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Law firms have a lot of options these days when it comes to practice management software. Currently there are 28 different options in Lawyerist’s law practice management software directory, and we see new options all the time.

So how do you choose?

First, know what you should expect from software with Lawyerist’s Legal Software Bill of Rights:

  1. The price of legal software shall be published.
  2. There shall be a free trial, which shall be easy to get started.
  3. If software requires onboarding, onboarding should not cost extra.
  4. Security measures shall be clearly described.
  5. It must be possible to export data in a useful format.

Second, identify your firm’s specific needs. Break down your law practice management software requirements into must-have and nice-to-have features. Be realistic. Even great software is a tool, not a magic wand.

Third, download our law practice management software comparison chart, which shows the key features for all the software in our directory. That should help you identify the options that may meet your requirements. What you want to do is narrow the field down to 2 or 3 likely products, then sign up for a trial account with each and put them through their paces.

During your trial period, take one case (it can be a made-up case, but make it as true to your practice as possible) from intake to outcome in each product. Make sure you go through your new-client onboarding process, but that you also test out advanced features like document assembly and allocating payments, depending on what the software offers.

Warning: don’t try to find the “best” software. There isn’t one objectively best product for every law firm. Each has its own approach that some firms will love, and some won’t.

Similarly, be careful how you ask other lawyers for recommendations. If you must ask around, ask what they like about the software their firm actually uses, and what they would change if they could. Ask why they are still using it despite their complaints. Ask what they have compared it to. Then compare their firm and requirements to your own so you have a basis for comparison.

Finally, make sure everyone at the firm is bought in to making this change, and select the one that will work best for your firm.