CRM and the Law Firm
Kentucky Justice Association
May 21, 2014
4615 SOUTHWEST FREEWAY
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77027
OFFICE (713) 714-8446
FAX (877) 314-9990
Lawyer and Marketer
• Licensed Texas lawyer since
• Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star
• The National Trial Lawyers Top
100 Trial Lawyers and Top 40
• Vice President of the Year –
Houston Trial Lawyers
• Editorial Board – Houston Bar
• Publications Committee –
American Association for Justice
• AAJ Women Trial Lawyers
Caucus Publications Committee
What is a CRM?
• CRM = a system by which a company manages
its prospects, customers, and business partners.
A law firm will use a CRM process to manage its
interactions with its current, former and future
– Who are the customers of a law firm?
• Leads (Potential Future Clients)
• Clients (Current and Former)
• Other Lawyers
Law Firm Customers: Prospects
• Where do leads and new cases
• Marketing is accomplished
channels, including websites, social
media, press, television, referral
attorney, email, and direct mail.
• Intake is the conversion
component of marketing.
Marketing is pointless without
effective intake procedures.
Law Firm Customers: Prospects
• Potential Pitfalls:
– Lead entry does not happen in real time
– Lack of consistent, formal screening questions by
– Transmission and tracking of paperwork
(email, online contract, regular mail, UPS)
– Lack of lead nurturing sequence
– Failure to convert leads into cases despite sending
– Failure to keep trained staff in intake positions
All intakes must be entered into the CRM, even if rejected.
If the lead does not meet the firm’s established
1. Send the appropriate rejection
communication to the PNC.
2. Save a digital copy of the communication.
3. Change the CRM designation to “Rejected.”
4. Add to appropriate marketing lists.
If the lead qualifies:
1. Send the PNC an intake packet with a self-
addressed, prepaid return enclosure.
2. Assign staff for follow-up sequence steps.
3. Add to appropriate marketing lists.
If a qualification determination requires more
information, create a task.
Potential New Case Report
1. Run a PNC report to present at a weekly meeting.
2. Report should include PNC name, case
type, SOL, and case summary.
Follow protocol for
opening a new matter.
More information is
required, such as medical
At the weekly
meeting, the team
Law Firm Customers: Clients
• How do we keep current clients happy?
– Personalized communication
– Consistent contact person who is knowledgeable
about their case
– Be responsive
– Monthly or quarterly case updates
– Keep track of feedback
– Be positive and say thank you
Law Firm Customers: Lawyers
• When are lawyers the customers of other
– Referral Attorneys
– Local Counsel
– Joint Venture Partners
– Multidistrict or Mass Litigation Steering Committee
– Outside Counsel to General Counsel
Law Firm Customers: Referral Lawyers
• Potential Pitfalls:
– Lack of consistent screening criteria and/or forms for
referral lawyers to use to sign up clients they will
send your way
– Failing to provide consistent and adequate updates
to the joint client and/or to referral counsel
– Failing to circulate relevant documents so that all law
firms can maintain the requisite files for mutual
Law Firm Customers: Referral Attorney
• Relieve busy lawyers from spending significant time
dealing with minor RA questions and issues.
• Provide signup documents, keep track of these RA “leads”
so you can follow up with those who requested forms
• Provide standardized reporting
• Show your best RA’s some love by keeping them on your
“Hot List” for new projects
• Consistent point of contact with knowledge of the
• Host RA Marketing Events
Sample CRM Options
• SaaS platforms (pay as you go)
– Any software application you run that is not located on your physical
premises or on your machines. You generally log into your vendor’s website
and run the application “in the cloud.” You have no software to
buy, install, maintain, or update.
• Zoho (https://www.zoho.com/)
• BatchBook (http://batchbook.com/)
• Salesforce (http://www.salesforce.com/)
• Law Firm Database (either software or SaaS)
– Needles has a CRM tab you can make active (http://needles.com/)
• Law Firm Marketing Automation Software (also generally SaaS)
– InfusionSoft (http://www.infusionsoft.com/) and Marketo
(http://www.marketo.com/) track metrics associated with each contact’s
interactions and provide automated all-in-one sales and marketing platforms
• Law Firm Email Service Provider
• Make your existing contacts work for you
– database mining.
• If you don’t tell your contacts what you
are working on, who will?
• Announce firm news
• Instantly blast your entire hit list
• Throw parties and host events
• Judicial and political fundraising
Customer Relationship Management
• A CRM system allows businesses to
manage business relationships and the
data and information associated with
• Reporting and analysis are centralized
• All data is captured in a singular
clearinghouse for both conflicts checking
Ethical Issues When Using a CRM
• Most jurisdictions require that a law firm use “reasonable
care” with regard to
confidentiality, security, accessibility, etc. (ABA Model Rule
1.6, Kentucky Rule SCR 3.130(1.6))
– Collecting Customer Data
– Storing CRM Data
– Using CRM Data
– Destroying CRM Data
• ABA Model Rule 1.4 Communications (Kentucky Rule SCR
3.130(1.4)) (a) a lawyer shall (1) promptly inform the client
… (2) reasonably consult with the client … (3) keep the
client reasonably informed…
• Conflicts checking mechanism (ABA Model Rules 1.7-
1.11, Kentucky Rules SCR 3.130(1.7-1.8))
The CAN-SPAM Act: Overview
• Governs “any electronic mail message the primary
purpose of which is the commercial advertisement
or promotion of a commercial product or service”
• Do not use false or misleading header information or
deceptive subject lines
• Identify your messages as advertisements
• Give recipients the ability to OPT-OUT
• Each separate email violation is subject to penalties
Law Firm CRM Best Practices
2. Personalize and customize
3. Process all new leads
through the system
4. Run reports to show Key
5. Test, monitor, and
communicate so that
adjustments can be made