We interviewed Family law attorney Bob Noone about his experiences in managing a multistate adoption and child protection firm. Robert Noone Legal Services was first established in 1989, in Logan, West Virginia. In 2008 he opened a second office in Alabama. Noone Legal Services provides families in West Virginia and Alabama with adoption‐related legal services. His focus is on protecting the legal rights of hopeful adoptive parents and assuring that the adoption process, which can be challenging and confusing, is understandable and as hassle-free as possible.
Our discussion with Noone focused on the business and management aspects of running a law firm and the impact of technology over the years.
Remote Work in the Early Days
Noone was an early adopter of new legal technology in situations when he was convinced that it could improve his practice. In the early years, he would meet with clients at their homes, or they would visit his office. When traveling between West Virginia and Alabama and collaborating with a paralegal in Colorado put a crimp in his client response times, Noone was quick to try cloud-based document-sharing applications such as Dropbox.
“Because I was in multiple states, I started using video formats way back when. Before there was Skype, there was a thing called Lightspeed, I believe.”
He saw the potential for legal technology to improve productivity and efficiency.
Adapting to a Virtual Law Firm Model Over Time
In 2007, Noone once again took a step forward with technology to improve his support for clients. As one lawyer with a large load of juvenile cases, he found that a legal practice management system helped him keep track of documents, cases, deadlines, and schedules. As he continued to organize and digitize over time, the firm became paperless. Noone became known as the attorney who could locate documents, records, and emails on the fly in a courtroom when the judge needed additional facts. To gain the full advantage of the cloud, Noone decided to use a private cloud designed to host a law firm’s critical data and applications.
A New Appreciation for Remote Advantages
After years of working in virtual mode across time zones, Noone says, “It took a good pandemic for me to really reap the value of all of the automation and case management software I had.” Though he had had a secure private cloud workspace and access to case documents from any location or device, he had continued to meet in person with clients. When the pandemic compelled him to go fully remote, he found an even greater appreciation for the benefits of a legal practice management system; automation, enhanced communications, and security controls.
The client experience upgraded enormously when the firm automated the client intake process. Clients, unable to meet the attorney in person, can complete an intake form with all known details about the adoption on his secure site. The completed intake form merges with the platform’s filing capabilities. “In counties with e-filing, if you get to me before 5:00 p.m. East Coast time, I can file before midnight.” Intake automation allowed Noone to break a record during the pandemic, filing 43 adoptions in a single month.
As virtual communications become more important than ever, Noone finds even greater value in legal practice management systems. He has the ability to schedule calls and meetings wherever he has an internet connection, see details on the client’s case while speaking with them on the phone, and capture call notes for future reference.
Clients also appreciate the streamlined communications offered by the client portal. Clients can quickly and easily upload documents related to the case and send private messages.
State courts slowed significantly due to delays caused by the pandemic. Noone was instrumental in lobbying the Supreme Court of West Virginia to change an existing rule and add uncontested adoptions to a list of hearings that could be handled by videoconferencing. “I just think that that really is a signal of where things will be headed. And the courts were reticent to change and had their status quo.” Concerns on the part of the courts regarding how to handle live hearings and proceedings virtually have been answered in part by encryption and password protection.
Above all, protecting sensitive client and firm data is a top priority. And those are some of the security advantages that are part of cloud-based platforms built specifically for attorneys. World-class security – including state-of-the-art data centers, AES 256-bit encryption, ransomware defense and backup – and disaster recovery tools protect client and firm data while you focus on practicing law.
Ready to follow in Bob Noone’s footsteps? See why a secure, cloud-based legal practice management software is critical in running a modern law firm. Get a free trial of CARET Legal today, or sign up for an in-depth demo.