ContactsLaw has been a continuous collaborative effort between lawyers and software developers since 2005.
Our journey started in the mid-2000s when tech-savvy lawyers and talented IT professionals partnered with a Western Australian law practice that was no stranger to technology, having pioneered the use of early CRM software decades before.
We were initially tasked with writing utilities to bridge the gap between the firm’s ambitions and their legacy practice management software (which was absolutely not up to the task). One of the big issues with their existing software was that it was built around an outdated way of doing business. Archaic concepts like billing in 6-minute units, on-charging printing and photocopying costs, assuming every payment was by cheque and that every document was a letter; and so on. This came at a time when the firm’s use of email and electronic payments was on the rise, and there was a growing momentum behind fixed and value pricing. There was great longing within the practice to adopt a better way of doing business, but their software was holding them back – and worse still, lacked the means to deliver the productivity gains needed to make the transition.
Our initial goals were narrow in scope; delivering simple outcomes like being able to manage emails more effectively, linking file notes to time entries and automatically synchronising client details between several redundant sources. Though simple, these utilities nevertheless began to deliver significant benefits to the law practice. As time went on, the continuous trickle of requests for new features grew into a raging stream; and soon the lawyers were spending more time in our custom front-end than they were in the PMS.
It wasn’t long before other firms caught wind of what we were doing (our users liked to brag, after all), and we realised there was a strong appetite for a software solution that substantively addressed the real, front-line needs of lawyers. We embarked upon a project to build a complete practice management system from scratch, with continuous input and feedback from lawyers in a “live lab” environment. We named it ContactsLaw; reflecting the key principle of capturing and reusing the law practice’s greatest asset; contacts.
Of course, we didn’t stop there. After building the core components of ContactsLaw – CRM, matter management, accounting and billing – we returned to the law firm’s aspirational business model to begin implementing a better way of managing documents. Operating on the bold assumption that every incoming and outgoing document should exist in electronic form (because of course they should), we designed features to help catalogue and leverage the benefits of doing so; as well as creating a powerful document production platform to streamline and standardise what was coming out of the firm. Central to realising the firm’s goals was the implementation of workflow; where a traditional PMS would simply serve as a way of recording that a business process occurred in the past, ContactsLaw would take the users on a journey from start to finish, offering guidance and enforcing policies along the way. This meant that staff required less training and spent fewer hours on menial tasks.
Even after taking the product to market, we continued to work intensively with our growing user base to respond to new challenges and realise ideas we previously thought impossible; including solution-based billing, payroll, process automation, advanced document production and interactive user-created forms. ContactsLaw is now an essential part of several successful law firms, and we are proud to be able to help them find new and innovative ways to use the software to boost productivity and profit.
The next chapter in the story of ContactsLaw requires a fresh start. As the legal profession continues to change and evolve, so does Information Technology; the rising popularity of Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud computing and a strong desire to be able to work from any location, on any device are at the forefront of our efforts. We are transforming ContactsLaw from an on-premises solution to a cloud-first design, and will be offering both desktop and web-based interfaces without compromising on functionality. We are also moving to a subscription pricing model, which will eliminate upfront costs and make it easier for users to come on-board.
You can help us write this new chapter by registering your interest in ContactsLaw 2.0 and telling us what matters to you.