In the previous episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares interviewed Andrew LeGrand, a lawyer who has a largely automated practice, about Text Expansion and forms to increase efficiency for lawyers. Because automation is such an enormous topic, Adriana invited Andrew back to discuss more in-depth systems and tools to avoid wasting time on menial tasks...
Andrew Legrand is the founding partner at Spera Law Group, LLC, a cloud and paperless law firm in New...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
In the previous episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares interviewed Andrew LeGrand, a lawyer who has a largely automated practice, about Text Expansion and forms to increase efficiency for lawyers. Because automation is such an enormous topic, Adriana invited Andrew back to discuss more in-depth systems and tools to avoid wasting time on menial tasks and improve accuracy, consistency, and professionalism. Does it seem too good to be true?
Tune in for automation suggestions for lawyers at any level of tech-savviness. Topics include:
In the end, Andrew emphasizes, just knowing these options are out there is important and powerful.
Andrew Legrand is general counsel to small business owners, helping clients start new businesses, draft operating agreements, employment contracts, review leases, and file for trademarks. After graduating law school, he started a paperless, technology-driven solo practice in an effort to be more efficient. Two years later, he started working with another attorney and law school classmate on a partnership. In August of 2014, they renamed the law firm Spera Law Group.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.
Advertiser: So you’re an attorney, and you’ve decided to go out on your own. Now what? You need a plan and you’re not alone. Join expert host, Adriana Linares, and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune in to the lively conversation, as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello and welcome to New Solo on Legal Talk Network. My name is Adriana Linares, I’m a legal technology trainer and consultant. I’m normally based in Orlando but I spend a lot of time in New Orleans, and now I’m back in the Paperless Chase studios. Ernest Svenson is also a well known former lawyer, consultant, and he does a lot of paperless stuff. I was here not that long ago and I had the great pleasure of interviewing Andrew Legrand, who’s an attorney here in New Orleans. We had so much great information coming out of him that I’ve asked him to come back. Welcome, Andrew.
Andrew Legrand: Thanks for having me back, it’s a pleasure to be back here.
Adriana Linares: It’s really nice that you came back.
Andrew Legrand: Any reason to come hang out at these studios.
Adriana Linares: I know, they’re something else. In case our listeners happen to be catching this in the middle, this is two of two. Tell them a little bit about you.
Andrew Legrand: I’m a small business attorney here in New Orleans. I graduated from Loyola College of Law down here in the city in 2011. About halfway through, I realized that the job market was thinking about that part of time and started reading about all the possibilities there were to start a solo and small firm practice. I looked around, found a lot of great blog posts, including our sponsor, Solo Practice University. I found a lot of confidence there and learning about being a solo and just finding the confidence to actually go do that. So when I came barred in October 2011, I just started my own practice and I’ve been doing that since then.
Adriana Linares: So last time you were here, remind our listeners what we covered.
Andrew Legrand: So the first time we covered text expansion and forms and basically using text. That’s something I use on such a basic level as an attorney. I’m always producing text, one way or another.
Adriana Linares: And sometimes it’s repetitive.
Andrew Legrand: A lot of times it’s repetitive. Or it needs to be in a specific format and needs to be reproduced.
Adriana Linares: And then we are now going to start talking more about maybe some web automation that you do.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, and some more automations that help you run your law practice, hel y9u do some of the things that in the past would have been done by a secretary or somebody along those lines. So replacing the support staff in your office.
Adriana Linares: Tell me more about how you use a practice management program.
Andrew Legrand: I’ve used Clio since pretty much the day that I started.
Adriana Linares: And what sort of automation do you do with Clio?
Andrew Legrand: Well, I’ll give one good example: Clio has the snippets feature, rather than using that, that’s a position where you maybe want to think about using Breevy or TextExpander simply because it will work outside of just Clio.
Adriana Linares: Right, your cross platform point that you made earlier.
