How to Review a Legal Software ?
Legal software has come a long way in the last 5 years. This is due to lawyers demanding more from a system and because of the huge technology leaps that have been made. At the same time, we have a lot more choice of legal software, each offering different functionalities and USPs (Unique Selling Points). How do you an informed decision when choosing the right software for your law firm?
Key Questions to Ask ?
A number of questions need to be considered when choosing the right legal software:
- How important is software to your firm’s goals?
- What features are most important to you?
- If you are using an existing system, will the new software handle pain-free migration of data?
- If you are a fresh start up looking for your first legal software, will it be easy enough to use?
- How much does the software cost? Installation costs can vary between £0 to in excess of £20,000 so please ask this question at the outset each time.
- Most important of all, will the software make you and your firm more productive, lean and cost-effective?
The rapid adoption of legal software shows that there is a strong business argument in favour of investing in legal software for your firm. Legal software could be compared to being the equivalent of an organised warehouse that houses your stock. In this scenario the stock are your files and the matters that you are currently running, also known as WIP (Work in Progress). Every firm would have different levels of WIP and would attach different values to them. There is no doubt that WIP could be interpreted as the single largest factor of net worth for your firm.
Understanding Features & Benefits
Features, functionalities & benefits of legal software can be very varied. It is now becoming very clear that other industries have started tapping into the legal IT market. A number of products released in recent years have been produced by IT Techies, who lack the practical understanding of the legal profession. Other legal software has been produced by lawyers, which lack the technical and functional ability. The right software for you is the software that has a fine balance of profession and technology.
The most important features that should be looked for in a legal software are therefore document management and finance, or to put it differently, doing the work and getting paid for it.
There are many examples of legal software that provide a good user experience in both of these features. However, there are also several examples that do not cover any of these essential features, but are great on other such as cloud computing, for example. The software you choose should put you in the driving seat of your firm. Law firm owners would agree that strong, technical and experienced workforce is another important determining factor for running a successful law firm. The right software will equip these highly skilled staff with better working practices, being able to follow company policies via use of workflows which will result in the firm being more productive. At the same time, the legal software should be capable of honing in on staff that may need assistance when it comes to productivity & performance.
Finding the right software
The decision of choosing your legal software is essential for your firm’s success. It is, therefore, important that you consider all aspects of your firm. We recommend that you opt for flexible systems because no two clients or matters are the same. Another suggestion would be to try the software before you buy. Most reputable legal software developers will let you use their software before you invest. Transparency is key here when the investment could determine the success of your firm. Many legal software products have huge install costs; it could be very costly to discover that you have bought a software which is of little or no use to you. Some vendors are reluctant to allow you to use their software pre-purchase and go about showing you their pre-staged demo instead. While such demos are useful to see key features they cannot be compared to using the software first hand. Using software day in and day out will always be different to seeing somebody else use the samesoftware for a few minutes. Our advice, get your hands on the software before you part with your investment.