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Buying or Upgrading Practice Management Software? 4 Things to Know

Legal technology has ventured its way from e-discovery to artificial intelligence and touched upon many subsets in between. Yet far and wide, law firms still struggle with finding, implementing and using the array of tools that comprise practice management technology.

Getting technology use off the ground can be burdensome. As found in the in the 2016 ILTA/Inside Legal Technology Survey, 42 percent of firms struggle with user adoption. Further, practice management technology isn’t available at most U.S. firms—the 2016 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report found that only 46 percent of firms have the technology at hand. Yet, among the haves, use went up from the previous year, from 30 to 43 percent.

As document sets get larger, compliance requirements grow more complicated and clients span the globe, many firms are taking technology to task. Here are some things to know for firms looking to dive in and adopt new practice management technology:

2. Know Your (Potential) Vendor

Vendors are a dime a dozen, and it’s easy to get lost in the decision process. As Mark Yacano, global practice leader, managed legal services at Major, Lindsey & Africa, told LTN, “We have clients that come to us and say, ‘We evaluated content management software and got so confused that we just gave up.”

“About five years back there were three or four very strong vendors in certain areas. You could easily make that choice and you would not be wrong,” Shishir Shetty, vice president, technology services at Wilson Legal, told LTN. Now, “there's a lot of different variations of what's available in the market. And you've got to take a look at them. … Other than doing the self-diagnosis, you have to see what systems are out there, just to understand what they bring to the table.”

In addition to a self-evaluation, Yacano suggested creating a “vendor scorecard” in assessing options. “It takes a lot of the subjectivity out of it, [like] if the sales guy comes in and has mustard on his shirt.”


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