Learn tried-and-true strategies to help you choose the right legal tech.
Choosing any new software, especially legal tech software, can be daunting—in large part due to the number of options out there. We’ve been on both sides of the selection process, having carefully chosen our own software solutions and also helped scores of lawyers and judges implement software to suit their workflows. In this article, we distil our insight and pass along best practices in choosing legal technology software. (Stay tuned for our upcoming feature on best practices in implementing legal tech.)
Best Practices in Choosing Legal Tech at a Glance:
- Gather information from your user base, attempting to understand pain points.
- Focus on alleviating those pain points as you research software solutions.
- Choose software that supports your ideal workflows—avoid bending to the software.
- Avoid legal tech software with a trial period shorter than 30 days.
Gather information from your user base, attempting to understand pain points.
Here’s one of the biggest missteps in choosing legal tech: failing to formally touch base with the users. (It’s the same even if you have a team of one!) It’s tempting to start exploring solutions, launching a Google quest and seeing what turns up. But before you head down the rabbit hole, you want to be sure you understand the problem you’re trying to solve. By slowing down and taking time up front to inform your research, you’ll save time downstream—more efficiently and effectively exploring potential solutions.
The best way to gather information from a group of users is through a well-constructed survey. Most office suites include a survey tool (for example, Microsoft offers Forms in its 365 subscription) and you might have seen a free survey tool like SurveyMonkey. There are also ample resources on the web that can help you put together an effective survey. (We like the 10 foundational tips here.) Ultimately, however you construct your survey, your goal should be to learn where the pain points are with current workflows. And you might be surprised by what you learn. For example, it’s not uncommon to discover that you don’t need new legal tech software—you actually need a training initiative to make better use of your existing tools. You won’t know until you ask.
Focus on alleviating those pain points as you research software solutions.
Once you’ve gathered user input, it’s time to start the research phase. It might go without saying, but that user input—and those pain points—should guide the research process. Along these lines, it’s worth keeping in mind just how easy it is to get pulled in by exciting pages on software websites, coming across a snazzy solution that seems to offer more, more, more than your existing solution for even less money. Maybe the solution offers more for less, but does it address all those pain points? If not, you may wind up with the same problems you started with. (Indeed, beware of Feature Creep!).
To be sure, user pain points aren’t the only parameters for decision-making. You’ll have to consider cost as well. But if you use the survey responses as guideposts, you can more effectively navigate through the solutions, separating wheat from chaff.
Choose software that supports your ideal workflows—avoid bending to the software.
If you see a legal tech company touting a “new and improved” legal workflow, we suggest raising one eyebrow. In our experience, the best legal tech software doesn’t offer up a “new and improved” workflow. Rather, the best legal tech software is designed to support your ideal workflows. It helps you work the way you want to work. Although there might be some degree of compromise in choosing software, we suggest finding legal tech that bends toward you and not the other way around. Put differently, you shouldn’t have to adopt brand-new workflows. Your legal tech should fit YOU.
Avoid legal tech software with a trial period shorter than 30 days.
It takes time to properly demo new software. And you shouldn’t have to pay a dime while you’re putting the software through its paces. Of course, not all free trials are equal. For example, when a trial is only 7 or 14 days long, it puts undue pressure on a prospective user: “Hurry up and pay or lose access!” Along these lines, some software companies fail to offer monthly subscriptions, pushing you toward annual contracts before you’ve gotten to decide whether the solution is right for you. Even worse, you’ll find software companies that require a credit card to start a free demo, putting the onus on you to remember to “cancel” before your trial period turns into a paid period. We’re not telling you anything you don’t know. We just don’t know why these practices are prevalent.
In our experience as users, we feel like 30 days is the “sweet spot” for having ample opportunity to try a new legal tech solution. In 30 days, you’ll have a good sense of whether you want to adopt the software. Mostly likely, you’ll be at the point where you’re deciding whether the solution fits into the budget. At that point, maybe it’s worth paying for a month or two as you make the best decision possible to improve your workflows.
Interested in how we choose software at Casedo? Click HERE for an article about how we bring these best practices into action at Casedo.
Bringing It All Together
We’ve covered best practices in choosing legal tech software—a process that means something to us because we’ve been on both sides of it. Indeed, we created Casedo because we couldn’t find software that helped us view, compare, and work through legal documents the way we wanted to work through them. And we offer a fully unlocked 30-day demo of Casedo—no credit card required—because we want prospective users to be free from the pressure we felt when seeking software solutions. At the end of the day, we want Casedo to fit your ideal workflow, so you love Casedo as much as we do.
You might like to try Casedo if:
- You’ve felt frustrated when using tabs to navigate legal documents.
- You wish you had a single search bar to search dozens of case documents.
- You’d like to share a complete case file without attaching scattered PDFs.
- You want to make one PDF—complete with a table of contents—out of many.
Click here to learn more and start your free 30-day trial.
**Updated September 13, 2022**