1 Comments Published on July 10th, 2015 by Cyclone Covey
- Many lawyers aren’t super-technical. While technology can improve performance, it only helps if you understand how to use it and are comfortable with it. It doesn't matter how great the software is – ultimately, it won’t serve its intended purpose.
- Lawyers don’t see the long-term benefit. Learning software takes time. It’s an investment and it trades off with short-term billable hours. Also, changing processes is hard and time-consuming. You often don’t see immediate benefits from any gains you might obtain either in your own daily routine or in your firm’s productivity. Learning the software and changing procedures is put off until there’s an immense need for it which can be stressful, especially if you don’t know how to use it (see my point above).
- A lot of software really isn’t that good. Since time literally is money for many lawyers, it’s a total waste to spend time learning software that’s too slow, buggy, or otherwise doesn’t do what it is supposed to.
- Look for how-to videos on the software company’s site. Watch snippets to see if the software looks intuitive and useful. Spend no more than 10 minutes doing this. You’re not learning the software, you’re just trying to get a feel for it.
- Get a personalized demo, but don’t just sit there. Tell them up front what you want to see, your concerns, and how you see yourself using the software if it works. You control the demo. Good trainers using good software should be able to address your concerns and quickly hit the high points.
- Do a few quick searches online to find competitors for the software you’re evaluating. Check the prices. See if any of the companies have existing customers on their site who are willing to vouch for the software.
- If you’re not very technical then hire someone who is. Don’t hire an enormous company that charges as much as you do on an hourly basis. What you need is a computer-savvy person who can help. They don’t need to be in the computer industry or work for you full-time. Find someone you can pay on a contract basis when needed.
- Attend tech-related CLEs. Often they provide good software tips and you get credit at the same time.
- Read legal tech blogs to stay on top of trends and hear from early adopters. Here are a few suggestions - Future Lawyer, Attorney At Work's Legal Technology section, and LawSites by Robert Ambrogi (who also co-hosts the legal affairs podcast Lawyer2Lawyer).
Cyclone Covey is an entrepreneur and active lawyer serving as General Counsel for four companies. Prior to joining his companies he practiced complex commercial construction litigation in Atlanta, Georgia with Griffin, Cochrane & Marshall, now a part of Sutherland.