Andrew Legrand: Exactly, sort of to bring it in to there. So some automation that I really like in Clio is that Clio integrates with another application web based app called Zapier.
Adriana Linares: Tell us more.
Andrew Legrand: What Zapier does is it connects your apps to cross different platforms.
Adriana Linares: So a lot of the issues I always have is I’ve got GMail, I’ve got GoToMeeting. I’ve got all of these web based programs and I’m constantly having to figure out a way to move information from one place to another because they don’t naturally talk to each other. So a tool like Zapier helps with that.
Andrew Legrand: It helps with that and it doesn’t show any sync. But one example is when I create a new matter in Clio, we have a very long and probably the most useful zap that we have is when we open the new matter in Clio, Zapier automatically creates a new label within GMail. So any emails for that matter, I can quickly label and organize. I use Asana personally for my task management. It creates a new project in Asana so I have a place to put the tasks that I’m working on all into one.
Adriana Linares: So instead of you going from Clio, going to Gmail and going to Asana, which is what most of us do – I don’t, but I’m just pretending to be the collective that does this. So what you’re saying is this is a tool so that it prevents me from having to copy and paste a bunch of information from Clio to GMail to Asana to whatever.
Andrew Legrand: Right, and not just that, but it also makes my tagging and my labels consistent.
Adriana Linares: Tell us about taggings and labels.
Andrew Legrand: So when Clio creates a matter, you can set up how you want that matter to be identified. Some firms use two sets of numbers, it’s a client number and then a matter number. Write a million different ways to do that, I’m sure. Regardless of how you do it, using Zapier, the label that Clio has is the same label that I’m able to use in GMail. It’s the same project name that I have in Asana. It’s the same Notebook created in Evernote.
Adriana Linares: So it’s consistent, that’s very good.
Andrew Legrand: It’s consistent, which to me makes it easier for my law clerk or someone else to know where to go to find that information. Because before I had this kind of automation, I would create a Clio matter and then I would create a GMail label to try to remember whatever it was and it was never the same. So this not only saves me the time that you talked about but it makes my data more organized because everything is tagged or labeled or whatever, it’s consistent across the platform.
Adriana Linares: And how much does Zapier cost?
Andrew Legrand: I think I’d say about $15 a month right now.
Adriana Linares: From free. So there’s a free version which I think gives you what they call up to 5 zaps or automations. And then it’s only $15 a month and I think it goes up to 100 zaps, maybe. I’m not exactly sure but I use it too. It’s competitor, which I think a lot of people might be familiar with so we should mention it in case there’s one that they know, is This Then That. I just got an Amazon Echo not that long ago, and do you know about those?
Andrew Legrand: I haven’t seen that.
Adriana Linares: What?
Andrew Legrand: Is that the thing that you put in your house and you yell to it and it orders things?
Adriana Linares: Well, it does much more than that, it’s a robot. Long story short: I created a zap – aside from the business benefits, one of the things that’s really cool is I can tell the Amazon Echo to set the temperature in my house to 74 and it sends a message from Amazon to the nest, and it’s amazing. So aside from it just being a very cool business tool, I use it for things like when someone registers for a GoToWebinar or someone pays for an Eventbrite webinar, somehow I have to register them out of GoToWebinar and that was something I was having my assistant do all the time, then I created a zap and it does it automatically. So I think that’s a very valuable tool and they sound kind of intimidating at first. But if you’re the type of lawyer like you are that uses a lot of these web based programs, who’s entire life is on the internet on subscribed services that aren’t going to naturally talk to each other because the companies just aren’t doing that, this is a life saver. I think all of the different apps and programs that are in Zapier are amazing, and they’re adding new ones all the time. Quickbooks is one that I use all the time. When we get a new client, it goes into GMail contacts and I use Google App for business and I use Outlook and I’m like you, I’ve got a subscription for everything. But it was pain for me to remember to go create the client in Quickbooks. So then I go build the client, I go, “Oh god, I’ve got to go create the client.” So now whenever there’s a new contact that gets created in a folder in GMail, it goes to Quickbooks, it goes into the GMail contact and then it gets created as a contact, as a client in Quickbooks. So I think that’s a really helpful automation tool. What else are you using?
