Settify was launched in February 2017 for family law firms. It recently introduced a service for firms offering wills and estates services. In Australia and New Zealand, 110 law firms have signed up to Settify. Legal Practice Intelligence had questions about Settify. Max Paterson (pictured below), Settify’s co-founder and CEO, kindly responded. But first, here is a short video of Settify in action:

What problem does Settify solve?

Clients are increasingly used to getting things done online, from buying plane tickets, to organising holidays, to banking. We wanted to make the services of family lawyers similarly accessible.

Also, I was sitting in an initial meeting, charging a client several hundred dollars per hour while I asked ‘how do you spell your middle name? What are the children’s dates of birth? What do you think the car is worth?’ and I realised there was a way to save cost, save time, and give clients the option to do the fact-finding in a more efficient way.

Finally, clients often come to an initial meeting feeling vulnerable and unprepared. Good lawyers can make them feel better during the meeting, but modern firms should give clients the option to start learning where they stand beforehand. Clients should have an opportunity to come to terms with concepts like the difference between divorce, property settlement, and parenting arrangements. They should have the option to provide their background information in a guided way online, if that’s an approach they prefer.

[Picture] Max Patterson – CEO of Settify
answers questions about the service

What edge does a Settify using law firm have over a non-Settify using law firm?

The most obvious factor is that Settify partner firms are engaged by more clients who visit their website. Every firm has nice pictures, colours and wording, but it’s very hard for a website to really be different. Our polling indicates that the majority of clients are referred to more than one firm, and visit 2-4 websites to determine who to call. With Settify, they can instantly access customised, personalised information about where they stand and how their lawyers can help them, and before they know it, they have made a meaningful start with a Settify partner firm.

We have had some surprising feedback from users however, that we weren’t expecting. Clients are impressed by their lawyers demonstrating an actual commitment to using technology to constrain costs and make things efficient. They also report coming to the initial conference feeling prepared – they know what to expect and how their lawyers can help them. Lawyers report that initial conferences now go further – they spend more time providing advice, canvassing options, and discussing strategy. That’s what lawyers should be doing, rather than gathering data. Thus, we’re finding that Settify is ultimately a tool to increase client satisfaction.

You started with family law and then wills/estates. Can the principles be applied to any area of law?

Yes. Particularly in areas where there are standard fields of enquiry that lawyers need to go through with most new clients.

Where is the chatbot or robot? Why no robot?

I hate chatbots. Anything that pops up at me when I’m online feels cheap and annoying. Similarly, my blood boils if I’m dealing with a ‘chatbot’ and it misunderstands or gets things wrong. I think chatbots are inherently pretending to be able to manage a conversation, and I don’t think they’re good at it in the legal space.

We put a lot of work into Settify’s look and feel, and clients and lawyers really like it. It’s clearly an app; it’s clickable and visual; it’s responsive and conversational. It’s clever and intuitive but it’s clearly not pretending to have a conversation with you. We’re really happy about that.

Is it mobile friendly? Do you know whether prospects are using mobile devices rather than desktops?

Yes, it’s optimised for phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. We find that for many of our partner firms, around 40% of clients are using it from a mobile device.

How many firms have signed up to Settify in Australia?

As of today, there are 110 firms in Australia and New Zealand that have signed up for Settify. We launched in February 2017 and have expanded largely through good word of mouth.

You are already expanding into the UK market. Why have you moved to the UK so quickly?

We’re still very much active in Australia and New Zealand, and we’re constantly working to improve the system with our existing partner firms here. We’re really proud of the impact that Settify has had in assisting clients in Australia, and we wanted to take our innovation overseas. The UK was the obvious next step due to the size of the market and similarity of the legal process.

How long does it take for a new law firm to be up and running with Settify?

We have a 2 week rollout process. We roll out a bespoke, customised version of Settify for each firm we work with. Firms have their very own branding, logos, colours, fonts and wording settled by their lawyers.

Do you have any website design tips or strategies for law firms to maximise their success with the service?

Good lawyers build their business from referrals, and have good reputations. People will visit your website if they hear your name. We advise our partner firms about clear calls to action and button placement on the website. The real trick though is to actually take clients ‘off the market’ once they visit your website – that’s what Settify is good for.

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