to say a word. All you really, all you really want to do is just tell them. Ask them to tell you more, and you're going to learn a ton from this experience. They're going to take you through, and you're going to find places that they got stuck that you didn't think they'd get stuck, words that they got stuck up on, that you didn't think they'd get stuck up, stuck up on things that you need to be providing more explanation on, things that maybe you provided too much explanation on, and they're just overwhelmed with too much on. So this is doing some testing and figuring out what your customers are having issues with is very, very powerful. Now a few other things here on testing and feedback one. I'll skip over to constant updates. So constant updates. We've been talking about this this whole time really. As you're learning data, as you're learning and getting data from your customers, from your clients on the legal product that you build, you want to be constantly tweaking things. There's no reason to be doing all this work if you're not going to be making it better. So make sure that you're constantly making updates based on what they say, and sometimes you may not make make an update based on what they say. But but you probably will know why you're not doing that. Maybe because there are other reasons and or other clients wanted something different, and you need to build something that's scalable and that fits that fits the most, most of them. Uh, and then the last piece I want to touch on, on testing and feedback is gamification. So gamification is the process of really engaging the user and making them feel like they're playing a game. So they continue to want to use the system, and they feel just a bit of a chemical draw to to their mental love for your platform. I'll give you an example here. We saw a bankruptcy tool that was built, and what they did was they were finding that a lot of their customers were sort of obviously sad because they were going through the bankruptcy process, and they were sometimes ashamed by this process. And what they wanted to do was empower those customers and make them feel good about the process. So throughout the the workflow that they built that allows their users to go through, enter data and then generate the different documents for their matter throughout that workflow, what they did is they sprinkled in fun, fun facts and fun aspects of the bankruptcy process. So for example, one that I love was they actually had a few pages on sprinkled throughout the process in which they, they had a list of different celebrities who had filed for bankruptcy. So it really made the end user feel good, made them feel like they're not the only ones who are going through this process, and that this is something that they they should be proud of and they should be proud of moving forward in in their case. Now, final piece that I want to touch on is marketing. We could probably also do an entire several days honestly, on marketing and really a lifetime on marketing, but marketing never ends. You want to make sure that you are. That you have good stakeholders who are going to be evangelizing for you. The hardest step is getting your legal product out there, and part of how you can do that is by educating the customer. You want to educate them on why they need the product. What does it do? Explain. Who are you? Why should they trust the people behind the product? That's why an About Me page is very important on your on your website. But it's also very important to put that language front and center when someone is deciding whether or not to to move forward with your product. I'll give you an example here. We had a client who was who was building a legal product, and they were charging for it, and they were getting a lot of clicks over to their site. There were tons of people who were interested in the product they were building, but not a lot of them were converting. So they they were trying to figure out what's happening to these people who are coming on to the site, scrolling through and then bouncing. And what I noticed about their their page is they were really focusing on the legal product a lot, which is good. You know, you obviously want to make sure that people know what it does, but there wasn't a lot of emphasis on the attorney who had built the product, and the attorney who had built the product had done a lot to really build that expertise and was was an expert in this area. So what we suggested to them was, why don't you put a little bit more up front, the fact that this is built by an attorney. I like your experience, experience and actually put some images and videos of yourself on the home page, because that's why people are coming here. They're not coming here just because they can find they can find templates online. They just don't know whether those are good. What they want to know is that what they're going to have as a work product is certified by an attorney who has been through this, who knows that this is a good quality product. So once they did that, they were actually able to within I think it was the first few months they were able to seven x their conversions from people who landed on their page to those who converted to a paid customer. So distributed. So that's a little bit about credibility and brand and accountability. That's actually the piece that we're talking about right now here. And obviously having lots of other types of ways to spread the spread the word through blog posts and articles. There are lots of other resources that you can go to and we can talk more about this. And I'm happy to talk to any of you after after this session about this, but there are lots of other ways that you could be figuring out how to distribute and getting PR make sure that you're you have a good story to tell about what your product is and what your platform is. And there are there are ways that you can get some some more notoriety. One thing that I love is, is a site called Higher or No. Help a reporter out. It's h a r o. And what they do is they allow you to be the expertise on. They have tons of questions that reporters are asking, and they allow you to answer those questions and potentially get quoted in different articles. That's one very low lift, zero cost other than your time. Way to to be able to just launch a some some quotes and get get some notoriety and brand brand accountability for yourself as well. And then another thing I would I would note is just to make sure you're staying up to date on the latest marketing trends. One that I love is the there's a podcast called Donald Miller's Storybrand that is a really good way and has lots of really good podcasts on how to do marketing and how to build your brand. So I would highly recommend you guys, once you're at this stage, to to consume some of that content as well. And then finally is your succession plan. So you want to make sure that your succession plan is in place. If you're not always going to be the person who's going to be maintaining this product, make sure that there's someone else at your firm, or some instructions or videos that you've at least created, so that when you're done, there are others who can take over and make tweaks to it, especially as the law changes, you can really build a long lasting, successful, profitable legal tech company that continues to pay dividends for your firm. If you set this all up in the right way with the right structure. So finally, I want to just end this by thanking you all for being here. My name is Dorna Moini. I am again the CEO and founder of gavel. Have had an immense amount of experience myself, working with law firms and on building products myself and in helping our clients build build legal products as well. So one of the things I would recommend to all of you is to book a strategy session with us. That's something that we just offer for free, because we love to talk to people about this topic, about building legal products, about building document automation within your practice, and leveraging some of these initial tech tools to really scale and hyperscale your practice. So I really encourage some of you to take a look at the slides and click on this link to go ahead and book a time with us if you'd like. And if you have any questions at all. Always happy to answer those questions and go through what that process might look for you. That our email is help at gavel io some of the other topics that you might want to be thinking about, and that we have some more resources on. If you go to W-w-w gavel, IO is we have a ton of resources on one of the hot topics here, which we will do more clues on as well. On is the ethics of building legal legal, technology products. And the great news for all of you is that there has been a lot of advancement in the industry on the legal technology and the use of legal technology in practice, and how the regulations in many states have developed to allow you to put technology in front of clients without it always necessarily being the practice of law. So we have some resources on disclaimers and things that you should be aware of and making sure that you you're implementing into your product. But please do go check out those resources, because we really strive to be a wealth of information for you as you're launching this incredibly exciting venture for yourself to to scale out your practice. All right. Thank you everyone and hope to talk to you all soon.

Presenter(s)

DM
Dorna Moini
CEO/Founder
Gavel

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