Of course you’re not–but are you using today’s equivalent of parchment paper in your estate planning and Elder Law firm? Profitability and productivity demands the use of the most time efficient tools possible. Luckily for today’s practitioner, there are a number of excellent offerings available. The biggest challenge you may face is deciding which one is best for your practice and getting your team on board with change.
Document management and templates are the most widely used programs in this practice area. It just makes sense, as so many documents and the required processing are repetitive. But when choosing a program, or making a change to a new program, do your homework.
Does the product integrate seamlessly with other software that your office depends on? Not all applications work well and play with others. Before you make a commitment and a change, go through a checklist of every system that is critical to the firm’s operation.
Remember that change takes time and there are always a few bumps on the way, as long as they are small bumps. Budget the time needed for your admin staff or outside vendor to do the conversion, and don’t do it when you are in crazy busy mode. Expecting issues and building in solutions for issues that may arise can make it a less painful process.
Do you need to be the first kid on the block with a new application? Volunteering to be a beta test site for a team of excited software engineers is very exciting but fraught with challenges. If your practice can withstand the process of working out any bugs and what the tech calls “unintended feature enhancements”—i.e., problems—that’s great. But make sure your staff is on board for the ride.
Don’t ignore tried and true applications, as long as they are kept up-to-date. Intuit, the creator of Quicken and QuickBooks, was founded in 1983—that’s prehistoric in software years—but the company has continued to develop its programs. In the meantime, hundreds, if not thousands of other software companies and applications have fallen by the wayside.
Remember security is a key element in automating any law firm processes. Larger software companies recognize the importance of this and build it into their products.
Going with an “off-brand” application may appeal to your budget but be cautious about putting your practice in the hands of a complete start up.