Five questions with Case Status
5 minute read
Lauren Sturdivant is the Co-founder and president of Case Status, a client connection and marketing platform.
Lauren Sturdivant is the Co-founder and President of Case Status, a leading client connection and marketing platform. Lauren, a former practicing lawyer in South Carolina and Ohio, for years experienced problems lawyers and clients struggle with daily in terms of communication. In recognising the need for better client connection through technology, she founded Case Status in 2017.
Today, Case Status is utilised in law firms across the US and internationally, and has proven to save lawyers time through automated client touches and updates. It helps lawyers build stronger cases more efficiently, improves client satisfaction and helps firms grow through custom branding and the ability to easily capture reviews and referrals from clients. Case Status is the future of client connection in the legal industry, and Lauren remains committed to her mission of improving the practice of law and the lives of attorneys, staff and their clients globally.
01. What was the inspiration behind your company?
Along with being the Co-founder and President of Case Status, I’m also a lawyer, and I grew up around the practice of law. My mom is a long standing judge and my dad is a lawyer. Considering my background, I know the hard work put in daily to help clients. Whether it be helping people through life-altering problems and challenges or important deals, the work that lawyers and their staff do is incredibly important.
That said, it can be a very difficult and stressful job. And the majority of those stressors often relate to the attorney/client relationship, and ultimately client communication. The reality is, lawyers are busy, and they want to focus on their cases and growing their firm, not fielding phone calls and emails to merely provide case updates.
On the other hand, I have also witnessed the hardships and difficulties clients face. Clients are often going through very difficult points in their lives, they are nervous and they do not fully understand the process. This communication gap often leads to a breakdown in the lawyer-client relationship.
After witnessing this problem over and over again, it became my mission to fix it and create a solution that allows lawyers to provide an easy way to communicate quickly and more effectively. In doing so, we help lawyers save time updating clients, which allows them to build stronger cases more efficiently and resolve cases faster. At the same time, we provide clients with a better experience, which ultimately leads to firm growth. We are just scratching the surface on how we are helping lawyers achieve more success in less time, and clients ultimately benefit the most. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
02. What do you find is the most difficult aspect of being a female founder? How do you feel being a female founder gives your startup a unique advantage?
I have personally experienced both the difficulties and advantages of being a female founder. I have witnessed and felt subtle bias from male investors. I have witnessed women’s abilities and business ideas questioned more than men. I have seen women held to a higher standard than their male counterparts. I have also witnessed and experienced the confidence gender gap, i.e. women tending to undervalue themselves compared to men in competitive situations. Women consequently come off to potential investors as less sure of themselves. To the extent that this gap inhibits bluster and arrogance, which I believe to be an undervalued strength, it tends to exacerbate the aforementioned bias.
However, I have also experienced the advantages of being a female founder. Being a woman in tech and in an old industry (legal) has given me the opportunity to stand out. I ultimately feel that the world wants me to succeed and be an inspiration to other women and girls, to show that they can achieve any goal and make a difference in this world.
Ultimately, leadership in business, and specifically in tech, has a long way to go toward gender equality. However, the first step to change is acknowledging that things need to change, and we are seeing this happen. If there is one thing I know, there is nothing more powerful than the determination of the female spirit, and in making a concerted effort to elevate and promote strong, smart, hard working women, the entire world will benefit. I plan to do my small part in helping the world continue to strive toward that goal.
03. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since first developing and launching your startup?
The best businesses solve painful problems. However, it’s not as easy as building a product you think will solve the problem. From my perspective, there are two major obstacles to building a product: the product needs to actually solve the problem and changing behavior is very difficult to do. Therefore, the product needs to make people’s lives exceptionally better. In overcoming these obstacles, you will have made major strides towards product market fit. However, both are incredibly hard to achieve, hence why the majority of start-ups fail.
In order to be successful, founders need to have a deep understanding of the problem, put their ego aside, and make assumptions based on obsessively listening to the market, customers and data. This takes time, but ultimately will lead to success faster.
04. How has the pandemic impacted your company?
We have seen the shift in the legal industry over the past few years towards the need for better client communication and service through technology. In today’s world, clients expect more and they expect fast, easy communication. In fact, my thought process when I founded Case Status was that consumers know the status of their pizza order and their Amazon packages, but clients do not have insight into one of the most important things happening in their life — their legal case.
The market validated this assumption. By far, the number one complaint to every state bar association is a lack of communication from attorneys. Furthermore, 38 state bar associations now require technical competency as an ethical requirement for attorney licensing and have set ethical standards regarding client communication.
We saw this shift happening before COVID-19, but as you can imagine, the need for Case Status became even more apparent because of the pandemic. Client connection software is now considered a necessity for firm survival. Case Status enables mass communication directly to client phones, and it provides the ability to easily onboard new clients without utilising email or having them come into the office.
The future of the legal industry is here, and this is the way people want to communicate in today’s world and beyond. We see this through our use cases, high adoption, testimonials in how Case Status has changed firms’ practices, and firm insights. Our team is honoured and humbled to be leading the way in terms of best practices in managing client communication.
05. What is the one piece of advice you'd give to other women thinking about starting a company?
I would say start with why. Success is great, but building a business is incredibly difficult and there will be several falters, failures, high highs and low lows you will experience during the process. If there is ultimately not a deeper purpose for why you are solving the problem or why you want to help your customers, your will and desire to achieve the goal will not be able to survive the process. The ability to always come back to the place of why you started the company will help you get through the trials and tribulations, and will remain the foundation of why all the sacrifices and difficulties are worth it.
On a personal note, this is the best piece of advice I could give to all women who want to start a company. Be true to yourself, be confident in your ideas and in showing the world who you are, provide value to others, and support each other. No one else is running your race, and in working together and supporting each other on our missions, all of us, and the world, win.
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