New ABA Blueprint tool designed to increase solo, small firm efficiency

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
blueprint-15col.jpg (Courtesy of

As American Bar Association President Linda Klein traveled the country to meet with attorneys from dozens of states just before she took office, she noticed a common theme in her conversations with solo and small firm practitioners. Administrative duties are eating into time that could be spent practicing law, the attorneys said, and because they don’t have a large staff, they’re forced to handle those duties themselves.

Klein was struck by that common concern, so when she took office as ABA president in 2016, she began working on the development of a program that could alleviate some of that administrative burden. That program became ABA Blueprint, an online legal tech marketplace tool launched in November 2016 meant to enable attorneys working at solo and small firms to quickly and easily find legal technology that meets their firms’ needs.

“Blueprint, at its core, is an ABA-member benefit that helps solo and small firm lawyers cut through the noise and find the tools they need to run a more modern and efficient practice,” said Chad Burton, CEO of CuroLegal, a legal tech firm that collaborated with the ABA on the creation of Blueprint.

One of the most frequent comments Klein heard during her time as president-elect was that it is difficult for attorneys at solo or small firms to wade through all of the various software available for legal professionals to determine which programs best meet the needs of their firms. Elizabeth Cox, a partner at Cox & Koons LLP and 2017 chair of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Practice Task Force, agreed. She noted the process of searching out legal tech tools is not only overwhelming, but also time-consuming.

At larger firms, support staff members are often hired based on their professional background, such as technology or human resources, to handle those specific administrative areas, Burton said. But at solo and small firms, Cox said those responsibilities often rest on the attorneys’ shoulders. While her firm employs paralegals to help ease the administrative burden, she and her partner still have a hand in other non-legal tasks, such as processing payroll and maintaining their office building.

“It eats into the time of practicing law, and it also eats into family time and into weekends,” Cox said. “It has to be a labor of love. You have to be called to do this.”

dimos-jim-mug Dimos

Using their own experiences as attorneys, ABA Deputy Executive Director Jim Dimos said he and the CuroLegal team tried to develop software categories within Blueprint that would address the most common needs within the legal profession. For example, Blueprint provides access to digital credit card processing services, QuickBooks for accounting, Office365 for client contact information and Clio, a law firm practice management software that includes features such as billing, accounting and document automation.

Additionally, Blueprint can point attorneys toward other more law-specific tools, such as software to expedite the e-discovery process and marketing tools to grow a firm’s business or presence in a community, Dimos said.

Such legal tech tools can be beneficial, Cox said, but problems arise when multiple software offer the same or similar services, which forces her and other solo and small firm practitioners to take additional time to compare the products. But with Blueprint’s “Build Your Firm” option, attorneys can answer questions about their individual practices, and those answers are used to generate a suite of suggested legal tech tools aimed at meeting the specific needs of their practices.

Blueprint’s ability to customize the selection of applications to an individual practice is what sets the program apart from other legal tech tools, Burton said. And while technical tools are generally beneficial, Blueprint also offers ABA members a live chat feature that enables them to get their questions answered immediately by a real person.

Aside from increased efficiency, Dimos said one of the biggest benefits of Blueprint to solo and small firms is financial.

Investing in legal tech tools has a significant financial impact on law firms, especially solo and small firms, so the decision to purchase practice management software is not made on impulse, Dimos said. Additionally, there are already costs associated with being an ABA member, so Dimos said the Blueprint team worked to negotiate discounts that would make purchasing software through Blueprint a worthwhile investment.

For example, the money saved by purchasing the Clio software through Blueprint as an ABA member would be enough to cover the cost of ABA dues, Dimos said. But those discounts are only available to members. Others can access the Blueprint site, but price reductions would not be available.

Dimos cites Blueprint’s financial benefits as part of the reason for the program’s initial success. Since it went live in early November, Blueprint has been rolled out “from sea to shining sea,” he said, reaching attorneys across the country.

Feedback about the ABA’s newest web tool has been positive, but the product development team is already looking toward improvements for the next Blueprint iteration, Dimos said. For example, the ABA recently discussed Blueprint during a continuing legal education program hosted by the Maine State Bar Association. While in Maine, the team allowed attorneys to test out the web tool and offer suggestions for improvements.

Some ideas for future Blueprint versions include practice-specific tools, Dimos said, such as features designed for specific types of firms, such as intellectual property, trusts and estates, or corporate lawyers.

That ongoing evolution will further distinguish Blueprint from other legal tech tools, Burton said, because many legal software developers roll out new programs without a plan for continuous development.

“We’re not trying to make something static and stale,” Dimos said. “We may add products or may take products out if they’re not popular. We’re listening to users as to what they want.”•


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Building social-media presence is inevitable for Law Firms. These tips are very useful to strengthen social media presence. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  4. We are a Finance Industry Company professionals with over 15 Years Experience and a focus on providing Bank Guarantee and Standby Letter of Credit from some of the World Top 25 Prime Banks primarily from Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC,Credit Suisse e.t.c. FEATURES: Amounts from $1 million to 5 Billion+ Euro’s or US Dollars Great Attorney Trust Account Protection Delivered via MT760, MT799 and MT103 Swift with Full Bank Responsibility Brokers Always Protected Purchase Instrument of BG/SBLC : 32%+2% Min Face Value cut = EUR/USD 1M-5B Lease Instrument of BG/SBLC : 4%+2% Min Face Value cut = EUR/USD 1M-5B Interested Agents/Brokers, Investors and Individual proposing international project funding should contact us for directives.We will be glad to share our working procedures with you upon request. We Facilitate Bank instruments SBLC for Lease and Purchase. Whether you are a new startup, medium or large establishment that needs a financial solution to fund/get your project off the ground or business looking for extra capital to expand your operation,our company renders credible and trusted bank guarantee provider who are willing to fund and give financing solutions that suits your specific business needs. We help you secure and issue sblc and bank guarantee for your trade, projects and investment from top AA rated world Banks like HSBC, Barclays, Dutch Ing Bank, Llyods e.t.c because that’s the best and safest strategy for our clients.e.t.c DESCRIPTION OF INSTRUMENTS 1. Instrument: Funds backed Bank Guarantee(BG) ICC-600 2. Currency : USD/EURO 3. Age of Issue: Fresh Cut 4. Term: One year and One day 5. Contract Amount: United State Dollars/Euros (Buyers Face Value) 6. Price : Buy:32%+1, Lease: 4%+2 7. Subsequent tranches: To be mutually agreed between both parties 8. Issuing Bank: Top RATED world banks like HSBC, Barclays, ING Dutch Bank, Llyods e.t.c 9. Delivery Term: Pre advise MT199 or MT799 first. Followed By SWIFT MT760 10. Payment Term: MT799 & Settlement via MT103 11. Hard Copy: By Bank Bonded Courier Interested Agents,Brokers, Investors and Individual proposing international project funding should contact us for directives.We will be glad to share our working procedures with you upon request. Name:Richardson McAnthony Contact Mail :

  5. Affordable Loan Offer ( NEED A LOAN?Sometime i really wanna help those in a financial problems.i was wondering why some people talks about inability to get a loan from a bank/company. have you guys ever try Eric Benson lending cost dollars to loan from their company. my aunty from USA,just got a home loan from Eric Benson Lending banking card service.and they gave her a loan of 8,000,000 USD. they give out loan from 100,000 USD - 100,000,000 USD. try it yourself and testimony. have a great day as you try.Kiss & Hug. Contact E-mail: