Coughlin & Gerhart grow their law firm with ProLawThe backbone of a fast-growing firm
Coughlin & Gerhart LLP has been serving clients in New York State and Northern Pennsylvania for more than 120 years and, in recent times, it has rapidly accelerated its growth. From a staff of around 60 a decade ago, today it employs 160 people, 51 of whom are attorneys, advising businesses, individuals, and public bodies across a wide range of practice areas. ProLaw, the law practice management and finance software from Elite, has been critical in supporting that growth by providing a centralized, integrated solution to bring all the firm’s data and processes together, enabling it to function smoothly and cohesively.
As Justin Campo, Technical Support Analyst at Coughlin & Gerhart, says, “ProLaw is the fundamental backbone to make sure we’re all doing things the same way and information is stored properly as we’ve grown.”
A solid case management solution
The firm started using ProLaw in 2006 when it realized it needed to move away from paper-based systems and implement a solid matter management solution. Previously, folders were simply shared on the firm’s network, files could be stored in different places, and everyone would do things their own way. But as the firm expanded and looked to the future, becoming more streamlined and consistent and making data easier to manage became a priority.
A broad-based internal team of partners, attorneys, paralegals, support, and admin staff was created to evaluate the software options and ensure that the chosen application would be a good fit on all levels and work for all types of users. ProLaw was the front runner; its implementation went without a hitch and is now an integral part of the firm’s operations.
The firm uses ProLaw for case, document, contact, and conflict management, as well as for specific requirements like docketing and organizing personnel or marketing data.
“Being able to manage all that data in one centralized location — that’s a huge perk,” says Campo. “It’s made documents easier to find and made things like conflict searching so much more consistent. It catches everything: it retains conversations, and it’s great to have those threads in there. ProLaw has helped us function more as a single entity, even as we grow our number of lawyers and staff. It’s the glue that holds everything together.”
The firm continues to find new ways to utilize ProLaw. For example, it recently started using it to store and organize HR data and found it easier to manage than its previous system of using Windows with file permissions to restrict who could see it. Now it relies on the sophisticated matter security provisions in ProLaw to limit access to this sensitive information.
The importance of integration and support
One of the key features that convinced the evaluation team that ProLaw was the right solution for the firm was its ability to integrate easily with other applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Adobe. Campo explains, “The compatibility with all those applications really streamlines the process when it comes to saving data into ProLaw efficiently and quickly. It flows through seamlessly. I can bounce between Excel, Word, or Adobe, knowing that it all comes back to ProLaw.”
The level of customer support available from the ProLaw team has been another major plus. Although Campo describes himself as someone who will first try to figure things out himself, he feels comfortable knowing that if there is a question or a problem he needs resolved, he can rely on the ProLaw team to provide the answer quickly.
“The support team at ProLaw is one of my favorite that I’ve ever dealt with,” he says. “I’ve been able to talk to people at the top of the pyramid when it comes to software development: they will get on the call with you and answer your questions, and they will go above and beyond to fix problems, even if it was an issue on our end. They’ve never failed to take care of a situation for us.”
Coughlin & Gerhart is preparing to upgrade to the latest version of ProLaw in the next few months. Campo says, “ProLaw is essential for our day-to-day operations. If I take it out of commission even for a few minutes, I have people standing at my desk. I would encourage firms to embrace the entire ProLaw application, taking advantage of everything it has to offer: its integrations, its front office, and its back-office functionality. Get the most out of it.”