Trying Out New Practice Management Software? 6 Things You Should Do On Trial to Make Sure It Will Really Work for Your Firm

During your trial, take time to understand what resources are available to you.

Selecting a new legal practice management application is no easy feat. With your firm’s productivity on the line, the stakes are high and the vetting process should be thorough. One critical step in the selection process is the trial where you, and other future users in the firm, can actually roll up your sleeves and get to know the platform. (If a cloud-based software provider doesn’t offer one, this should be a red flag; it often means the platform is difficult to configure and use.)

Once on trial, you’ll want to make sure you really put the software through the paces to be certain it will work for your practice. Before getting started, consider the following:

1. Be prepared to invest time in the process. Don’t sign up for a trial to merely see the interface. Be sure to sign up when you actually have time to test out the features and functionality of the system. If you only have 15 minutes on your lunch break to do some research and the rest of your week is packed – it’s probably not the best time to sign up for a 7-10 day trial.

2. Get the data. It can be tedious to populate a trial account with a significant data set so you can actually see how the tools work. Ask the vendor if they have sample data they can import or, better yet, if they offer any tools to upload some of your firm’s own data.

3. Learn from the experts. Schedule a demo of the system before you roll up your sleeves and jump in. Without knowledge of the platform, you’ll probably miss out on testing features that could be of value to your firm. By having an expert show you the ins and outs, you have a good starting point for your trial.

4. Take it for a test-drive on the highway. What five tasks do you do most often during the work week? Attempt all of these tasks during your trial to assess whether the platform will help to increase efficiency.

5. Make it a team activity. Unless you’re a solo practitioner, you likely have several colleagues at your firm helping with the decision. If that’s the case, be sure to get them involved in the trial too. Many providers allow you to create a firm-environment and add as many users as needed to the trial account. Be sure that you all work together on how to make the most of the experience.

6. Test out support/client resources. Even the most tech-savvy legal professional will at some point need to contact client support for help with an LPM application. During your trial, take time to understand what resources are available to you. Is there a help site? Is it actually helpful in answering your questions? Is there a ticketing system or phone number you can call? If so, try it out and get to know how your inquiries will be handled if you decide to sign up for an account.

Ready to get started? CARET Legal is pleased to offer a free trial. Go ahead, put these tips to the test and see why so many firms are making the switch.

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