Courtesy: Springfield Business Journal, May 2021
By: David Blanchette
A Springfield firm that was formed to satisfy an unmet need has now been keeping the legal profession organized for three decades.
“My father, Ron Kanoski, was looking for a software application to use in his firm, but couldn’t find anything that was quite right,” said John Kanoski, CEO of Legal Files Software, Inc. “Once he saw the finished product, he knew that other law firms would be interested.”
Over the past 30 years they’ve been in business, Legal Files has built and improved an application that is used by law firms, government agencies, corporate and university legal departments, insurance companies and legal aid organizations across the United States and Canada.
Legal Files only produces and services legal software, so the firm’s clients don’t have to settle for applications that are tied to other products and services. Legal Files software is an off-the-shelf web application that is easy to customize, can handle any type of case or matter and supports a wide range of legal and administrative functions.
“Our customers know that they can count on the ‘latest and the greatest’ from us, so we are continuously adding new functionality and creating enhancements to keep Legal Files ahead of the competition,” Kanoski said. “Having the opportunity to meet all these great people in great organizations, and knowing that we can help them achieve their goals a bit more efficiently and effectively, has been the most satisfying part of our success.”
Gordon Hack has been Legal Files’ director of sales for more than 20 years.
“If you’ve ever been in a lawyer’s office, they’ll have those big red folders that could be three inches to three feet thick, just organizing their cases,” Hack said. “We are in essence doing the same thing, but electronically. So a lawyer can answer clients’ questions in a matter of seconds and they don’t have to dig for hours to try and find an answer.”
The Legal Files software is specifically designed to be easily adapted and modified based on each individual customer’s needs.
“Our tag line is ‘managing what matters to you,’ and we sell a program that is very customizable,” said Matt Ryan, who heads up the Legal Files customer training department. “We allow our customers to significantly modify the out-of-the box application to reflect their terminology, things that are important to them.”
“It really is kind of a game-changer for people in terms of their ability to control, organize and manage the information in their offices,” Ryan said. “A lot of our customers end up using the software for office management, not just legal case management. We use it ourselves; we have adapted it so it is our customer management software.”
Legal Files has a team of experts who help clients implement the software for their unique, individual needs, including government offices at all levels, corporations, retail, higher education, medical, service industries, banking and manufacturing.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that changing field labels and building a window that never existed in the application is all done through the user interface and does not require a technical person,” said Legal Files project manager Sara Morton. “The end users can be trained to build those windows and meet their needs.”
“A lot of times a client is coming from a previous system or database, so I have the opportunity and luxury to look at their database and get some idea of what they were tracking and some of their business processes,” Morton said. “We might work with clients that do similar things, but there is no one client that uses the application in the exact same way, so we are always learning something new as we build those windows to meet clients’ needs.”
The Legal Files nearly 1,000-client list includes such entities as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, MemorialCare, BMW North America, Cabela’s & Bass Pro Shops, Underwriters Laboratories, Brother International, EPCOR Utilities Inc., U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Florida Department of Health, New Jersey State Police, Ontario Attorney General, City of Memphis, Kaua’i County Attorney’s Office, Navajo Housing Authority, American Family Insurance, Illinois Education Association, University of Illinois, Texas A & M University and numerous law firms and legal aid organizations.
The company and its 30-plus employees have always been located in Springfield. The business is currently located at 801 S. Durkin Dr.
“This is where my father’s law firm was and, more importantly, where he found the skilled and dedicated people who could help him create a product and a company,” said CEO Kanoski.
Springfield was also the home base for Illinois’ most famous attorney, Abraham Lincoln, whose method of organizing his legal files sometimes consisted of storing them in his stovepipe hat.
“Abraham Lincoln was a very successful lawyer, and I’m certainly not going to question his methods,” Kanoski said. “But if he were around today, I have no doubt he would be using Legal Files instead.”