How Avery Law Thrives as a Boutique Law Firm
David Turney works wherever he wants—and he’s building better relationships and a more efficient practice from that
“Most law firms are still traditional law firms,” says David, who is one of two managing partners at Avery Law. “We’re a boutique law firm that has the ability to operate almost virtually.”
As a boutique city firm, Avery eschews traditional models in favour of a contemporary practice that leverages cloud-based technology and a small and flexible team of remote consultant solicitors and support staff.
By managing much of their operations in the cloud, the firm is unfettered by many of the physical limitations of a traditional legal workplace (as well as many of the costs)—allowing Avery Law to naturally be more adaptable, play to everyone’s strengths, and be more cost efficient for its clients in areas that large, traditional law firms simply cannot.
“We’re lucky to be in a position where we don’t have to pay for a large office space,” says David.
As a small firm, responsibilities like administration, billing, and human resources are squarely on the partners’ shoulders. Previously, this was a challenge, but with the right technology, David and his team have been able to do it all.
“Lawyer, accounts, HR—we’re all of that for the firm,” David explains. “[Clio] saves us so much time, because we can get back to what we’re good at doing, which is being lawyers.”
David uses Clio’s cloud-based practice management software at Avery Law to improve efficiency and turnaround time for clients, reclaim precious time to spend with family, and keep costs down. This all means he and his team can focus on what they do best—helping their clients and practising law.
Embracing technology for the better
Since the firm’s early days, Avery Law has embraced a modern, virtual model for practicing law; but, in the past, they’d started to find that their administrative and billing practices were outdated, laborious, and even a touch clunky—certainly not fully living up to the contemporary vision of a cloud-based firm
“We ran a very manual process when we first started out,” David recalls. “It always used to take a lot of time to engage clients and manually produce invoices, which was fine in the short term when we were just starting out.
“As the firm grew and developed, it became increasingly difficult and inefficient to manage the practice manually, so David began thinking about how the right case management software might be able to streamline processes and cut down on unnecessary costs and labour.
“I started the hunt around case management software because doing everything manually was inefficient, and I was looking for software to support and enhance our day to day tasks,” David says. “For me, Clio stood out; it looked great, was user-friendly and appeared to be the most useful for an English law firm. Really, I didn’t turn back after I found Clio.
”While David had a lot of initial questions when first integrating Clio into his firm’s systems, he found Clio’s support team invaluable—particularly because it was able to cater to the specific needs of an English law firm like Avery Law.
“The support was great when I had a lot of questions about how to integrate things for an English law firm … they were really on it, and responded with the exact solution, which was encouraging,” David says.
Now, since adopting Clio’s case management software in the autumn of 2015—making the firm more tech-savvy than it already was—the team’s productivity has improved immensely.
Completing tedious tasks in half the time
Creating engagement and communication templates and more effective processes through Clio makes things much more efficient for David and the Avery Law team. Carrying out administrative tasks with Clio saves time, and the benefits can accumulate quickly. As an example, it now takes David less than half the time it used to when onboarding a client.
“I can set up a new matter, and get an engagement letter on the system and sent out very quickly,” David explains. “I used to spend sometimes 30 minutes to an hour preparing engagement letters and getting a client onboarded. Now I can get the client onboarded in 10 to 15 minutes.”
Avery Law’s team has picked up Clio easily, too—and it’s made a big difference in the firm’s overall productivity, and the team’s appreciation for the value of incorporating cloud- based technology in the workplace.
“The team’s workflow seems a lot faster. The rate I see us onboarding clients and getting invoices out really shows that we’re more productive as a firm. The team is a lot more productive—which is great, because that’s increasing our revenues and giving us a lot more time for marketing and working on other matters.”
Clio’s cloud-based software also simplifies the invoicing process, which is key for lawyers’ profits and productivity. By getting invoices sent out more easily and on time, David and the Avery Law team are able to get paid faster and maximise their revenues.
“I think the efficiency is the key, really,” David says. Using Clio “got us into good habits in terms of invoicing quickly, because it was so easy to do. It also got us into better habits with more accurate live time recording, because that was a lot easier to do.”
Finally, in addition to streamlining tasks like billing, timetracking, client engagement, and other productivity processes, Clio integrations like NetDocuments for document management and Xero for accounting create a centralised case-management experience for Avery Law, which means enhanced capabilities for the firm.
Working virtually, through the cloud
A foundational feature of Avery Law’s practice is its virtual model.
“For us, [being cloud based] is really important,” stressed David. “I didn’t want a firm system where we could only save things on one computer or an in-house server. I wanted to get everything on the cloud, so that when I go home or abroad I can pick up and continue my work without interruption— because we, as a firm, are always moving around, working from home, working from different places.”
With Clio’s secure cloud-based platform, David and the Avery Law team don’t have to worry about their data being attached to one computer. Instead, they can work in the cloud and save from anywhere—keeping disruptions to a minimum and allowing for greater location flexibility and more capacity on the go. They can also rest easily knowing that all client and firm data is securely backed up in the cloud at all times.
David also notes that the cloud-based system works well for his team, too, and has allowed the firm access to a wider talent pool. Being fully virtual allows Avery Law to attract and engage consultant solicitors that work flexibly from home or remote locations.
Building better relationships with an adaptable practice
As David puts it, when it comes to Avery Law, “It’s not just about business. It’s actually about relationships.” With Avery Law’s innovative virtual model, supported by Clio, David is able to represent the firm and develop better relationships with his clients.
This illustrates an important point. The benefits of using legal tech for improved efficiency go far beyond just lower costs and higher revenues—using tech has allowed Avery Law to pioneer a new business model that opens up opportunities for a better work-life balance for both its lawyers and their families.
“I’ve noticed that, as a team, we have become more efficient. We’re able to complete tasks quickly and finish earlier, so I’m not working all through the night like I used to,” David says. “We get more time to spend with our families, which is great.”