Solo law practice comes with its own set of distinctive challenges. Discover how Lisa Adler, an experienced Estate Planning attorney successfully conquered the transition from a mid-sized law firm to solo practice with Gavel.
Lisa Adler is a seasoned attorney who took the plunge into the solopreneur journey in February 2023: she launched her own Estate Law firm, Adler Estate Law LLC, based in Indiana. In her 19 years of law practice leading up to this
choice, Lisa acted as managing partner of a mid-sized, full-service law firm and was involved in firm-wide transformation projects. Through Adler Estate Law LLC, she now focuses on the needs of estate planning, trust, and probate clients.
Gavel played a key role in the success of her new practice: it now helps her achieve just as much as a solo practitioner as she did with a full team of staff in her previous firm, after just a few weeks of implementation and without the need for extensive technical skills.
Following her transition from a mid-sized firm to solo practice, Lisa faced the pivotal challenge of how to achieve more with fewer resources. She sought a solution to reduce the need for additional staff while maintaining efficiency and the excellent service expected by her clients. Lisa knew technology could offer an effective way forward to the challenge at hand, given that she had experimented with her fair share of legal technology.
In fact, in the past 4 years, she had tried but opted out of different solutions, and spent time researching and demoing additional options, but yet, still struggled to find the solution that was the right fit for her needs.
Lisa was searching for automation software that was easy and quick to learn and implement. As a solo-practitioner, she did not have staff or an unlimited amount of her own time to allocate to building out a document automation process. Gavel offered such a user-friendly platform that in just a few weeks, she was able to build, by herself, a fully functional system to generate her suite of estate planning documents, all while practicing law full-time:
“I just went on my own with a client base at the end of February. I've got kids at home. My life is very, very busy. This isn't the only thing I do. And I'm beside myself with joy that I have this much out there already, that I was able to get that far with the Gavel build out.”
In addition, Lisa saved a great deal of time in resolving complex situations or roadblocks, through the efficient assistance of the Gavel Customer Support team. She notes how this was an important differentiator from her experience with other platforms as it helped her benefit from the full potential of Gavel:
“What I've got from you all that I didn't get from anybody else was incredible backup support when I'm stuck (...) And that's what makes it actually fully usable for an attorney to do it themselves.”
Lisa was truly impressed with how effortlessly she was able to integrate Gavel into her practice, despite her busy schedule, and without the need for extensive training or significant time investment.
While Lisa valued ease of use, she did not want to trade off the ability to customize granular aspects of her workflow for simplicity's sake. Gavel provided Lisa with a product robust enough to do so, that allowed her to leverage from a broad range of built-in features to automate detailed portions of her process or intricate decision-trees. Thanks to these no-code features, she successfully automated complex tasks, such as the calculations involved in generating her asset inventory tables. Gavel functionalities truly made it possible for Lisa to remain fully in control of the process she was building, even if she did not have the technical skills of a programmer.
In Gavel, Lisa found the perfect harmony between the ease of use and the capacity for extensive customization:
“The art form of making it so that a non-coder can use it, but yet I can get into the weeds. Other platforms get way too technical too quick, and you can’t do it yourself. Gavel has that balance. I’ve determined that Gavel’s the one, Gavel does what I need!”
With a swift implementation process and the flexibility to build a process tailored to the needs of her practice, Lisa was quickly able to observe how Gavel became a game-changer in her practice:
Lisa's most striking observation was the fact that she is now able to perform the same amount of work with a similar size client-base as a solo attorney with a remote paralegal as the amount accomplished when she had a full team of staff. It is obvious to her that automation is inevitable in the industry, and the efficiency she gains from using Gavel keeps her up to speed with other players in the legal market:
“The big law firm, they built their own custom product. And for us in this solo world, I think we’re in the golden era to be a solo or a small firm, and it’s because of products like Gavel. To really exist as a solo and to have that competitive edge, you have to find a way to use products like Gavel.”
Gavel also fulfilled one of Lisa's top priorities: to provide better service to her clients. With Gavel, she now delivers more value to them by ensuring that their time and resources are maximized during their interactions with her.
While she was worried about potential client resistance to automating the estate planning document generation process, she was surprised her online intake questionnaires had a much higher completion rate than the PDF forms she used to provide for completion.
To Lisa, it was crucial to automate the client intake part of her practice:
“To me, it’s not the highest and best use of their time with me. I feel like we’re getting to the core of the value added I can do as your attorney […], if you’re going to sit down and pay me, how can we both benefit the most from it.” By automating these low-value tasks, she can now focus most of her time on problem-solving and on customized, strategic advising – which provides higher-quality legal service to her clients.
Gavel has changed the day-to-day of Lisa’s practice to the point she does not believe she would be able to sustain her solo-practice without it.
She streamlines many of her routine tasks, as documents that require very minor or no customization at all, are now almost “ready to go” from the moment the Gavel workflow is completed.
Gavel also enables her to delegate work to her paralegal with more confidence due to the improved quality control achieved through automation. She knows that she will not have to deal with correcting human errors like typos, name mispellings, or inconsistencies. This reduces the time she needs to put into document review, giving her more freedom for higher-value activities.
While Lisa has admittedly always enjoyed being an attorney, her passion for her vocation has been reignited though the integration of Gavel to her practice, since it allows her to enjoy the most stimulating aspects of being an attorney.
Now that Lisa has adopted Gavel, she has it on the “top of her tech stack”. She plans to automate all parts of her practice, by integrating other solutions that complement with Gavel.
Additionally, Lisa envisions exploring new ways to offer her legal services. She states that Gavel has made it possible to confidently offer flat fee billing to her clients because she can accurately predict the time she’ll allocate to a file, which opens the door to alternative fee agreements.
She’s also exploring the possibility for productization and DIY legal services, as she was initially attracted to Gavel by the way HelloDivorce leverages the solution:
“It frees me up to think about all these other ways in which clients may need and want to receive services that aren’t being tapped at all right now. Gavel allows me to have the freedom to be more creative, and look into the different ways in which there’s untapped need in this market.”
Lisa considers Gavel a key-part of her success in her solo-practice, and it’s empowering her to consider additional avenues for the growth of her new law firm.
Join hundreds of other attorneys like Lisa who are now thriving in their solo or smaller firm legal practice. You can easily start your own journey with Gavel and experience the same benefits by building your streamlined online client intake and by automating the generation of your wills, personal directives, and power of attorneys documents.
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