How a law firm built a custom CRM that met their needs

One-size-fits-all law practice software did not fit all

Leavitt & Eldredge practices patents, trademarks, and business law in the United States and abroad. Their work generates a lot of data about customers and matters, and billing requires particular workflows. All of this data is interconnected, and many team members interact with this data on a daily basis. In order for the firm to perform efficiently, everyone must have access to up-to-date, accurate data.

The firm had tried specialty software such as PracticePanther to tame its growing data needs, but the software was too restrictive. Like most specialty software, its layout dictated how business data should be organized. Like many small businesses, Leavitt & Eldredge’s unique data workflows could not fit in a one-size-fits-all solution. They needed a simple, custom CRM that empowered the firm to work on their terms.

The hunt for the custom CRM unicorn

That’s when Jennifer Bledsoe, the firm’s IT tech, set out to find a solution that could serve as a single source of truth for data. The CRM had to be flexible enough to meet different stakeholders’ workflows. If the tool could also be simple for Jennifer to get started with, that was a huge plus, because she only had a few months to get this done.

Jennifer looked at over 50 no-code CRM builders, including Because she was under a time crunch, she began migrating her data to even though she was struggling to customize its UI to meet her team’s needs.

That’s when she found Grist, and with only a month until her deadline, she hoped this was the one.

When I tried Grist I was like “No way it can’t be this easy.” But it was!

Jennifer Bledsoe

Jennifer imported her data into Grist and quickly built a working CRM application. The CRM tied matters and litigation data to clients in drag-and-drop dashboards that linked and surfaced data in an intuitive way. Soon she had something the firm’s staff could use in their daily workflows.

Sample screenshot of Jennifer's custom CRM build in Grist.
Invoice management is just one part of the firm’s custom CRM.

Building a custom CRM in Grist was just the beginning

Because Grist is flexible and extendable, Jennifer built other functions on top of the CRM, such as a billing and invoicing system, and a way to track funds in IOLTA accounts. Originally, Leavitt & Eldredge had bought PracticePanther to manager billing and fund tracking. But after running into PracticePanther’s limitations, Jennifer was relieved to discover that Grist handled that data just as well, while also tying those functions into custom workflows seamlessly.

To Jennifer, what set Grist apart from other no-code databases was its granular access rules, custom page layouts, and custom widgets. With drag-and-drop page layouts, she could design the application the way the firm’s staff works.

And because Leavitt & Eldredge handles sensitive data, Jennifer used granular access permissions to restrict who can see or edit which data. She also used access rules to set logic that locks records that are no longer editable to create an immutable historical record.

Most CRMs don’t work the way Grist works. Grist’s layouts are simple and do exactly what we need.

Jennifer Bledsoe

Custom widgets empowered Jennifer to streamline other aspects of their workflow, too. For example, she built a custom widget that generates invoices with unique “pay now” links. Staff can export an invoice as a PDF, send it to a client, and then the client can follow the unique link to the firm’s online payment portal with key information prefilled in the payment form.

A sample invoice generated in the custom CRM using relational data, and a formula.
Invoices are generated in the custom CRM using relational data, and a formula.

You’re a life saver. I cannot express enough the difference it has made. And while your software is amazing, you also have the most incredible customer service. I was put on the spot. I had a month to get this done and I needed help. Customer service came through.

Jennifer Bledsoe

Today, Leavitt & Eldredge’s attorneys and administrative staff use the CRM on a daily basis. Each of their workflows is captured in easy to use dashboards that make it possible to find and update data with a click, all in one database that serves as a single source of truth.