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It was in 2015 that Athar Khan launched the Law Offices of Athar A. Khan in Irvine, California. Originally working as a system engineer, his first role in the legal industry was in intellectual property law. But after 4-5 years, he felt there was something missing.
“My first maybe four or five years in law were in patent law, but it turned out that I didn’t really have a lot of contact with people,” Athar said: “The people that I did work with were inventors so that was a lot of fun, but it was not as much as I would like it to be.
“I wanted to go towards something that really was important to me. I was a new dad and I just wanted to do something to do with kids.”
After the birth of his daughter, Athar found himself gravitating towards family law, with his firm currently focusing on family cases including divorce, child maintenance and custody. Within his law practice, he works predominantly with low and middle income families, as he prides himself on being able to structure his services around his client’s budget.
“There’s a huge majority of people that are barely too rich for legal aid, but not rich enough to afford an attorney and it drives them bankrupt,” Athar said. “Whenever they’re up against a client, one of the two parties always has more money, and part of the strategy becomes to exhaust the other side financially and emotionally. What I like to do is work with the person who is on the lower end of the spectrum, but structure my financial arrangement with them in a way that they can’t be exhausted. That no matter what is thrown at them their outgoing expense is limited.”
Once Athar turned his focus to family law and aimed to make his services as accessible as possible, he was looking for an easy, stress free route for clients to find and book his legal services – this is when he found Setmore.
“When I was looking for an attorney for myself, what I noticed was, it is not easy to do business with an attorney,” he said. Reflecting on his past work in technology, he wanted to find a platform that made things simple. “The words that I remember from my boss and mentor who was a really smart person; he always said, ‘I want things to be like air. You wake up in the morning and you don’t think ‘I have to breathe’, you just breathe and that’s how technology should be,” Athar explained.
“There were two basic principles, one was to make technology like air and the other principle was to make it so you’re easy to do business with. If somebody wants to do business with you, make it easy for them. And that’s exactly what I try to do.”
Instead of a complicated legal appointment booking process, which can involve multiple forms, lawyers and secretaries, Athar’s Booking Page enables potential clients to book an initial appointment directly with him. His availability is shown with real time updates so clients can instantly find an appointment slot that suits them.
“I want the client to be able to book a time easily. They shouldn’t have to call me and ask me, ‘Hey, do you have time for a consultation? When are you available?’. I just want to make it easy for them and that’s what I did. I was looking at multiple platforms and Setmore was the one that I chose because I liked that it was cross-platform and had integrations with every single platform that I needed.
“They’ve [clients] already found you, they want to ask you for an appointment, they want to get your services. Make it easy for them.”
Whether a customer visits Athar’s Booking Page on desktop or mobile, they will receive the same experience and booking journey, something which Athar praised in his move towards added approachability.
“Wherever they come from, their experience is uniform,” Athar said. “It’s the same experience for everybody and that’s what I like. Whether you’re on mobile, whether you’re on desktop, whether you’re on Mac, Windows, whatever it is, it’s the same smooth experience.
“When you find a person on Google, a lot of times you’re looking for a phone number or an email, and then you go to their website. But Setmore gives you the ability to just have a booking link right there, which I think is unique.”
In an industry where time is money, Athar can maximize his bookable hours, while Setmore automates scheduling in the background.
When booking an online legal appointment, prospective clients can set up a one hour initial telephone, video or in-person consultations. Current or returning clients can pick their consultation type and required duration.
Once an appointment is made, Athar and the client both receive instant confirmations. Automated text and email reminders are also sent by Setmore 24-hours in advance. During stressful times, Athar believes these reminders have helped his practice reduce missed bookings.
“I think it has definitely helped with no-shows,” Athar said. “People go to an attorney when things are really, really stressful. They are losing their family, they’re losing their kid, they’re losing their job and that is not a time when people can have everything in perfect order. These are not times when they have everything planned out weeks in advance so to have that prompt, it really helps.”
Athar also explained another benefit of appointment reminders is empowering his clients to reschedule at short notice. Clients can simply re-book online based on Athar’s availability and he is automatically alerted of the alteration.
The priority for Athar is balancing his professional and personal life to spend as much time as possible with his young daughter. An integration Athar praised was the 2-way calendar sync with Microsoft 365, allowing him to set up his calendar to suit his needs.
“I went into this business because it’s very flexible, it allows me to spend time with my daughter. If the whole point is to go into something where I can be flexible, then why overload myself to the point where I can’t spend time with the one person I care about most?”, Athar said.
The law professional utilizes ‘focus plan’ – a Microsoft application that blocks out time for him to focus on cases. As a result of the 2-way calendar integration, this time is also blocked out on his Setmore calendar.
“The nice thing is, because Setmore is connected to my [Microsoft 365] calendar, nobody makes an appointment during that time. I can serve my existing clients, while also having something available for new clients, so that works out really nicely.”
Currently working in family law, Athar’s goal is to represent minors and collect information for the court to determine what is in the child’s best interest.
“My long term goal is to be a minor’s counsel, which is a special type of attorney, where you can be an attorney for the kids,” he said. “Usually in a divorce or separation, you have an attorney for either parent and there’s nobody who really speaks for a child, so I want to do that.”
For now, Athar will continue to focus on his current family law practice.
“Once my daughter goes off to college and I’m no longer cool, then I can expand it and bring on more people and make it bigger. But for right now, my life revolves around my daughter.”
With family at the heart of everything he does, online appointment scheduling assists Athar in ensuring every hour at his practice is well-spent. While he spends his out-of-office hours where it matters the most – with his daughter.
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