Chops Talk Ops Episode 01

02/03/2022 06:59 PM By Celene

Old Law vs New Law [with Celene Hoag & Anna DiBella]

Firms just don't operate the same way they did 5, or even 2 years ago. What does modern law firm tech look like, and how do get there? 


In this episode (hosted by Celene Hoag of Chops Consulting, with Anna DiBella of PROFiX Accounting & Strategy as a guest) we explore the changing technology of the legal industry, the implication for lawyers and partners, and what firms are doing to be more competitive in 2022.

Episode 01 Transcript

These are computer generated, so forgive any errors! (Some are actually hilariously bad.) Turns out going line by line correcting 3,000 words is not an efficient use of time.


Celene Hoag
Welcome to Chops Talks Ops, the not podcast where we talk about fun operational business stuff, whatever it is, maybe things that you are interested to hear about and can hopefully benefit your business so today I am here So first of all hi, Anna.

Anna DiBella
I love the name of your non podcast.

Celene Hoag
Yeah well I mean chops is like CH Celene Hoag Consulting so I was like this is chops or is it okay? But is it rhyming Ops with Ops?

Anna DiBella
The rhyming happening here but don't ask me for input on copy that is not my specialty.

Celene Hoag
Fair enough so your specialty is legal accounting.

Anna DiBella
That is true yes don't forget to tell you about myself

Anna DiBella
So I like started out as a bookkeeper in law firms got my CPA moved up director roles director finance director of ops worked as in terms of 100% firm had a couple babies in there and then started that profits accounting and strategy right after my last mat leave also 2020. Also, terrible time to start a business. FYI. Yeah, and that's another story though. Yeah, and so my business, I work as a CFO for lawyers and on dementia for lawyers. Helping them the strategy and grow strategies. And then I also, my firm provides bookkeeping and trust accounting for lawyers and entrepreneurs.

Celene Hoag
What? Also, episode 2.00, starting a business in a pandemic.

Anna DiBella
Hey can come back and talk about that for like 8 AM

Celene Hoag
Hours for sure. Yes. Yes. Okay. But today we're talking about old law versus new law. So, what exactly does that mean? Where did that even come from?

Anna DiBella
So I work at the consultant for lawyers and really we live in a world where the industry is just been changing a lot for the past 10 years and kinda way. And so coming out into sort of this country. Salting raw they're just been a big adoption of new technology and a big really big change and we've seen it a lot during COVID so we've kinda branded the two types of law firms and it's really nothing to do with the people and everything to do with the structure So it's nothing to do with the visionary but everything to do with the current business model that you're working with. So, old law, I would refer to generally old technology, old service, old protests. And so when I say all technology I'm talking about server-based software, PC law, easy law, I'm talking about very little automation. I'm just very little process mapping, very little A bunch of people starting New law firms using completely new processes and new technologies. So they're all getting set up on club based software, subscription based software, their cost of entries really low. Not kind of struggling with the same things that these all law firms are which is that they have all of these old tech and the kind of need to switch. They can start off that way. And then there really free to think about other things outside of technology. There are thinking about Client experience and implementing automation even more in their practice etcetera. So, it's really like where your business is. Is it old law? It doesn't need to move into new law or are you new law and we're having very different conversations with those clients.

Celene Hoag
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So I know you mentioned client experience, which is obviously a big one cuz the more your clients love you, the more they're gonna come back, they're gonna recommend their friends and family. Why, what are some other reasons someone might, like, obviously, if you're starting You know it's a hassle. It can cost money to change. Why would somebody want to move into that kind of new law realm?

Anna DiBella
The reality is if you're working and getting in touch with me it's because you have problem and those old firms are suffering problems and their problems have become really pronounced since COVID because you know when I you know I can tell You know I can touch base on all the different areas of law but we'll focus on specifically counting a document management cuz those are the two big ones. So if you have a document management system that isn't cloud based and you're not used to having your employees work from home. You have an accounting system and processes that aren't paperless and also aren't cloud based and just see what would be like cloud based is you cannot log in remotely from your server. If we have the log into your system and then open like an old software like PC log Or easy law. It creates a lot of problems. It's never smooth and you really just can't have your teamwork from home. Sorry I'm rambling on here. No, it's okay. What was there actually point here?

