We’ve been talking about legal practice management software and the ways it could help midsize firms make the most of their digital capabilities, including accommodating client requests for e-billing and streamlining legal document management. If this describes your firm and its ambitions, you might be thinking that this technology could be extremely helpful.
So how do you sort out your options?
Start by making a shopping list. What do you and your colleagues need law practice management software to do? We’ve discussed some notable uses in this post, and you’ll undoubtedly have some needs specific to your firm’s legal operations.
That should help you narrow the field, at least a little. Still, there will probably be more than one practice management solution that appears capable of delivering what your firm requires. Now you’ll want to look more closely at the companies providing each solution.
Do your due diligence in selecting a software provider
Doing some preliminary research at the beginning of the process can save you a lot of time and help you create a stronger short list as you begin to evaluate providers. Here are three questions to consider as you get started.
How well does the provider know the legal industry? To start with, consider only those companies that really know the legal profession. Law practices have specific requirements, and not all software firms can meet them. You’ll also want a provider whose technology is proven to perform – one that also can provide the names of happy customers you can talk to.
How does the installation process work? Another consideration as you vet potential providers: How does the installation process work? What will be required of you and your colleagues to get the solution up and running? And how long will it take? Properly installing a practice management solution typically takes several months. How will your firm’s data be transferred to the new solution?
What kind of training and support can you expect? Another critical consideration is training. How much training and support will the provider give your firm? Does the vendor have a plan to get your colleagues fully up to speed on the solution’s functionality? You’ll also want to see whether the provider offers how-to guides, information on new features and updates, and other key components once the training process is completed.
Some providers also offer learning paths customized to the ways an attorney or a staffer needs to use the solution. That can save your firm time and money, since you won’t need to organize the same formal training session for everyone at the same time.
Make your case
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to make the case to your colleagues. That might not be easy. Your comrades might be resistant to the idea of learning yet another software. Especially one that encompasses so many processes.
As we’ve noted, lawyers want to focus on their caseloads, and they’ve gotten used to the processes already in place. Who needs the disruption? And who has the time to learn new software?
What you’ll be “selling,” then, are the longer-term benefits to your firm. A single platform for several functions allows attorneys, staff, and clients to access the latest information on a case, without having to log on to multiple systems. Everyone will be able to complete tasks more effectively and more quickly, and errors will be less likely to creep in.
And make no mistake: These are benefits that more and more clients value. In fact, your firm can also consider a well-designed practice management solution as an investment in building new business.
Learn more and discover what Thomson Reuters ProLaw can do for your firm
You can learn more about practice management software and its benefits by downloading this free Thomson Reuters white paper, How to get what you need (and what you want) out of legal practice management software.
Thomson Reuters ProLaw is a practice management solution built specifically for law firms like yours that want to keep pace with their clients and their ever-changing needs. Contact a Thomson Reuters representative to request a demo.