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An important part of managing your attorney malpractice exposure is getting the proper Legal Management Software.  The proper system software coupled with the procedures and standards being integrated into the software can go a long way in preventing a professional liability insurance claim.

You may think your work is done because you have selected your new legal software system as the contract is signed and the check for the deposit for the system has been sent in.  You are happy about the decision and excited and nervous about getting all of the productivity and control improvements that you expect the new system to bring.

This is not the time to sit back and relax as the real work in making the new Legal System Software to work for your law firm has just begun.

The key to ensuring that your firm can experience all of the planned benefits that your new system promised is to insure that the implementation is properly executed.  The system implementation is full of decisions, challenges, successes and setbacks.  But with a well-planned implementation the improved workflows will lead to cost savings and better controls throughout law firm.

Obtain all of the benefits from your new Legal Software with the following steps:

1.       Planning is the key to success.  Remember the old adage, “ready, fire, aim”.  This is what happens to a new system if the implementation is not planned.

a.       Create the implementation team that may include different individuals than those on the system selection team.

b.      Create a timeline showing the start date and the live date with details as to the different tasks needed to get to your live date.

c.       Research the hardware and software system requirements.  The vendor should provide the law firm with the standards needed for hardware, supporting software and internet connectivity requirements.

2.       Determine whether to do a data conversion.  Poor data conversions are the number one reason for failures of system implementation.  It is important to understand whether the conversation will convert data accurately enough to minimize staff time cleanup.  In some cases the best alternative may be to start from scratch and enter the information manually.

3.       Spend the time to define the system user definitions.  The more robust the system, the more user definitions required.  Use the knowledge of the vendor staff or your outside consultant to help with these decisions.  Senior staff should be involved with at least approving the user definitions as this normally is the foundation of any good system/procedure. Some of the areas that may need to be defined are; organization, accounting, security, user defined information/tables, system management activities, local and remote access standards, records management and word merge documents.

4.       Training should not be skimped on.  The key to having a well running office is to have everyone trained on the system based on their tasks and responsibilities.   Supervising attorneys and partners will need different system training than the receptionist.  So it is important to have the training programs tailored to the individual’s functions and responsibilities within the law firm.

5.       Your law firm’s practices and standards should not change because of a new legal system.  The system needs to be adopted in such a way as for the firm to continue to maintain and reinforce the same standards and practices that it had prior to having the new legal system.  Your state or local bar coupled with the attorney malpractice Insurance carrier can help with standards.  But it is the responsibility of the law firm to define, implement and audit those practices.  Workflows need to be reviewed and updated based on the new systems definitions and software.

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