“It wasn’t just about selecting a great software, we also wanted to improve and standardize our firm’s process. We saw Litify as an opportunity to create something even better while helping us move forward with the times.” — Christopher Stratton, Senior Partner, Hightower, Stratton, Novigord & Kantor
Hightower, Stratton, Novigrod & Kantor is a Florida defense law firm that’s been in business for three decades. Their team of 80 employees has represented corporate America in over 25,000 Construction Defect, First-Party Property, General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, and other claims over the years. In the last two years, the firm has experienced a lot of growth and an expanded staff and case count highlighted the need for a more advanced practice management platform. We had the pleasure of speaking with Christopher Stratton, a Senior Partner, about Hightower, Stratton, Novigord & Kantor’s software evolution, and why they ultimately selected Litify as their legal software of choice.
The beginning of the journey
Q: Can you introduce yourself and describe your role at the firm?
A: I’m Christopher Stratton, a Senior Partner with the Hightower, Stratton, Novigord & Kantor law firm. I’ve been with the firm for 18 years and have been doing insurance defense for my entire career here. Our firm’s focus is really on insurance defense, primarily defending against personal injury matters, but we also handle property damage and construction defect work.
Our staff is nearing 100 employees in four offices across the state of Florida, which is the largest we’ve ever been. And we’re currently handling approximately 1,000 cases. We’ve tried a lot of cases over the years, and we prepare every case for our clients as if it’s going to trial.
Q: What were the challenges that led you to start looking for a new legal solution?
A: Before Litify, we were using multiple outdated systems that didn’t interact with each other. Because of that, some people weren’t using the software or others weren’t using it to its fullest ability. As the firm’s growth accelerated, we realized we needed one cohesive, uniform solution that did everything all-in-one so that everybody would buy into it and adopt it, ultimately avoiding wasting time and duplicative efforts.
One area where we were wasting time, myself included, was needing to over-rely on email communications since our systems weren’t interacting with each other. People were spending the majority of their days just fishing through unnecessary emails trying to find the information they needed.
Q: Were you having other challenges regarding data and information? What metrics were important for you to look at, and were you able to access them?
A: That was also difficult. None of our systems provided easily accessible metrics. For example, if we wanted to know how long a case was pending, we’d have to go in and manually look for the date it was first assigned based on when the paperwork was filled out.
Making the change to Litify
Q: How did you kick off the process of looking for new software?
A: My partner Dan was the first person to get introduced to Litify and it sparked the idea of looking into a new litigation management software. I was closely involved throughout the process and we ended up evaluating about 10 different systems, some of which were more standard and others like Litify that were fully customizable to our firm.
Q: What were you looking for when you started evaluating new softwares?
A: We were looking to streamline those internal communications as well as our client communications. Litify is going to help with the document generation and sharing feature. It will also help by tying all our personal communications with a client back into a centralized activity timeline so that we can see everything happening in one place.
Also, the reporting and metrics were important to us. With Litify, we’re going to have all our practice information right there, ready and available to us without needing to manually figure out the answer three hours later. Everything we need will be front and center in a dashboard or in a report.
Q: What features stood out when evaluating Litify vs other software?
A: The fact that Litify was entirely customizable was a big selling point for us. Litify could do whatever it was that our team needed. The other systems always seemed to be missing a few key things that we would want. And some of the other providers would say they could build or customize a feature for us, but then we’d look further into it and they’d change their mind and say, “no, we actually can’t do that.” But from day one, the folks at Litify have been great and we’ve trusted them to build what we need and to be open, honest, and willing to help every step of the way.
It wasn’t just about selecting a great software, we also wanted to improve and standardize our firm’s process. We saw Litify as an opportunity to create something even better while helping us move forward with the times. It was a natural extension for us to then want the most updated technology to run the practice. Litify is really going to help us revamp our practice while making us more productive by streamlining everything we do all day long.
Q: What advice would you give to somebody in a similar situation to you?
A: It’s worth the extra time and effort to set up and customize a solution like this. Some people at the firm had been pushing us to get something up and running a bit quicker, but I believe we’re going to have a much stronger and successful solution at the end of this process. We’ve been working closely with the Litify team at every step and really participating in the configuration of it from day one, which is so much better than, “here’s what you get out of the box.”
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About Christopher Stratton
Chris Stratton was born and raised in northwestern New Jersey and relocated to the Sunshine State to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee. Chris later attended the University of Miami School of Law where he was named to the Dean’s List graduated cum laude in the top 20% of his class and was a member of two scholarly publications – the University of Miami Entertainment & Sports Law Review and the University of Miami Business Law Review.
Chris has been aggressively litigating cases throughout Florida for nearly two decades. Chris is admitted to the Florida Bar, the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He was named to Florida SuperLawyers© Rising Stars six years in a row, named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and 2020, and 2021 Top Lawyers by Palm Beach Illustrated.