Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, May. 2, 2013
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Law Practice Management Tip

New online tool simplifies creation of forms

Technology has been a great equalizer for small law firms and other professional services businesses. There are an ever-increasing array of tools to help you with your practice management, marketing and casework. In fact, figuring out how to incorporate technology effectively into your practice is really an imperative in 2013. The American Bar Association is even adopting new model rules that are "coming soon to a state near you."

Integrating new technology into your practice needs to be balanced against the need to do client work and marketing.  With technology, it is easy to go overboard reinventing yourself. So I always appreciate it when I get a good technology recommendation from someone I trust. Rather than trying everything out and getting nothing else done, I rely on my network to point me in the right direction when it comes to technology.

One of my latest additions to my technology bag of tricks is called Formstack. Formstack is a very inexpensive web-based service that enables you to create an endless variety of form documents. These are forms you can use to collect data from your clients, your employees, or just about anyone on just about any topic. You can use it as a client intake tool. Using Formstack, you can create a client satisfaction survey. You can set up a form to screen potential cases.

Formstack is simple to use, easy to learn and very flexible. It also integrates well with Constant Contact, PayPal and a number of other online tools which you may already be using.

I recently used Formstack to create a marketing audit that I use to do an initial marketing assessment. I also used Formstack to create a sign-up form for an interdisciplinary group coaching program.

One of the nice things about Formstack is that you can create the form and then "embed" the page on your website, so that it has the same look and feel of your website and it uses your website's domain name.

There are many marketing applications for Formstack. With little effort, you can create your own audit tool to get your foot in the door and begin a conversation with a prospective client.

Of course like any technology, there will be a learning curve. Do not expect to be able to use the tool without investing some time and effort. But Formstack is one of the easier tools to learn and a tool that I hope to use for at least six months or until the next great form creation tool is invented (whichever comes first).

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published May 2, 2013

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Cynthia E. MacCausland.
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