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Episode #3 - PerfectLaw User Groups

The office administrator at Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth, LLC, Suzanne Florez, talks about the growth of PerfectLaw user groups in her home of Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois. She also shares the advice she gives to law firms in other parts of the country who are looking to start their own PerfectLaw user groups, including what the user groups do when they meet.

Full Transcript

00:04 Anthony Beasley

Good afternoon everybody. This is Anthony Beasley with perfect law software we have with us today. Suzanne Flores, who's the administrator for Donohue, Brown, Mattson and Smith I believe it is.

00:17 Suzanne Florez


00:18 Anthony Beasley

Smith, OK, I want to make sure I pronounce it right.

00:22 Anthony Beasley

Suzanne's been a user perfect law now for little over three years, they've been in our software, but she also is a key member of the user group that has grown in the Chicago area as well as in Illinois. An also has worked with us at the national level, So what I'd like to do is just take some time and let Suzanne tell you about.

00:45 Anthony Beasley

How things have transitioned with the user group and some of the advantages of it? So Suzanne if you could just give us some information on you know what you've been doing in Chicago in the user group and just kind of let us know a little bit about how that's worked out for you guys.

01:00 Suzanne Florez

Absolutely. We have, as he said, been with perfect law since 2017 and one of the key reasons that we were able to switch to perfect law was referral from people who are already using it. And one of those referrals was right in our area in Chicago.

01:21 Suzanne Florez

So we were able to walk over and see it in action and talk to users in person and really understand what perfect love is about and in that conversation it just kind of evolves into hey as we have questions, let's just kind of get together every now and then and see how we can sharpen each other up. And one of those reasons is because.

01:41 Suzanne Florez

People will be on different versions than somebody else, and they will notice, um, a feature that they like that somebody else does it. And so being able to look at other users and what they're doing, what you're doing you can kind of start to bounce ideas off each other or even solve problems where.

02:02 Suzanne Florez

You thought, um, there was no answer, but there really is in another version or something like that, so that that's how we we decided to get involved in the user group because we saw so much value in being able to bounce ideas off of everybody else. Everyone uses them a little bit differently and that can kind of spark where what you want to do and how you want to do your everyday practice. And it has been.

02:27 Suzanne Florez

Such a valuable tool for us, not only for when we first became users, but as we are now. What I consider were veterans. At this point we feel like we got it down. We're trying every trick in trade there is. But of course, depending on your.

02:47 Suzanne Florez

Area a lot. You always will use a a bit differently. So um.

02:52 Suzanne Florez

I will say right off the bat when we were novice and new to perfect law, it was valuable to us just because.

03:00 Suzanne Florez

You would have a question and, um, you could put it out to people and you did not feel judged. Hey, I don't feel like I should be asking this question, but does anyone know how to use the search feature an it would be really quick answers that they could do and everyone is very helpful and I think because we all.

03:23 Suzanne Florez

Well, the the program so much that when someone asks a question or can't figure something out, everyone is cheering each other on and saying You got this. You can figure it out. It's easy. It's not a problem. Just call the help desk. They'll help you set it up if they can. And so it's been really encouraging, especially as when you are knew.

03:43 Suzanne Florez

It's also been helpful for us, I think, to be able to expand, um, the wish List A little bit. And that's because, again, we bounce ideas off each other about the program and how we would like to see it. It continued to evolve, and we will then come together. And then, you know, meet and say, hey, what do you think about this? Or how are you handling that? And would it be great if this happened and.

04:07 Suzanne Florez

Oh yeah, we've always wanted to see this go through and when we put that kind of a question out to um, you know, Anthony, or or mark over perfect law with these ideas of of something new we can say hey, there are several of us that are having this problem and we think this would be a great idea to move forward with. We have seen that come into play and.

04:27 Suzanne Florez

Have that new feature come out in one of the newer updates so it's not only helping you get started, but it's refining everything that goes through into the future. We've also been able to just kind of help each other out when when you're new to use that maintenance stuff up real quick.

04:45 Suzanne Florez

And those billable hours.

