Big Law to Successful Solo

Meet our top rated virtual receptionists

Leaving Big Law

Recently, we interviewed Attorney Christopher Burk to explore his transition from big law to a flourishing solo practice. We discussed how he started with Abby Connect and how we helped him grow and have more time to focus on his clients. His story highlights how he overcame the challenges lawyers face in the early stages of launching a new practice and how he found a like-minded partner in Abby Connect.

“I wanted to focus on people. I wanted to focus more on their cases and give them better attention.” 

That’s when Christopher had what he called a “Jerry McGuire moment,” and he decided to open his own firm.

Building a Growing Practice

Law school doesn’t teach you how to run a practice. So, unfortunately, many new law firms don’t succeed, and almost all find a steep learning curve in the first year.

Thankfully, Christopher had a plan. He would save enough money so he wouldn’t need a salary his first year. In January 2018 he opened his firm, and he put all the money right back into his practice – just like he planned. However, even the best plans can’t prepare you for everything.

Christopher’s staff was stretched thin. The investments in his practice lead to growth – more calls, more new clients, and more work. “We had a lot of ‘jack-of-all-trades’ on staff,” one of which was answering the phones along with their many other duties. This wasn’t ideal. He was lacking efficiency, and sometimes he was missing calls – this was a real problem for Christopher:

“All calls must be answered immediately. This is especially important for new client calls that need to be connected to me right away.” 

However, Christopher did not know of any good alternative to having someone answer in-house.

Lawyer hands and gavel on desk.

Finding an Extension of the Firm

The Patriot Law Firm was busy, but Christopher didn’t really have enough work or enough capital to hire more people. He needed to improve his efficiency in a way that was both economical and scalable for his growing firm.

Towards the end of 2018 Christopher met Nathan Strum, CEO and Co-Founder of Abby Connect. He admits, before meeting Nathan he had never considered working with a virtual receptionist service:

“I hadn’t really considered it. My bosses in the past always had issues with answering services. The receptionists couldn’t seem to assess the relative importance of calls. So, they were not getting new client calls over to the attorney.” 

He was also concerned a service would not have the personal touch he wanted:

“Practicing law is about dealing with clients on a day-to-day basis. You must be kind – be a therapist at times. Be a friend at times. Clients need to have good service provided to them.”

For Christopher, when considering who would answer the phone and represent his firm, providing exceptional customer service was non-negotiable.
Nathan explained Abby Connect was different. Christopher’s call handling would be customized to meet his needs and his clients would love the customer experience provided by Abby Connect.

Enjoying Growth

Christopher decided to give it a try. “Getting started was easy. The process was seamless, and calls handled by Abby are amazing!”

The transition for his staff was easy too. Abby Connect answers all the calls for The Patriot Law Firm promptly and professionally. Christopher’s staff can focus on other tasks and billable hours, and they’re no longer dealing with constant interruptions, “we’re more efficient now.”

Christopher’s very pleased with how the receptionists treat his callers as well:

“Abby does a great job. The people who answer the phones are always cheery and nice. I get lots of compliments from my clients. You feel like the Abby Connect people are definitely people that smile when they talk.” 

Though Christopher was skeptical, his experience has only been a positive one:

“People really like interacting with Abby Connect’s receptionists, and it means a lot because they’re an extension of my firm. People who call don’t know it’s Abby Connect. They think it’s my firm. They’re glowingly kind, bubbly, and wonderful” 

His mind at ease, Christopher can focus on dedicating more time to his clients and continue to grow his practice:

“We’re growing fast. In fact, we need to hire someone soon.” 

Lawyer and client meeting

Final Remarks

When we asked Christopher for his closing thoughts regarding his experience working with Abby Connect, he expressed his gratitude for finding a reliable partner who delivers the level of service his law firm needs:

“The number one thing plaintiff lawyers like me are going to want to know is if I have a new client that’s calling, are you going to connect me immediately? In the personal injury world, every second counts. When a new client goes on Yelp and puts in a request, they are going to get inundated with lawyers, and whoever answers the call gets the case.”

In our conversation, Christopher said lawyers who want to grow their business, especially personal injury lawyers, need a reliable answering solution to:

  1. Answer ALL calls promptly.
  2. Engage callers with empathy and care.
  3. Connect new clients to the attorney.

For Christopher Burk, he found the perfect partner to do all these things, Abby Connect.

Written by

Ashley Fisher-Nelson

Ashley Fisher-Nelson

Ashley Fisher-Nelson is Abby Connect’s VP of Sales and Marketing.  She started at Abby as the Director of Demand Generation, but before Abby, Ashley performed with Billboard Top 25 Artists, developed strategic partnerships with over 250 organizations, and created partner programs for several companies including Lawyerist and a few of Abby’s virtual receptionist competitors. She ensured Ruby (formerly Ruby Receptionists) stayed on Portland Business Journal’s 100 Fastest Growing Oregon Companies list (9 years running).  As the daughter of a small law firm business owner, Ashley is driven to work hard to better the lives of small business and small law firms.  She has found success at organizations big and small by creating scalable systems, building relationships, and providing exceptional customer service.