Demystifying Legal Software – Four

Gutter_l_66475647It is disheartening to see so many law firms spend money, time and resources on legal software that doesn’t do what they need it to do, expected it to do and/or were promised it would do.

There are hundreds of software providers attempting to sell us their product.  The sales team tells us things that simply aren’t true.  They are not familiar with how law firms work so they do not understand the importance of certain features.  I have been amazed at the amount of money firms have simply let slip down the drain.  Don’t let it happen to you.

10 Legal Software Purchasing Tips

  • Do not rush.  The deals will stand if they want to sell you their software.  It is better to wait until you have done all of you due diligence than rush a purchase that turns out to be a bad fit.
  • Talk to attorneys who are using the software you are considering.  If you can’t find any attorneys using the software, don’t buy it.
  • Get an unbiased opinion.  Don’t just talk to the sales people from three software companies.  Ask your IT consultant if they know anything about it or if they can check with their resources to find out about it.  Search Google for reviews on the software and then look at the date of those reviews to see if they are current.
  • Check quotes for services to see if they are realistic.  Many times, quotes for services are not discussed outside the firm.  Ask for a detailed breakdown of the quotes.  Contact a trusted person who understands IT and ask them if the quotes seem reasonable.
  • If you are a solo or small law firm, do not buy software that hasn’t been on the market for several years.  I would recommend at least 5 years.  You do not have the time or resources to be in, essentially, a Beta group.
  • Don’t just accept their standard demo.  Be very clear about what you need the software to do.  Then, ask for a demo of those particular features or tasks.  Stay away from “work-arounds” or, “Well, we are working on that and it should be out by the next year.”
  • If you have staff, have at least one of them in the demo.  They will look at the program very differently than attorneys and can often find holes that you wouldn’t see until after installation.
  • Ask how modifications are made.  Do you have to hire a consultant to write a new report or change the structure of your client/matter numbers?  Are you willing and able to do that?
  • Check on their support.  Call their service department on the weekend or late in the evening before purchasing to see how long you have to wait. Check their help site to see if it is helpful.
  • Do not pay for everything before the cut-over.  If they tell you it is required, find a different vendor.
  • And an added tip:  Do a test import of your information on the most challenging case, not the easiest.

You should be in control, not the software company.

Here is a link to a podcast I found interesting from Lawyerist that discusses software purchases and How to Spot Fly-by-Night Legal Tech by Joshua Lenon:  https://lawyerist.com/117407/podcast-72-spot-fly-by-night-legal-tech-joshua-lenon/

Diane L. Camacho, DLC Consulting Services

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