Are you getting the most out of Filevine? Try these 6 strategies to reap benefits beyond case management.
Consolidating Firm Operations in Filevine
At the law firm Grungo Colarulo, we’re always finding new ways to provide better service to our clients. We do that by combining time-tested techniques with the latest in legal technology.
Filevine is our case management tool, but we’ve also learned it's useful for many other law firm operations. When we first started using the platform for case management, the firm saw we were leaving opportunities on the table.
My business partner, Rich Grungo, and I built our firm values around a Tony Robbins quote. Tony shares, “complexity is the enemy of execution.” We put that to practice at our firm through a bias toward execution. We get things done. When we have an idea, we’re going to do it. So whenever something comes up—something we want to do differently—the first question we ask ourselves is how can we do that in Filevine?
Before jumping into using Filevine beyond case management, it’s important to establish the basics of Filevine organization. At the highest level, Filevine contains Orgs. The Org can be seen as the binding of the book. Orgs contains projects (cases or matters) that can be thought of as chapters. To effectively expand our use case of Filevine, our firm has two Orgs. One for the cases we work on and one for strategic planning and Human Resources.
With that, here are six ways that we use Filevine beyond case management at Grungo Colarulo.
1. Quarterly Planning
Each department head runs their Quarterly Planning project to track ‘big rock’ goals with their team. The project provides easy access to the core goals for the quarter, which are pinned to the top of the activity feed. The department head holds a weekly meeting to sync with their team. To reduce interruptions during the workweek, any issues or questions employees may have are added as a comment in their respective quarterly planning project, and are addressed during the weekly meeting. This serves as a quick and collaborative agenda for weekly meetings while reducing day-to-day interruptions to workflows. Additionally, these projects serve as a data house to track goal owners, goal notes, and goal incentives.
2. Continuous Improvement
Similar to Quarterly Planning, the Continuous Improvement project serves as the project for the entire firm. Every Friday, the firm holds an all-hands meeting. Throughout the week, team members put notes in the activity feed and task it for Friday morning. After leadership goes through updates, we answer the notes in the activity feed. I cannot tell you how many problems we have nipped in the bud with a simple three minutes during a Friday morning meeting in the Continuous Improvement project. Better yet, the whole office knows about the problem and the solution. We also put our firm scorecards in this project. It helps bring a little fun to the office with friendly competition and celebration of weekly goals accomplished.
As much as we wish, we cannot solve every problem at the firm in the Continuous Improvement project. That’s where the Taskforce projects come in. When we have issues that need more time, strategy, and execution, we move them to a Taskforce project for stakeholders to tackle. This project keeps all communication housed in one spot within the activity feed and allows tracking of goals and owners.
Grungo Colarulo operates a few different social media brands under the firm. We have a Philadelphia Eagles game review podcast called Legal Hands to the Face, a food review channel called Mike Speaks, and a community service channel called GC Giving Back. Individual projects for these channels allow the marketing team to group communications and tasks around the brand while tasking deliverables back and forth. For example, if there’s a new restaurant in town, an employee can easily hop in the Mike Speaks project and make a note for Mike to check it out. Our entire firm collaborates in the GC Giving Back project to choose what community initiative we want to complete each quarter and execute on it.
We also utilize a marketing project to strategically market to past clients. We understand that current customers and previous clients are our biggest referral channel, but at the same time, not every previous client is happy. Using Podium, we implement a post-case satisfaction survey. Satisfied clients are routed to the Evergreen Marketing project to maintain clean remarketing lists. We use phases in this project so those clients who are extremely happy can advance to the GC Knights phase, our VIP client group. Putting clients in this phase allows us to trigger taskflows and pull reports to segment out GC Knights for special events or giveaways.
5. XO (AKA Thank Yous to Outside Collaborators)
The XO project is relatively simple, containing only an activity feed. The purpose behind the project is to show our appreciation for outside collaborators like medical records clerks or patient coordinators we work with who go above and beyond. After anyone at the firm gets done working with someone who provided excellent service, they can go to the XO project and make a note in the activity feed with details and assign it to our office receptionist. From there, our receptionist (who we call the Ambassador of First Impressions, thanks to Harlan Schillinger) can fulfill the request by sending a handwritten note or swag.
6. Human Resources
Running human resources (HR) out of Filevine is admittedly one of the more complex use cases. But what it takes in setup is made up for in firm efficiency. To protect employee privacy, our HR instance is set as individual projects for each team member in the Leadership org. Access to employee projects is limited to leadership, the employee, and the firm administrator, who serves as the head of HR. Everything regarding their employment at Grungo Colarulo is in the employee project, including:
- Compensation: Compensation is grouped in a collection section, so the employee can view their salary and bonuses year to year.
- Offer Letter: Offer letters live in files, so employees have easy access to the document.
- Annual PTO balance: Each employee has their own PTO benefit for the year, so their annual balance lives in their project. To request time off, they open up their project, make a note in the activity feed, and task it to the firm administrator for review.
- Employee check-ins: Employee check-ins are what we call reviews. The firm operates in 12-week sprints, so each quarter employees have check-ins. During check-ins, they list out their goals, make notes, and track progress. Check-ins are a collection, so employees have a comprehensive view of their goals and key metrics for their tenure at the firm.
- Professional memberships and CLE: Professional memberships and CLE housed within the employee file allow the leadership team to quickly access information about team members and make decisions on who is eligible to receive funding for continual education.
- GC Bucks: To award employees with spiff, the firm offers GC Bucks. Employees can view their GC Bucks balances and spend them at the team store on branded swag.
For quick reference, employee hire date, bar admission date, and personal facts are pinned in the vitals of the project. Housing all the employee data in a single source allows us to set up employee phases like onboarding, which triggers a set of tasks to ensure that the firm administrator gets everything set up for new hires. There is also a phase for former employees with triggered tasks to ensure we don’t miss any steps during employee offboarding. One of our favorite things with employee projects is automatic taskflows to notify the leadership team about employee anniversaries and birthdays. Someone once said that everyone walks around with an invisible sign around their neck that says “make me feel important.” Our employee birthday and work anniversary taskflows allow us to surprise and delight employees with little to no effort.
While this is a lot of information, this is only scratching the surface of the capabilities in Filevine. Expanding the use cases of Filevine at the firm has allowed us to tighten the bottom line and consolidate our tech stack. Never having to leave Filevine to accomplish daily work is a successful day at the firm. The system we have built within Filevine has boosted the firm efficiency and allows us to confidently say that Filevine is the central nervous system of the firm.
Bill Colarulo is a founding partner at Grungo Colarulo with offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This blog post is a synopsis of his presentation, Case Management & Beyond: Using Filevine as the Central Nervous System of Your Practice at Legal X 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah.