Essential Tips for Migrating to New Legal Software
Centerpoint IT is an Atlanta, GA, IT consulting firm with experience in managing legal software. Contact us today to discuss the technology needs of your practice.
Your law firm depends on legal software to manage the schedules of different attorneys and to prioritize tasks for the legal support team. Access to case information is critical, whether you’re working at the office or offsite.
The start of a new decade seems like the perfect time to consider upgrading to a new legal system. Perhaps you have wondered how to make a clean transition to a new tool. Without proper preparation, numerous errors can add to project timelines and take up precious billable hours.
What Should You Include on Your Legal Software Checklist?
Working with a trusted vendor, such as Centerpoint IT, gives you access to IT professionals familiar with legacy legal software as well as the latest tools. We can help you create a checklist of features that would make a vendor a good fit for your firm. You can also count on us to implement the new software and handle the data integration.
“Start by making a list of all features you’d like from your ideal practice management program. Next, prioritize those features. By using your feature list, along with your budget, you can home in on programs that might work in your practice. Look for the programs that excel in the features you need most, whether that is a document management and automation, online payment processing, client collaboration tools, or financial management and accounting,” according to Heidi S. Alexander, a law practice management advisor.
When Is the Best Time to Migrate to a New Legal System?
If your current tools aren’t working for you, it may be time to migrate to a new legal system. One motivator could be moving to a more agile mobile model. Any device, anywhere access to your client and case files allows staff to work remotely and increases overall productivity. If that’s important to your firm, then emphasize this as a reason to migrate to cloud-based software tools.
Modern features such as online billing and client portals make a move to new legal software attractive. Client portals provide open access to clients seeking updates on a case or seeking convenient ways to pay.
The actual migration should take place sometime after you have finished a full billing cycle and have some time to migrate the complete recordset.
What Questions Should You Ask Potential Vendors?
Here are sample questions to ask vendors to vet out their process:
What type of data do you migrate and how far back do you go?
Will custom fields in the existing software carryover and the new tool?
Who will extract the data from the prior system?
Can data be combined and integrated from more than one tool?
How much involvement is needed from firm members?
How long will the entire process cost?
Compiling a list of questions can help you steer the conversation if you’re interviewing multiple vendors and want points of comparison to make a final decision.
What Should I Keep in Mind for a Seamless Migration?
Have an in-depth migration conversation when you interview potential vendors. When compiling a list of data to migrate include why certain data should be included. Additionally, think through what shouldn’t be included — otherwise, you can import a bunch of errors.
Law Technology Today suggests future-proofing your decision, “It is important to have at least a general sense of where technology and innovation trends are headed and how they relate to the long-term strategic plan of your firm. For instance, if document automation will be an important part of your firm’s future, take time to look not just at current document automation technologies, but also where it is probably headed. This will give you a better sense of which practice management software will grow with your firm.”
Centerpoint IT is an Atlanta, GA, IT consulting firm with experience in managing and maintaining the legal software and other IT needs of small to large law firms. Contact us today to discuss the technology needs of your practice.