As a millennial in a VC-backed legal funding software startup, I'm always on the lookout for apps and technologies that save time and streamline workflow, so I can focus my energy on higher impact activities.
When I used to process hundreds of plaintiff financing applications a week, the focus on high impact activities was crucial. Every minute I spent manually typing yet another document request email or combing through spreadsheets to dig up a password was a minute better spent closing deals or improving relationships with law firms.
Here are 15 tech tools to help you and your team focus time on high impact activities, organized into four categories:
- Tracking and Automation
- Document Exchange
RingCentral centralizes communication (phone calls, texts, and faxes) on a single app that works across all devices: computers, smartphones, tablets, and desk phones.
This enables a funding company to perform multiple forms of communication, from calling and texting plaintiffs, to faxing contracts to law offices.
A bonus feature is Reports, which provides you with insight into your reps' workloads and performance.
Messageflare allows you to create text messaging campaigns, schedule texts, and automate responses, especially if you have PPC or SEO leads that need to be converted ASAP.
You can use it wherever you work, because Messageflare is accessible on your smartphone or web.
This eases the process of communication with plaintiffs who rarely check their email (or don't even have email addresses). But oh boy, do they text.
When I was feeling swamped, processing over 80 funding applications per day, automated text campaigns enabled me to stay on top of my workflow, reach plaintiffs before competitors did, and convert applications into fundings. #winning
Have you ever had to coordinate a call between multiple people?
The plaintiff doesn't seem to be on the same page with the attorney, who seems a tad disconnected with the paralegal, and your underwriter has a growing list of questions for them.
This free web-based app allows up to 10 participants on the same call, records the conversation, and even allows you to share computer screens with your audience -- perfect for meetings.
Slack is one of the fasting growing business software companies of the past 2 years, and for good reason.
Touted as "team communication for the 21st century," Slack enables you to organize conversation around specific topics or teams, so you no longer have 10-email-long threads to keep track of.
Here are some ways you could organize Slack for your company:
- Case Tracking
- New Applications
- Approved Applications
- Contracts Returned
- Returned Investments
Even better, you can share and store documents within those channels. Receive a contract back from a plaintiff? Add it your "Contracts Returned" channel so Brian in Accounting knows it's now on him to cut and send the check.
Calendly solves the problem of the back-and-forth communication that ensues when you're trying to schedule a time to chat with the attorney about a case.
"How's Tuesday at 11:00 am?"
"I can't do 11am, what about 3:00 pm?"
"I have a meeting at 3:00pm, what about..." and it goes on.
You simply set your availability and send 1 email with a Calendly link. The attorney or recipient can just click a time slot that works for her, and the event is added to the calendars of all parties involved!
Tracking and Automation
With Boomerang, you will never forget to follow up on an email again.
Let's say, for example, that an attorney emailed you that she is happy to help and that you should call her on Wednesday. Boomerang reminds you by bringing the email, marked as unread, to the top of your inbox on Wednesday.
What's more, you can write an email now and schedule it to be sent later automatically. Say it's Tuesday at 7pm, and you're drafting an email to an attorney. However, she's probably out of the office. You want your email to be at the top of her email inbox come tomorrow morning, so you can schedule it now to be sent at 6am tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
Your Account Reps probably email the same document request 20 times a day, and each minute they spending digging around for the email template and pasting it in the body of their email, is money down the drain.
Hubspot's free app allows you to save up to 5 email templates - say, MVA, Slip and Fall, Premises Liability, Med Mal, and Police Brutality document requests - so that your team can rip through document requests 10x faster.
What's more, this app also tracks every time someone opens your email or clicks a link in it.
For example, your underwriter sent Attorney Smith an email today asking whether or not liability was accepted. Knowing that Attorney Smith clicked it and never responded helps inform your next step. If the Plaintiff calls up, inquiring for an update, you can tell the Plaintiff that Attorney Smith definitelyreceived your email and suggest that the Plaintiff follow up with Smith.
Hubspot also has a plethora of features, such as automating follow-up emails called "sequences" and calendar sharing, if you upgrade and purchase the Pro version for $50/month.
If you want to save more than 5 email templates and have a Gmail account, Gmail allows unlimited email templates. Click here for step by step guidelines.
Letterstream allows you to automate all of your mailings.
For most funders, this will likely be most valuable after you fund a plaintiff, especially if you have a structured, repeatable process for confirming your lien that includes certified mail.
You can automate sending via certified mail the signed funding agreement, professionally notifying the attorney that you have a lien on the case, without anyone in your office ever stepping foot into a post office.
Requiring that plaintiffs get their funding contracts notarized introduces a landmine for potential errors and delays.
For the tech savvy plaintiff, this app can help eliminate some of those landmines. All they need is the ability to videochat over their computer or smartphone, and they can notarize documents from just about anywhere.
This is the ideal solution for plaintiffs who are confined to their homes, due to injuries for example.
At this point, DocuSign may fall in the "duh" category for funding companies. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's time.
DocuSign eliminates many of the errors that can be made during the contract-signing process by allowing you to electronically send the contract to anyone: plaintiffs, paralegals, attorneys, or whomever.
You can preset the signing order (plaintiff first!), specify which fields each party needs to sign, and require certain fields in order to ensure that every contract that is returned to you is correctly completed.
This website is a quick and free alternative if you just need a quick faxing option and don't want to pay for the whole suite of services that RingCentral offers.
Deluxe e-check allows you to create checks online and email them with a few clicks.
This cuts down the time for the check to reach your plaintiff from days to seconds, eliminating frustrated, confused calls from plaintiffs asking why it's taking so long to get their money.
Not only does this tool reduce complaints, but it also reduces overhead costs of physical materials, such as envelopes, postage, and paper.
5. Doc Scan
Doc Scan allows you to scan multi-page documents on the go using your iPhone.
If a plaintiff can't figure out how to DocuSign/e-sign and insists on scanned contracts, this app allows you to scan multiple-paged documents with your iPhone (even if pages are curled!).
Teampassword stores all your passwords and allows you to share them securely within teams.
After reading this article, you may have 10 new apps to add to your collection, and with that 10 new passwords to remember.
Instead of adding them to a spreadsheet or notepad, add it to Teampassword. You and your team can access it anywhere with internet connection, and you can easily add or remove a team member who no longer needs access.
These are 15 delightful apps and technologies that have helped increase my productivity manifold. If we left out some of your favorite tools, let us know in the comments below!
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