Andrew Legrand: A few more zaps that I think are useful, the only other one I know is if you’re getting emails that are consistent all the time, such as an event invitation or something along those lines or a notice from the court, Zapier has a built in feature called a parser. So in GMail, you can set up a rule that says if I get an email from the court, send it to this parser in Zapier, and Zapier can parse that. And now, not only do you have that email, but you have those little bits of information from the court.
Adriana Linares: Oh, I get it, it parses the data. Sorry, I wasn’t processing. FIrst name, last name, court, case number, and it puts it into-
Andrew Legrand: Well, Zapier being what it is, it can go into any other app that you might want it to go into. So for example, I get several emails requesting appointments a week and it can’t connect to my calendar because it’s coming from a third party app that’s scheduling appointments. So I’m using a parser to take that and say Adriana Linares is scheduling an appointment on Thursday at 3:30, and this is her contact information and this is her email. And that parser is parsing that information and putting it in my Google calendar and putting it in my CRN, putting it in places where I can use it. So I get the email, I acknowledge that I received it, I archive it, I get it out of my life, and know that in the background, my automation is basically being my assistant for me.
Adriana Linares: Let’s talk about your calendar because you automate that. So when I wanted to invite you onto the show, I texted you and said, “Andrew, hey! Do you want to come on New Solo and talk about your automation? What dates do you have available?” Your reply was very simple. It was a link to your calendar.
Andrew Legrand: Right, and that was actually a TextExpander snippet. I use Doodle as my general availability calendar. Doodle is a very simple app that honestly doesn’t look wholly professional, it’s very simple and simplistic, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. It can be a scheduling app but at the same time, it’s also as you saw, you click that link and it links to my calendar and it gives you in calendar format when I’m busy and when I’m available. It’s talking to my GMail calendars so it knows when I have spaces and it doesn’t show you what those actual appointments are.
Adriana Linares: Right. I didn’t know you were getting a haircut and that’s why you were late today.
Andrew Legrand: Right. That wasn’t on the calendar. I just had the time to go.
Adriana Linares: Tell me more.
Andrew Legrand: But it doesn’t require that someone goes through the process of clicking and doing this and that and actually scheduling an appointment. They can do that of course and some people do. But what I realize is that a lot of times people just look at the calendar and say, “Hey, I see you’re free at Friday at 4:30.”
Adriana Linares: Right, well I appreciate that, I like talking to you and I think you’re my friend and that’s great. But honestly, on an occasion like that, I don’t want to talk to you if you don’t need to talk. It’s when is he available, that’s the time I’m on his calendar, and it’s settled. We have agreed without even talking to each other that this is the time that you and I are going to meet.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, and I’ve looked for other apps that do that and maybe a more professional looking setting. But Doodle is very reasonably priced and it’s really effective at just showing people what the calendar is and allowing them to either just come back to you and pick a date or just schedule one through the app.
Adriana Linares: Have you ever had a client say, “That app thing is really weird, it just doesn’t look right”?
Andrew Legrand: No, I don’t think so. I think most people figure it out and they come back and it saves me the time.
Adriana Linares: It saves us the time too!
Andrew Legrand: It saves everyone the time of Thursday at 3 o’clock, just whatever. No, here’s my calendar. You figure this out, you’re requesting a meeting. And I have a couple of clients who have turned on to using it too.
Adriana Linares: I do a lot of work with the Florida Bar and last year the Bar president, one of his favorite examples of how we’re automating what we’re doing was that very thing because now with an organization like the Bar, you have fifteen people you’re trying to coordinate to get on a conference call. So we started using Doodle, which there’s a free version of it. You must have a premium version, how much do you pay?
Andrew Legrand: About $40 a year.
