Picture this: it’s February 2020, mere weeks before the legal industry, like the rest of the world, would come to face stay-at-home orders and have to quickly adapt to working in a remote environment.
Now, add to that your current server-based software system going down, with no employees at your organization able to access email or the document management system, and that sounds pretty close to the worst-case scenario.
Does this sound like your firm’s worst nightmare? This happened to Fort Worth-based, full-service law firm Griffith, Jay & Michel, LLP for 22 days.
Prior to this incapacitating system outage, firm decision-makers had already agreed their current system, Time Matters (PCLaw), had become stagnant and that the software wasn’t being updated as frequently as was needed to work for their firm’s needs. They evaluated several new software options in 2017, but ultimately tabled moving forward with implementing new technology.
However, once the system went down and impaired both their in-office and remote work capabilities, Griffith, Jay & Michel knew they were in the market for cutting ties with their server-based system and moved to implement a cloud-based legal practice management software sooner rather than later.
Joining the Centerbase Client Community
Griffith, Jay & Michel evaluated Clio, Zola Suite, and Centerbase before ultimately deciding that Centerbase had the capabilities they were looking for in order to run their firm the most efficiently.
Though gathering data and beginning the implementation of the software in a remote environment was a challenge in and of itself, the implementation went as smoothly as could be expected given the circumstances, according to Jennifer Landrum, the firm’s Office Manager.
After firm members began using the new software there was some need for retroactive corrections to system functionalities and how the firm was using Centerbase, which were facilitated thanks to the dedicated single point of contact on the client success team who was assigned to the firm.
Specifically, the firm requested some report customization and software adjustments. Their Client Success Manager took a look at the firm’s current processes and worked with them on a plan to achieve their goals.
Landrum personally worked with the team tasked with updating Griffith, Jay & Michel’s billing templates and was “very impressed.” “We had one Zoom call, I showed the team what I wanted, and they came back to us in two weeks with the final result, which only ended up needing minimal changes. It was exactly what we needed.”
The Centerbase team “really stepped it up” during the firm’s early stages of getting up to speed with the software, according to Landrum. “If it wasn’t for the team we worked with and the responsiveness of our Client Success Manager, I don’t know if we would still be using Centerbase today.”
The Centerbase team really stepped it up during our early stages of getting up to speed with the software. If it wasn’t for the team we worked with and the responsiveness of our Client Success Manager, I don’t know if we would still be using Centerbase today.
Landrum points to the Timekeeping feature in Centerbase as the most beloved part of the software around Griffith, Jay & Michel.
“Everyone loves this function,” she says, recalling that with their previous software, all timekeepers had to track and recreate their time manually. “There were lots of notepads and sticky notes, especially at the end of month rush to get time submitted.”
With the timer feature, Landrum estimates all professionals who bill time are capturing up to an additional 200 hours a month, which is time that would have been forgotten otherwise and not included on bills to clients.
Since Griffith, Jay & Michel attorneys are spending less of their days manually tracking time spent on emails, calls, and texts, they’re able to dedicate more time to work for their clients, resulting in even more billable hours logged each month.
“Timekeeping is by far the best feature. Time is money in this business, and thanks to Centerbase, we’re able to capture more of it faster.”
The attorneys aren’t the only ones who benefit from the significant reduction in time spent on timekeeping and related tasks. In addition to her duties as office manager, Landrum also manages the billing at the firm. Since the attorneys are submitting their time faster, she is able to get the pre-bills in front of the team earlier each month. Previously, she had to wait until the end of every month to manually correct timesheets after they were submitted, which, according to her was “very cumbersome.”
Landrum estimates it used to take her about two weeks to get billing done. Thanks to Centerbase, she saves, at minimum, three days a month on billing alone.
“It used to take me until about the 20th of the month to get all of the bills out the door,” recalls Landrum. “Today is the 13th and all bills for the month have already been sent out. That is a pretty significant reduction in time spent on both the front and back end.”
This has had a notable impact on the firm’s cash flow, according to Landrum. “We get more money in earlier every month because the bills go out faster,” she says.
“(All) the day-to-day functions of Centerbase are great,” she continued. “I find myself more efficient across the board and it takes me less time to do pretty much everything.”
As relatively new adopters of Centerbase, Griffith Jay & Michel is admittedly not yet utilizing the software to its full capability, which is something they hope to remedy in 2022 and beyond, thanks in part to the client training webinars offered weekly by Centerbase.
Landrum points to the software’s workflow and automation capabilities as the “next step” in the firm’s journey with Centerbase.
“I feel confident we’ll get there,” Landrum says. “We definitely made the right decision going with Centerbase. We’re invested in your product and are willing to do pretty much anything to grow our use of it.”
Timekeeping is by far the best feature. Time is money in this business, and thanks to Centerbase, we’re able to capture more of it faster.