Checklist for Signing Up Mass Tort Clients

Checklist For Signing Up Mass Tort Clients

Jon Robinson:
Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode here of our Case Works streaming. Today we are joined by a number of people. Very gracious to have Susan Barfield, CEO of Case Works. We also have CTO, Ken Reimer. And Dov Slansky from Litify, I believe, still VP of Solution Engineering. Is that correct, Dov?

Dov Slansky:
Yep.

Jon Robinson:
Thank you very much for joining us today. We’re actually talking about signing up mass tort clients. What are some of the things that you need to make sure that you do to make sure that you’re signing up your clients as efficiently as possible? Something that everyone here knows a bunch about. So before we get started here, Dov, you want to tell us a little bit about yourself and about Litify?

Dov Slansky:
Sure. So my background is actually as an attorney, and I got my start working at some mass tort law firms doing precisely what we’re discussing today, overseeing intake: working in making sure that we had the right messaging, we had the right marketing out there, and making sure that when our prospective clients called us, we had a really, really good system and process in place to screen, qualify, and sign up as many of the right clients as we possibly can.

Dov Slansky:
I did that for a number of years. I helped one of the co-founders of Litify, which is a practice management company built on top of the salesforce.com solution. We actually work with a number of the really large mass tort firms out there. Our solution scales really, really well towards large numbers of clients. The last couple of years I’ve focused on the technology angle, making sure that law firms have the best technology they can possibly have to run their business efficiently and continue to grow and scale what they do.

Jon Robinson:
Excellent. Sometimes Litify is referred to as a CRM. Salesforce is a CRM, Litify is sort of the CRM for lawyers. Why do you believe a law firm needs a CRM?

Dov Slansky:
I mean, everybody needs a CRM. In your personal life, your CRM is just a phone book in your phone. You don’t need to really organize and sort people, but maybe then you may have. You may have different groups of friends and it really helps you understand who people are and why you work with them. In the business context it’s really important. You don’t have 50, 100 or 200 contacts; you have 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, hundreds of thousands of contacts. So a way to organize them, sort them, make sure you know who people are, how they found you, and what you’re discussing with them is really, really, really, really important. Salesforce is great for that. And here at Litify we really just extend that out to the intake and matter management sphere. So understanding how clients got to you, what you’ve engaged with them on, and whether or not you were successful is really important.

Jon Robinson:
Absolutely. Ken, do you want to talk a little bit about how cloud technology has really changed the game for lawyers and how you use cloud technology to integrate with law firms?

Ken Reimer:
Yeah, that’d be great. I appreciate Dov’s response there. For the cloud itself, I mean, the availability to have access to the CRM data or to your matter data anywhere you go as a lawyer, I think, really what it ends up doing is providing more mobility and more ready access. From a customer service point of view, one of the hardest things that law firms have to do is stay engaged with our clients, and the cloud access to the CRM just allows lawyers, paralegals, and the whole firm to stay in contact with clients on a regular basis and make sure that they’re engaged with them through the whole process.

Ken Reimer:
In terms of how Case Works uses cloud, we basically have a CRM as well, and we have a cloud connection between our system and our client systems. One of the tenets that Case Works believes in is partnership and data transparency. So we use technology and cloud services to make sure that we’re in contact both with our clients, in terms of giving them data transparency, and also their clients, in terms of making sure one of the pinch points and hard things is keeping track of all these 10,000 clients, as Dov pointed out. And so we deploy technology and strategies to make sure that we’re able to do that on behalf of our clients.

Jon Robinson:
Got it, makes a lot of sense. Dov, let’s talk specifically about the client intake process, as it relates to mass tort firms specifically. If you were going to create a hands-on checklist for an intake team, what are the three most important things that you would identify would be on that list that people should be paying attention to?

Dov Slansky:
Oh, only three? It’s going to be tough. Number one is having a really, really clear outline of your criteria. Signing up a client is only useful if you sign up the right client. The act of signing up is great, but only if you have the proper criteria. Nobody wants a client that doesn’t have a good case. You got to make sure you get the right one.

Dov Slansky:
Another area on the checklist is to make sure that your follow-up process is really, really tight. It’s difficult enough to attract people to your firm, and there’s a lot of competition for eyeballs and clicks out there. Chances are, if someone came to your firm, they also were attracted to other firms as well. If you don’t get them on the first try, that follow-up process is where you’re going to set yourself apart from your competition. You have to have a really, really clear well-defined and followed process for following up.

