By Joanne Hunter, Head of Marketing, Select Legal Systems Limited
A law firm’s decision to search for new business software can be based on a wide variety of reasons, but one thing they all have in common is they are all striving to make their practices better. After 25+ years in the business, we are pleased to be at a point where we receive many enquiries for our software – LAWFUSION – every day. As a marketer it is interesting to reflect on why firms are changing. Whilst looking at analysis of the reasons law firms have expressed to us so far in 2020 for their decision to make a software switch, it occurred to me that this year’s reasons can all be categorised under seven headings: frustration, hesitation, risk, addiction, empathy, carelessness and distraction. When the seven headings started to read like Pope Gregory’s list of SEVEN DEADLY SINS I thought about the firms who want new software but are wavering due to other pressures. I decided to write this article for them, to provide some food for thought, as those firms recognising the need to change all have a story to tell. There are lessons to be learned from the analysis in terms of business sense and it provides a thought-provoking account of Seven Deadly ‘Software’ Sins for law firms.
The Top Seven Reasons Law Firms Are Switching Software In 2020
Changing software is no small undertaking. It affects everyone in the firm. But with the right software supplier a software switch for the right reasons will undoubtedly improve the business. So far in 2020, the top seven reasons law firms have given us for deciding to make the change to their practice management software are listed below for you, in no particular order.
Do any of these relate to your firm?
Are you disillusioned with your current software?
You can be patient to a point, but when it’s your main business system a line must be drawn. You can only endure this kind of frustration for so long. Insufficient functionality, lack of integration and hit-and-miss support can really scupper your chances of running a tight ship. Suppliers dramatically increasing support costs, pressuring the firm to sign 3-year contracts, and trying to force a move to other products of theirs – puts a real strain on the business relationship.
Stories of firms being sold a dream package, to find the software is not living up to expectations is something we hear constantly. With some software packages available to law firms today looking quite pretty, modern and shiny on the surface, it is imperative you look beneath the bonnet when it comes to reviewing a potential, new system to drive your business forward. Our blog “The Ten ‘Legal Software’ Commandments” provides ten top tips for law firms setting out on this journey, and our large selection of law firm case studies speak for themselves.
Is it time you brought your firm’s IT into the 21st century?
The whole world is moving to the cloud, and although there are a number of web-based options available to law firms promising many benefits, some of packages out there are of far better quality than others. With horror-stories doing the rounds some firms have been slow to embrace the cloud, for valid reasons.
With a move to the cloud it really is a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ for most businesses. However, the timing of such a move is a unique decision for every law firm. LAWFUSION is available as either a traditional on-premise installation for those firms not yet ready to embrace the cloud, but we offer a web-based software-as-as-service option for law firms too – LAWFUSION Direct. In fact Select Legal Systems were one of the first legal software suppliers to offer a cloud option. H&R Hughes was one of our early cloud users, and we have a case study video if you’d like to hear what they had to say back in the day.
Team LAWFUSION is standing by to support and guide you in your move to the cloud. Our white-paper style video “Cloud vs On-Premise” is designed to help law firms make the right decision. Our blog “Cloud Desktop vs Browser-Run Software” provides technical insight for law firms ready to move to a software-as-a-service model. If you would like to discuss, Team LAWFUSION can reached on 01482 567601.
Is the IT infrastructure you currently rely upon secure enough?
In this digital age, cyber threats are very real, especially for law firms, and many are left exposed because of outdated IT. Arming your firm with the security safeguards it needs is a MUST. Some software suppliers provide far more reassurance in terms of their security credentials than others.
At Select Legal Systems we are ISO 27001 certified for information security management, both at company level, and also at our UK data centre. This means we follow international standards for very best practice. Our article “Are You Asking The Right Security Questions” provides a helpful starting point.
Are you determined to go paperless / paperlight in 2020?
The legal profession more than most has traditionally been heavily reliant on paper. Ditching paper is not an overnight task. However, with the right plan and the buy-in of your people there are tools that can make the journey to paper-free law far easier. LAWFUSION has many paper-reducing features.
Our blog on “The Paperless Law Firm” is worth a look, but please check our two client case studies too as they show firms that are using LAWFUSION to achieve their paperless/paperlight goals: Fidler & Pepper and EMG Solicitors.
Are you keen your people achieve a positive work/life balance?
When you’re running a law firm, of course your people are your biggest asset. To attract the best lawyers and hold onto them, forward-thinking law firms seem to be letting the world know that they are just as concerned about their employees outside of work as they are during their time spent inside the firm. They are putting measures in place that help all staff manage their work, their personal commitments and aspirations.
Our blog “A Healthy Work/Life Balance For Fee Earners” explores how firms can become a magnet for the best legal talent, as opposed to a revolving door of discontented ‘could-have-beens’. Providing your people with the tools they need to do the best job they can is the goal, and good legal practice management software can make all the difference.
Are you ‘writing off’ too much time?
There is no doubt that time is the most precious resource a law firm has. It might sound obvious, but if your fee earners do not value their time, manage their time and capture their time your firm’s profitability will suffer.
Part of the answer to this is attitude, it is also a culture thing, but your practice management software has a key role to play here in terms of making it easy for your fee earners to capture ALL of their billable time. Our blog “The Time Factor – should your firm be generating an extra £111K+ per fee earner each year? ” provides powerful perspective on valuing, managing and capturing time.
Do your customers deserve better?
The most important reason of all for switching practice management software – your customers!
Firms tell us all the time they want to improve efficiency and the services they offer to their customers. If your firm is not embracing technology to provide the kind of tools and services your customers want, they will likely go somewhere else.
Technology is moving so fast, it’s easy for busy law firms to get left behind. For example – online case tracking is something customers of law firms increasingly want. The internet is such a huge part of many people’s lives these days, your customers expect their law firm to provide this kind of facility. SMS Text Messaging too. People are glued to their phones all day every day. They receive text messages from their doctor’s surgery, their bank and their mini cab driver – and they want to be able to receive text updates from their solicitor. Solicitors need the tools to be able to do this and also to keep a record, on the case file, of the client text messages they send and relevant replies. It’s that simple. Both of these technologies have been around a long time, and both and much more are available with LAWFUSION.
If any of these reasons for needing to change your firm’s software resonate with you, or you’d like to share with us your own unique reasons for wanting to switch, we’d love to hear from you.