A lot of change had taken place within the legal profession, in the move towards digitalisation, before the pandemic. The speed of change has accelerated during the past year and, more importantly, lawyers must be able to continue delivering outstanding customer service.

Consumer trends have developed dramatically over the past 18 months, driving change in the way businesses operate, including law firms. Consumers are now more digitally aware. With working from home, and interacting online through technologies, the necessity for face-to-face meetings has gone. As a customer, we want instant answers to our questions and a fast speed of service, including legal services.

It is clear law firms need to become digital if they have not done so already. However, with so much to contemplate in the legal software market, what should lawyers consider when looking to either adopt a Practice Management Solution or change provider?

Product, Product, Product

The product itself is the key determinant of any purchasing decision you should make. It is the quality of the product, its features, and functionality, that ultimately your purchasing decision should be based on. After all, the product is what your staff will be using daily, so you must evaluate the expected efficiencies you stand to gain from using it. You must focus on what the product will provide to your practice, how your team will benefit from it and the value the product will add to your business in the long term.

Innovation

Make sure your chosen technology partner has a track record when it comes to innovation and avoid deciding on a solution based on the promise of future development alone. You want to choose a software provider with a proven history of development, that offers a feature-rich solution and re-invests in their software. Pick a provider that will help to future-proof your practice and meet your long-term digital requirements.

Support

Essential to the software you purchase is the support you receive. With the right solution, you will receive plenty of updates and additional features, so you need resources at hand, to upskill, provide product and usage information, and be able to ‘LiveChat’ with support when required. By improving the use of the software across your practice you help maximise the return on your firm’s investment.

Previous experience

The longevity of a supplier, with a background of dealing with law firms across the market, of all sizes, is important. A large client portfolio, working with start-ups to multi-branched law firms, catering for many different areas and style of law shows a proven track record and level of expertise, and the larger the provider’s user base the greater the feedback they receive, helping inform decisions on the software’s ongoing development.

Value or price

It is very tempting to be swayed by price, especially for start-up firms looking after their budgets, but for the long-term, a buying decision should be based on the value that the technology will deliver over a long period of time, and not just as a stop gap.

Part of a software supplier’s value is not just the software available now but being able to envisage the future and continue to develop the solution to meet ongoing requirements. Longevity for the law firm is vital and partnering with a provider to support the firm’s growth is essential.

What about the future?

The reality is that the consumer trend is demanding change. Now more than ever clients expect to interact with their solicitor quickly and efficiently, in a digital format, and firms that don’t enable this will be left behind. Operating digitally and embracing new technology allows full communication and enables greater service.

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