Our Customizable Reports Save Amy Time, and Our Automated Docketing
Puts Her at Ease
Amy Sullivan CahillOwner and AttorneyCahill IP, PLLC
In her early days as an IP attorney, Amy Cahill worked at large firms with huge dockets and lots of administrative staff. Since she had paralegals and legal assistants to manage her docket for her, she was far removed from the docketing activities. Docketing felt like “something magical happening behind the curtain,” and she was intimidated by the thought of having to manage her own docket. This system had a lot of flaws, too.
“There were issues in getting the information to the person doing the data entry. Sometimes the information just didn’t get across in a clear manner. For example, if an extension was reported, sometimes it would be reported twice, and a two-week extension got logged as a four-week one, so it got set beyond the date at which the extension was actually granted. I felt like we always ran the risk of human error. I won’t say there were a lot of mistakes, but if anyone made a mistake, I knew that it would be my responsibility, and it caused me a lot of anxiety.”
Although she did not handle the software herself, Amy says that she was often frustrated by it. She especially hated the reporting. Her requests were simple enough: she just wanted to be able to show her clients what marks she was handling for them. However, the results were often a disappointment.
“What came back was the worst looking thing you could imagine. The formatting was something that looked like an Excel spreadsheet, but it was impossible to embed in a letter or anything like this. I’d then have to spend non-billable time trying to fix the reports. The reports were also simultaneously incomplete and over-inclusive. They had a lot of information in them that nobody needed, and they were missing some critical data that clients needed. They were a complete waste of time.”
After practicing at large firms for almost 20 years, Amy suspected that she could cut overhead and provide the same great service she’d offered at larger firms for lower rates, so she started her own practice. She also knew that technology would be a critical component of cutting costs.
“One of your primary concerns is to maintain a affordable robust docketing system when you leave a large law firm. If you can’t get around that, you can’t move forward. I didn’t know what my software options were, but if there were no options, I don’t think I could’ve started my own firm.”
As she was researching software, though, Amy stumbled across Alt Legal. She says she knew immediately that it was different. In the weeks leading up to starting her firm, she signed up for a trial to familiarize herself with the software. A number of factors influenced her decision to try Alt Legal.
“The price point was set to a level where I could try it, and I appreciated the month-to-month option. Other providers didn’t really offer that, but it made the barrier to entry very low. Mostly, though, because Alt Legal’s team was willing to help me get started so quickly and easily, it gave me confidence that I was ready to get started. Immediately when I started talking to Nehal, I thought, ‘This person gets it and understands what trademark law is supposed to look like.’”
However, it was our personalized service and simple setup really tipped the scales for Amy. A couple of weeks after starting her trial, she decided that she was ready to launch her solo practice. On her first day as a solo attorney, she already had a full docket set up with all of her deadlines automatically calculated. From day one, Alt Legal has been the cornerstone of her practice.
I almost never have to spend any attorney time on docketing
“I almost never have to spend any attorney time on docketing. I also don’t spend any time to say ‘put this on the docket,’ and I don’t need to explain deadlines to others. Alt Legal handles the docketing and puts all my deadlines on my calendar. I then use the weekly status emails to plan my days and distribute work.”
Just under a year after starting Cahill IP, Amy’s practice has grown tremendously. The firm now has four attorneys all working remotely. She attributes much of her success to the technology she uses. It helps her keep costs low.
“I knew that I could serve clients as well as large firms for less money. I never set out to undercut competition; I just wanted my pricing to be fair. Years of experience billing clients has taught me that they don’t want to be charged for administrative services or other things that they don’t see the value of or don’t understand. Clients love the straightforwardness and simplicity of our billing model.”
Like many of our customers, Amy says while she loves our easy-to-use and automated interface, our customer service is what sets us apart from the competition.
“If there is a problem, there is always someone I can call to fix that problem immediately. Even in the cloud-based space where customer service tends to be good, Alt Legal takes it to another level. This is a company started and run by legal professionals, so they get it. They make my practice possible.”