A deeper look at the latest trends in legal software
Legal matter management has come a long way from the early days. What started as a basic way to keep documents and information organized has grown into something much more complex and robust. Legal software can now integrate with a variety of programs to create a centralized information hub. It can also provide helpful functions to make your work easier. Some examples include document assembly and data reporting. The versatility and functionality of these legal matter management programs only continue to grow.
In our last post, the team at Legal Files Software discussed some of the latest trends in legal software, including case management as a data hub, comprehensive document management and email and calendar synchronizing. In part two of this series, we will review some more trends that include customization, cloud-based software and comprehensive conversions.
Trend four – Customized legal matter management
It’s true that all legal practitioners have certain similarities. They all received a legal education and use this training to perform their job duties. However, beyond this, there are many differences. This is why attorneys tend to focus on certain areas of the law. The same is true for each law office and legal department. To say that two legal practices are identical would be far from the truth.
In addition to focusing on different areas of the law and having unique clients, each law office or legal department has its own policies and procedures as well as its own unique wants and needs for legal software. As a result, when shopping for a new legal case management solution, you should look for software that can be molded to fit your organization.
Instead of purchasing a rigid software solution that you have to work around, you need something that is moldable and flexible enough to modify the terminology and processes in the program. The software should fit you, not the other way around. Although it may seem like this type of software needs to be custom-built, there are actually commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions that feature this flexibility. Legal Files Software is one example.
So many of today’s requests for proposals (RFPs) state that legal professionals need the ability to customize their legal matter management software. Many clients have found that Legal Files Software offers just that. For example, one government agency with several divisions wanted one software program that could handle all of its varying needs. Legal Files Software was able to do it. We also helped a large law firm that wanted the ability to change the fields and processes in the software without help from its IT department.
Trend five – Cloud-based legal software
We are living in an increasingly digital and mobile world. The days of having software that can only be accessed from a certain computer are in the past. With more legal professionals working on the go and from home, there is an increased demand for legal matter management software that can be accessed from anywhere on the web. No one wants to be tied to a specific workstation in the office anymore.
When it comes to cloud-based software, there are three options for hosting. The first option is hosting it on your own network. This means that you can control security and access yourself. The second option is hosting by a third party like Amazon Web Services. This option generally has great security and 24/7 uptime. The third option is hosting through the legal software vendor. With this option, you should make sure that your vendor has a good security model and that its uptimes and downtimes meet the needs of your office. You should also ask what happens if you move to another vendor. You want to find out in what format you’ll receive your data. You should also check to make sure that you, not the software vendor, own your data.
With all of these options it is very important to consider factors like security, data backups and server downtimes and uptimes. You should ask questions to find out more about these key considerations. Read reviews online and speak to other legal professionals who have used a specific hosting solution to learn from their experiences.
Trend six – Comprehensive data conversions
The final trend in legal software is comprehensive data conversions, also known as data migrations. This trend doesn’t apply to every law office or legal department, but it’s critical if you are switching from one case management system to another. All of the data that you rely upon is in the software system, so you don’t want to lose it during the switch to a new program.
However, some software programs can’t make all of this data fit their program. As a result, if the data doesn’t fit their specific rules or data fields in the program, it is lost during the conversion process. This could be devastating. As a result, you should seek seamless and customized data conversion that lets you keep all of your information. It’s a “no man left behind” model for data.
Something else that is mission critical for a busy legal department or law office is ensuring that the vendor has proven data conversion experience. In addition, before selecting a software vendor and moving forward, it’s important to know what the conversion process will be like and how long it will take.
These trends in legal software are changing the practice of law for the better
After reading both posts about the trends in legal software, it’s clear to see the exciting direction that legal matter management is taking. All of these trends are a direct response to legal practitioners having more sophisticated needs than ever before. As the needs of attorneys and paralegals keep changing, legal software will continue to grow and evolve.