Most full-service law firms face the major challenge of having to reconcile the differing IT system requirements of their various practice areas with the limited resources – both IT and financial – available to the firm.
On the other hand, niche firms specialising in one area of law or one sector, have the advantage of concentrating on technology which specifically services their sector. In the case of residential conveyancing, PI, probate, family law or debt collections there are well established specialist solutions on the market.
These solutions have been designed to deliver one specific legal service and aim to enable firms to use them with minimal customisation.
However, other legal services are not well serviced by vendors, and firms (both niche and full-service) therefore rely on a more traditional approach of bespoke development or customising more generic solutions to match the requirements of their specific practice area or areas
I was recently invited to speak at The Law Society’s Law Management Section conference. My topic was “Getting value from IT investments”.
Quantifying the return on investment from IT projects is a minefield many of us have tried to address, but while those efforts are often used to build a business case prior to embarking on projects, it is often the case that these justifications are not a true reflection of the cost / value that technology investments represent and nor are they assessed post go-live.
While preparing the presentation, I was reminded of the “Man in a barrel” gift that Christel Aguila, IT Director and Partner at Winckworth Sherwood LLP brought back from the Philippines for her team and the need to never make assumptions!
Law firms rarely change their PMS, doing so on average about every 15 to 20 years, and rightly so as the cost and effort involved is substantial. Furthermore, a firm can expect such a project to distract from the day-to-day operation of the firm and there will be disruption to the business as staff learn the new system and while enhancements and bespoke developments are undertaken.
The infrequency of such projects also means that firms are likely to be unfamiliar with changes in the PMS marketplace and may not have staff with the skillsets required to undertake such a project.
We attended – and facilitated – at a most informative Legal Practice Management (LPM) event yesterday, where Rupert Collins-White analysed the results of the 2018 Legal IT Landscapes, research aimed specifically at mid-sized law firms. More than 80 firms responded to the survey – the results are probably fairly representative of the market as a whole.
Interestingly enough, there were repeated mentions of, and considerable interest expressed in AI and the “hype” technologies, by far outranking mentions of more “old tech” systems, such as case management, practice management and document management. Most noticeable was the change of focus from the more boring aspects of tech, such as infrastructure and last year’s buzzword, “cloud” and a change of focus to the application layer particularly in areas where business processes can really benefit from technology.
PMS Selection for Hunt & Coombs
Supporting decision makers to make an effective and informed choice
Hunt & Coombs are currently using Envision, a product which had been made “end of life” by Thomson Reuters. Whilst the firm had good IT leadership it needed support to:
- determine which options were available;
- provide a robust and inclusive selection process;
- document all of the critical User requirements and add structure to the evaluation phase;
- assist in establishing the project’s key success factors;
- guide the internal team through the process and final decision making.
We were engaged by leading Birmingham firm Anthony Collins to provide mentoring and support to their PMS replacement project group.
We were engaged by leading East Anglian firm Ellison’s Solicitors to advise on their PMS replacement project.
PMS Selection and IT Consultancy for Standley & Co
A range of IT consultancy leading to a PMS selection project
In late 2016 Standley & Co required strategic IT consultancy across several areas with a long-term plan to replace their PMS system.
I was recently asked to speak on “Demystifying PMS Implementation’s” at a seminar run by Robert Half. As I said to attendees I’m not a slick salesman or presenter but I have had the joy of undertaking 7 PMS related projects in my time in the legal sector from “standard” implementations to de-merger and merger projects.
In this article I will share with you the introductionary aspects of the presentation. The definition of a PMS project, a high-level market overview and the traditional PMS project approach.
This is the second in a series of three articles which are based on our recent Demystifying PMS Implementation’s seminar.
In this article we will suggest a different approach for PMS projects before moving on to how to extract best value from consultants and suppliers.
This is the last part of our series articles which are based on our recent Demystifying PMS Implementation’s seminar.
In the first article we covered the definition of a PMS project, a high-level market overview and the traditional PMS project approach.
In the second article we suggested a different approach for resourcing PMS projects.
This week saw the confirmation from Thompson Reuters (TR) that the next update (version 3.11 scheduled for release in Q2 2016) will be the last planned enhancement release of their Enterprise platform.
From that point the system will be updated with bug fix releases only until 31st December 2022 at which time support will also be downgraded to migration support only.
There is little doubt following TR’s earlier announcement (21st December 2015) that Envision (aka Pilgrim / Lawsoft) will be put in maintenance mode until December 2019 (when it is expected support will be discontinued) and that TR’s strategy is to move away from the mid-tier market.
Initially engaged by a leading London / Birmingham based law firm to provide Consultancy and Project Management services in relation to their new PMS (Practice Management System) implementation.
David was engaged by a leading London based Personal Injury and Human Rights law firm to provide Consultancy and Project Management services in relation to their new PMS (Practice Management System) implementation.