Adriana Linares: Oh, yeah, that’s nothing, that’s a joke. So instead of fifteen emails going around trying to coordinate fifteen people, and you know how layers are. I must email my secretary and my secretary gets it. We said no more of that. Everybody goes to Doodle. So it’s not only just can I schedule with you individually, but it also has a group calendar and components so it’s very helpful.
Andrew Legrand: Right, it’s really helpful for your fantasy football drafts when you’re trying to get twelve people available at the same time.
Adriana Linares: Yep. Perfect example, way better than mine.
Andrew Legrand: Yep, a little more exciting than the deposition. But the creator has to list a few dates and times and then people can go in there and mark yes, no and maybe.
Adriana Linares: Right, it’s like everybody’s voting for the best time.
Andrew Legrand: It basically is voting for the time. And I can actually add a time for you. So if I send it to someone and they’re not responding, I can actually call them up if I need to and say, “Okay, when are you available?” And then you’re able to look at that and say, “Adriana, can you work around this date? Because you’re the only one that can’t make this date.”
Adriana Linares: You’re the only jerk that can’t make this time so either you don’t go or you just make it work.
Andrew Legrand: Or we figure out another day.
Adriana Linares: I want to go back because you mentioned something that I want to make sure and ask you about. You mentioned web forms. So you must have forms somewhere on the web where is it like a contact form, contact me, learn more about my firm kind of thing?
Andrew Legrand: Mmhmm.
Adriana Linares: And is that automated somehow?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Of course it is, because you’re the automation king.
Andrew Legrand: This Summer has been a little slower for business so I spent a lot of time trying to fix this aspect of it.
Adriana Linares: Good. I mean not good that business was slow but I mean good that it gave you an opportunity because business is about to start booming and you’re ready.
Andrew Legrand: Right. I want to capture this. So we have, like any other lawyer, we have the contact form on our website. The name, the phone number the email address, and a brief description of your legal issue.
Adriana Linares: What do you use for the form?
Andrew Legrand: I don’t know. We use WordPress for our website.
Adriana Linares: I just want to mention in case there are listeners, JotForm is good and free and Wufoo is another good one, and of course Google Forms. All of those would be able to talk to Zapier or whatever to create some sort of automation. Tell us how you do it.
Andrew Legrand: So this is the very basic, just some WordPress plugin that collects this information. So the way it originally started is someone would fill that out, and I would get an email with their contact information and I wasn’t always able to call that person back right away. It might have been at night, it might have been on the weekend, I might have just been in a position where I wasn’t able to immediately respond to them.
Adriana Linares: And people want immediate responses.
Andrew Legrand: And they want to know that you got their message, that you received their message and you’ll be getting back to them as soon as you can. So what we did is we set it up. I also started working with a CRM-
Adriana Linares: What is that?
Andrew Legrand: CRM is a customer relationship management. It’s a way of organizing people that are coming into my law firm, that are asking for services and basically keeping track of how many people are contacting us, how they’re contacting us, who’s retaining us, our sources. Some data so we can mine into that. Not really mining into the data, that’s a whole other story. We’re collecting the data. Someday we’ll mine it. So now the way this web form works is let’s say you go to my website, you fill out the web form-
Adriana Linares: What is your website?
Andrew Legrand: SperaLaw.com.
Adriana Linares: Okay, go on.
Andrew Legrand: We have two sites, that’s our firm site. You can also go to NOLASmallBizLaw.com, it’s our blog where I talk about issues that small business owners face. Anyway, someone fills out a form on either one of those sites, their information, their name, their phone number, their email address, goes into my CRM so it’s there.
Adriana Linares: What are you using for your CRM?
Andrew Legrand: It’s called ActiveCampaign. It’s on the lower end of CRM, it’s reasonably priced but it has a lot of automation features and does email marketing and tracking of deals. So it creates a deal for this person so I could see where they are in the deal funnel. I don’t really know what a deal funnel is yet, but I have a basic idea.
