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Transforming an Overburdened Criminal Defense Firm into a Profitable, National Law Firm

In the area of criminal defense, a person’s fate is not always decided on the facts of the case, but other circumstances, such as their lawyer’s time and other commitments. Too often, the lawyer has to choose between their cases and their personal lives and make concessions accordingly. The typical profile of defense lawyers includes being overburdened by cases, lacking time or resources to manage a business effectively.

This was the case for Maknoon and Associates, a 17-year-old criminal defense firm with wins in large criminal cases at the state and federal levels. At the same time, though, Maknoon himself was, as he said, “losing business and his life.” He faced a myriad of obstacles commonly affecting defense lawyers that operate in the United States today.

While dealing with the logistics of becoming more known and discoverable on Google, it became a challenging task because answering calls and monitoring a CRM is nearly impossible when in court. If he did manage to identify a potential client, the challenges became retaining them and collecting payment. For clients now in jail, payment grows increasingly complex when it has to be obtained from family or a friend.

To compound the issue, Maknoon dealt with personal struggles beyond those of the business. On the personal side, he was dealing with high personal credit card debt and did not yet own his home. And on the professional side, he was dealing with dropping case details, high staff turnover, less time to think about client cases, and poor communication between all of the processes he had put together.

With these pressures placed on Maknoon, he realizes that he would have to decide between managing operational duties and practicing law. To help with business management, applications seemed like they could manage business processes, but in reality, there was no communication between them. This is where Smart Systems Technology stepped in.

When Maknoon first began his engagement with SST, it began with process manufacturing, using the company’s patent-pending, state-based data architecture that maps processes and synchronizes contextual data and moves it through a cloud-based reflection system. By automating human processes, not only did the VHOS (virtual human operating system)improve communication between business processes, but it was also able to move clients through the entire legal journey through to sentencing. As an early adopter of the VHOS system, Maknoon and Associates kept the platforms they were using and accessed specialized labor to operate areas in his office and forms of data entry. Using a VHOS also managed the business areas of finance and billing. These introductions created the division of labor and standardization to help streamline the business processes in the firm.

With the improved processes in place, Maknoon foresees that he could become the largest criminal defense firm in the country. Typically, most resources have been on the prosecution’s side, but this will level the playing field. Since the process and system work so well, it will also help reduce the costs associated with criminal defense. At the state level, only 5% of cases go to a jury, so the client will likely be pleading to something. This means they need a lawyer at the top of their game to get the client the outcome they would like to see.

The result for Maknoon and Associates was a 400% caseload increase while increasing client satisfaction and outcomes. Before SST, Maknoon’s firm only managed 35 cases, which quickly grew to 115 once improved processes were established. Additionally, the firm saw a 500% increase in revenue over three years working with SST. Streamlining business operations has allowed new locations to open in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada, offering virtual criminal defense, while Google analytics helps to identify new potential markets to expand into. Not only is this a victory for Maknoon and Associates, but it revolutionizes the criminal justice system. From sale to sentencing, lawyers now have to focus on the case itself while business processes operate smoothly in the background.

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