Helm360 Sales Director Sue Mikelsons interviews the firm’s Executive VP, Bim Dave, about what the future of artificial intelligence might look like at law firms. The following is part two of this two-part series. You can listen to part one here.
Sue: Where do you envision Termi going two years down the road, from the perspective of helping attorneys, helping the finance department, and from a general technology perspective?
Bim: Let me start with where Termi began, because it started with a problem. In my previous life, where I was responsible for some of the big 3E implementations, one of the frustrating things was that the adoption of the software that was being implemented was very low, especially at the attorney level. That was really surprising because these major law firms were spending millions of dollars on a solution — which was a great solution, did everything it said on the tin — but ultimately, they just weren’t using it. They were offloading that function to some support function, usually a secretary or a finance team.
I remember going to New York to visit a firm that was implementing 3E, and we sat with the managing partner, who had been vocal about what they wanted from the product. He wanted his team to be hands-on, he wanted to be part of the billing process so that he knew what was going out to his customers, and he wanted all the attorneys that worked for him to do the same. That firm participated in every design session to build a nice billing workflow. They wanted mobile approvals, and they wanted them to work on Blackberry as well as iOS devices.
They had really thought through their day-to-day experience and how they wanted this to work. We implemented exactly what they asked for, customizing the workflow to fit their requests. I went back to visit the firm a few months after the solution went live and asked the managing partner about their experience. He said that the finance team loved the product, that it was more efficient, and that they were getting better data out of it, everything was positive; but that they weren’t using it.
I was a bit confused and asked him why; he replied that it was about the user experience. By the time he opened the application and clicked three times to get to the billing workflow screen, he could have sent a message to his billing secretary which would allow him to go and practice law, focus on his clients, do all the things that he was being paid the big bucks to do. That was an eye-opening moment for me. The solutions that we implement need to be as simple and easy as sending a message to someone, or something like Termi. It needs to understand what I’m asking for and make it happen without any further input.
That’s really what started us on the journey of building Termi. How do we bridge the gap between all of these best-of-breed systems that we know exist within a law firm? We know that they’re going to have a specific system for their time entry, for their expenses, for their practice management, their case management, their financials. All these systems are typically different and don’t communicate with each other.
The user experience of those solutions is going to be different functionally, they’re going to achieve what they need to achieve, but there’s nothing really bridging the gap. You have integration sitting on the back end allowing the systems to talk to each other, but nobody’s really thinking about how the end user interacts with all these systems. The problem that Termi is trying to solve is bringing all those elements together into a unique user experience that’s embedded into your everyday productivity toolset.
In Outlook, the Office suite; everywhere you work, you can embed Termi into that experience. Whether you’re on your desktop or mobile, it’s as simple as sending a message. Whenever we get a new problem that we’re trying to solve with Termi, we ask ourselves: how do we design this user experience in the most efficient way? Whether it’s performing a conflict search, creating data, or creating a new matter directly within Termi, how do we do this in a way that doesn’t involve multiple clicks? It needs to be as simple as asking the system to do it for the user with minimal input from them. That is what we’re trying to achieve here.
Another example is not having to worry about the fact that I’ve been to five meetings this week with a particular client and that those meetings are scheduled on my calendar. With Termi, you don’t have to make a conscious effort to log that time in the time entry system; it will do that for you. Termi can connect those dots together. It can pull data from the time entry system, then go back to your calendar and pull that data and sync the two together to see what’s missing, then prompt you to enter the time. This will make sure your timekeeping is accurate, and it makes it easy and intuitive to do so, anywhere you are.
To wrap up, where we kind of see it going is extending the experience beyond what we are already doing today, integrating with core systems, and allowing individuals to get on with their day with Termi sitting in the background, assisting them proactively, without them even thinking about it.
Think about any issue with technology or process perspective within a law firm. The way we’ve architected Termi will allow us to rapidly build multiple applications on top of the stack. Whatever you’re doing today that involves opening a browser, going to a web page, and filling out a form can be streamlined with Termi; it will talk to any API behind web services and improve the overall flow of data within an organization.
Sue: So Termi will help me improve my business processes and assist me in my day-to-day tasks, whenever I need it. That’s a pretty powerful tool. Thank you so much for walking us through how and why Helm360 created Termi to improve customer efficiency and satisfaction. Is there anything else, Bim, that you would like to add?
Bim: With the current COVID situation, a big challenge distributed law firms face is that they’re not seeing the same level of collaboration that they did in the office. Think about a new employee that is being onboarded remotely. They’re trying to learn the systems that a firm uses and the various business processes within the firm. How you accelerate that learning curve? In the office, it’s much easier to do that hand-off of knowledge versus doing it remotely.
We’re really focused on how we can solve those problems using Termi; things like how to embed it into products already deployed within a firm to provide a better learning experience. How do we apply this kind of technology to distributed learning using a chatbot element to answer those questions efficiently? We want to move away from the current model of a portal that has all the answers, but they are so buried that the only way to find them is by asking a colleague who’s been there 20 years.
It’s moving away from that paradigm and turning that information into knowledge bases, making SharePoint sites more accessible through something like Termi.
You can ask questions like “What’s our gym reimbursement policy?” or “How do I claim an expense?” Whatever it might be, Termi can deliver current, relevant information to the end user so that they can onboard quickly and continue to learn new things in this new, distributed normal.
Sue: I’m excited about our next session when we will talk more about Termi and how it can assist from an onboarding perspective. Thank you again, and we look forward to having more discussions in the next couple of weeks!
Bim: Thank you, it’s been great talking to you!
End of Part Two
- Termi is an AI solution developed in response to real-world problems that Helm360 created based on actual client feedback.
- Termi can bridge the gap between best-of-breed systems that law firms typically use, and it can do so in a way that is faster, more efficient, and easier for the end-user.
- It’s a proactive solution that can free up a lawyer’s time and give them more time to practice law.
- Termi has huge potential in areas like onboarding and training scenarios, and Helm360 is actively working on adding these capabilities to upcoming versions.
If you’d like to find out more about how Termi can take your law firm into the future today, contact Helm360 for a live demo session with one of our worldwide consultants.