Celene Hoag
Yeah. So really.

Anna DiBella
So really it's like you have to. For recruitment. So recruitment is a huge problem. It's actually in Vancouver for law firms and people won't work for your firm especially like younger, newer people, if you don't if they can access their systems remotely. And they can't do the work. I think that if you say, oh no, you can actually set it up but they have all of these proms and I choose all the time. Contributes to downtime. It definitely affects your margins. And affect your ability to retain Talent I'm really fixed your whole business and then the other problem is you know even like the biggest problem I see is PC law the very popular old software that's just we can't work with PCL anymore here and I have a lot of books People coming to me and they're desperately trying to find PC Law Trains bookkeepers. I deserve a firm and I really having a hard time finding them and I would love to on board that client here but because it's so difficult to work in these old softwares and get into their system. I can't even work with them anymore. So, these firms already know they're having problems. I don't think there's gonna be a lot of people working in front of the old lob work. Place that aren't gonna understand that they have to update. It's just when. 5 years, some are like, oh, I'll do it when all the other firms have done it. Some are like ready to do it last year. That's kind of the thing and then what I always say to clients is like, what The clients is like when they come to me and they're like, oh, I'm on, you know, PCL or easy law. What do I do? I'm like, how long are you gonna be in operation for? I would, there's some clients like, you know, they're, they've been using PC Law for 25 years. They're wrapping up Practices. I often don't recommend that they make a big software conversion but if you're gonna be around for anything more than like five more years, you you have to do one. And the firms that don't, they're just the Gonna crash like those old systems, softwares barely work. So, it's serious red flags. So I would really say they already know that. Just do it now But now right now I'm trust me you won't you won't regret it it's not that scary it's painful I mean I I shouldn't say that I do feel like the old law firms are really in a tough situation In that they have just a lot of changes to implement and they have to deal with their counting software that I've mentioned document management. It's just like a huge pain point. Only systems getting everyone on board. So, I do think That there was all lot of new watch traditions are probably some of the most difficult. But don't wait, it doesn't matter. You have to do it. I don't know why you'd wait. It'd be crazy to wait. I'm just gonna keep, you're just not gonna be competitive like there's so much going on. Competition out there now that are offering like all the firms that are not dealing with technology as their biggest problem their implementing automation there implementing like Marketing and sales were closed. Right? Like there focus on profit. They're offering like no client wants to go to your office. And sign something. It's a huge inconvenience. And nobody has the patients or time for that. So, you know, like there are already figuring all of that out and then these firms have to make the switch over and that's a huge cost of project. So, if the the competition is like just gonna Keep becoming more significant. And then the cost right? Like the way that you can charge or you know the profit margins you can have on implement new technology properly. Are gonna push prices down. There's just no way.

Celene Hoag
That's true cuz I'll like nowadays one thing that I have seen a lot of is computers can do the work that humans can do and are you paying a subscription like an app $50 or $100 a month to do a job or are you paying A salary of an employee are you paying like $4006000 maybe if you multiple employees like tens of thousands of dollars a month of people that we like grunt work that nobody wants to do anyway like nobody wants to do the grant work anymore when they know it can be automated

Anna DiBella
I'd like to get like scheduling. This is like it's a pain point and every firm legal assistant spends so much time being scheduling and you could automate good 65% of that. But this is it's not that common to see in old law almost never and a new law they do scheduling which is great but again it's probably like not utilized to full capacity Yeah. So, it's very interesting industry and certainly a very interesting. My dog just came in. I'm very interesting industry to be part of in a very fun industry to be part of right now because there's just So much opportunity to help people and educate them and improve their operations and get them talking about way more interesting business stuff. I love talking about other stuff.