Adriana Linares: Is that kind of cold? Warm? Hot?
Andrew Legrand: Right now we have contacted and are waiting for a response. So we’re not complicated here but it’s a way of keeping track of who we’re waiting on a response from. So it goes into there. At the same time, we use Ruby Receptionist for our receptionist services. An email gets sent out to Ruby telling them that Adriana Linares just submitted a request for information, here’s her phone number. When you call her back – and by the way, here’s a Google Form, a script that works with Ruby Receptionist, basically creating a Google Form script that they can go through to collect additional information from this client. So the client fills out a form, it has their name, their phone number, their email, a brief description, Ruby gets an email telling them to call this person. They usually call this person back within an hour or two and go through their script. The main purpose of the script is to collect the names of the opposing parties so we can do a conflict check before I actually talk to that person. And Ruby’s also kind of started to act as a buffer. Sometimes people don’t answer Ruby’s call and they never call back, it’s like I’m not going to really chase you because you’re not interested. I’m not going to bother you. So Ruby is an example of a Google form that I created that the client never sees. But Ruby calls them up and walks them through it and this has worked with Ruby very closely.
Adriana Linares: Do you pay Ruby extra for that?
Andrew Legrand: Ruby offers something called an assist. So their general charge is they give you X amount of minutes for incoming phone calls. If you want to make outgoing phone calls, it’s called an assist and they bill you by the minute for that. It’s a reasonable charge but Ruby calls the person, fills out that web form, and basically collects additional information from that person. The opposing parties and a few other just key facts, nothing extensive.
Adriana Linares: Right. Just enough information for you.
Andrew Legrand: Really to do my conflict check. And then at that point, that information is submitted but of course gets submitted back to CRMs who are building their file, so to speak, and then we take it from there. But again, that was started the beginning of the Summer was simply, I’m getting an email that someone submitted a web form. Now it’s I’m getting an email that somebody submitted a web form, Ruby’s calling that person, getting more information. I’m able to do a conflict check before I even need to call that person to make sure that we’re okay.
Adriana Linares: So when you called up Ruby and said, “Hey, do you do this thing?” Did they say, “Yeah, we do this all the time!”
Andrew Legrand: They said, “You’re kind of the first person to request this but we’d be happy to do that.”
Adriana Linares: Oh my god, you’re an innovator. You’re a genius.
Andrew Legrand: I think so, I don’t know, maybe. We’ll see, I think they were lying; it seems too easy.
Adriana Linares: But I love that that’s working.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, it’s been really effective. It’s nice when I get a request from somebody that usually I get copied on the email from Ruby and usually within an hour or two I get an email back from Ruby. It happened just the other day, I reached out to Ms. so and so and she didn’t answer the phone, so I left a voicemail and I made a note in your system for the next receptionist to answer when she calls back to enter information and go through that process.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. Well, before we move onto our next segment, we’re going to take a quick break to hear a message from our sponsors.
Advertiser: Ready to create and build your own solo or small firm practice? Need a nuts-and-bolts education on the 360 degree experience of starting a business? There is only one online destination dedicated to helping you achieve your goals. Solo Practice University. The only online educational and professional networking community dedicated to lawyers and law students who want to go into practice for themselves. More than 1,000 classes, 58 faculty and mentors. What are you waiting for? Check out SoloPracticeUniversity.com today.
Adriana Linares: Welcome back to New Solo, I’m Adriana Linares. With me today is Andrew Legrand. You keep saying “we,” and I want you to tell us about who the we is.
Andrew Legrand: Sure. I had a partner join me in January of 2014.
Adriana Linares: And that’s new because you had been a true solo this whole time, since 2011 when you left law school and you launched your law firm, you’ve been a true solo. Now there’s just two of you. So you really are like two solos in the thing. How are you guys doing that?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, we’re kind of two solos in a thing. My whole platform is obviously building a pretty complicated platform here.
