Alt Legal: Trademark and Patent Docketing Software
"My law school didn’t really offer courses in IP law, but one day I took a CLE course on IP law. It was a full-day course with almost no props or slides or notes, but I could not move from my seat the whole time. It was the most interesting thing I’d ever heard. I thought, ‘I could do that forever.’ So I became an IP attorney."
Amy Sullivan Cahill
Cahill IP, PLLC
Owner and Attorney
Boutique IP Firm

In her early days as an IP attorney, Amy Cahill worked at large firms with significant dockets and lots of administrative support. Because she had paralegals and legal assistants to manage her docket, she was far removed from those 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 was not without flaws, though, 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, sometimes extensions would be reported multiple times by different attorneys, resulting in false deadlines. I felt like we always ran the risk of human error. If anyone made a mistake, I knew that it would be my responsibility, and the thought caused me anxiety."

Although she did not handle the docketing 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 a spreadsheet, but it wasn’t ever something that I could provide directly to a client. I’d then have to spend non-billable time trying to edit and reformat the reports. The reports also had a lot of information in them that nobody needed, and they were missing some critical data that clients wanted. It ended up being a waste of time."

After practicing at large firms for fifteen 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 knew that technology would be a critical component of cutting costs, though.

"One of your primary concerns when you leave a large law firm is being able to manage a robust docket cost efficiently and accurately. If you do not have that, you can’t move forward. I didn’t know what my software options were, but if I hadn’t found a reliable and cost-effective system, 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 “something different.” In the weeks leading up to starting her own 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 at a level that I could afford as a solo practitioner, and I appreciated the month-to-month option. Other providers didn’t really offer monthly options and easy setup, but Alt Legal made the barrier to entry very low. Mostly, though, Alt Legal’s team was willing to help me to get started so quickly and easily, and having my docket available gave me confidence that I was ready to get started. Immediately upon talking to the [Alt Legal CEO] Nehal [Madhani], I thought, ‘This person gets it.’"

Our personalized service and simple setup really tipped the scales for Amy, though. A couple of weeks after starting her trial, 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 attorney time on docketing. I also don’t spend any time saying ‘put this on the docket,’ and I don’t need to explain to others how to input deadlines. 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 about a year after starting Cahill IP, Amy’s practice has grown tremendously. The firm now has four attorneys all with the option of 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 just as well as large firms for less money. I never set out to undercut competition; I just wanted my pricing to be fair and provide value to my clients. 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 appreciate 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 help make my practice possible."