Patrick Palace and Jordan Couch, Palace Law
Palace Law is a personal injury and worker’s compensation law firm based in Tacoma, Washington. Their mission is to provide justice for the injured in every community. Patrick Palace is a strong believer in using technology to make his law firm more efficient and to provide better client service.
The foundation of a tech-savvy law firm
Jordan Couch, Attorney at Palace Law, worked at NASA during his first summer of law school, but he doesn’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to implement technology at your law firm.
During his time as President of the Washington State Bar, Patrick advocated for better, more efficient technology in law firms. However, being president did not allow him time to make the changes he wanted to make. After his term ended, Patrick dug in and started to make major changes to how he managed his law firm from the ground up, and that meant investing in a cloud-based practice management solution.
Palace Law switched from Abacus Law to Clio for two reasons: Clio is cloud-based, and it integrates directly with a range of other apps and services.
From there, Palace Law continued to innovate by taking advantage of Clio’s extensive integrations to automate many of the firm’s administrative tasks. It’s paid off—just a few changes to their client intake system allowed them to meet their 2017 revenue goals by the end of Q3—a 76% increase in year-over-year revenue in just 3 quarters.
A central platform to build on
For Patrick, one of the biggest benefits Clio offered was its ability to integrate directly with other apps and services.
“I thought it was genius to have a platform on which any other company could build and add value,” he says. “One of the problems with all the other case management systems is they’re all proprietary. They were built close-ended, and it was very frustrating working with them. When I heard that Clio had opened up to other apps, that was a huge win for me.”
For Jordan, an advocate for modernization in the legal industry, having a central platform that connects all the tools he needs is essential. “You need practice management software, and if it won’t link directly to the other things [you use], then you’re starting on the wrong foot and nothing’s going to work,” he said.
Currently, Clio integrates with over 70 apps and services—since they are all available in the App Directory, it’s incredibly simple to discover new tools to make your practice more profitable.
With Clio as its central platform, Palace Law built out a range of automations and tech solutions to make it more efficient. For example, it has almost completely automated client intake from end-to-end, using a combination of Google Forms, Google Sheets, Clio, Airtable, Trello, Slack, and the client portal.
Compared to its previous, paper-based intake system, the firm has seen incredible results. In 2017, it met its goal for the number of new clients the firm wanted to take on before it reached the third quarter, and met its revenue goals for the year—a 20% increase over its 2016 revenue goals—before the end of the third quarter. Overall, the firm expects a 60% increase in new clients that it credits to its tech changes and client-centric focus.
“We use tech in basically every step of what we do,” says Jordan. “I get my mail online. My calendar runs my entire life, next to my Trello board, which controls everything I do. Finally, Clio is my memory. Everything that ever happens gets recorded in Clio. If that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t exist.“
Palace Law is constantly innovating, and with Clio’s App Directory, they’re excited about their expanding options.
“I know one of Clio’s values is ‘Customer success comes first,’ and this is a huge example of that,” says Jordan. “Clio is not just saying ‘You have to use our tool for everything you do.’ They’re saying ‘No, we want you to have the flexibility to use other tools, and we’ll even invest in those tools, because we think it’s important to have them.’ That’s unheard of in this community.”
Access from anywhere
With Clio, Patrick and Jordan feel confident managing their cases from anywhere.
“That I could do whatever I want to do, wherever I wanted to do it, whenever I wanted to do it, that was huge,” Patrick says. “That meant I could look at my calendar at midnight when I realized I might have something due tomorrow. I could pull up my phone next to my bed and look at it. In years past, I’d have to get up, drive to the office, and look at my computer.”
Certainly, this has been much less stressful than previous experiences. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of a court and the judge has said, ‘Pull out your calendars, let’s set the next court date,’ and I couldn’t, because I wasn’t using a cloud based system,” Patrick added.
For Jordan, having a cloud-based system was a key benefit and a massive change compared to previous systems he’s used, such as Time Matters. “I worry about nothing when I’m out of the office because with Clio I know that anyone in the office can pick up my cases, know what’s going on and manage them,” he says. “If I’m in court, I know that I can still get all the information I need. My mail still comes to me. And my clients are always happier—they don’t care if I’m not in the office that day because they know if it’s important, I’m there for them.”
Better client service, happier lawyers
Palace Law puts its clients first and foremost. That means making sure clients have access to all the information they need at all times through a secure client portal.
“We were trying to create a web portal, and when [Clio’s client portal] came, that was another big sales point for me. We use it every day,” says Patrick. “In the two years we’ve been doing this, no one’s complained that they didn’t like getting their information instantly or that they didn’t like [Clio’s client portal].”
With Palace Law’s system, clients get their initial contracts and a ‘Welcome to Palace Law’ letter by the time they get home from their initial meeting. From there, with minimal training, they can access any documents related to their case through the portal. “We’ve integrated it into our system such that when case-related mail gets opened and scanned, clients get all of their mail instantly through [the client portal]” says Patrick. “[T]hey can get any legal information they’re curious about, seamlessly, instantly, 24/7.”
Systems like this make for a better client experience, but they also make for happier lawyers—everything is tracked and recorded, so attorneys never need to worry about key details being forgotten. “Two years ago I was doing work for a firm that had limited tech, with no cloud services. The big difference is, here, you end up with much happier lawyers,” says Jordan. “Small firm lawyers don’t ever have vacations. They don’t ever leave, and they spend every day they’re in court stressed. With Clio, I have no concerns about being gone because I have access to everything. I can continue working just as efficiently.”
This sort of flexibility is key for Patrick. In addition to running a successful law firm, he also owns a winery (Sunken Cellars) and yoga studio (Yoga Palace) with his wife. Having work-life balance and flexibility is key, and Patrick only sees things getting better from here.
“Tech gives us opportunities to practice law so much better and faster,” he said. “All of this success comes from tech tools that are improving the customer experience so that they get what they need instantly, and that has led both to more new clients and more revenue than we’ve ever made.”