Home » Small Law » Session: Fundamentals of Law Practice Management Systems #ABATECHSHOW

Session: Fundamentals of Law Practice Management Systems #ABATECHSHOW

Fundamentals of Law Practice Management Systems ABATECHSHOW

Thomas L. Rowe and JoAnn Hathaway led a session titled Practice management software from agony to ecstasy and a quick poll of the audience at the beginning demonstrated representation from firms of all sizes – including a substantial population of attorneys working at firms with 100 or more lawyers. The session defined practice management tools, described the differences between premise-based and cloud-based solutions, made the case for practice management, and finally, finished with tips for implementation.

With premise-based solutions, you own the software and the data which means you choose the timing of any upgrades — and you are not dependent on an internet connection to use it. From the presenters standpoint, premise-based solutions tend to be more robust, have better 3rd party integration and tend to have more customization options.

The speakers defined cloud-based practice management as any software application that requires an internet connection to use it.  Cloud tools tend to be sold on a subscription basis, so the expenses are predictable and the starting cost is lower since no hardware investments are required.

Whether a firm chooses cloud or premise for law firm practice management, the presenters made the case for why a law firm needs such a system in four succinct points:

  1. Efficiency. Handle more work with the same or fewer staff.
  2. Rigor. Codify business process and protocols.
  3. New business. Improve client acquisition and client conversion.
  4. Analysis. Better business metrics for evaluating performance.

The speakers ended the session by covering these tips for implementing solutions:

  1. Change management.  Effective use of process tools requires training.
  2. Stepping stones. Training should be implemented over time rather than conducted all at once.
  3. Systematic integrity.  Uniformity is critical to success to ensure every team member does things the same way.
  4. Leadership. Anoint a leader to make decision; put one person in charge.
  5. Documentation.  Create and documented procedures in a work flow manual.
  6. Measure. Define what success looks like and create metrics for evaluating progress.

Related Content:

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.

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