How to Transition to Web-based Legal Practice Management from Legacy Approaches


(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Your legacy legal practice management software has probably found its way into your “routine.” You know how to use it, your clients are comfortable with it, and nobody likes change. However, comparing a web-based legal practice management software to legacy software is like comparing the usefulness of a butter knife to a Swiss Army Knife. Both can be useful, but the latter has a vast amount of utility and is constantly evolving with new tools and uses.

Legal practice management tools help take care of your case management needs, and these tools include accounting software that makes handling the business side of your practice simpler. These web-based tools are designed to free up your time so that you can focus on the things that really matter to you and your clients. Although the change to web-based management tools will only make your life easier, the transition can be tricky. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, utilize these transition tips:

1. Launch the new platform exclusively to new clients.

Your old clients may struggle to interact with the new system, but your new clients won’t ever know the difference. With two platforms in play for a couple of months, you can easily steer new clients to the new system while slowly transitioning old clients in that direction.

2. Acknowledge the potential for hiccups.

As you get ready to introduce the new platform to your old clients, introduce them to the idea gently. Start with the clients with whom you have the friendliest relationships, and slowly introduce the idea to the rest of the group as you iron out the hiccups. Let your clients know that the new system will offer both them and you advantages. Remind them that ultimately this new program will allow you to focus exclusively on their needs rather than on the business side of your practice.

However, remind them that the transition may have some hiccups. If they are prepared for that eventuality, they will be less likely to complain when they encounter small problems. This allows you to get to know the system without having to bear the stress of constant client complaints at the same time.

3. Transition one element at a time.

Instead of shifting over every aspect of your business all at once, make the transition from the legacy system to the new web-based system element by element. For instance, start using the new system for client billing. When you have ironed out the issues and everything is working as desired, add another element like scheduling. By staging your transition element by element, the changes will be easier to swallow.

4. Utilize training and customer support.

You don’t have to do this on your own. Utilize training webinars to ensure that you are getting the most out of your new web-based practice management tools, and never hesitate to contact customer service if you have a question about how things work.

The main idea is to take things slowly. Change can be overwhelming, but if you take it step by step, you will increase your potential for success.

–Matt Spiegel

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