Adriana Linares: Is the partner a male or a female?
Andrew Legrand: It’s a he.
Adriana Linares: I know that but I’m asking for our listeners. So did he do a lot of this stuff or did you have to bring him along and have to say, “Look, here’s what I’ve been building: all this automation, it’s going to be a lot easier.” Or was he sort of of the same ilk?
Andrew Legrand: He had several years and experience at a large firm doing the same type of work I was doing. So he had a better sense of the actual legal side of things than I did. I wanted those reassurances and I also just wanted somebody in there to help me cover for things and help me grow this thing and really also for me it’s almost a guinea pig. If I can build these systems to accommodate him and figure out-
Adriana Linares: Well you had to because he must have had a secretary and a receptionist and office services and a marketing department if he was at a big firm. So he was used to his whole world being delivered by these outside sources and then here you come along and you’re like, “For a mere $5,000 a month, I can automate all of that stuff and we can make some money.”
Andrew Legrand: Right. My ultimate goal is to build this platform where other lawyers can join under the brand of the Spera Law Group and have a platform that’s built for them using all this technology and they can access that where they don’t have to figure it out. BUt at the same time they can maybe have their solo practice. They don’t necessarily have to be in New Orleans, they can be anywhere in the country, but just having this back end. So by adding a partner, I was able to kind of have my guinea pig and figure it out.
Adriana Linares: Does he know he’s your guinea pig?
Andrew Legrand: To an extent, yeah. He’s the person who tests these things out. It’s actually user testing because a lot of times I’m doing things and I know it’s easier for me to figure out. And he’s a smart guy, he’s somewhat tech savvy and he can figure this out. So that’s kind of my test of is this process hard or do I need to figure out how to make this process easier.
Adriana Linares: What other tools are you using? I know you’ve got some other tricks up your sleeve that will probably make your partner’s skin crawl. Like when you mentioned the words Google Script, does he go, “What?”
Andrew Legrand: Oh yeah, he doesn’t even know about that, that’s all in the background. There’s a lot of things under the hood that I just kind of do without explaining to him.
Adriana Linares: So what’s Google scripting?
Andrew Legrand: So we’re on Google Apps for work. We’re using that for our email, for our calendar and for our file storage.
Adriana Linares: Which is a step up from free GMail, so.
Andrew Legrand: Which is a step up from free GMail, but the terms of service are a lot better and I actually hold my data unlike the free GMail.
Adriana Linares: Right, that’s an important point.
Andrew Legrand: Important point to make there. So one feature that we’re using is Clio, of course, links to Google Drive. When I create a new matter in Clio, Clio creates a folder for that client and then a sub folder for that matter within Google Drive, which is nice, because now you have a sub folder to work with. The problem is that you don’t have any subfolders within that, so-
Adriana Linares: Like pleadings, correspondence, memos-
Andrew Legrand: Documents, word processing, that sort of thing. So Google Script is a platform that lives within Google itself, and I’ve set up a Google Script to look for new matters that are created and then automatically create those sub folders if they don’t already exist. So when I open up a new matter, within minutes – or I think it runs every hour – it looks to see if there are any matter folders that don’t have any sub folders on and then automatically creates them. And that’s completely Cloud based, it’s not dependant on any server.
Adriana Linares: It sounds like coding. Was it coding or is Google Script kind of Google scripting something that’s as easy as Zapier?
Andrew Legrand: Well, it’s either that or pay somebody and it’s easier to write it than to pay somebody and describe what you want to do.
Adriana Linares: No other lawyer’s really going to understand that, but-
Andrew Legrand: There are a few, there are a few out there who are coding these sorts of things.
Adriana Linares: How did you get into coding? Because you had to figure this out?
Andrew Legrand: It was a need that I recognized. I guess this might have been the first thing I automated. The first client I get, I think these files folders might have been the first thing I tried to start automating. The first client I got, I opened a folder for them and created this folder and said, “Okay, now where do I store stuff?”
