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Is your software a money pit or a money mill?

Lauren Dagworthy

Technology is a crucial part of every law firm. But, it may also be holding law firms back from truly maximizing their profits.

Software may be holding law firms back from truly maximizing their profits. 

Technology is a crucial part of every law firm. From day one, the products a firm decides to use can have a huge effect on their business’s bottom line. The product with the lowest sticker-price can become the biggest money pit, and an expensive product doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit.

The quickly growing and changing legal tech market means that there is an excellent opportunity for law firms to invest wisely in software solutions that facilitate optimal performance and growth.

It’s important for law firms when reviewing their own software choices to look beyond just the price tag, and to look at the intrinsic values and detractors that come along with the price of a license. The usability, flexibility, and industry knowledge that a product has can drastically alter the true value of your solution, and ultimately your firm’s profitability. 

Less clicking, more collecting.

If software doesn’t work the way a firm needs it to, one of two things happens; they spend lots of time (that they don’t really have) upfront to find a replacement, or they develop a workaround.

In most cases, a workaround is the far more efficient decision. Sure, it takes a few more clicks than they’d like, but it saves more time than finding a whole new solution…right?

But then another quirk is found and another workaround is made, and another, and so on until a firm is spending so much time making an imperfect solution “work” that it’s actually beginning to cut into their ability to make profit.

The root of this issue started because the software the firm chose didn’t truly understand how law firms operate. The legal industry has specific needs and requirements that can’t be met by just any generic software. Providers who don’t understand how law firms need to work often produce solutions with overly-complicated (or overly-simplified) interfaces that require time, energy, and ultimately money to compensate for. Firms should make sure the software they choose understands their firm’s needs, and more specifically, makes it easy for these needs to be met.

How much time does your firm spend making up for inadequate workflows? Cutting down the time spent on these inconveniences can open up more opportunities to serve your clients and quicken your collection cycle.

Compliance is crucial.

What’s worse than day-to-day inconveniences? Unforeseen investigations into your firm’s compliance.

Even when some generic software solutions are more affordable by sticker-price and have intuitive workflows, they often can not accommodate for the compliance regulations that law firms must adhere to. 

Compliance - especially in areas like legal accounting - is critical for law firms to maintain. Software that isn’t tailored to the legal industry is made for wide appeal, and therefore are typically not made to accommodate compliance activities. The time and money expenditure it takes to review and correct inaccurate books or manually ensure no financials are being mismanaged requires a lot of time and can severely cut a firm’s productivity and profitability.

Another consideration is the potential long-term consequences a firm could experience if they fall out of compliance. Firms can face fines, lose their client-base, and risk imprisonment if they do not meet the regulatory requirements associated with trust banking, bank reconciliations, audit trails, and other legal accounting processes. This is a price that most will agree is too steep for the upfront savings a generic, non-compliant technology may offer. 

Using legal-specific software, especially as it relates to practice financials, greatly reduces a law firm’s chances of mishandling important matters and funds, and can also assist in making inconvenient processes such as audits or reconciliations faster; so the firm can return to making profits sooner.

Look for flexibility.

The industry knowledge and the ease-of-use of a product software can help save a firm time. This gives firms more opportunity to serve their clients and increase profits. However, the type of solution a firm implements can provide additional ways to cut expenditures and collect more billable time.

Even within specialized legal software, there are ways to maximize the benefits for your firm. It often requires a close look at the technology that drives a software; is it cloud-based, or is it a classic “legacy” solution? 

Buying and maintaining your own servers to run legacy software used to be a necessity, but the rise of cloud-based solutions have provided firms with the ability to avoid these costs entirely. No more pricey IT server upkeep, or risking firm data integrity. Depending on the product, you may have to pay your software provider for cloud-hosting, but generally these costs are far less than on-premise IT maintenance would be year-over-year. Plus, you get all the added benefits that cloud technology can provide:

  • A solution that is accessible remotely
  •  More connectivity between all your software choices
  • Security and encryption that is being monitored and updated frequently

These aspects of flexible software should not be understated. Being able to access your software from anywhere adds to the value of your license, but it also leads to active profits as well. For example, the added ability to connect multiple solutions together reduces time and effort to transfer/locate information; which frees up your important time, prevents duplicate entries, and makes sure all your billable time is tracked and accounted for. The remote access capabilities of cloud solutions also allow firms to enter time from anywhere; directly from court, or as soon as you take a work call from home. This reduces a firm’s need to retroactively log their time, and prevents billable time from getting lost in the shuffle.

The bottom line:

Ultimately, the software a firm uses has a great potential to be a money pit or a money mill. Law firms hoping to avoid the former should move their focus away from sticker-price alone and analyze the value-added and time-saving benefits of their expenditure instead. This mindset shift can truly set a firm up for success in the long run, because they are more likely to choose a solution that provides a comprehensive and specialized feature set that enables a healthier bottom line.



About Soluno

Soluno is user-friendly, cloud-based billing, accounting and time tracking software made for law firms of all sizes.
Confidently manage your firm’s business all in one place; with matter management, time/expense entry, billing, accounting, trust banking, and reporting that’s accessible from anywhere. Soluno empowers law firms to be more efficient and profitable than ever; combining the advanced features and customizable workflows of on-premise software with the freedom, security, and convenience of a cloud solution.

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