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Law Firm Software Assessments and Best Practices

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No singular piece of software is the silver bullet that solves all of your law firm technology problems.  Assessing and managing employee wants, needs, and expectations can make all the difference in whether or not new technology is well-received by your firm.  Often the success of a product in an office is largely dependent upon the attitude of its employees. 

Know what you need.

When looking for software for your law firm, create an internal wish list based on a survey of employees at all levels.  Taking the wish list and whittling it down to what the business absolutely must have is an art – and will make all the difference in selecting the best possible solutions within your budget. When we perform a Technology Audit, we undertake an extremely detailed examination of your law firm’s software and hardware usage. Law firm leaders need to survey their team to make educated decisions when acquiring and implementing new technology:

Sample Survey Questions for Staff:

  1. Which pieces of technology do you use every day? Which pieces of technology were you trained on that you never use?
  2. Which functions or features of existing technology do you love and how does it help you do your job?
  3. Are there any features or functions that you need to do your job better and/or more efficiently?

Sample Survey Questions for Attorneys:

  1. Which pieces of technology do you use every day and how do you use them?
  2. What technology, features, or functionality do you need to make your workflow better and/or more efficient?
  3. Do you feel that you understand the firm’s technology, how it works together, and why it is used?  If not, would additional training help you?

Sample Survey Questions for Administrators:

  1. What reports are you running on a regular basis?  Are you able to obtain the information that you need to audit the firm’s efficiency and workflow?
  2. Which technologies are on a subscription model? How are costs calculated?  What are the upgrade schedules on those technologies?
  3. Which technologies do you need to perform your daily duties? Are there features and functions of our current technology that are missing? How would those features and functions improve your workflow and efficiency?

Rate existing software and hardware, specifically indicating everything your current machines and programs do that you like.  On your “like” list, denote the items that your firm cannot live without.  In another column, list everything that your current software does that you dislike.  In a third column, make your wish list, ranking items in order of importance, factoring in the number of employees that expressed a desire for each item.  Remember: Not all “wishes” are “needs.”

People are more important than software.

The best piece of software will only work as well as its worst user.  If the user does not adequately understand the software, it will not work the way it was designed. 

While good software is often relatively simple to use, having the right person running and utilizing the software can make all the difference.  Invest in adequate and frequent training for your attorneys and staff, and regularly audit your staff’s usage of technology and efficiency to identify issues.

Remember: Software is not magic.

No single piece of software will meet every single law firm business need; however, there are many options available within the legal (and non-legal) technology markets that can improve law firm efficiency, while giving administrators, partners, and owners the information necessary to adjust and optimize job duties and staff.  Don’t rule out a piece of technology that isn’t marketed to law firms.  Keep in mind that technology is just one of the tools used to create a productive law firm. 

Have a Wish List and Want Someone to Help You Select Technology?

Don’t be overwhelmed by diverse and constantly evolving legal software options and/or the process of choosing new technology for your law firm.  Contact us to assist your law firm in finding an appropriate and affordable technological solution.

Sidebar stacey e burke About Stacey Burke

Stacey E. Burke is both an experienced trial lawyer and law firm business consultant. She works with lawyers and law firms around the world to improve their business development, marketing, and infrastructures.

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