04:47 Suzanne Florez

Can go by really fast, but.

04:49 Suzanne Florez

Obviously, as you get settled in and you don't need that much help because the program is just that intuitive but you can reach out to somebody else and and say Hey I'm new at this and and I know I'm way over my limit. But do you have an answer to this and everyone's really helpful in trying to combine and help each other as far as getting that done so our Chicago group specifically we were meeting.

05:12 Suzanne Florez

Quite frequently we are trying to do it every quarter and we would either do it just among ourselves or or connect with someone over at perf log to discuss an update on some things that are happening. Obviously it's not well difficult doing that recently, but we still do emails back and forth all the time and just asking for help here and there.

05:34 Suzanne Florez

And, um, so that conversation is always active and going. We just haven't met, particularly as a group, but every time we do it, it's just it's so valuable to do that. So that's kind of what we do, locali

05:48 Suzanne Florez

Um, our user group nationally has been very helpful as well. We've been I've been able to talk to other leaders across the country and what's really cool about that too? Is it's really a small world and there are times when I'll be at a convention or something like that. And and you've seen a name back and forth of other people that use the program and.

06:11 Suzanne Florez

Then you're at a convention and you see their name and you're like, hey, I know you and it's so fun to walk up to each other and just ask how it's going and it's kind of one of those Ice Breakers and and you get to know a lot of people, and you know we've done different things where.

06:28 Suzanne Florez

There's something we want to implement, not just in perfect law, but we want to implement within our firm, such as, you know, the paperless process or or, or even naming nomenclature. If you're going paperless and I will have outside vendors who say, yeah, I have a client in Ohio who is also on perfect law and this is something we've done for them.

06:51 Suzanne Florez

And we're able to reach out to that firm in another part of the country and say, Hey, we're doing this. This process within our firm? And can you help?

07:01 Suzanne Florez

Walk us through how you.

07:03 Suzanne Florez

Use perfect well then to implement that within your office. So the national part is really fun too and you just get to meet a lot of people. And and I love hearing other ideas and sometimes you don't.

07:13 Suzanne Florez

Have to feel like you're the only one going through it.

07:17 Suzanne Florez

Um, so it's just creates a really great community and a sense of of togetherness as you. As you navigate through all these different times, going on right now. So it's been really great to to continue to do that. Now that we're all working from home as well, just reaching out to users and and asking how they're they're doing it. Now that you're working from home. So the ideas of the conversations never stop, and.

07:41 Suzanne Florez

That's why we find so much value from our user groups.

07:44 Anthony Beasley

Great, right now you mentioned the national user group, which we, uh, I I conveniently called the perf Log Advisory Board, which is having people strategically across the nation that are looking to start user groups and invite people in. What advice would you give to someone new to perf law who has this idea of the User Group?

08:04 Anthony Beasley

And kind of the way it came up with you. What advice would you pass along to him?

08:10 Suzanne Florez

Well, perfect was not only a software, but there were resource and the first thing that I would recommend you do is just get with with your person who is your contact at perfect law and say Hey who else in our area is is part of this group and I know they will ask permission for those firms and.

08:29 Suzanne Florez

When there is an interest and they are able to connect you then go from there and just try to build it as much as you can. 'cause I I can guarantee that there are more people out there than you think on on your software. We have obviously within our our Ala Group which is Administration Association of administrators.

08:50 Suzanne Florez

We have our own Listserv and so we put it out there so many times before. Hey, has anyone switched software lately and what are you using and and people will say what software they're on and suddenly you'll see about six or eight people on perfectly. I'm like, Oh, wow, I'm not alone in this and you start to connect with them and and I would say that.

09:10 Suzanne Florez

The best thing to do is just reach out, because if if you as an administrator.

09:14 Suzanne Florez

Of your firm.

09:15 Suzanne Florez

Found benefit of it and you're excited about the program. So who's that person whose name you just all come up on that listener and they would be more than willing to to say hey, yeah, we love it. Let's talk what are you doing about it? Let's bounce ideas off each other an I think it just organically kind of grows and it's just more about.

