Consumer Bankruptcy is an industry within the legal vertical unto itself. Bankruptcy law firms – particularly those focused on growth – usually do not touch any other area of law. And to build a million-dollar business, the name of the game is “volume.”
I was fortunate enough to have spent the first seven years of my career at a legal tech start, who’s core client base was bankruptcy lawyers. Then, the recession happened and business was better than ever.
During that time, I met the owners and staff of some of the largest consumer bankruptcy firms in the country. True entrepreneurs who know the value of marketing, sales, and efficiency. Because, when your clients aren’t able to pay their bills, how can you get them to pay the firm for a service they desperately need?
Enterprise Level Bankruptcy Firm Management
As his consumer bankruptcy firm, DebtStoppers, grew to filing over one thousand cases each month, Robert Semrad realized that existing practice management tools were simply not cutting it. So he set out to build a better solution – in the cloud, and with the ability to schedule clients, deliver excellent client service, manage cases, and prepare and file petitions. StratusBK was born.
StratusBK is managed now by a separate company, Stratus Intelligence. I had a chance to sit down with them to review the software first hand.
In order to manage hundreds of concurrent cases, a highly automated CRM was necessary, which is why StratusBK was built to automate and track as much of the client communication process as possible.
Law firms who operate like a business, manage leads in stages. A critical practice in bankruptcy law, which helps maximize ROI on marketing campaigns and convert clients who are notorious for delayed decision making. Each contact can be easily categorized with their stage or status. Which reports then deliver to the team for follow up.
Appointment Communication Templates
Every extra key typed and click of the mouse counts in a high-volume law firm. To eliminate appointment booking, and communication repetition, Stratus BK includes a series of appointment types specific to the consumer bankruptcy process for Chapter 7 and 13 cases. Administrators also have the option to create their own, complete with appointment reminders, and automatic updates.
To schedule an appointment, you select a type from the drop-down list, and enter the client’s details (which also auto-populate) and save. The communication series immediately starts, sending appointment reminders, key information and alerts via email, and SMS text message. Which have proven to increase show rates by 20-30%.
Standard Appointment Types:
– Intake Consult
– 341 Meeting
– Confirmation Hearing
– Court Hearing
– Build Signing
– General Appointment
Sync email to Stratus BK to keep a complete record of communication. Log of all emails, and text messages are then visible in the client’s record. Easily save emails from the inbox back to the client file for an up-to-date account of all communication from the entire team.
The Client File
Navigation options include: Documents, Matter Forms, Finance and Associate Parties to get you where you need to go quickly. The layout serves support staff, the billing team and associate attorneys without complicated drop-down menus.
Letter and Document Library
A built-in forms tool merges case information into the law firm’s templates. A huge time saver when generating thousands of letters to clients and creditors each month. A group of starter templates are included, and new documents take just minutes to create.
Due Diligence, Means Test and Petition Preparation
As you walk through the means test with the client, StratusBK auto-populates a significant amount of client data from it’s integrated due diligence products. Each record labeled as Secured, Unsecured, or Priority debt. Additional categorization includes Real Property, Real Vehicle or other asset entries, which populate directly into the corresponding petition schedule.
A feature that saves law firm hundreds of hours per year, and helps them achieve the holy grail of petition preparation time… less than one hour.
Electronically file cases without leaving Stratus BK, in supported jurisdictions. Then receive confirmation and status messages inside the case file and via email.
Court View – Pacer Integration
A wow feature for StratusBK is its rich integration with PACER. The system connects to Pacer and automatically adds every activity and document from the court docket into the case file. Which, in even the smallest consumer bankruptcy practices, saves thousands of dollars per year by preventing duplicate downloads, and staff miscommunication.
The integration also auto-schedules court-related appointments which are pulled directly from the Court Docket in real time.
Automatic Chapter 13 Refiling
Let’s say a client falls on hard times, and the original Chapter 13 plan needs to be updated, or converted into a Chapter 7. StratusBK auto-updates the means test information and prepares the case for re-filing – a process that is often drawn out due to the manual effort usually involved. The way StratusBK expedites this process ultimately helps consumer bankruptcy attorneys better serve their clients, especially in their greatest time of need.
Innovation and Attention to Detail
Unless you have worked inside a bankruptcy law firm, it is hard to explain the differences in case execution. The level of consideration and energy poured into the StratusBK application are a clear reflection of an intimate understanding of the challenges consumer bankruptcy firms face every day. If you have tried to make other systems work for your practice, but can’t see to find one that fits, schedule a demo with StratusBK and get ready for a refreshing surprise.
Contact the Stratus team at: 844-220-4656 or visit stratusintelligence.com/lex.
**Stratus BK is a sponsor of the 2017 Legal Technology Buyers Guide**