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Ugly Truths About Law Practice Management Software

By May 15, 2018July 2nd, 2019law, practice mgt software, tech

I want to share some ugly truths about law practice management software (including one brutal truth).

Ugly Truth #1

If you search on Google using the phrase “law practice management software” you’ll get over 14 million hits.

Fortunately, there aren’t 14 million different kinds of practice management software.

BUT…

Unfortunately, there are over 100 options for practice management software.

And let’s just call it “PMS” for the rest of this discussion, shall we?

Yes, there are many, many options when it comes to PMS.

And more options are appearing every year.

Why so many PMS options?

I don’t know.

And I’m not sure anyone really knows…

But here’s what I DO know.

Picking the best option for your firm is incredibly difficult.

That’s a reality you have to deal with. In fact…

Lawyers who believe they can pick out the “best” option for their firm are probably misguided.

I say “probably” because…

Some lawyers have simple needs.

And then almost any option is fine.

Other lawyers have specialized needs (e.g. bankruptcy attorneys).

And then there’s probably only one acceptable option.

But most lawyers?

Well, they’re faced with a daunting task.

They might need to consider a dozen options (or more).

Talk about information overload!

Read this blog post with a review of many options and you’ll see what I mean.

Just scrolling through the list will make you dizzy.

Of course, you could seek help in whittling down the list.

That would make your life easier, right?

Well, that brings us to…

Ugly Truth #2

How are you going to find the consultant best suited to help you make the best choice for YOU?

The ugly truth is this ideal person is very hard to find.

It’s certainly not someone who represents the sellers of PMS…

Especially not if they represent only ONE of the companies that sell PMS.

Some bar associations have “practice management advisors” (PMAs) who supposedly can help. But they’re not always up to speed on the latest options.

Sure, you could just go with a “leading company” like Clio or RocketMatter.

That’s the safe bet.

It’s sort of like the old line “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

But that principle doesn’t apply so well in today’s world.

For one, there are at least a handful of widely-known “safe” options. Clio and RocketMatter are just two of them.

MyCase is good, and well respected. Practice Panther is up and coming, and customers love it.

Smokeball has some interesting features (but not for Mac users).

Maybe you should go with one of the newcomers.

They’re usually less expensive. So why waste money if you don’t have to?

Plus, in today’s world of quickly shifting digital innovation…

Today’s leaders can easily become tomorrow’s laggards.

That’s another ugly truth, and that means it’s time for a…

History Lesson

For example, before cloud-based PMS options (e.g. Clio & RocketMatter) there were lots of server-based choices.

For many years they were the “safe bets.”

People who opted for those server-based choices were happy.

But not anymore…

Almost all of those server-based PMS options are in peril.

They are struggling to get into the cloud and (mostly) failing miserably.

The lawyers who adopted those software options are now grimacing as they contemplate the unsavory reality of having to move mission-critical data to a new service.

How do I know all of this?

Is it because I’m an expert in PMS options?

No, certainly not.

I’m NOT an expert in this area—at least not in the sense of having my finger on the pulse of PMS options, or in knowing exactly what to recommend to lawyers who ask my advice.

Here’s the deal…

I did use a few different kinds of PMS in my legal career.

And I took pains to evaluate those options.

But I DO know a few useful things for anyone making a PMS decision because…

I Have Listened

I’ve listened to hundreds of lawyers talk about the PMS option they selected, and what they like and don’t like.

I’ve listened to dozens of sellers of PMS options talk about what lawyers do not appreciate about their software.

(some of their gripes are valid, most are not)

And I’ve listened to dozens of consultants who are knowledgeable about PMS options

(e.g. state bar PMAs, and a few folks I trust because I know they have real knowledge and insight into the use of PMS in small law firms).

So…

What about YOU?!

Perhaps you are currently using practice management software in your practice.

Or maybe you’re merely curious about it.

Near the top I promised that I’d share a “brutal truth” about practice management software.

And I will share that brutal truth.

But can I ask you first to do me one favor…

Take a one-question survey to let me know:

  • which PMS you use
  • (or if you don’t use PMS at all, tell me that)

After you take that survey, you’ll get to see what practice management software your fellow lawyers are using.

And you’ll see how many of them are NOT using practice management software.

Brutal Truth

The “brutal truth” is that not as many are using practice management software as people are led to believe.

According to some law+tech savvy folks I have talked to —who would never admit this publicly— only about 10% of all solo and small firm lawyers use PMS.

My survey seems to have the number higher than that.

But my statistical cohort is probably not representative of the the larger group that others have surveyed.

How many in my group say they don’t use it?

Find out…go take the 1-question survey now.


And, when you’re ready…

Here are three ways I can help you with your practice:

  1. Check out my private Facebook Group, for lawyers ONLY. Lawyers can join for free and about 400+ solo and small firm lawyers just like you ask each other questions, bounce practice management ideas, and get encouragement)
  2. Listen to my LawFirm Autopilot podcast, available on iTunes. It’s specifically geared solo & small firm attorneys who want to leverage technology using a proven strategic blueprint.
  3. Sign up for my weekly emails (and get my free 10-page Technology Resource Guide).

 


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.