Wisconsin’s Consolidated Court Automation Program, which of course every cheesehead refers to as “CCAP”, is a case management system created by the Wisconsin Director of State Courts consisting of a database of case information from Wisconsin circuit courts that people can access on-line.
Unless you’re living under a rock, every lawyer and other legal professional knows they can use CCAP for purposes such as viewing a person’s past circuit court activity, obtaining case details such as future court dates or the name of the opposing attorney, and they can use it to track the status of an open case. Some firms will even view CCAP records to research how a particular judge will handle certain issues or sentence similar defendants.
Overall CCAP is a wonderful – and free – vehicle of case information that any Wisconsin practitioner can use in his or her day to day practice.
However, many lawyers don’t realize that CCAP can literally hand their firm tens of thousands of dollars in new cases and fees every year with one simple tip… (and I’m not talking about direct mail).
Okay…so…even though I’m not talking about direct mail, let’s talk about how lawyers use CCAP for direct mail to generate new leads, before we talk about the most effective way to generate more income with CCAP.
Wisconsin lawyers have quickly discovered that they can use CCAP to help market their practices directly to people that are parties to a new circuit court case. When a new case is filed, the circuit court immediately enters the case details into CCAP and the information is accessible on-line.
The case details include, among other things, all of the parties’ names and addresses and the case type. This allows firms to obtain the names and addresses of prospective clients in their practice area and immediately send out marketing material by way of direct mail.
Whether you love or hate direct mail marketing, it is an affordable and effective method for lawyers to get their names in front of consumers that need a lawyer. A number of third party services exist that will essentially automate this process, including services like Postali and CCAP Pro (disclosure: I am a co-creator of CCAP Pro).
For example, CCAP Pro is a program that automatically emails subscribing law firms daily excel spreadsheets of new party information so firms can mail merge the information for a quick and easy direct mail campaign. Firms simply select the case types and counties it wants to receive these leads from and the service spits this information out every day for a low monthly fee.
In general, a one percent (1%) response rate is expected for a business doing a mass direct mail campaign. However, firms that send marketing materials to new parties see a significantly higher response rate simply due to the consumer’s immediate need for legal services. Attorneys are typically happy with the ROI.
Here’s the biggest problem with direct mail that every firm faces….
Direct Mail allows competitors to STEAL new business from your past or present clients with a simple letter.
Now you can stop that from happening immediately with one simple method and start bringing those fees to your firm!
I think every lawyer would agree that a firm’s biggest asset is its past and current client database. Lawyers work hard to get the best results for their clients. In return, lawyers hope to gain their clients’ trust and loyalty if the need for legal services may arise in the future.
Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen, and lawyers lose significant business and become frustrated when they learn these clients hired a competitor for a new case. More often than not, lawyers lose this business because clients simply didn’t realize the firm also handled the type of case the client is currently facing. Income lost to direct mail solicitations are even more frustrating!
So what can lawyers do to stop this?? Answer: Use smart technology that will immediately notify you when any of your past or current clients is named as a party to a new circuit court case and turn old clients into new business.
Here’s how it works… CCAP Alert allows firms to upload its entire client database into its secure and confidential program and the software scrubs the entire list every day against all new Wisconsin Circuit Court filings.
If anyone on the user’s list is named as a party to a new circuit court case, the program sends the user a real-time email “alert” with the party information and case details. It doesn’t matter if you have 100 contacts or 100,000 contacts on your database, CCAP Alert monitors every client every day.
CCAP Alert allows subscribing firms to beat direct mail solicitors to the door because the ethics rules allows lawyers to make direct contact with a prospective client if the person is a former client. See SCR 20:7.3 Direct contact with prospective clients.