Firm: Tectonic, LLP
Location: San Francisco, CA
Practice Areas: Intellectual Property
About Tectonic, LLP
Tectonic, LLP is a boutique intellectual property and business law firm in San Francisco, owned and operated by attorneys Hannah M. Stitt and Paige N. Pembrook. The firm provides transactional and litigation services to businesses and individuals in the areas of trademark law, copyright law, privacy law, and consumer protection, and related business issues. Tectonic, LLP resolves disputes and counsels clients on protecting intangible assets, enforcing rights, and pressure points where business operations brush up against laws and regulations. Tectonic’s lawyers work with clients in and out of court to identify and mitigate risk and design legal strategies that align with clients’ unique business goals, priorities and opportunities. They live, work and play in Silicon Valley and are tech-savvy. The firm utilizes technology that protects client information and assets and provides fast and efficient workflows that lead to timely results at lower costs to clients.
Before forming Tectonic, Pembrook and Stitt worked in other law firms and legal clinics and learned the value of legal practice management (LPM) software. LPMs can eliminate redundancies in the business and practice of law, allowing attorneys to manage cases efficiently, produce timely work product, keep contemporaneous time records and bill clients appropriately and in sufficient detail to avoid disputes and get paid on time.
With CARET Legal, we don’t need to copy ourselves on email messages, you can find the information you need from various custom views when you need it. You can quickly see the last communications with a client using a communication log and track all system activity from audit log files.
– HANNAH STITT, TECTONIC, LLP
But much of the LPM software Pembrook and Stitt used was not clear and user-friendly. Attorneys, legal staff and third-party support personnel were unsure how the software worked and where they could find and report on information. When presented with unfamiliar and complex tools, some people were unwilling or hesitant to learn to use them, which caused delays in resolving client disputes, completing time sheets and invoicing clients.
When Pembrook and Stitt founded Tectonic, they engaged a free trial of CARET Legal and ran operations with it and an integrated payment processor called LawPay. The partners continued with CARET Legal but replaced LawPay with CARET’s own integrated payments product. As a startup law firm, Tectonic brought little data to CARET but plenty of practical experience. All at once, CARET Legal gave Tectonic a fresh and refreshing start.
CARET Legal: Everything to Know and Learn
“With CARET Legal, we don’t need to copy ourselves on email messages,” says Stitt. “You can find the information you need from various custom views when you need it. You can quickly see the last communications with a client using a communication log and track all system activity from audit log files.”
Tectonic staff could access the information they needed fast – as well as information they didn’t know they needed. “CARET keeps the accounting and reporting tools in one place and includes bookkeeping tools. The system keeps track of certain things, and I could see things I should know,” says Stitt. “CARET Legal teaches you how to manage a law practice and reports the financials you should be looking for.”
“CARET Legal is intuitive in how it all connects,” says Stitt. Tectonic staff found task management easily integrated with their practical skills and knowledge to accomplish client objectives and goals.
Lawyers Are Businesspeople with CARET
CARET Legal is a web-based LPM system with billing, accounting and reporting tools and a built-in client management relationship system. The system also supports integrated payment processing. Using Task Templates, Stitt and Pembrook easily stored all their predefined procedures in a single location. The Task Template system allowed attorneys to tag, sort, filter and create subtasks easily.
By streamlining processes, the firm saved clients time and money and reduced margins of error to close to zero. Stitt and Pembrook knew precisely where they were on every case, following specific steps according to a case plan.
CARET Legal’s integrated system allows Tectonic to accomplish work and get paid in a timely way. “Integrating the billing system, calendar and document storage allows attorneys to complete time sheets contemporaneously with daily work,” says Pembrook. That translates to getting the bills to clients while the work is fresh in their minds and getting paid on time and efficiently.
“It’s a problem that lawyers are not taught how to be businesspeople,” says Stitt. But CARET Legal can lead the way. The system tracks time sheets and rates and reports how much to pay attorneys for a period. And with built-in CRM, billing and accounting system, income can be projected from leads and tracked to amounts billed and received to determine realization rates by case type.
“Before using CARET Legal, seven hours elapsed from the time we initially saw a lead to a signed retainer,” says Stitt. “But once we used custom intake forms to populate CARET Legal as well as a task template, the firm reduced that time to 2.5 hours.” And with the CRM, the firm can analyze prospective client and case information and project income from the engagement or referral.
If you need help, the company “maintains a robust knowledge base of information for you to resolve your issues,” says Stitt. But users also can call and talk to a live support person, which is extremely useful in a stop-work situation.
About CARET Legal
Formerly known as Zola Suite, CARET Legal is the leading platform to automate the most critical processes in your firm to manage all aspects of your practice. From client intake to matter management to back-office reporting to integrated payment processing – CARET Legal has you covered. CARET Legal helps you save time, increase team collaboration, increase accuracy, scale your business and collect revenue faster than ever before.