Creating a buying strategy: 5 things a law firm should consider before buying a legal tech product
One of the biggest challenges most lawyers have when adopting legal technology is understanding what is available to them and also what is right for their firm. Even if they do, most lawyers don't have a defined buying strategy in place. Having a technology buying strategy is important because understanding the desired outcome of the technology, your budget and how the technology will impact your firm is critical and will save you time and effort in the long run. However, what works for some firms won’t always work for others. In this post, we cover 5 things to consider when implementing a buying strategy for your firm to use when investing in legal software.
1. What's in it for your clients?
First and foremost, perhaps the most critical aspect of a buying strategy is assessing whether a legal technology solves for your clients’ needs. After all, ultimately, the practice of law is about clients. A lawyer can be the best lawyer in the world but without clients and work, it won’t matter.
Before purchasing legal technology, ensure that the legal software actually provides a benefit to your clients. If the legal technology cannot establish a benefit to your clients, it’s likely not worth it. Even if your client never sees the software, if behind the scenes your clients stand to benefit, the technology at least passes this first check. For example, if a certain legal technology will make an internal process more efficient at a firm, clients still indirectly benefit due to the firm now spending less time on an administrative task. Furthermore, if your clients do see and interact with the technology, the experience the legal technology will provide them with is critical to assess.
For example, dealcloser makes it easy for clients to review and sign documents without having to print anything out or take time out of their day to visit an office. Clients can easily review and sign documents from anywhere with any type of device, whether on vacation, at home or at work. Furthermore, dealcloser makes it easy to impress clients with our professional appearing closing book, generated with the click of a button. The whole transaction process is faster when dealcloser is used, making for happier clients.
2. Delegate decision making authority to someone at your firm that has knowledge regarding the legal technology
During our interview with Dera Nevin, she educated us on how important it is to have a dedicated person making decisions regarding legal technology purchases that has background knowledge on legal technology. Many law firms end up buying software that won’t work for their firm because they are not familiar with legal technology. As a result, firms don’t always successfully implement the legal technology that they purchase. By having a delegate who has a deep understanding of legal technology, you prevent the potential waste of time, funds and energy.
3. Know the goals you want to achieve and the problems you are aiming to solve
A good buying strategy requires a clear understanding of your firm’s goals and needs. Only then can you assess whether a certain legal technology will meet those goals and needs. Before investing in any legal technology software, every law firm should determine the pain that they aim to solve and the results that they desire to achieve when using that technology.
4. Make sure that the legal technology meets regulatory safety and security requirements
The practice of law has many restrictions around it, such as rules of professional conduct, ethical rules and client expectations around privacy. Therefore, it is important to understand (and important for legal technology vendors to clearly communicate) how a particular legal technology collects, stores, maintains and uses your and your clients’ data.
5. Consider legal design
Good legal technology platforms consider legal design a top priority. It may be prudent to ensure that as part of your firm’s buying strategy, legal technology platforms are assessed on their usability and intuitiveness. Technology that is intuitive and easy to learn and adopt increases the chances of reaching your desired outcome for purchasing the product. For example, at dealcloser, we know that poor legal design can lead to confusion and greatly reduce functionality. We want our customers to have the best possible experience, and with this in mind, we’ve designed software that simplifies the actual workflow of legal transactions by ensuring that our product has an excellent user interface design and is user friendly. And, of course, we ensure that our platform is legally compliant.
A few other things
Other things to consider when developing a buying strategy are:
What support does the legal technology vendor offer?
Does the legal technology offer onboarding, training and implementation assistance?
Cost of the product - while price is important, it’s equally important to assess the value the product will bring to your firm