Before Purchasing Software:
1. Conduct a self-assessment
- What is your work style and ethic?
- What are your primary practice areas?
- Consider your current use and ownership of technology.
- What are your future plans for your practice and technology?
- The amount of time spent in the office and on the road
- How many support staff do you have?
- What is your experience/comfort level with technology?
- What are your absolute necessities?
- Determine your budget
- Find out about vendors and software - the different options/solutions for your particular issue
- Read law office technology books and periodicals *
- Join technology-oriented discussion lists *
- Read discussion list archives *
- Ask your colleagues
3. Try it
- Download or request a demonstration/trial version of the software.
- Try the software on your desktop or network computers.
- Ask for on-line demonstrations of the software.
- If you have staff, have the staff try the software.
4. Evaluate it
- Compare your list of absolute necessities with the features the software offers
- Did the software meet your expectations?
- Did you feel comfortable with the "look" and "feel" of the software?
- Will the software help you get your work done faster?
- Is the price of the software within your budget?
- Is the software designed for the type of work you do?
- What does the staff think of the software?
- Does the software fit into your future goals?
5. Buy it
- Determine how many licenses you will need.
- Determine what is included in the price of the software.
- Determine whether you need a maintenance and support contract.
- Determine amount of training you and your staff will need.
6. Implement it
- Communicate to the staff when and by whom the software will be implemented
- Arrange for training for yourself and your staff
- Commit to using the new software
- Be positive and patient with yourself and your staff while in the transition period
- Include training for yourself and your staff.
- Arrange for a company representative or a local consultant to come to your office.
- Set a training schedule and stick with it.
- Get training on new versions of the software when you upgrade, if necessary.
*See Researching Law Office Technology: Select Resources for help with resources.