Before Steve Little decided to open his solo legal practice, he knew he needed a practice management system that was more efficient and cost-effective than the disjointed system used by the law firm he was leaving. That firm employed a small army of support staff to conduct legal research, manage casework, maintain calendars, keep track of court dates, log time and expenses, bill clients, and file paperwork, not to mention everything else.
Steve was only going to be an army of one, so he needed all the help he could get. A hands-on presentation of Thomson Reuters Firm Central practice-management suite convinced him it might be exactly the kind of help he was looking for, and he’s been using it to run his successful practice ever since.
“When I learned that document management, legal research, and billing were all integrated into Firm Central, that interested me,” Steve recalls. “I wanted to have one program I could turn on in the morning and use.”
Steve wanted to spend as little time as possible on the administrative side of his business so that he could concentrate his attention and energy on getting new clients and serving them better. “When I was using three different systems for case-file document management, billing, and legal research, it took a lot more time out of my day,” Steve recalls.
With Firm Central at the ready, these issues are no longer a concern, Steve says. Because it was developed with solo attorneys and small law firms in mind, Firm Central integrates everything a lawyer needs to manage a practice into a single, easy-to-use platform. Firm Central is a cloud-based solution in which everything is stored automatically in a secure, encrypted environment accessible only to lawyers and their clients. And because it is cloud-based, Firm Central provides access to case files, research, billing—and everything else—24/7, on any device.
“Having it in the cloud, accessible from all my devices, has been really helpful to me,” Steve insists. “In court, I don’t have to bring a briefcase full of documents, and I can access them faster on my iPad.” Steve also likes the flexibility Firm Central gives him to work anywhere, anytime. “I could be on a beach in Bermuda and be as productive as I am in my physical office downtown,” he says. The mobile version of Firm Central is so well-designed that “accessing Firm Central from my phone is just like being in my office.”
Firm Central’s easy set-up, dedicated implementation team, and 24/7 tech support also meant he didn’t have to hire an outside IT person for help. Thomson Reuters gave him all the training and support he needed to get up and running, he says, but that wasn’t much. “I got Firm Central on the first day I opened my practice,” Little says. “I turned on my computer that morning and was able to start using it right away. It was pretty intuitive.”
Steve starts each day by firing up Firm Central and, depending on the task at hand, he opens the appropriate tabs and gets to work. Virtually every area of his practice can be accessed through the software, and the interface is designed to make the complexities of day-to-day legal work easier to manage.
As a solo practitioner, cost has always been one of Steve’s top concerns. Steve says he was initially afraid that Firm Central would be too expensive for him, but when he compared the cost to purchasing and running three separate programs, he concluded that Firm Central would actually save him money.
And it has. In addition to the up-front cost savings, Steve estimates that using Firm Central saves him about twenty hours of administrative time each month—time he can spend working for clients, building new business, or just being with his family.
“Firm Central has cut my overhead costs by more than 50 percent,” Steve says. “It’s a great tool for solo practitioners. I can do everything myself, so I don’t need to hire staff.”
Firm Central was designed specifically to help lawyers in solo practices and small firms manage their day-to-day challenges, in order to level the playing field against larger firms with deeper pockets and more resources. Time is a lawyer’s most precious resource, of course, and Firm Central helps lawyers like Steve make the most of theirs.
Steve Little started using Firm Central the day he hung out his shingle, and it has become his most valuable business partner. Not only does it save him time and money, it helps him be a better lawyer. With all of his business processes—document management, research, time-tracking, billing, calendar, forms—integrated into a single, cloud-based platform that’s accessible 24/7 from any device, anywhere, Steve is able to focus more of his energy and attention on his clients. In turn, he’s able to serve them better—and better service, he knows, is the key to his ongoing success.
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