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Organization - The Real Reason Law Firms Use Practice Management Software

Written by Jeff Stouse on 03 January 2013.

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 Every firm I talk to that wants to use a practice management program wants to do so to be better organized. As with every attorney who practices law, the degree to which he/she wants to be organized varies. That is one of the many reasons why there are so many practice management programs. For some law firms, who don't take full advantage of their practice management programs, and by definition are not as organized, that extra level of added work and continued inefficiency is just a price the firm has decided to (unfortunately and unnecessarily) bear.

Any firm that doesn't select a practice management program with a robust implementation of customizable fields is choosing to be less organized, more inefficient and fall behind in the competition with other firms who do!

Any practice management program who does not provide a robust implementation of customizable fields is proclaiming its market to be the firms who will purchase practice management program and then use it to keep track of their calendar and contacts.

Note: A robust implementation of customizable fields has the following qualities:

  • the user can create a large list of custom fields
  • the user can order the list in any manner they choose
  • the custom fields can be of various types: text, drop-down, check-box, multiple check-box,
  • memo (or multi-line text), etc...
  • any custom field can be accessed for use in merge templates or email templates
  • custom fields can be used as the basis for workflow triggers/conditions/expressions

In this day of required efficiency - clients are rebelling against the inefficient attorney, the .1 or .2 for a phone call, fax or email - the longer it takes to find information (it has to be found in the middle of a document - which probably isn't scanned and has to be physically found in a file - instead of in a field on a form), and the longer it takes to generate the necessary documents that each matter requires.

To a large percentage of potential clients, the law has always been based on "getting it in writing" - and when it takes their attorney longer to "get it in writing" - then they will continue to rebel. And they should - especially when the tools to do so are so readily available.

Use this (organizational) goal as one method of choosing the correct (for your firm) practice management program - don't settle for a cute interface with little functionality or a poorly planned implementation of key features (with the promise of key features to be implemented as an afterthought.)