Needles Inc. director of sales Rich Paresky sat down with us to discuss his company. The Needles software was originally developed by two personal injury attorneys and a programmer in Baltimore in 1985. Developed to support personal injury attorneys, the handful of original clients helped shape the core of the software more than 700 clients know today.
AALM: How has the company evolved since it opened its doors?
Paresky: In 1995, after nine years on a DOS operating system, we migrated to a Windows operating system. We named it Needles during our transition. Windows allowed us to offer an almost completely customizable system. During and since that transition, we have greatly expanded the case types we can handle well beyond personal injury.
AALM: What drew you to Needles? How does it differ from other companies in your experience?
Paresky: I had been in sales and management in New York for over 20 years and was looking for a new challenge. I was lucky enough to walk into a meeting of spirited Needles clients. The excitement from the 200 people in the room that day was amazing. The entrepreneurial spirit of the owner and what he and the team were building was something I had never experienced before. I took the job on the spot. To this day, that spirit and excitement still exists.
AALM: Tell us about the brand this company has created and the culture it strives to maintain?
Paresky: From the start, Needles created its own little cult because no one was offering or servicing the legal market in case management the way we were. The entire focus of the product and the company has been and still is to listen to our customers. The phone gets picked up in our office by one of our staff in three rings or less. Our customers and our awesome training team have shaped the functionality of the program over the past 30 years. We have always been guided by a wish list system, where the clients request changes in program functionality, and we add or enhance those features in the upgrading process.
AALM: How would you describe the team at Needles? How do you work together?
Paresky: Our team is well tenured and simply … unmatched. After changing operating systems, implementing hundreds of upgrade features and working on a program overhaul as we speak, our team is extremely well trained in working with our client firms. The in-house training and technical staff, contract trainers, and programmers all work together to uphold the Needles’ reputation as the most well-supported system in the legal community. The little “cult” I mentioned earlier is internal as well as external. I always talk about the circle of great, supportive people that I work with. Every member of the Needles team is part of that circle.
AALM: What do you think are the most pressing case management concerns for lawyers?
Paresky: The top five issues have always been the same: tasking, tracking, reporting, communication and stability. The technology of the day just changes how we are able to handle these core needs and issues.
AALM: In your experience, what are some of the most common mistakes made by attorneys when it comes to case management?
Paresky: The first issue we confront is attorneys/owners or managing partners excluding themselves from the case management and key operational decisions. Luckily, our implementation team will demonstrate how important it is for decision makers to be involved in system setup and best practice to handle daily workflow. Automation does not fix bad business practices or decisions. The second issue is making any decision solely on the price and not necessarily on the best tool for the firm needs. All case managements systems are not the same, and thorough research will show which product is best for your firm.