In mid-2022, the Accelo Community hosted a competition for existing users. We wanted to discover how they use our rich API to expand the client work management platform’s capabilities. Below, you’ll hear about one talented entrant’s creative build and how it saved them time and cut costs.
Spera Law Group is a private law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. Andrew Legrand, Chief Legal Officer, founded the practice in 2011. He and his team provide outside general counsel for growing professional services firms regarding contracts, buyouts, business succession, licensing, selling a business, trademarks, dispute resolution and more.
With a mission to help entrepreneurs avoid legal mistakes and protect the value of their businesses, Spera Law Group offers a three-tiered subscription model. Having their team of experts on hand for early guidance makes clients more likely to preempt potentially big legal issues.
The firm’s subscription clients receive support that isn’t limited by hours, so the team was regularly fielding a lot of issues via Accelo’s Tickets product. Some of these client requests were within the scope of the given subscription, but others needed to be quoted as new deals. This process was quite time-consuming and prone to error.
Andrew had previous experience using Zapier — an automation platform he calls “coding light” — and he knew he could set up a more efficient workflow using that and Accelo’s API. The goal was to create a new ticket in Accelo for every incoming issue, then allow the firm’s employees to convert that issue into either a project or a deal via a progression, automating the administrative part of the process.
He started by building a Path in Zapier:
Zapier’s Paths can be used to build conditional workflows. Spera Law Group needed to set up two possible outcomes: project or deal.
These steps in the Path show what happens after a project is created when a client’s request is within the scope of their subscription.
For the second possible outcome — when a request is outside the scope of a subscription — Zapier tells Accelo to create a deal instead.
Then, he needed to set up a custom progression in Accelo.
Zapier talks to Accelo via API and sets in motion a series of actions to fill in essential fields about the new project or deal.
In Accelo, the progression:
After this series of actions is complete, the new object’s standing is listed as “pending,” so a team member can then progress it to “active.”
Already an Accelo user and interested in creating a similar custom progression? See more detail about how Andrew set this up in his helpful post in the Accelo Community.
Andrew reflects on the impact of this API-powered sequence.
“It completes a workflow gap,” he says. “It adds efficiency in that it makes it easier for people to convert. Not only am I saving clicks, but I’m guiding users to create the actual project.”
His setup has eliminated busy work around issue intake and replaced the tedious nuances of employee training.
The time savings speaks for itself: A ticket conversion that used to take the team five minutes now takes just 30 seconds. He estimates that his team does this at least four to five times per month, so it saves several hours of administrative work.
But the most notable result for Andrew has been the ability to generate consistent, precise data with less effort.
“We use reporting extensively, and reporting depends on good data,” he explains. “A workflow that limits manual data entry and prompts users to always input the correct answer produces better data — and better reporting.”
Spera Law Group’s experts spend less time cleaning up data and more time doing what they’re best at: advising clients. And it shows: The firm’s NPS scores hover between 75 and 80.
When you create these kinds of automations, you’re creating an intangible asset that the business owner can eventually sell. I think of Accelo and these automations I’ve created that build onto it as one of the most valuable assets in our firm.
Andrew Legrand, Chief Legal Officer
READ NEXT: Learn what Footbridge Media, the competition winner, built with Accelo’s API.
A 3-Step Formula for Automating Redundant Tasks
Instead of simply aiming to automate anything and everything, Andrew says it’s important to be intentional about the tasks you replace. He shares his approach:
READ NEXT: Ignition, our second-place winner, built a Slack app they call “Accelobot.”
Before adopting Accelo in 2019, Spera Law Group used legal practice management software, which Andrew says was “stuck in the hourly billing paradigm.” It wasn’t suited for a firm that provided ongoing services on a subscription basis. There were also limitations to the number of companies to which one contact could attach.
Accelo, on the other hand, was robust and flexible. The open API was one factor in his decision to switch to the platform. “I knew if the software couldn’t do something, I would probably be able to expand it and create custom solutions.” So far, that’s proven to be true, and Andrew says he’s built custom automations that provide tangible value with relatively little coding knowledge.
Taking advantage of this flexibility requires discipline and a drive to constantly improve your business — both its operational efficiency and valuation. Andrew’s a big fan of investing in systems.
“Is there a lot of setup for both Accelo and Zapier? Yes. There’s more of an upfront cost in terms of time to build these out and connect them. But on the back end, the value you’re creating for your business is there. If you buy something off the shelf, you’re capped at what you can develop.”
Intrigued by Spera Law Group’s efficient use of custom automation? Learn more about using Accelo’s API to enhance the platform’s flexibility. Schedule a demo.