In the 21st century, the vast majority of law firms - barristers and attorneys-at-law still function without professional document and case management systems. All work is done off-line, in based on Excel statements or paper folders. Lawyers do not have an appropriate data backup system - the lost folder has no equivalent in the archive. The only "innovative" solution is a network drive on which the law firm works, also rarely backed up.
Currently, lawyers can choose from many solutions available on the market. Most of the software is based on web solutions, accessible from a web browser and requiring the Internet. Software companies are moving away from installing the software on the client's computers. Cloud access, hosted on servers, give you a lot advantage:
- on-line service without the need to travel to the customer;
- quick updates when the office is not working;
- data backup, often provided by the hosting company itself.
The systems offered to law offices are based on various technologies, have different functionalities and a different level security, different prices. Below, we describe some of the basic considerations an attorney should consider before purchase of the system for the office.
The price range is very wide. From about PLN 30 to PLN 500 per month, payable in a subscription, depending on selected software parameters, functionality, data limit, etc. The price is basically the resultant functionalities and limits on the software that a lawyer receives. Any increase in the limit will be associated with raising the price.
An alternative to the subscription solution will be commissioning the software development from scratch, which will be associated with high financial outlays (from 25,000 to even 200,000 PLN depending on the company) and time - programming from scratch is a time-consuming process, requiring first functionalities and front-end design, then coding. Creating a system for a law firm from scratch may take up to 2 years.
A functional system has to cost. The system is to handle several or a dozen processes in the office, it is to be useful, therefore the number of functions will be considerable. Starting from the data of contractors / clients, conducting contact (integration e-mail?), document archiving, ending with task planning (calendar) and billing (invoices, measuring lawyer's working time). Each office has a different specificity of work, different expectations and hopes placed in the system, finally, it handles different processes, different types of issues.
Buying made-to-measure software is unlikely to be an option (time + high cost), so choosing a system it is worth exploring the market and choosing those that meet as many needs of the law firm as possible from the start.
In the subscription version, access to more modules and functionalities will be associated with a higher fee.
Limiting system users is the most popular form of differentiating subscription prices. For small 1-4 people a law firm, this factor should not affect the price, however, in the case of compensation offices (extended legal and service team, thousands of sales representatives / agents) this can make a big difference.
Working in a law firm involves the processing of thousands of documents - case documentation, pleadings, photos, scans. Due to the settings of most scanning devices, these are usually files with a size of 3-5 mb. At dealing with hundreds or thousands of cases, the server space will end in no time. Therefore, it is worth choosing such solutions with high space limits or none at all (there is currently no such market on the market). Relatively it is worth checking if the service provider allows you to install the software on your own server.
Subscription and web solutions are often associated with free software updates and service. Service Provider eliminates errors in the software, reacts to incidents. As part of the subscription contract, it may also appear free update or modernization of functionality. The main issue in updates is to ensure security.
Before buying software, it is worth considering whether it will be possible to expand and adapt it to your needs the office. Unfortunately, most companies do not allow code interference, and rarely undertake the development of functions on customer order. Some solutions are created outside the country, which significantly limits development. Choosing system, ask if you can adapt it to your needs by outsourcing the licensor's work.
Each system requires implementation, installation and employee training. It is worth finding out about the costs and what they depend on.
Security and confidentiality of data stored in the system and compliance with the GDPR in the system is one of the the most important issues raised by lawyers.
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