March 03, 2011

FYI: Checklist for Purchasing Software for the Law Office

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

2. Research

  • 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

7. Training

  • 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.