When purchasing technology today, it’s not uncommon to deliberate over several options, weighing the pros and cons of each before you commit. The evaluation process can be draining, especially when trying to find case management software that will support your firm’s needs now and in the future.
This series explains the three key elements you need to consider when choosing a practice management system that will grow with your firm: the product, the company, and the people.
This post explores the people behind the company.
Evaluating the people behind the product
What type of people do they hire?
No matter how fancy or flashy the product is, you’re at greater risk of enduring a disappointing experience if it doesn't have great people behind it. People hold knowledge; they are the ones who build and maintain relationships. And they’re the ones you’ll end up dealing with if you have a question or want to learn more about how you can best use the product.
Let’s start with expertise. Do the company’s employees have a long history of building successful practice management platforms? Neos, for example, was created by the engineers behind the trailblazing Trialworks and Needles, two of the industry’s most credible legal practice management systems. It would be categorically untrue to infer that a startup cannot create a product that meets all your requirements. Still, it always helps when you have a company with a long history of employing people with vast experience and legal software expertise in the industry.
Along the same lines, do the employees have enough legal know-how to understand what you’re trying to accomplish for your clients daily? It’s one thing for a company to promise that its employees understand; it’s quite another to employ individuals with prior experience working in a law firm or other legal capacity.
Legal experience also plays into training competence. Intelligence alone will only get you so far. Your best bet is with employees with the knowledge and capability to train your staff to use the platform and who understand why it’s vital for you to be able to execute your unique workflows.
Pro tip: Take advantage of the training you are given. Legal practice management platforms worth their salt require a few hours of training at a minimum to enable you to get the most out of it. You’re paying for the product; you may as well learn how to use it!
No matter how well-built a product is, there is always a possibility that you’ll need to contact Customer Support with a question or two. Maybe it’s about a new feature release, or you found a bug you need to report. Or maybe your system had a meltdown and you need immediate help. Knowing that a support team is either a phone call or email away is reassuring, regardless of the situation.
Before you partner with a vendor, find out how to contact their support team and their turnaround time for issues. Many vendors outsource their Customer Support teams, which may or may not affect the quality of the support you receive. If you prefer a U.S.-based team, be sure to enquire about where Customer Support is located.
The reassuring thing about evaluating employees is that the criteria for your current and future needs will never diverge. You’ll always be more successful partnering with a company that employs knowledgeable, seasoned industry veterans, no matter how big your firm grows or what it needs to thrive.
Making the switch to a new legal practice management system
Selecting a legal practice management software that meets your needs now and ten years later is not easy. But keep in mind the core product features, the company’s reputation, and the people who built it and support it, and you’ll be on the right track to make a decision you won’t regret.
More in the How to Choose a Legal Practice Management System that Fits Your Firm Now and in the Future series:
Part 1 of 3: The Platform
Part 2 of 3: The Company