Buying legal software can be a bewildering process and it can be difficult to know where to begin. With multiple factors to think about, such as workflows, management of data and document automation, to name just a few, it can be a very confusing task.
With that in mind, we are going to highlight some tips from solicitors who have revealed some of their secrets to help you find the ideal software for your legal practice. Let’s jump in and find out more.
Identify the problem before searching for a solution
Have a clear idea of what problem you want to solve before you look for legal software. It is unwise to buy software that looks interesting and then try to find issues for it to solve.
Choose software for the right reasons
The delay in buying software is often due to taking time to devise a budget for it. Therefore, people often end up choosing software for the wrong reasons. For example, they may make a decision based on costs rather than on the functionality of the software. Legal practitioners aren’t generally used to being sold software. This means that the normal process of assessment people go through may not come as naturally to solicitors. As a result, people end up choosing a product too quickly without giving it due consideration.
Involve the people who are going to use the software in the decision to buy
Solicitors should be involved in the purchasing decision, as well some of your customers and the non-legal staff of your firm, as they will both use the software at times. It might be a good to include people who have design skills too. If you consult these different groups of people, you will have a more in-depth knowledge of the user requirements you need to satisfy. This knowledge will, in turn, give you a better idea of what to look for when you buy legal software.
Search for tools that work together
It is important to take a user-centric approach to buying legal software and to think about how you could use it creatively. Ensure that all the tools included in the software work seamlessly with any software already used in your practice. After all, the purpose of buying legal software is to simplify and facilitate operations within your firm, not to make them more complex.
Think about how you will implement the software
Some law firms buy software without setting aside a budget for it, or planning how they are going to implement it into their legal practice. This fact, combined with the tendency some software companies have to overstate how simple it is to get their software up and running, can cause people to become disillusioned with it. They deem the implementation process too difficult and thus, the software gets left on the shelf. Therefore, it is crucial to put some thought into the implementation process before deciding to buy.
It is also essential that resourcing is included in initial budgets, as buying technology without having people to use it won’t achieve anything. If resourcing is properly accounted for, it will take you less time to see the benefits and effects that using legal software has on the running of your practice.
Remember technology will not solve all your problems
What commercial or legal issues are you trying to solve? List what your chosen software needs to be able to do to resolve the issues. It’s important not to underestimate the effort you need to put into implementation, as this is something that is often underplayed by vendors. You may need to hire experts to make sure that aspects of your legal processes are in order. This is especially true if you want to automate many processes, as you will need to ensure everything is polished and ready to go before this is attempted. You can’t solve all the problems of your firm by using legal software alone.
Don’t underestimate the effort involved in choosing software
Solicitors who are making their first foray into the world of legal software often have little idea of the effort involved in finding and buying the perfect software for their firm. Therefore, it is sometimes best to seek advice from experts if you’re struggling.
Take a focused approach
Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from the outset. Cast your net as wide as possible at first. Ask vendors to give you a demo of their software that has been tailored to your legal practice, rather than just to give you a more general pitch. Ask about their competitors so that will have a better idea of where you might be able to find an excellent legal software package.
Find software you can easily manage
There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to legal software. Do your best to find something that you be able to manage yourself after a time. Consider your customers and co-workers. Will they be able the software with minimal training? The software will probably hinder your progress if you are constantly having to deal with queries about how to use it. This would defeat the object of investing in it in the first place.
Try to negotiate with the vendor to get a low per-user cost based on how many users you anticipate will eventually be using it. If you do this, you are less likely to end up paying for licences you don’t use.
Pay attention to success stories
While customer reviews and testimonials can be useful when you set out to buy software, look out for success stories that detail precisely how specific legal software was used and how it benefited a particular law firm. This kind of feedback is much more useful than if someone just says they used software from a specific vendor in their firm and that it worked well.
Solicitors should be open to exploring how most work can be broken down and be made more efficient. Those who have an open mind about what legal software can do will undoubtedly be able to get the best out of it.
Today then, we have delved into some useful secrets of buying legal software shared by industry experts. We hope these tips have gone some way towards dispelling some of the confusion surrounding legal software and how to buy it. We trust that you now have the confidence you need to go out and explore the options for yourself. So get out there and find the best legal software for your firm and help it to thrive. Check out the great software offered by SpineLegal now.