Adriana Linares: Because in the old days, before there was the Cloud, you just created in your My Documents and you had one probably called folder form and then in that folder were all the subforms that you would copy and paste and then rename it. So it’s kind of what you’re doing except you’re not.
Andrew Legrand: That was the first thing I took where I created the default folder structure and I had to go in there and copy and paste every time and I was like, there’s got to be a better way of doing this. Especially when I’m trying to build a platform that other lawyers can use. If my partner opened up a matter, how am I supposed to know to go in there and create these file folders for him and what happens if he doesn’t do that? Now it’s inconsistent, now someone else can’t find the data.
Adriana Linares: And does Google Script create different folders based on the different type of matter it is from Clio?
Andrew Legrand: No, it’s not that complicated yet.
Adriana Linares: Yet, my friend. By the next time I talk to you I need you to have that figured out.
Andrew Legrand: What I had been working on recently this week is when emails come in, we label them according to the GMail label. We’re using a program called Grexit. Not the Greek exit, but the Grexit. It’s spelled the same.
Adriana Linares: There’s a Greek exit? I don’t even know what that is.
Andrew Legrand: Yeah the whole euro zone. It’s spelled the same. So if you Google Grexit, a lot of times you’ll find the Greek exit, so maybe you have to Google “Grexit GMail.” But it syncs emails across our entire domain. So when I get an email from you about your file and I tag it, that email will eventually pop up in my partner’s all mail section.
Adriana Linares: And how do you get it into Clio?
Andrew Legrand: We don’t get it into Clio simply because there’s no utility for it.
Adriana Linares: And it’s too much.
Andrew Legrand: It’s too much and it doesn’t add a whole lot of value. My email’s in GMail and I have all of my emails that you sent me and I have all the emails that Chad and his clients have sent him, I have the whole record there. In Gmail I can go to the label, I can search easier, I can have all the HTML. We’ve thought about putting them in Clio but it just doesn’t add any utility. There’s no search, there’s no HTML, it’s very basic, so we leave them in GMail. But what I’ve thought about over is what happens if we delete a label or did something crazy like that? We have hundreds of thousands of emails and they’re all labeled all nice and created this record. While I’m working on a Google Script to look for these emails and then save them as PDFs in the client’s folder on Google Drive.
Adriana Linares: That’s what Grexit does for you.
Andrew Legrand: Grexit syncs the emails across GMail. So when Chad gets an email and labels it for a client, it comes into my mailbox. I don’t see the email, you can put a setting I don’t want that in my inbox. But if I search for it with the label, it’s in there, and that works really well for the clients we both work on. We’re not forwarding emails. It’s also really useful for emails like, “Hey, we just got our insurance bill.” I tag it with “FYI,” and he sees this. I’m not forwarding and he can respond right away. So Grexit does that. But then in the background when I save all those emails to PDFs, that’s really useful just for data retention and making sure that if the labels get deleted we don’t lose all that. It’s also really useful for if we have a few clients leave or if we fire them or one reason or another and they’ve asked for a copy of their file, that’s part of their file. So now I’m able to just take that whole client folder and it should have all the pleadings, all the documents and all the emails and enable to give that to them right away.
Adriana Linares: And how were you doing the emails?
Andrew Legrand: That is Google Script.
Adriana Linares: Google, back to Google Script. You’re like a script kiddie.
Andrew Legrand: I am a script kiddie. It’s actually gotten a lot easier. Google just released – I don’t know if it’s another version of their script thing – they’ve upped their game in that department in the past few months in 2015.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, those guys aren’t going anywhere.
Andrew Legrand: Nope. And it’s gotten a lot better and it was actually surprisingly easier to write that than you might think.
Adriana Linares: So it’s pretty amazing, all these things you’ve done. Quick question for you that came to my mind and I have a feeling listeners are going to start wondering. Have you ever added up how much you spend monthly on all these services? Because we rattled off a lot of things. We know you use Gmail, you use Clio, you use Zapier, you use the form tool, you’ve got Ruby. It’s starting in my mind, I’m going cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching, wow. You’re probably spending at least $500 a month. If not 6 or 7, probably even more.
