Law practice is a business rooted in precedent. From courtrooms to boardrooms, the lawyer who gives good counsel is often the one who understands that prudence requires doing things as they have always been done, and that change should occur incrementally and only after careful deliberation. Our legal system relies on these principles, and they are necessarily ingrained in law practice culture.
However, when it comes time to change a legal practice management system, the very principles that are so important to law practice can also cause growing pains. To be sure, these pains fade — in our experience they’re gone within a year — but in the meantime, we offer the following advice for mitigating the short-term difficulty.
1. Focus on Quality For the Long Term
The most important consideration in selecting a new practice management solution is whether it is the best tool for your legal practice not just now, but also ten years from now. Of course, no one can predict the future, but it is far more expensive to implement a solution that acts only as a short-term fix requiring frequent replacement than to invest in a tried-and-tested solution. LawMaster has three decades of experience developing comprehensive, integrated, functional law practice technology. With our best-in-class product, LawMaster’s value proposition looks to the long term, ensuring that whatever growing pains a change in practice management software brings about, they need only be felt once.
2. Treat Legal Practice as a Business, Even If It Doesn’t Come Naturally
We are committed to your success. We respect what you have built, the effort it has taken to thrive and, as above, the foundational principles to which you, as lawyers, adhere. We also appreciate that law as a business may not necessarily come naturally to you. Indeed, some of our clients chose to practice law specifically to avoid a career “in business,” and have succeeded by doing their utmost to serve a higher calling than maximising profits.
That’s where we come in. At LawMaster, our business is serving your legal practice as a business, finding efficiencies for you and your admins where you might not see them. Approaching a transition to your legal practice management system with a similar, business-focused perspective, unnatural as it may feel, can overcome resistance to change that’s rooted in other values and traditions.
3. Actively Manage the Transition
A lawyer does not go into a trial or a complex negotiation without a careful strategy. Transitioning from one practice management system to another is best approached with the same forethought. A successful, relatively painless transition needs a champion advocating for the benefits of this change. To reduce growing pains, it is important for that champion to plan ahead, allocate sufficient time and resources, manage expectations and generate enthusiasm (or at least acceptance).
4. Trust the Experts
As we’ve noted above, helping legal practices succeed is LawMaster’s business. We’ve been at it for nearly thirty years. We make a careful study of the often invisible inefficiencies that become embedded in a legal practice over time, and we know how to eliminate them. In short, those practice management issues that many lawyers despise — document management, time sheets and billing, and so on — are the challenges we embrace.
At LawMaster, we have a wealth of experience in developing solutions that create efficient workflows in legal practices of all sizes. If you place your trust in us, our commitment to you is to deliver solutions that will free you to spend more time and energy focusing on your clients’ needs.
5. Keep an Open Mind
Over the years, we have delivered management solutions to all manner of legal practices, and have encountered every imaginable variation of the argument “It isn’t broken, so why fix it?”. In some cases, that is true, which is why many of the features of LawMaster’s legal practice management solutions feel familiar and immediately intuitive to our clients. But we encourage our clients to also be prepared to try new and different approaches that LawMaster brings to common management challenges. As difficult and, yes, at times painful, as it can be to throw out the old and ring in the new, our customers have discovered time and again that the benefits LawMaster brings are well worth the investment.