Leveraging Airtable for the Legal Industry: Three W(ins)s.

June 7, 2022

If you have worked with us in the past, you might know that we heavily rely on Airtable for different purposes, such as:

·     Create powerful apps

·     Setup automatic integrations or reminders

·     Generate a comprehensive database of your information

·     Keep track of your project.

Although, at first glance, Airtable might look like a digital spreadsheet is more than that. This platform is probably one of the most powerful platforms for solving the most mundane problems (e.g., creating a marketing calendar, having an updated project tracker, or simply having a list of to-do)—issues that millions of people wrestle with every single day. 

Airtable is more than an alternative to the Excel spreadsheet. Although Excel (or Google Sheets) remains one of the most critical, yet often overlooked, software tools upon which much of society relies, Airtable is more than that.

What is Airtable?

Founded in 2012, it is a no-code platform that gives you the power of a database with all the familiarity of a spreadsheet. This allows for an intelligent way to store and organize data and will enable you to collaborate on tasks, projects, ideas, and more. In a simple term, Airtable can create countless relationships with different pieces of data.

Attorneys, myself included, tend to use spreadsheets when a database would be better. Attorneys especially fear the notion of "database" since it implies the need for a technical background or the ability to run SQL queries (which I can rarely do successfully).  As the founder of Airtable, Howie Liu said:

"Spreadsheets are optimized for numerical analysis and financial calculations. But almost 90%of spreadsheets don't have formulas. Most are used for organizing purposes."

The interface, at first, looks like a spreadsheet. But you will notice that the overall experience is intuitive, seamless, colorful, and user-friendly. I won't tell the entire story of Airtable success since there is a better article on their story.  However, be assured of one thing, with Airtable, you don't even have to learn what SQL stands for, let alone scripting.

How can I use Airtable?

A relational database doesn't just store data; it stores relationships between that data—linking, for example, all of your clients with cases that they might have with you or your firm. You can then use those relationships to answer questions you have. Storing related data together in a single spreadsheet can be difficult to navigate when trying to sort and compare it. Still, with a database, you could easily filter “Open Cases” without modifying your data.

Each column in a table is called a field. Fields are the equivalent of spreadsheet columns, though fields are designed to bring consistency to your data. Each field has a name and can be customized to hold different content, like addresses, attachments, phone numbers, dates, checkboxes, dollar amounts, etc.

With Airtable, you can be very creative and create a case management system, a legal case analysis database, an intake database with an intake form, or a contract management system. All you need is a little bit of time and creativity to build powerful and dynamic apps.

Why should you use Airtable?

Besides the reasons we have mentioned, you should use Airtable because of its accessible cost and low effort to keep it updated. You only need the Help Center and Blog from Airtable to truly comprehend the capabilities of this platform. Airtable's value is its flexibility to adapt to whatever you need to organize. However, you want to see it.

If this argument it’s still not compelling, what if I told you that Airtable could also integrate with multiple external applications?

·     Are you a Clio user? You can send data from Airtable into Clio, only using Zapier.

·     Do you want to create a website with your Airtable data? You can use Softr, which enables you to create powerful websites or web apps only using Airtable.

·     Finally, do you only want to automate documents or invoices with your Airtable data? Try and use Documint, a document automation platform that grabs your data in Airtable and populates documents (feel free to take our Udemy course on this integration).

These are a variety of apps that can integrate with Airtable, but we are always happy to explore more integrations that you might need.

Lots of products take innovative approaches to solving common problems. Few have done so in such an interesting way as Airtable. Alternatively, you can contact us to discuss if Airtable is right for you.

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