Dov Slansky:
The third thing is, in the regular sales world it’s commonly referred to as speed to lead, which is how quickly can you get to that person when they contact you? You may think of it as just raw customer service, honestly. When someone reaches out to you, if they have to wait minutes, or hours, or days to get a response, with each passing minute, hour, and day there’s less of a chance that they’re going to engage with you. It’s simply not a good experience for them. So having a process that says: someone contacted us; we need to make sure that we are responding to them timely, efficiently, with the right information and criteria; and then if they need to come back, we have a process for following up and quote unquote chasing them – those are the big three items that are going to set you apart from everybody else.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah. And I would just like to add, Dov, I think that you’re spot-on. Obviously, there’s a direct correlation between it’s top of mind for someone, they’re reaching out based on the advertisement or whatever they saw on the internet, and they’re not only reaching out to your firm, but they’re reaching out to other firms as well. And so it’s whoever has the best process that you just outlined that contacts them first is going to close the lead. And then it’s not just closing that lead, but it’s how do you keep them informed and engaged throughout the process. And you can’t just do that without the technology in place to be able to drive that on a daily basis.

Dov Slansky:
Yeah. A lot of clients are, honestly, part of what they’re doing is looking for someone who’s just going to tell them what they want to hear. And if what they want to hear is what you actually want in the client, if you’re aligned there, the faster you can do that and the nicer you can be about it, the better chance you have retaining that client. So if they’re just looking for a friend, we can discuss that at a separate time. But if they’re looking for a lawyer, chances are they’ve made that same ask to multiple law firms. The person who gets to them first and deals with them in the most customer-centric fashion with the right information so they’re knowledgeable, that’s who’s going to come home with the client.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah, absolutely.

Ken Reimer:
Yeah.

Jon Robinson:
In training representatives, where do you identiry the biggest area that you consistently see as a need for improvement [inaudible 00:07:55]?

Dov Slansky:
Training falls into a couple of different buckets. There’s simply understanding how to use the technology. If you’re not good with the tools, you’re going to be slower and less confident in what you are doing. But I think the most important area of training is really in just the skill, if you will, I’m not sure if “skill” is even the right word, but that skill of knowledge and empathy. Knowing what you’re talking about and being empathetic to who, to what they are doing at that moment. If someone calls you and tells that they have five minutes to talk on their work break and you spend four minutes introducing yourself, they’re not interested and you’re not going to get that client, because you’ve now wasted the amount of time you have. But if they tell you they have a short window, I need to be empathetic to the amount of time they can spend and give them the right knowledge.

Dov Slansky:
Or if they’re going through a difficult time, something has happened, an injury or death, and you can actually respond to that as a human being. If they qualify for the case – great, you’re going to get a better chance. And even if they don’t qualify for that case and you ultimately end up saying “no” to that potential client, you’re not going to do it contentiously. You’re going to leave them with a pleasant engagement, and they’re going to come back next time. And, possibly, will refer people they know, because they enjoyed the interaction.

Ken Reimer:
Yeah. I think that’s so true.

Susan Barfield:
Great points, Dov. I did want to ask you, if you had any tips or areas of emphasis when it comes to training intake specialists to interact with prospective clients?

Dov Slansky:
Yeah. I think it’s areas where, it’s funny to say, you want to teach them to be human, but you want to emphasize that point. You want to emphasize empathy, you want to emphasize following process. The firm is doing things this way for a reason. It’s not because you want to make your life difficult, it’s because this has been proven to bring in the highest number of the right types of clients. So you want to give them a really, really strict process to follow.

Dov Slansky:
And it’s not coming from a place of distrust, it’s coming from a place of measurement. You can only, I guess, track what you can measure or measure what you can track, whichever way you’d like to look at it. So having a process lets you understand: How did the clients get to you? How many call attempts did you need? Who made those call attempts, or emails, or text messages? How long does it take for that process to go through? That only works if you’re actually following that process. So make the agents understand that they have to deal with potential clients with empathy, as human beings, and they must follow that process. That training experience, making sure they know exactly what they should be doing and why, is incredibly important. Without that your ability to measure falls apart. And that’s going to start to impact your marketing, your bottom line very quickly.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we were talking about [inaudible 00:10:36] clients. And out of all the clients from mass torts, you’ve got to have people on the phone that are empathetic, understand where those clients are coming from. I mean, that’s just a much different phone call and conversation than any other mass tort. So I agree with you. You’ve got to have people that are empathetic and, like you said, go back to the basics of being human.

Dov Slansky:
[Crosstalk 00:11:01] I worked on some of the SSRI birth defect cases. [Inaudible 00:11:08] conversations to have, you’re talking to someone who may have lost a child or a child born with a potentially devastating birth defect. Very difficult even assuming they qualify for a case. Even more difficult when they’ve had those injuries and they don’t meet the criteria. That’s a really, really difficult conversation to have, but understanding that there’s a process to follow and why helps make that a lot easier and you get consistent results.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah. Absolutely. No, that’s great feedback. When you think about traditionally paper-heavy industries, has there been much pushback by law firms when it comes to accepting and implementing a digital document management system that you found, Dov?

