There are a variety of reasons legal teams are hesitant to adopt legal technology, but the two most common concerns are losing data during migration and potential downtime while transitioning to a new platform.
The importance of having your valuable case and matter data in a software system you trust can’t be overstated. In fact, the American Bar Association recommends that organizations should have a plan for storing files electronically should data ever need to be recovered in the event of a disaster.
Even though data migration fears may exist, there are numerous protections that legal technology providers have adopted over the years to help alleviate concerns and ensure the process goes smoothly. By delaying the adoption of legal technology, you could face worse problems such as security issues, hindered growth, or lower productivity and profitability—which no legal organization wants to experience.
What is Data Migration?
Data migration is the process of transferring data from one location, application or format to another. For legal teams, this typically means adopting new legal software or condensing legacy data into a new format or application.
Six Tips to Help You Successfully Migrate Your Legal Data
Whether you have a legacy system in place or you are migrating data from another platform—there are a variety of actions you can take to help the process go smoothly. You also want to lean on your software provider’s expertise and best practices since it has likely learned from previous successes and failures and can be a valuable resource.
Here are six tips for how to successfully migrate your legal data so that you can be productive and efficient from the start.
- Understand your data.
If you are like most legal organizations, you are using multiple applications to manage business, client and financial information. This means that multiple sources of data will need to be migrated to the new software system. First, you will want to create a full inventory of all your data and associated applications. Some of the data will include matter files, client contacts, calendars, workflow elements, email folders, tasks, events, filing, business documents and more. Financial data typically consists of billable time records, trust accounts, invoices and GL/trial balances. If your data is stored in a legacy platform, this typically requires data conversion, a process that your software provider should be familiar with that involves extract, transform and load to ensure that it successfully transitions to the new platform.
- Develop a timeline.
You will want to lean on your provider for advice on the recommended timeline of events and resources needed for implementation based on its previous experience with migrations. Based on these discussions, you will want to create a project timeline for all parties involved. The timeline should include deliverables and owners. The goal is to determine a “go live” date for the software. Your provider should also provide insight into the best timing for cutoff between the two systems so that there is no interruption to operations.
- Involve team members.
Getting the right team member’s buy-in from the start is essential to a successful data migration. For those that will be helping with the data migration, you will want to make sure they are involved in all the pertinent discussions and have access to product and training demonstrations. By communicating project timelines, progress and status frequently, you will keep your internal stakeholders happy and informed so that progress doesn’t stall. You should include a formal product training to everyone prior to your “go live” date.
- Create a migration plan.
The data inventory you completed at the beginning of the process will be instrumental in developing your migration plan. You can work with your system provider and the legacy provider (if needed) to answer any key questions about how the data migration will occur. You will want to answer key questions such as:
- Who will export the data?
- What format will the data be exported in?
- Is there any risk associated with the data migration?
- What conversion rules, dependencies or acceptance criteria are required?
By working with your software providers, as well as your organization’s project lead, you can identify any data schema discrepancies and determine solutions to convert formats as required.
- Clean up data.
Just like you don’t want to bring old furniture into your new home, you don’t want to bring old data into your new software system. An important step in the migration process is to clean up any data that is existing before the official migration. You will want to work with key users to identify and scrub existing data to prepare for the new software system. This involves removing duplicate records, deleting old contacts, eliminating unused or inactive accounts and more. The sooner you begin this process the better as it could take a significant amount of time to clean the data properly.
- Secure data and test it.
It’s also not a bad idea to see if your software provider can set up a test prior to the cutover so
that you have the chance to view key parts of the conversion and make any changes prior to the
final conversion. Conduct some preliminary testing to check that all your data was successfully copied over. It is important that no data is missing, and it appears where and how you were expecting it to. As with any project, unexpected issues may arise.
Migrating Your Valuable Legal Data Has Never Been Easier
It’s true that migrating to a new legal software system can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, it’s worth noting that the process doesn’t necessarily have to be filled with stress anymore. By partnering with Legal Files, you can lean on their expertise with 30+ years in legal management technology, supporting organizations across numerous industries to help you make the transition to a new system.
Legal Files walks you through each step required to better manage, store, and organize all your critical legal documents and all other case and non-case related data within a single platform. Say goodbye to multiple legal filing systems and paper trails for good.
Expertise is offered by full-time, professional team members who are committed to your success. Based on our years of experience helping other organizations improve and thrive through legal software, we can help you configure a system that meets your unique needs.
“Legal Files provides a very robust and customizable matter, contract and document management system for us. It has more functionality than our previous system and interfaces nicely with Microsoft Office applications. Legal Files customer support made the conversion painless, and has been there for us throughout the implementation.”
Alan Greenspan, Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Request a demo to learn more about how we help organizations like yours manage what matters to you.