From January’s Law Practice Management Newsletter—Software For Your Law Practice

by Tali Thomason on January 23, 2015

How to Choose Software For Your Law Practice

By Reba Nance, CBA LPM Director

I am often asked “What software do you recommend for ______________” (insert time and billing, practice management, trust accounting, document management, etc.).

The answer always is “it depends.” There are a number of criteria you must consider before making any software decisions. Click here for a great overview to help you choose legal software, and check out an article by Nicole Black and Craig Greening that appeared in the October 2014 issue of the Texas Bar Journal’s Solo/Small Firm Column.

Here are some of the things you need to consider:

  • Want vs. need—do you “need” the software, or do you just “want” it?
  • Has the company been around for a while?
    • Likelihood that they will remain in business
    • Likelihood they will continue to improve it, fix bugs, issue updates
    • Likelihood you can find staff that knows how to use it
    • Likelihood that it will integrate with other software you already use (when appropriate)
  • Can you migrate your existing data?
  • What’s involved in getting your data out if/when you go with different software?
  • Is it okay if the software is cloud-based, or do you prefer to “own” it?
  • How complicated is it to learn? Can you find training options?
  • Does it ”think“ like you do? Or is it like swimming upstream?
  • Get a free trial so you can see how it works and “thinks”
  • Sit down and outline everything you need it to do
  • What is the price? Is it monthly? One time? Must you pay a yearly fee for “maintenance?”
  • How is their customer service?
  • Google reviews and see what others say about it.
  • Are any of your colleagues using it and what do they think?

I have never, ever encountered a piece of software that I hand’t heard of at least person who hated it. The perfect software doesn’t exist. All you can do is realistically consider what you need, do your research and then commit to using it. And don’t forget the training!

This month’s newsletter contains advice on setting up your iPhone 6 from MacLawyer, switching from PCs to Macs, and how to capture more billable time, as well as other useful technology reviews, marketing, and time management tips. Click here to read the full newsletter and here to access archived newsletters.


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