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LeanLaw: Deep integration with QuickBooks for any legal timekeeping and billing app

Gary Allen, a 30-year practicing attorney, had major frustrations with the poor technology tools available to attorneys, and the inefficient, high-overhead business model used in most law firms. What motivates us is to help really smart people (attorneys) get better at their operations so that they can do the work they love – lawyering – rather than accounting, per se.

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Gary formed a management team with Jonathon Fishman and Fred Willerup, and together, they began to tackle modernizing the time tracking to invoicing workflow for small law firms. Every day, LeanLaw iterates on this process to make it more efficient so that lawyers can work in a native environment in an efficient way, but also have the piece of mind that their accounting professionals can have the appropriate tools to ensure that their financials are understood and managed properly.

The lawyer gets to work with LeanLaw’s spare user-interface, only getting the necessary features, and the accounting professional works in QuickBooks® Online with the robust features to ensure that the money is well managed. QuickBooks and LeanLaw are always in sync and, thus, the attorney and accounting pro will be, too.

Functionality and main features

LeanLaw is a legal timekeeping/billing/reporting app, with a deep integration into QuickBooks Online – exclusively. We’ve reimagined the legal billing workflow and built it the way it should be: enter your time once, and from there, it automatically gets pushed to invoicing and then to QuickBooks Online. Data is always in sync – no two sets of books. Translation: we’ve automated the useless manual work for accounting pros and increased access to data regarding law firm profitability. We show accounting pros that their value is more than reconciliation: if you can reveal insights from the data to your clients, you will help them succeed in the operation of their law firms.

What sets them apart

LeanLaw’s special sauce is our deep integration with QuickBooks Online. If your core law firm workflows – the financials – are in place, lawyers can focus on lawyering and their accounting pros can keep the business on track. We are the ONLY dedicated legal billing software in the QuickBooks App Store. One more thing: LeanLaw can be used for practically any professional service – once you see how your law firm clients react, you’ll want to use it for all of your professional service clients.

Customer feedback

Everyone in the company touches the customer. We track all customer feature requests and feedback. Every week, our senior management team meets and prioritizes our work. We work on clusters of similar features wherever we can, so that the product can take significant steps forward when we make changes. What delights our clients most is when they give us feedback or requests and we can make the changes in the app quickly. It floors them. We respond!

Working with Quickbooks

QuickBooks Online is the center of our universe. We see it as the financial platform for small law and professional service firms, especially when paired with apps like LeanLaw that really understand and integrate with QuickBooks Online. It is also critical to become a part of the Intuit® community, working both with complementary apps and especially ProAdvisors® interested in our niche.

Specifically, Intuit has helped us at every step. It made us a developer partner and invited us into its app store in 2016. It has helped us with security review every year. In 2017, we were part of the app competition. QuickBooks Connect has introduced us to ProAdvisors and other app developers with whom we now collaborate. Our connection to Intuit has always propelled our business forward.

We are excited about our future with Intuit for several reasons:

Intuit as the financial platform for law firms. Intuit and QuickBooks Online offer unmatched resources for small law and professional service firms, including a robust and affordable accounting and invoicing system for small firms, easy connections with thousands of banks for reconciling accounts, the Intuit Payment Network, which comes with the option for virtual free ACH transfers, and integrations with hundreds of integrated financial apps. QuickBooks Online is the place every modern small law firm should start building its financial platform. At the same time, QuickBooks Online provides opportunities to apps like LeanLaw to customize the platform for law firms for things such as trust accounting, professional timekeeping and invoicing, and reporting.

ProAdvisors becoming LeanLaw accounting pros.  We have riffed off Intuit’s unique and amazing ProAdvisor program to create LeanLaw accounting pros – accounting professionals fluent in both QuickBooks Online and LeanLaw. We have been recruiting ProAdvisors for the past year, encouraging them to niche in serving law firm clients. Our accounting pros receive support, education and referrals – and an elevated professional profile based on having attorneys as their main clients. Thanks to the great foundation Intuit has laid with the ProAdvisors, this program is really taking off!

The law stack in the app store. Intuit’s community of 600 apps creates a great opportunity. We envision a group of apps that would comprise a “law stack” – the best apps that work with QuickBooks Online for the law firm. Imagine a law stack including LeanLaw for the timekeeping/billing/reporting, CollBox for debt collections, InvoiceSherpa or Chaser for accounts receivable management, Hubdoc for financial document collection and storage, Expensify or for receipt tracking and expense management, QuickBooks Payments (CC and ACH) to expedite invoice delivery and payments, and so on. With the right apps and the right support, QuickBooks Online becomes a finely-tuned machine for law firms – or any professional niche.

The great law firm migration: Desktop to Online. Intuit lists more than 8,000 law firms as using QuickBooks Online. This means there are hundreds of thousands of firms still using QuickBooks Desktop and other versions that are not yet enjoying the efficiencies of a well-integrated, cloud-based system. Our goal is to facilitate the legal profession’s transition to modern systems. And, if lawyers can do this, why not accountants, engineers, consultants and other professionals?

Who they cater to

LeanLaw caters to law firms as large as 20+ lawyers, all the way down to the solo attorney. We are the only specialty legal timekeeping/billing/reporting app in the QuickBooks app store.

We match QuickBooks ProAdvisors who are fluent in our software (we call them LeanLaw accounting pros) with our law firm clients.

We also encourage our accounting pros to niche their accounting firms with law firm clients. We provide them with support, education and referrals so that it’s a win for everyone. We’ve written several articles about how and why law firms make for the best clients and how a ProAdvisor will be positively perceived in a professional sense as someone who works largely with law firms.

Lastly, we’d like to point out that our software works for any professional service company.

We think about law firm overhead a lot at LeanLaw. When we interact with law firms, while the conversation may start around the utility of timekeeping and billing, in many instances it evolves into a more dynamic conversation around how a law firm might operate.

When a law firm adopts LeanLaw, we are always trying to open a conversation about modernization and streamlining. LeanLaw connects with real people – ProAdvisors – to demonstrate to law firms that they can have a better grasp of their financials. Whether it’s getting an invoice out the door, connecting to electronic payments to expedite cashflow, understanding the data regarding profitability or adding a service like Collbox for collections, we are always looking to the firm’s bottom line.

We’ve seen many success stories, such as a new firm starting or a firm changing their workflow, in which they instituted technology or resources like a ProAdvisor where a legacy internal role became external, and thus, more sophisticated and at a lower cost.

Editor’s note: Jonathon Fishman of LeanLaw co-wrote this article.

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