LSSA publishes white paper to help law firms procure legal software 

The Legal Software Suppliers Association has published a white paper on the procurement of legal software, the steps to take, and pitfalls to avoid.  

In addition, a new collaboration with For Media Group, sees a pre-recorded webinar accompanying each new LSSA white paper providing more detailed information and guidance. The procurement webinar is hosted by Tim Smith, chair of the LSSA in discussion with expert panel members Elwyn Morgan of Timeslice Ltd and Angela Hesketh of Smoove. The panel discuss 7 key areas to consider and actions to take to ensure an effective new system selection for legal firms.  

“The decision to change your software product is significant, “comments Tim Smith, Chair of the LSSA. “Procuring new software can be a daunting task. It is not something that occurs very often. This white paper sets out the essential issues you should consider and will help prepare you for a successful procurement process.”  

The full white paper can found here, and the following is a summary of factors to consider:

1.      Deciding to change supplier  

Unless there has been a compelling reason (e.g., the software is no longer supported) why you must change your software supplier, consider engaging with your existing supplier to see if the functionality you need is available, but you are simply not using it.  

2.      Setting out your requirement list and questions 

If you have identified a need within your business and are looking to fulfil that need with software, then before you go to market write down your business case. This will help you focus on your ultimate goal and help avoid mission creep. There will be issues that arise as the procurement process gets underway, so it helps to have a list of questions ahead of inviting suppliers for demonstrations.  

3.      Decision Committee  

Bring together your decision makers. Depending on the size of your firm you may choose to undertake this process on your own or with a group of colleagues. Each of these people will seek to ensure that their requirements are met with the new software purchase.  

4.      Appointing a project leader 

A successful implementation requires effort on the part of the software supplier and the law firm.  Having a dedicated project leader who is involved from the outset will help ensure your implementation is smooth and successful. 

5.      Communication with your team 

Involving your staff at an early stage and keeping them informed of the progress is a great way to get early buy-in. The success of an implementation is largely down to how effectively your staff will use it. The best software is next to worthless if nobody uses it properly. 

6.      Identifying your prospective suppliers 

There is a vast amount of information available online, plus colleagues may have had prior experience of using certain software products and can give their input. You may have contacts in other law firms who are willing to share their experiences. Independent publications such as the ILFM Software Guide can provide guidance. Review sites can be a useful source of information however not all review sites verify the reviewer so you should take ratings with a pinch of salt. 

7.      Demonstrations  

Should your preference be to have an initial demonstration at your offices make sure this is made clear to the supplier as they will need to make preparation for travel and delivering the presentation.   

Allow time to ask about how migration, training and support services are delivered. This is normally a long term commitment so understanding how you will be supported beyond the initial implementation is crucial.   

With contracts signed you are now ready to begin your implementation. If you found this Whitepaper useful we recommend you read our Data Conversion Whitepaper.