Purchasing a Legal Software product is not something that firms do very often. The research involved, the time taken and the pressure of choosing the right system can seem like a daunting task.

The Legal Software market is currently in the midst of a period of significant change and consolidation, with many providers being taken over by larger organisations.

In years gone by, suppliers in the 1 to 200 user firm market tended to be owner-managed businesses. Firms looking to purchase from them bought into the ethos of the company, the service and the people, safe in the knowledge that if they needed assistance or if there was a problem, the MD of the supplier company (and in most cases the owner) was a phone call away.

Today’s landscape is very different, with a good number of these MD owned businesses having been bought up by larger Venture Capitalist backed businesses seeking to consolidate the market.

Companies are purchased for a number of reasons:

  1. The Owner wants to retire and has no succession planning in place.
  2. The big ticket day arrives when a big corporate arrives with a fat cheque and the “once in a lifetime” decision has to be made.
  3. The software product that they have is getting a bit long in the tooth and needs a re-write to modern technology (for example to allow true cloud computing) and the cost of doing so would require an investment injection and therefore realising the value of years of hard work is a better option.

We are hearing from a lot of law firms that the company who have bought their software supplier are deciding not to continue developing and supporting all their products. They look to regain some of their purchase cost by increasing their monthly fees and by releasing the staff who developed and supported these products. At the same time, any investment that they do make goes towards their own “go-forward” product. Unfortunately, the end result of this can be that the software products that law firms invested in are no longer supported, and in many cases are ‘end of lifed’ or ‘sunsetted’.

In these situations, it is often the case that the other products they have bought go into a state known as “Sustained Engineering” or “Care and Maintenance Mode”. These terms mean pretty much the same thing, and that is that there will be no more functional releases and only legislative changes. In some cases, the systems will cease entirely and no longer be available for use and certainly not be supported.

This, of course, puts pressure on firms to change. Whether your main concerns are the withdrawal of support, the lack of development, the increased cost or the change in personnel, it is unlikely that you will want (or be able) to stick with the product you invested so much in choosing in the first place.

Before withdrawing your current product, the consolidator will invariably ensure that they present you with a migration option or an “upgrade path”. In some cases this will be a much newer, shinier product than the one you currently have and, if you’re lucky, it will also have increased functionality. In other cases, you may find that the system they present for you to move to is entirely different. This is, perhaps, to be expected given that the new product wasn’t built to be a natural successor to your system, it just happened to be the product owned and developed by the consolidator.

It is perhaps understandable that, under the heavy ‘guidance’ of the provider and the timescales that are enforced, firms feel that they have no option but to follow this migration path.

There is however an alternative. There are independent companies out there that win awards for their service, who have very modern and functionally rich software, have an expertise in migrations, have a product roadmap to enhance their offering and are very much like the company that you invested in in the first place.

Food for thought…..

Insight Legal offers the solution for your future:

– An independent company, owned by the working directors

– Local and remote support and training services

– Comprehensive migration

– Not part of any group company or product line

– A team who have worked in the Legal IT market for literally decades

– Scalable, cost effective solutions for all sizes of firms

– Award winning modern ‘next generation’ software solutions


Everyone knows that Information Technology moves at a rapid pace and software is often considered ‘out of date’ within a remarkably short space of time. We know that there are many hundreds of firms still using Practice Management Systems that were written decades ago. So, if these old systems are working perfectly well then why should it matter?

The simple answer is that technology changes in many different ways. Often these changes go by without their significance being entirely noticed. Your old Practice Management System may work just fine for one or two Operating System upgrades but will it work on Windows 8 or Windows 10 or the next one for that matter? The software supplier may indeed find ways around cloud computing because the system itself cannot handle it effectively.

You may have no intention of upgrading the systems that currently run your vital applications but what happens if one of these computers suffers irreparable damage? It might not be possible to replace it with one running an Operating System that is compatible with your old software.

Even if you can keep your current Practice Management System running, is it delivering everything you need it to? Does it help you with compliance, is it being regularly maintained and upgraded, is support provided when you need it and are issues resolved promptly?  Does it allow you to use it on the move, does it provide you with the level of reporting that you require, is it expensive because it requires bought in technology to keep it running on today’s technology and finally, is it causing inefficiency’s in your business because of work arounds? One small example is a “cloud” implementation that requires Terminal Services to actually run and does not simply work in a cloud environment out of the box.

A non-aggressive, reputable vendor will be confident in their software solutions and the proven benefits it can deliver. They will be experts in their field. They will have multiple reference sites; firms just like you who considered not upgrading their software but then realised the cost to their businesses of inaction and who are now growing their businesses cost-effectively and efficiently. They will tell you that the age of software does matter and the cost of doing something is common-sense.

To discuss this topic further or the services we can offer, please give us a call on 01252 518939,  email us at info@insightlegal.co.uk or take a look further around our website pages.

Tim Smith, Technical Director at Insight Legal Software Ltd

Following our successful marketing campaign, that was branded with our “refreshingly different” strapline and soft drinks given to refresh our event delegates, we had an excess of soft drinks available.  We’ve since planned to use these to refresh our local community to ensure they have a sparkling summer.

Through our partnership working with the local charity Parkside (Aldershot and District Learning Disability), Gayle and Anna, representatives from Insight Legal, popped along to visit the charity, meet the team and donated the soft drinks for their clients to enjoy.

