Jennifer Hart is at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. this week participating in a rite of passage for any lawyer-turned-entrepreneur: riding the legal technology conference circuit.
Hart’s start-up booth at ILTACON is small and near the back of a cavernous exhibit hall, but she is eager to network and pitch her wares to legal technologists and others from the industry perusing the lines of vendors.
“I love it,” Hart said. “I’m surrounded by tech nerds.”
Hart started building a mobile app to collect and organize client documents just over a year ago while she still worked at a mid-sized law firm in Ohio. Now, Hart is the CEO of legal tech startup Connective Counsel, which was spun out of her law firm, Kohrman Jackson & Krantz.
Hart is among a growing crowd of lawyers who have left the practice of law to pursue their own legal technology businesses. Legal tech companies received a record level of investment last year, more than $1 billion. Those launched by former lawyers include Kira Systems, Doxly, and many others. Some law firms have had success selling software developed in-house to established tech companies, such as Chapman & Cutler, which sold a software product to NetDocuments last year.
Many of the industry’s connections are formed on the legal tech conference circuit, where the International Legal Technology Association’s annual ILTACON is largely considered the preeminent event. Other large events include the American Bar Association’s TechShow, ALM’s Legalweek, and more recently, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium’s annual institute,
ILTACON is also place to unveil new products, as Hart’s Collective Counsel inherently understood. The company announced the beta launch of its product, ConnectIVITY, on Monday. It is looking for law firm partners to test the client-facing cell phone app that Hart says makes signing and storing documents simpler for law firms and companies.
“You have to meet clients where they are, and they’re here,” Hart said, raising her own mobile phone.
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This week at ILTACON 2019 in Orlando, Connective Counsel unveils ConnectIVITY, a new mobile client-facing app for law firms. Officially launching in early 2020 and currently in beta testing, ConnectIVITY is a secure cloud-based platform that provides law firm clients with intuitive access to legal documents, automated legal forms and agreements, secure messaging, and digital billing and payment options.
Extending far beyond the features of a client portal or collaboration platform, ConnectIVITY effectively becomes a centralized, dynamic client service tool. The app streamlines client service and file sharing to strengthen the attorney-client relationship. Several mid-size law firms are already using ConnectIVITY including Cleveland-based Kohrman Jackson & Krantz (KJK) which provided the first in-house test environment for Connective Counsel.
Designed to complement, but not replace, a document management system (DMS), ConnectIVITY already integrates with Worldox, a popular and widely-used DMS. Lawyers and staff using Worldox can easily search for, select, and upload documents to ConnectIVITY for client access.
Connective Counsel is led by CEO Jennifer M. Hart, an attorney at KJK who left to launch the startup. Hart commented: “We are incredibly proud to unveil ConnectIVITY at ILTACON this week. This innovative technology product provides essential resources for both law firms and their clients throughout their business relationship. Developed within a law firm based on real feedback from lawyers, administrators, and clients, ConnectIVITY has vast potential to improve legal clients’ experience and build transparency, loyalty, and trust. We are rigorously testing the software and adding to its extensive functionality and we look forward to officially launching the app in the first half of 2020.”
ConnectIVITY feature highlights include:
– Customizable Law Firm Branding – Law firms can easily customize ConnectIVITY’s look and feel by inserting their firm name and logo onto the client mobile app or web platform, effectively adding a branded, trusted resource to every client’s smartphone, tablet, or computer.
– Proprietary Dashboards – ConnectIVITY’s attractive dashboards give clients insight into their legal process and keep clients apprised of case information, documents and financial/billing details through push notifications to their phones.
– In-depth Innovations – Versatile for many uses, ConnectIVITY can be used to store, assemble, and manage many different types of information. Real estate clients can view comprehensive closing binders organized by property, including purchases, sales, leases, amendments and terminations. The app can be used to create a Corporate Record Book with a Table of Contents, providing access to the whole cap table, a shareholders list, ledgers and operating agreements. Client-facing Human Resources and Finance documents can be easily organized and exchanged.
– Machine Learning Driven Billing and Online Payments – ConnectIVITY’s machine learning technology transforms paper bills into digital ones and enables payment within the app via LawPay integration.
– Secure Messaging – Keep clients updated with ConnectIVITY’s secure messaging tool.
– Contract Automation and Signature – Clients can complete, execute and send simple contracts and agreements which the law firm sets up on the app such as NDAs.
– 24/7/365 Availability/iOS Ready – The ConnectIVITY app assigns a unique web address for each law firm, requiring only an internet connection to run. It runs on iPhones and iPads as well.
Worldox/World Software Corporation President Ray Zwiefelhofer, Chairperson of the ILTA Partner Advisory Council, said: “ConnectIVITY is a breakthrough product that integrates seamlessly with Worldox. Law firms need both a powerful DMS like Worldox and a great way for clients to easily access their documents and information. The ConnectIVITY/Worldox combination accomplishes that with simple elegance. We look forward to ConnectIVITY officially launching in 2020.”
ConnectIVITY’s straightforward pricing is $100 per client per year for its beta group, which is actively accepting law firm members.
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Connective Counsel, a Cleveland-based technology firm, said it is beta testing Connectivity, a mobile app that helps law firms share documents, messages and set up digital payments from clients.
The startup firm, which evolved out of an internal project within the law firm of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, is currently being used by several firms, including the aforementioned, and is designed to help streamline information sharing and billing between law firms and clients.
“Developed within a law firm based on real feedback from lawyers, administrators and clients, Connectivity has vast potential to improve legal clients’ experience and build transparency, loyalty and trust,” Jennifer Hart, CEO at Connective Counsel and at attorney at KJK, said in a company release.
The app is $100 per client, per year during the beta testing period.