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Shalley and Murray

How Knack turned a law firm call-tracker app
into a business backbone.

Shalley and Murray

From Calls to Courtrooms

When Don Murray found himself in need of software to help manage his firm’s administrative workload, he asked himself a question: “What would the perfect solution to my problem be?”

He knew that whatever tool he used had to allow for multiple users, so he and his partner James Shalley could be logged in and editing at the same time. Ideally it would also be cloud-based and reasonably priced.

Oh, and it had to have a relatively small learning curve, so that the less technologically savvy James would be comfortable using it.

It took a while before Don tracked down Knack via Google search. “I was looking for you, I didn’t know what you were, but I was looking for you because I hoped that you existed,” he says.

When he finally came across the site, it only took a few minutes for him to realize that he’d found what he needed. “Once I found you, I knew you were it,” he muses. “It was like I had willed you into being.”

What he found was that perfect solution: a simple yet powerful system that made call management easy and enabled him to move away from spreadsheet madness to drive their entire business, including case management.

The cost of Knack itself, we’ve made it back plenty times over. It’s not even a debate that it’s worth it.

No more “tearing our hair out”

Don Murray and James Shalley are partners in the New York City criminal law firm Shalley and Murray. The two began their practice in 1996, and as a busy firm in a very busy city, they receive a lot of phone calls. What’s more, these calls are highly time-sensitive.

“People have zero patience,” Don explains. “Speed of response and answering phone calls, especially prior to a person becoming a client — rapidity of response and ability to be available are vital.” In other words, “immediacy is everything.”

Prior to Knack, Don and James were mainly using spreadsheets to track their call data. One of the biggest problems with their system was that they’d often duplicate their efforts. Don would receive a handful of messages and he’d call people back, only to learn that they’d just spoken with James.

The two would pull up messages by hand, talk to each other on the phone, and go down the list of people who needed to be contacted. It was far from efficient.

“I know that we lost a lot of business as a result, now that I’ve seen how well we can do using Knack. I can look back and compare the numbers,” Don says.

Step 1 in replacing these spreadsheets was creating separate logins so each partner could access and track specific call data at the same time, without any confusion on who was working on what.

“One of the beautiful things about Knack,” Don says, is the option “to have all this data in front of us, and not be tearing our hair out over post-it notes.”

One of the beautiful things about Knack is having all this data in front of us, and not be tearing our hair out over post-it notes.

Accessible from anywhere

The two keep track of incoming calls and also track their progress. After initial contact, there can be several stages along the way before someone becomes a client. If they lose track of where someone is in that process, they could easily lose his or her business. With all this data now centrally contained, there’s much less risk of that happening.

“It’s nice to know where we are [with potential clients] and be able to see it in one place,” Don explains. Looking at Knack and seeing logs of all these phone calls and clients, he says, is almost like “watching the firm breathe.”

Entering new call details.

Another feature of Knack that has come in especially handy for Don and James is its ability to scale to mobile. Storing information in the cloud has proven key, because it means they can access it quickly and easily when out of the office.

“Needing to get back to the office to look at computer doesn’t work,” he says. The nature of their business means Don and James “have to be in play, have to be able to respond rapidly.”

Since they can pull up case information on their phones or iPads, it’s easily accessible when they’re in court. Keeping everything in a central place has not only helped their efficiency but it’s also vastly improved their organization and preparedness.

Following their success using Knack for call data, Don and James began to create what they call “action sheets” for each of their cases. These store all the case details digitally, meaning they’re accessible from anywhere.

If one of the two partners ever has to cover for the other last-minute, he can easily pull up the case’s details in Knack from any location. Not only will James be able to see his Don’s cases, but he’ll also be able to pull up initial intake information.

Regardless of how far along the case is, this ease of use means he can quickly gain a clear picture of how it’s progressing. What’s more, instead of shuffling through files and stacks of paper, all he needs on his table is a mobile device from which he can access Knack.

On their own terms

As someone with a strong interest in technology, Don says he’s especially struck by Knack’s “simplicity in being able to design precisely what you need, only what you need, and exactly the way you need it.”

Attorney Don Murray

The glory of Knack, he continues, is in “not having to deal with some software developer’s notion of how you should be collecting data and what it should look like.”

There are so many kinds of software and call tracker programs that theoretically could do what Don has built with Knack. The problem with those is that none of them is really tailored to his business.

But “this one,” he says, “reflects our particular type of practice, and it works great for us – I don’t know what we’d do without it.”

The glory of Knack is in not having to deal with some developer’s notion of how you should be collecting data.

“The lifeblood of the business”

After seeing what the Call Tracker app has done for his business, Don is now looking to find other areas to make improvements.

“I have all kinds of plans for Knack,” he says. The next iteration will likely encompass Knack’s workflow capabilities, possibly with automated emails to clients and potential clients.

In thinking back to his practice before Knack, Don says, “the concept of not having it – I can’t imagine keeping track of all this by hand anymore. I just can’t even believe that we did that and survived as a business.”

There’s no looking back now. “The cost of Knack itself, we’ve made it back plenty times over. It’s not even a debate that it’s worth it.”