Andrew Legrand: Probably not even $500. Close to $500 or around there. Actually, maybe more than a little bit of that with Ruby.
Adriana Linares: Alright, so that doesn’t sound like that much money to spend. Have you ever thought about how much you’re saving by not having to pay a human being to do all these things?
Andrew Legrand: No, not really, because I like that by having a computer do it, it’s consistent every time. It’s not dependant on getting sick or picking a kid up at school or there being a holiday.
Adriana Linares: Not that there’s anything wrong with those things as a human being.
Andrew Legrand: No, that’s great and there’s a lot of things that we need humans to do. But a lot of these things are simple. Moving documents, moving data from one place or another that just needs to be done consistently and properly each and every time. So I don’t know how much we’re saving because it’s not like I had someone going in and then I fired them and I was able to compare that. There’s a really funny cartoon I found that’s on the XKCD website. It’s about automation and it was a chart about the cost of paying someone to do it and just getting it done and then the automation cost of figuring out how to automate it and then fixing it every few months when it breaks. So that’s kind of the buyer beware story behind this whole thing is that you set these things up and they work for a good while but then you change something up in the chain and the whole thing breaks and you’ve got to go fix a whole lot. So it’s definitely not something set it and forget it, it’s very much a tinker development.
Adriana Linares: So you spend a lot of time tinkering. You enjoy it. So let’s start with one you enjoy and maybe not every lawyer is going to enjoy it but one you enjoy. I think there are a lot of tips we have given where you don’t have to spend that much effort like just getting tax snippets down. Just getting some simple forms automated. You don’t have to start learning how to do Google Scripting, you just start with a couple of basic things and then grow up from there.
Andrew Legrand: Exactly, and just knowing that they’re out there. The Form Tool, for example, just recently started a certification program. So you don’t necessarily have to create those forms yourself, but if you have a form you’ve been using for decades, you can give it to a certified consultant and have them go through it and do it for you. So just knowing that it’s there is powerful because that means that you don’t have to do it yourself but you can do it. You just need to find the right person to help you do it.
Adriana Linares: Well, it looks like we’ve reached the end of our program again with Andrew, which is terrible, because we learned so much from you, it’s been really great. This was the second of two episodes that we decided to do together because you’re so informative and helpful and I can’t believe all this stuff you’ve figured out. So I really want to thank you. And remind our listeners one more time how they can stalk you on the internet if you’d like to do that.
Andrew Legrand: Well thank you for having me, it’s my pleasure to be here and share this information and get it out there. Find me on the internet, find me on Twitter, of course, @LawByLeGrand. They can go to my website, SperaLaw.com, or NOLASmallBizLaw.com. Or just Google me, Andrew Legrand New Orleans and it will show up there.
Adriana Linares: Thanks a lot Andrew. That brings us to the end of our show. I’m Adriana Linares and thank you for listening. Join us next time for that next great episode and remember: you’re not alone, you’re a new solo.
Advertiser: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice. Solo, here, on Legal Talk Network.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own, and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by, Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
[End of Transcript]
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
Guest Jonathan Greenblatt shares four tips for building a successful legal career, even when you’re not in the job you expected.
Having launched as a solo just a year ago, Kelly Roberts shares tips that made her practice profitable by month two.
Lawclerk co-founder Greg Garman expounds on how the pandemic, aka, the tech enlightenment period, opened doors for lawyers and legal business.
Digital marketing expert Jason Marsh explains how internet ad campaigns work in concert with a firm’s client intake process.
Neil J. Squillante announces TechnoLawyer’s Top Product Awards for 2020.
Legal marketing expert Conrad Saam demystifies online marketing with no-nonsense tips about SEO, choosing a URL, and hiring a marketer.