Gayle Clarke, Insight Legal Software Ltd, Marketing Manager said “We are delighted to be able to support Parkside with this donation and hope that we can work with Parkside on other charitable initiatives”

The drinks certainly proved popular with Service Users who were attending a drop in session when the drinks were delivered.

 

Jackie Carr, Parkside Development Manager said “Our thanks to Insight Legal for this lovely and very useful donation; many wanted to join Gayle and Anna in the picture. The drinks will be used at our forthcoming Summer Fete”

For further details on Parkside fundraising please click here

The Insight Legal practice management system is ready for GDPR and our clients are seeing the benefit of our software being compliant.

We have fully implemented the necessary functionalities and setting defaults, as appropriate for the practice to be fully compliant in running their accounts and case management, in line with the data protection legislation.
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April marks the start of a new financial year for many firms and of course the start of the new tax year too. Outside of the office, spring has officially sprung and British Summer Time is eventually here.

A financial year is often a time when businesses take stock and the Directors or Partners take a step back to review how things have been for them over the past year and what lies in the year ahead.

Law is not just a profession, it is also a business. It is vitally important for any successful organisation to review their performance and set clear performance objectives for the coming year.  It can be a daunting task to balance the management functions of a law firm with client matters, but is one that any successful business must do.
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The recent extreme weather , according to a leading economist*, has cost the British Economy at least £1bn a day over the 3 to 4 day period of severe weather disruptions (February 2018).  How do you make sure you are not among those who had no way of doing a day’s work?

Legal Software has evolved dramatically over the last few years and a secure cloud-based solution that is fully Law Society compliant from a reputable supplier would have gone a long way to allowing you to get your day’s work done from somewhere other than the office. This type of flexibility need not just be reserved for the extreme weather situations we have seen this winter; it can be used whilst waiting in court, on a train and in fact anywhere where the comfort of your office is not available.
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Alongside its comprehensive Legal Accounts and Practice Management functionality, Insight Legal provides the facility to produce and store your case-related correspondence and documentation. The functionality is powerful and can be used by firms undertaking any type of legal work. For those looking for a more workflow–based solution, particularly in the areas of conveyancing and private client work, Insight Legal is proud to integrate with Redbrick Solutions.

Redbrick Practice Management integrates case management, document management, reporting, workflow, task and diary functions, compliance and outlook integration all via a user friendly interface with best practice built in.
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So with January finally over, (the month seemed to last forever!) and all the promises of “new year starts” either beginning to bloom or now a mere faded thought, it’s not too late to challenge yourself or your business objectives to achieve new starts…

Our Projects Co-ordinator Jodie, is taking on a personal goal as she prepares to face the Virgin London Marathon in April 2018.

This has been a long term desire for Jodie, having been unsuccessful through the public ballot applications for more years than she can remember… but she didn’t give up dreaming of the Big Run and is delighted to have been accepted to take on the challenge with The Shooting Star Chase Charity team. Read more

Cloud computing continues to enjoy immense popularity amongst all types of businesses due to its major benefits of flexibility and low-cost deployment. It can also decrease risks to a practice by reducing or entirely eliminating the need for backups. Disaster recovery of the IT infrastructure becomes significantly easier if most of the services are cloud based and there are significant gains in terms of management time and money spent on on-premise servers.

When selecting a software supplier that uses cloud storage you need to be mindful of compliance with the SRA regulations if you operate in England and Wales or the local Law Society Rules governing data compliance in other areas of the UK.  No matter where you are in the UK, you must ensure that both you and your supplier abide by the terms of the current Data Protection act and the future GDPR.

As well as the need for compliance it is also prudent to ask the following;

  1. Is there a policy in place to access the software and data should the software supplier cease trading?
  2. What are the processes to retrieve the firm’s data should you chose to move to another supplier?

The later question is one that very few people ask but is of vital importance. We all know that over time, firms move to different suppliers.  For the most part on-site systems have established migration paths that are followed by the new supplier in order to obtain the relevant data from the old platform.  However, accessing that data when it is located off-site can present some real issues, particularly when the supplier is not happy about you leaving.

If the supplier is a member of the Legal Software Suppliers Association for example, they are bound by the rules of that organisation which state that access to the data should be given.   Before signing with a new supplier it would be sensible to include within your contract that your software supplier will give you a backup copy of the database, should you wish to leave.

Along with the data, your supplier may well also be storing documents. Your case documents are no less important than your client and case data and you should also ensure that your supplier has a process for you to retrieve all of this information as well. Downloading files individually would be impractical and highly time consuming.

To discuss this topic further or the services we can offer, please give us a call on 01252 518939,  email us at info@insightlegal.co.uk or take a look further around our website pages.

Brian Welsh, Director at Insight Legal Software Ltd

Insight Legal has expanded and is set to create jobs and increase its share of the Scottish market as it has now opened its first office north of the border.

After much planning and processing we have also launched a Scottish version of our software product, that meets the needs of the Scottish legal community.

Investing in a Scottish base has long been an ambition for Insight Legal and our success across the rest of the UK has helped it become a reality.

Brian Welsh, Insight Legal’s director of operations and sales and a veteran of the legal software sector, heads up the firm’s new Glasgow office and lead on its expansion.

He says: “We are committed to providing excellent service and customer care so it’s important that we have a dedicated office for the Scottish market. The needs of our customers will be influential in the development of the Scottish product and we are building a local team to provide training and support. Unlike our competitors we will be investing in Scotland and we look forward to becoming a much more active part of the Scottish legal community.”
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