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Legal Software – Differentiation

Differentiating Legal Practice Management Software

Here Is A List Of Key Questions For Law Firms To Ask Their Prospective Software Suppliers

When it comes to the legal software market there is no denying there are lots of packages to choose from, and the slick, marketing copy associated with each one can often sound pretty similar. And of course every supplier is going to tell you that their product shines brighter than the rest. Select Legal Systems’ best advice for law firms trying to differentiate between the vast variety of legal practice management software packages available is to delve into the substance behind the sales patter, by asking the following important questions:

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Key Features

Does The Supplier Tick All The Right Boxes?

Does The Supplier Have A Relevant Track Record?

How long has the legal software supplier been in the industry and are they really geared up to work with a firm like yours?  Select Legal Systems is celebrating its 25 year anniversary and is the IT partner of choice for hundreds of UK law firms.  Over the years Team LAWFUSION has had the privilege of working with some of the best law firms in the profession and this long term exposure is evident in the way the company develops and delivers its software.

Read more about Select Legal Systems’ 25 Year Story.
View Select’s 25 Year Video – a compilation of client comments.
< Take a look at the facts about LAWFUSION – an infographic.

Do They Have Impressive Law Firm Case Studies?

Any software supplier worth its salt should have clients willing to stand up and be counted. If there is no case study material available, maybe you should ask yourself why? Please view a selection of written and video LAWFUSION case studies here. They are all honest testimonials regarding the LAWFUSION software and Select Legal’s services. There are no ‘paid-for’ endorsements.

Is The Software Leading Edge?

The software suppliers that stand out from the crowd are the ones continually developing their software to make sure it is fit-for-purpose for the highly dynamic legal marketplace. Select Legal Systems’ team of talented legal software developers are continually in touch with their clients and studying industry needs so they can regularly enhance existing modules and add new ones in line with market demand.  Two great examples of this are the LAWFUSION App that is designed to help fee earners on the move, and the GDPR module which is designed to help firms stay compliant with the 2018 data protection law changes.

Many of LAWFUSION’s enhancements each year come as a direct result of client feedback and suggestions relating to how the law is changing, utilising feedback from some of the most experienced practising solicitors in the UK. Firms that choose LAWFUSION get a specialist software product that is constantly being improved, keeping their legal practice a step ahead of their competition.

What Level Of Integration Are You Going To Get?

Some legal software suppliers market ‘bolted-together’ software tools as ‘fully integrated’ solutions.  However, many are not adequately ‘integrated’ at all and many firms have found themselves burdened with clunky systems made up of a series of software modules that are entirely disparate to each other.

Some vendors get carried away claiming their ‘bolted-together’ modules are seamlessly integrated. If you come across this it is wise to dig a little deeper and ask for more detail beyond the marketing spiel.  Some ‘bolt-on’ modules are simply ‘interfaced’ rather than ‘integrated’ and there is a stark difference. Integrated tools utilise a common database in real-time, with minimum file duplication.  ‘Interfaced’ software modules, which were generally never expected to work together in the first place, often simply extract and transfer data between programs that are completely separate and sometimes are even on different technology platforms making them difficult to design, test and support.

All LAWFUSION modules are fully integrated in the truest sense of the word, and Select Legal Systems also offer robust integration to many other, mission-critical, third-party software products too e.g. Microsoft Office, Experian Anti Money Laundering and Laserforms, to name but a few.

How Customisable Is The Software?

No two law firms are the same. Every firm operates differently and has a set of unique business goals. Select Legal Systems recognises this and from day one they offer levels of customisation within the software. With the relevant system privileges law firm users can adapt every aspect of the case management software to precisely match the firm’s needs. Some software isn’t like this.

Team LAWFUSION supports its clients in the customisation of LAWFUSION prior to installing the system. They will then support you to fine tune the customisation following the ‘go live’ phase. The goal is to enable firms to streamline processes, making life easier and more efficient for all users, so that all billable hours can be captured accurately and easily – achieving the Practice’s business goals. Check out this 7-minute case study video re Family Law Group as it emphasises this point about LAWFUSION perfectly.

Does The Supplier Offer Proven Workflows?

Some software suppliers offer a generic workflow tool which allows law firms to create their own workflows, but not all offer proven workflows for different areas of law.

LAWFUSION provides both.  It gives firms a head start with case management, because as well as the generic workflow tool that enables LAWFUSION users to define and build their own workflows, there is also a large library of pre-defined workflow charts covering many areas of law.

Do They Have A Mobile App?

