Implementing a reliable and capable software system that is designed for the specialised needs of your law firm or legal department is a necessity to help manage the workload and services you offer. It is also the best solution to maintain a practice that is current while providing you the ability to grow in the future. The gains and benefits in both long and short term productivity are certainly strong incentives to take this step forward.
However, the consequences of possibly choosing a software system that may not be ideal for your practice poses as a strong argument against changing your current methods and processes. If you are hesitant to get started with a new software solution, it may be due to uncertainty about selecting the system which will suit your firm best.
Is it a Best of Breed (BOB) system?
Best of Breed (BOB) systems are those which are considered to be the leading software system for a specialised niche or particular industry. A Best of Breed system legal system will perform better for specialised functions, however, they are sometimes limited by this specialisation. To avoid this limitation you should look for legal software which can do everything you need to run your legal practice. A system that can provide you with one source of the truth can do wonders for your productivity and efficiency and give you an edge over your competition.
In order to expand on the system, an intelligent application management interface (API) integrator is usually required to successfully connect one or more other BOB hybrid systems together. Since integration is a highly complex process and may not always be possible, lawyers could find that they need to report from multiple systems from multiple vendors. However, this is not the case with a true integrated BOB system, integration should be a beneficial add-on, not a necessity for general matter management. For example digital signing integration can help you reduce time and money cost when getting documents signed.
Does it integrate?
As was briefly discussed, an integrated solution which is one single and comprehensive system that handles all of the areas of law firm management can be highly beneficial to your practice. An integrated solution offers lawyers a means of finding and storing information, providing consolidated reporting, and addressing other common objectives from one stable and accurate source.
With the use of only one system, the matter management process is much more streamlined as there is no need to deal with multiple vendors or set up multiple systems. One thing to be aware of is that there are a number of so-called integrated solutions which in reality are simply bolt on components to another core product. A real integrated solution consists of one single system which incorporates processes like Matter management, a DMS, workflow automation and full financials including payroll. If you really need another system as well, ensure that your PMS can communicate and integrate with it so that you are still accessing all your data from one central location. This system should also be able to integrate with all of your different devices, allowing you to work on the go.
Are the security protocols up to scratch?
As a lawyer you are dealing with vast quantities of confidential client information. If the system you're using to store this data isn't secure, then neither are your clients and their information. Despite what many people think, the Cloud is one of the safest places for storage. As a Microsoft Gold partner, LawMaster encrypts and stores your data using Microsoft Azure servers in Australia. For our deeper dive into cloud technology click here.
If you're storing your client files in storage cabinets, what's to stop someone accessing these physical files without your permission? Security groups in practice management systems can make sure that each of member of your team can access only what they need to.
Is it Trust Certified?
Do you run a trust account in your practice? If you do, then you need to be compliant, and so does the legal software you're using. If you want to ensure the system you're using is Trust compliant here is a list of certified systems.
Is it intuitive to use?
Determining which solution will be best for your legal team will involve various factors. One of the main considerations is the ease of use. Best of Breed systems are generally easier to use since they have specialised functions. While some integrated solutions may also be quite simple, there may be complications that arise from knock-on effects that one process may have on other software modules.
Other considerations include cost effectiveness, consolidated reporting, data integrity, standardised processing, reduced risk and the ability to scale across multiple geographical locations. In all of these areas, integrated solutions are typically the preferred choice and the most practical option for law firms and legal practice management. By having a true integrated system that is the Best of Breed you can get the optimum level of performance out of your legal practice.
At LawMaster, we can help you weigh your options based on the factors that are most important to the management and long term growth of your practice. Our team is committed to providing professional legal technology that is designed to optimise the management of your legal firm or department. With our intelligent solutions, you can rest assured knowing that you will be making the right choice for your practice—one which will provide you with ease, accuracy, and features that are ideal for your needs.