Celene Hoag
I've been remote for so long. I take things like scheduling for granted. I take things like you know, having a serum or leave management for granted. I would, you know, like I'll I'll talk to somebody. I'll be like, okay, so. How are you managing your leads right now? People come to you and how do you follow up with them or like book them in or how do you kinda nurture that? And they're like, they, if they like keep following up with us and they keep Harassing us like you know then we'll remember to intake them or whatever it may be but the truth is nowadays people will go on you know google or wherever they'll pull up three to five firms About call all of them and usually it's the one to follow up with them or give them the best experience and the best deal and make it the easiest to give them their money and to engage with them who are gonna get the business

Anna DiBella
And I mean like it it regardless of where your business is coming from if you're not quickly getting them an engagement letter and you know I'm getting it done and doing all that stuff like your nurse gonna lose lean to But also not servicing your clients like getting referrals like there are good lawyers everywhere and you have to compete with other good lawyers. A great example. So, I'm divorced. I, you know, not the flag any firm. Like, but you know, I had to sell. I ended up self resting and I wanted my I need my documents back obviously. And I Them for them back and they were like, okay, we have like a bunch of paper here for you and then the CD. They would come pick up with all your documents. This was in 20, this was a early 2021. So, less than 12 months ago.

Celene Hoag
Hey Facebook

Anna DiBella
Computers normal computers don't read CDs no No normal new computer comes with a CD drive why on earth is my law firm burning things to a CD and for God thanks why isn't it a beautiful brand of USB Look at my documents and if I'm really fucking sorry if I'm really upset so I don't need to swear but if I'm really upset I'm like in my court form like I don't know what's happening I can't self rep I put in my beautiful USB that's branded by my lawyer and I'm like I'm gonna call my lawyer back Lawyer back man I can't sell prep like those are the things that aren't just taking you to the 21st century but then also like adding strategy onto marketing strategy it's just and then

Celene Hoag
No no telling my friends that they're the worst

Anna DiBella
Burn things to CDs I'm like oh there are numbers in my face all the time when I look at my court stuff so anyway strategy I love talking

Celene Hoag
Can get the

Anna DiBella
Modern technology, right? Yes. Yeah.

Celene Hoag
I have a question then. So, obviously, we know what all the new law is now and why everyone wants to become new law. Nobody, nobody's like, oh, I think it's better to be online. Thank you to be so good back in those days. And maybe people are like that. We're not talking about.

Anna DiBella
I don't wanna do it differently. Fair, fair, but you know why I can really argue like it's better to do it by hand and like, you know, make your clients find a place to burn a CD. Yeah. Read it through their court dogs.

Celene Hoag
Adopting cloud based technology what are like some of the other ways that law firms like what are things people are doing right now to move into the 20th 21st century and become new law

Anna DiBella
I think the biggest topic that I talk about with my new law clients is really you know I want a meeting other parts of their business You know business owner myself like and having come from law not really been super involved in that even though I was director of ops you have to track your leads and like you Leave and like, you know, you might be like, oh, I'm so busy. I'm too much but like in a month snap from now, you might have some capacity and now you have this like little asset here that you can nurture and all you have to do is implement technology and workflows and we start tying it all together, you know, sleeping Is also my director of opt here at Profix. She's implementing so her one which is my whole suite of systems and like it's just, it's a well-oiled machine and it's profits and 24/7 or writing the same email over and over again like I think to eat if you a lot of firms you'll heal them talk about templates and they're talking about like Like like legal document templates. They have not talking about like sales, email, templates, and or even just like client templates. So like on boarding, new clients. Using a templated email. That's like not Often talked about. It's usually, it's often. I didn't say usually, each from different but often you see like each kind of lawyer does their own little thing and their assistant does a lot of the work for them the way that they want it done. And know when Really adopting technology, biggest problem you see is just like 65% of the firm will use it and the other 40 35 don't and no one really has to. So,

Celene