Fee earners and support staff on the move need and expect access to their case information whilst out and about on the move these days, and there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t have it in this technological age. However, some suppliers don’t offer a mobile app.

The LAWFUSION app, which is currently for iPads and iPhones, offers mobile functionality providing fee earners secure access to their case loads, contacts and diaries 24/7 wherever they are. They can progress case actions from court, time record whilst visiting police stations and view their documents from prisons.  The App is not a replacement for full blown LAWFUSION at the office, and never will be, but it does allow lawyers to add notes and evidence to their case records whilst out and about, wherever they may be. If they don’t have a secure internet connection they can work via the app offline, and when their device next re-establishes an internet connection it will synchronise to the live LAWFUSION servers.

Does The Supplier Offer Both Cloud & On-Premise Options

Choosing where to host your legal practice management system is a unique decision for every law firm. There are good reasons for choosing either depending on a firm’s situation.  Select Legal Systems offers both options and has hundreds of satisfied users in both camps.  There is a Select Legal Video available called “Cloud vs On-Premise” and a practical check-list designed to help any law firm struggling with this decision.

Can The Supplier Handle The Data Conversion?

Some software suppliers are more experienced than others when it comes to data migration.

Having started the company in 1993, Select Legal Systems Limited have successfully converted data over to LAWFUSION from most of the legal software packages being used by today’s law firms. For more information on the extent of our data conversation experience please visit our Data Conversions page.

Will You Ever Be Able To Get Your Data Back?

When you’re choosing a new software supplier, leaving them and retrieving your data at some point in the future is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it’s imperative that you think about this, as one of your new system selection criteria. Some software suppliers have a reputation for making it difficult for law firms to leave them. As unethical as that may seem you will find some are a lot more helpful than others – and this is a key question law firms must ask up front!

Of course we hope you never leave Select Legal, but if you ever do ALL your data will be completely retrievable, in a usable format, auto-generated, with no manual intervention required by yourselves. The question to ask is – if we ever choose to leave said supplier in the future would ALL of my data be provided to me on portable media, or would you put the onus on my new supplier or expect the firm to email or manually export each individual case document/record? This is YOUR data and this question needs answering in writing before you sign on the dotted line.

Is The Training On Offer Personal To Your Firm's Needs?

It is well documented that the provision of quality legal software training is critical to the successful adoption and ongoing use of your system. As such, at the start of any training project our experienced LAWFUSION consultants will work closely with you and your colleagues to fully understand your business objectives, in order for them to design a pre-installation training program to suit your firm’s specific needs.

Select Legal System’s trainers offer a personalised unique training experience for every firm. This is considerably more beneficial than the training provided by some software companies, who will train several firms at once with no understanding of each firm’s unique needs. Using Select legal System’s dedicated training services significantly increases the speed at which new users can work independently using the software. Your unique LAWFUSION training programme will lay the foundations for your ongoing use of the system across the business. It will be designed to enable a smooth implementation as well as building blocks for the future that will enable the firm to get the absolute most out of your new LAWFUSION system. Furthermore, dedicated LAWFUSION trainers will be present on the day your firm goes live with your new system. This ‘hand-holding’ exercise is designed to support the firm in achieving all of its go-live priorities.

Is The Software Supplier Easily Contactable?

Believe it or not some legal software suppliers currently offering practice management software to the legal profession have a support team set up that are only contactable by email. Select Legal Systems recognise that your system is your ‘life blood’ – and if you need assistance or support it should only be a phone call away. Select’s dedicated support team are contactable by telephone during office hours, you can also contact the team via email and our online chat facility. Furthermore, Team LAWFUSION is constantly updating the support website with manuals, tutorial videos and new release notes, ensuring that you always have access to the support you need, when you need it.

When you choose LAWFUSION you only need one telephone number, as Select Legal has one specialist team for all your software, implementation, training and support needs.  Team LAWFUSION work together from one building at their HQ in Yorkshire, to ensure not only the software is fully integrated, but also all the support services that bolster the client relationship are fully integrated too – i.e. the development team, the support team, the technical people, the trainers, the project managers and account managers collaborate on a daily basis to guarantee you get the most out of LAWFUSION.

Be Sure Before You Sign On The Dotted Line

This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you an idea of where LAWFUSION is strong against any of the competitive systems available in the legal software marketplace today. If you wish to discuss any of these points further, or any other points about LAWFUSION or Select Legal Systems Limited – please call during office hours on 01482 567601 or outside of these times please contact us online here.

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