09:31 Suzanne Florez

Finding the people around you so use whatever resource you have, whether it is an Association that you're a part of in the area or if it's just reaching back out to your representative. Alright, perfect law, but you you will find people close to you very quickly and I think they all will share the same enthusiasm as you do in trying to get together and form some kind of support group.

09:52 Anthony Beasley

OK, great, now here's a. It's an off the wall question, something that just bounced in my head because obviously, um, it is a different world than it was a few months ago. Or are you in the beginning of the year 'cause we, the last user group meeting that you guys had? We attended. We were there for the ABA tech show.

10:08 Anthony Beasley

With the advent of teams and go to meeting and others, do you see this being a great tool for?

10:16 Anthony Beasley

The national setting, as well as in your own local group setting to to continue having more face to face meetings, especially now that people really can't get together the way you normally would if if we didn't have the kovit situation going on.

10:31 Suzanne Florez

I do and I think it it depends on the amount of effort that you're willing to put into it. I have I have experienced personally such a greater connection with people in our area because you.

10:48 Suzanne Florez

Are captive in a way, but there were a lot of people who were never were able to be a part of a user group because just the demands of the day to day activity or you get pulled into a luncheon with somewhere somewhere else to do something and it's hard to get away. But when you are in this kind of environment and you get creative, there really are so many.

11:10 Suzanne Florez

More options than there were before and because of that we've had so much more participation and things like our educational meetings within our chapters, and I think as a user group, you can be that creative too and come up with one topic and say, Alright guys, let's let's just do a 8 eight o'clock AM 20 minute power talk.

11:32 Suzanne Florez

Real quick on how you're doing your paperless workflow. Or you can you know do something where it is easier for other people who haven't been part of it. Invite someone where they're able to see it and it's not. You don't feel like you're, you're being put out there too much because.

11:52 Suzanne Florez

You're already there and everyones ansuman and go to meetings. And it's it's so natural now.

11:59 Suzanne Florez

Whereas before it

12:00 Suzanne Florez

Right now, it's hey yeah, um, I am from home and sometimes there's a kid in the background or a cat or a dog, right? And it's no big deal and you fill that freedom to not have to be super formal but just to reach out and say guys, let's just do this super quick and.

12:16 Suzanne Florez

And you can do it at a time of day that works for you. And if you can't even record it, which is another big reason. Maybe you just can't do it at that time, but if you recorded user meeting then put it up somewhere. If one of the people that just you like to do podcasts or or audio and you just like to do it when you're going for a run out in the neighborhood, then you listen to the recording and you're still learning. But you're doing it.

12:38 Suzanne Florez

On your own time. So I think there are so many more creative ways to get the user groups together. Um, it's just taking the time to get it going, and once you do, I really feel like this.

12:48 Suzanne Florez

Is one that time it?

12:49 Suzanne Florez

Has more participation opportunities than ever before.

12:53 Anthony Beasley

Great, well it has been very informative to talk to you and have you share.

12:59 Anthony Beasley

Other folks, especially from the user group side, because that is something that we it is still a growing part of some of the things that perfect law is doing without being involved directly. I think it will carry us a long, long way or when we have people like you that really have taken to the system and and really share your knowledge with other people. So it's.

13:19 Anthony Beasley

It's great hearing your perspective. Um, I think a lot of the folks I've talked into at the national level who stay in touch with me. You guys really do a great job of motivating them to want to do what you've done in Chicago and other places, because it is by far the most active and the biggest user group that we have.

13:40 Anthony Beasley

In working with us and you guys have influenced us as a company and as a product because it it really shows that the amount of love you have for us as a company. But the commitment in making the product better for other people quietly without you even realizing what you're doing. So we really do appreciate all that you've done. So with that set that's going to.

14:00 Anthony Beasley

In today's session of.

14:02 Anthony Beasley

The lion's den talk with Suzanne Flores. Suzanne again is the leader of our user group in Chicago, and we look forward to having more conversations with you in the future.

14:11 Suzanne Florez

Agreed, thank you so much for having me.