6 telltale signs it’s time to change your legal practice management software15/11/21
- The practice management legal software industry is rapidly changing and with it, new features are being launched all the time. Is your current vendor an innovator or a laggard?
- Data migrations and implementations can be hard, but if you’re not getting value from your existing solution, it might be time to consider switching practice management systems.
- How do you know when it’s time to find a new vendor? We share 6 warning signs to help you decide.
Is it time to switch your legacy practice management software?
Nobody likes change. And when it comes to your practice management software– there’s a lot at stake. Many law firms hesitate to change legal software providers because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive.
But what about the benefits of growing, evolving and progressing your practice?
Let’s take a trip down memory lane… ask yourself: why did you invest in a practice management system in the first place?
You must have had high hopes for it: you thought it would improve productivity, streamline procedures, help you go paperless, keep you compliant and support your revenue goals.
Remember those days? Now, ask yourself – do you still want the same things for your business today? Of course, you do!
So, which do you prefer?
Taking on the challenge of switching to a better practice management solution, or carrying on living with the failing “legacy” system?
To get to the bottom of this, it’s best to understand the telltale signs that your system needs a reboot. Here’s a helpful list of six tell-tale signs it’s time to make the switch.
Telltale sign #1: The cost of your software has risen, but its features don’t stack up.
With a number of independently owned software companies now acquired, your current vendor may be going through a number of management changes, which will often lead to a slowdown in research and development and worse still – costs increases.
That’s bad news for you as a customer, as you’re paying more for the same product. Adding “value add” services such as customer success teams, free webinars, and more ‘comprehensive’ packages only attempt to hide the fact that the core product you purchased is now costing you more than it did before.
In the meantime, we all know that the legal industry is continually shifting – new rules, regulations and legislation are commonplace. The importance of an ongoing development roadmap is clear – evolve and comply; be stationary and don’t.
In this situation, it’s best to consider turning to the independently-owned suppliers who are still clearly investing in improving their products.
Telltale sign #2: Your team is still doing a lot of manual and paper-based work
There are so many inefficiencies associated with a paper-heavy environment. There’s only ever one master copy of paper files. It can only ever be in one place at one time. Collaboration is harder if you’re working remote. And it’s a versioning and logistical nightmare.
On top of this, there are all of the disadvantages that come with paper – waste of storage space, damage to the environment, information security risk, lack of transportability, higher costs and more.
If your processes are still heavily paper-based – why? Would it help if your practice management software offered document management capabilities? What about submitting online forms? Options like allowing you to label and find matter files quickly, access document templates and legal forms, bundle everything for court and record time as you go are now available in newer document management systems and it’s well worth investigating.
Take a look at our ‘How to go paperless in 2021’ guide and understand the benefits of ditching paper.
Tell-tale sign #3: You’ve grown and your software hasn’t grown with you
When you first started up your business or joined your practice, it’s likely you deliberately kept things small – your organisational structure, office space and software tools. As you’ve grown, no doubt you’ve expanded your staffing and moved to bigger offices. But what about your IT?
After having just lived through a global pandemic, the world has changed – including our tech requirements which differ vastly from 18-plus months ago. For instance, cloud computing should be a no-brainer, but not every software supplier has made the switch!
Alternatively – perhaps you were dazzled by a sales demonstration and decided you needed all the bells and whistles of a pricier practice management system. You may realise a few years in that you’re paying for a lot of features that are “nice to haves” or ones your team rarely use. Perhaps it is better to find a supplier that allows you to pick and mix solutions for more flexibility. Have a look at Quill’s flexible pricing and available add-on boosts for inspiration.
Telltale sign #4: Your software is clunky to use and needs a facelift
There’s nothing worse than struggling to get to grips with a system that’s supposed to streamline the day-to-day and help you to multitask. We all know slow, bulky systems with an outdated interface will be rejected by your users and ultimately slow down adoption.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that many practice management software vendors have raised their prices, yet this funding hasn’t found its way back into the actual software yet. If your system feels fairly clunky and old looking, then it’s time to consider moving to some of the newer kids on the block that are investing in a better user experience.
Tell-tale sign #5: You are no longer a priority and receive little support after the sale
First of all, when adopting a practice management system, it’s important you choose a practice management software vendor that can offer hands-on, interactive training and support.
Some vendors are focused on closing the sale and then you never hear from them again. So what happens when you need technical, training or account management help?
Should something go wrong or if you have a new starter seeking training, you’re reliant on helpdesk and customer support services and they’re not always responsive. Make sure to ask for references from clients or better yet – ask the sales team to call their support team during your demo!
What you’re trying to ascertain is how the after-sale support will be. Check out reviews on Capterra, speak with employees, read case studies and research credentials (ie. LSSA membership) before you place your software order.
And don’t dismiss the power of your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Telltale sign #6: Nothing integrates seamlessly and you’ve been hit with hidden charges
You could be using one system for performing AML checks, another for managing your documents, another for recording time, another for accessing legal forms, another for logging matter progress, another for bundling documents for court, another for billing etc… you get the picture.
In fact, the point is there’s no one single picture – or, rather, complete oversight – of your work in process and financial positioning. Instead, there are fragmented images that have to be painstakingly pieced together to visualise the whole. Your staff will be entering the same data multiple times and singing from different hymn sheets. This wastes your valuable time, increases the potential for error and disconnects your teams. Moreover – you’re likely paying for these additional systems that aren’t always necessary!
Bringing everything together – your systems, your data, your documents, your people – is the way forward. If your software doesn’t permit this – or it means you need to buy other, separate products – look further afield.
Smart law firms use practice management software that addresses the pain points above and a whole lot more. For extra insights into how to operate your business the smart way, download our ‘Guide to the essential smart law firm technology in 2021’.
Ready to switch legal software vendor?
If these tell-tale signs match your relationship with your current provider, then why wait?
Quill’s system is super intuitive and easy to use – if you can work a website page, you can work and navigate around Quill. Whether you are looking to unlock productivity, embrace a paperless approach, support remote working, or scale your business, switching to Quill’s cloud-based legal software is a game-changing business decision that will reap rewards.
If you are ready to make the switch, get in touch!
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