Elder Law of East Tennessee Uses Actionstep to Increase Firm Value
The team at Elder Law of East Tennessee talk about using Actionstep to increase firm value, create new revenue streams and support a successful succession plan.
About Elder Law of East Tennessee
Attorney Amelia Crotwell is the founder of Elder Law of East Tennessee, a boutique US Elder Law and Estate Planning practice. As a legal practice, Amelia & her team help elder people and their families take control of the long-term care journey. As a business, Amelia wanted to ensure that she took control of the firm’s long-term journey towards succession. Being able to create value within the business would allow it to grow successfully and ultimately become an attractive practice for another firm to buy - which was her ideal outcome in terms of succession.
Here’s how they did it:
The Right Technology – customizing the system
“Part of our succession planning was to have a practice management system that allowed me to be organized and efficient and deliver great services to clients, so that it increased the value in the sale of my business” Amelia Crotwell, JD, Founder & Owner of Elder Law of East Tennessee.
Elder Law of East Tennessee recognized that there was value in how they did things, as their unique approach ultimately led to positive client experiences and outcomes. In researching a variety of practice management systems, they identified customization as a key criterion. They chose Actionstep, a customizable legal practice management system (PMS), that would allow them to incorporate their specific ways of handling matters into replicable processes within their PMS.
Process Mapping – bedding down valuable processes
The team at Elder Law of East Tennessee mapped out the existing processes within the firm for each type of case and matter. This involved identifying and ordering key steps within each case type. From this, they were able to design step by step workflows that were built into their Actionstep PMS. Within each step of a workflow, they identified all the associated tasks to be automatically assigned to different team members, as well as the automatic updates that should be sent to clients throughout the case workflow so they were kept informed on progress.
Business Benefits & Value Creation
Team Transparency & Efficiency
By customizing and building detailed workflows into their PMS, everyone on the Elder Law of East Tennessee team knew what stage each case was on, what needed to happen next and who should be doing it. This gave the team complete transparency across all the work being done at the firm, without having to check up manually. Creating efficiency and accountability.
Great Client Experiences
Operating at a high level of service delivery is crucial to Elder Law of East Tennessee’s business. Their goal is to have consistently happy clients who are thrilled with the service they are getting. Keeping clients automatically informed on their case and providing an efficient, responsive service is the foundation of this client happiness. Malinda Joshi, Practice Manager at Elder Law of East Tennessee, attributes their ability to consistently function at such a high level of service to Actionstep.
New Recurring Revenue Streams
Elder Law of East Tennessee used the workflows and templates they created in Actionstep to develop an Elder Law & Estate Planning Toolkit for other firms. Other firms can purchase this as an add-on to their Actionstep system in Actionstep’s Marketplace. This provides the firm with a valuable new recurring revenue stream to supplement their legal work.
The add-on includes a set of workflows, templates, custom data fields, participant types and a help guide specific to Elder law and Estate Planning. Each workflow contains its own set of steps and tasks customized to the nature of the work involved in that type of matter. As the matter progresses through a workflow, tasks, deadlines and templates are automatically generated and assigned to particular roles, such as the Attorney or Legal Assistant. The add-on can be further customized once purchased, but gives firms practicing Elder Law & Estate Planning a tried and tested set of workflows and templates and other tools to work from right away.
Elder Law of East Tennessee has now grown from 2 to 20 people. Their success is down to the team, the demand for their services and the excellent client experiences they deliver, however, they believe that kind of growth would not have been sustainable or manageable without using Actionstep and the customised workflows in the system.
For small law firms, having a succession plan in place is vital in order to work toward a definitive future. Whether you plan to end your practice, hand it over to someone else or sell it to another firm, maintaining and growing the value of your practice is crucial. Elder Law of East Tennessee knew they wanted to work toward selling the practice to another firm or owner.
They recognized that in order for a buyer to take over the running of their practice, there could be no business disruption from learning in or creating new systems. Amelia says “By having a customized system with bespoke processes built into workflows, the practice has order and systems that the new owners can use right out of the box. They don’t need to recreate the wheel. They can step in and continue the practice without disruption.”
Be clear on firm goals and choose technology that enables them
Amelia Crotwell and the team at Elder Law of East Tennessee increased the value of their firm through custom workflow creation, which not only gave their clients excellent experiences, but enabled such growth at the firm that they were able to sell their practice as part of a long-term succession plan.
“Actionstep has allowed us to grow, it has allowed us to expand because it adds systems, adds organization & efficiency. It gives me a platform for recurring revenue streams. It let me build a successful business that someone else wanted to buy.” Amelia Crotwell, JD, Founder & Owner of Elder Law of East Tennessee