Dov Slansky:
Not recently. There definitely was a couple of years ago. I think the cloud although for everybody else probably arrived 10 years ago, maybe even 15 years ago, for law firms it’s just landing. There’s certainly less hesitation to it now, and COVID has seemed to really, really speed up whatever hesitation was left when firms realized that now they definitely need a place to store it. I think most firms have moved away from filing cabinets for the most part. And although they may not have had a document management system that is stored electronically or digitally, but the last year plus has really shown these firms that just having a server in your office is better than a filing cabinet, but that’s not nearly good enough for what you and your clients expect today.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Ken, I wanted to find out from you what you think about law firms and some of their pain points when it comes to scaling critical workflows?

Ken Reimer:
Yeah. I mean, what Dov was saying, I think the intake process and being able to scale that up. And then, with empathy, make sure that the law firm is staying in contact and engaging those clients over the long haul. We all know that, for mass tore in particular. Even in personal injury those cases can be 18 months, perhaps, to settle. But for mass tort it’s a lot longer. So it is a long game in terms of getting the contact from them, keeping them engaged throughout the whole process, keeping them informed of what’s needed. Because, invariably, you can get the client on the phone and you can get what you think you need at the time, but you’re going to need to talk to them again, because they don’t remember what facility they went to.

Ken Reimer:
So I think the one of the biggest pinch points for law firms currently is just getting those clients in the door; using a great case management system, like Litify or something like that; and then keeping those clients engaged through the whole process; and having a methodology and being systematic about it, so that after every change in status or every so often they continue to send out messaging that keeps the clients engaged and, I’ll say, warm the whole time, basically. I think that’s one pinch point.

Ken Reimer:
And I think one of the other massive, I’ll say, pinch points for law firms is getting the plaintiff fact sheet done at the end of the process. That’s a huge problem in the industry. That’s one that Case Works handles quite well. We’ve got some technology that we use to help automate that process. I know for a fact that law firms just struggle with that whole process and it’s really hard to scale, because at the same time, if you haven’t done a great job of keeping people engaged through the whole process, it’s going to be really hard to contact them at the end, to get the settlement, and get all the paperwork processed, put it up on the MDL or whatever you’re doing.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah.

Dov Slansky:
Especially when that information is so arduous as a plaintiff fact sheet is: not 10 questions or even 10 pages, but when you need 140 pages worth of information, it becomes a little [crosstalk 00:14:50].

Ken Reimer:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Susan Barfield:
I would say, also, if you’re thinking about scale, just getting more bodies in the law firm to do more tasks is not the way to do it. What we have found historically is people, process, and protocols. And they have great people a lot of times in the law firms, but they haven’t created the protocol so that it’s consistent quality work. And they just don’t have the technology as a foundation that allows for that scalability. If there’s a firm that wants to invest in a new tort and go get several hundred cases, they just can’t do it, because they don’t have the infrastructure. And so partnering with groups like Litify, having that foundational base and groups that they can outsource to and the right partners, I think that’s one of the pain points they just haven’t been able to have it. And I think Dov is right, COVID has really expedited that, but looking at partners that they can leverage to be able to scale.

Dov Slansky:
Yeah, the ecosystem has a lot of people in it, but choosing the right one is super, super important.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah. Well, Dov, we certainly appreciate you being on today’s call. You’re sharing a lot of great information. If folks want to get a hold of you, how can they reach you?

Dov Slansky:
Best thing to do, you can find this on our website litify.com. Our email address is my first name, D-O-V, it’s Dov@litify.com. Happy to speak to anybody who has questions about not just what we do, questions about mass torts or operational processes. I’ve done it for a while, always happy to discuss and answer questions. If I could be a resource in any way, please feel free to reach out.

Susan Barfield:
Yeah, that’s awesome. Ken. And what about you? How can folks reach out to you about technology or just questions in general?

Ken Reimer:
Yeah. You can visit our website at yourcaseworks.com, that’s a great way to do that. My email’s really simple. It’s just ken@yourcase.works.com, so you can send me an email there. Or you come visit us again on this live stream and find out more about us.

Susan Barfield:
Yep, absolutely. If anybody wants to get a hold of me, same website, but you can email me at susan@yourcase.works. And we certainly appreciate your time today. Thank you.

Dov Slansky:
Awesome. Thanks so much. Nice to meet you.