How to choose legal software

Tuesday 17 January, 2023

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If you’re in the market for legal software, you might start by shopping around. You can search online, ask your peers what they use, and fire off a few enquiries with a selection of providers. Those are all important, and you should certainly do them. However, you shouldn’t do them first.

When we feel we want or need something, most of us start our search externally. We look at what’s out there, then narrow it down until we pick something that looks and feels about right. That’s fine as an approach, but it’ll take longer and it’s more likely to result in the wrong choice.

The best approach is counterintuitive in that it sounds like it should take longer, but it’ll deliver the best results and it’ll do it in less time. That’s to conduct research about yourself before even looking at what products are available.

Why are you looking in the first place?

You might start with a sense like, ‘We’re not recording our time very accurately.’ That’s an excellent starting point, but it’s not a conclusion, and it certainly won’t help you make the right decision. Any solution you look at will be designed to help with something like that, but to paraphrase Ella Fitzgerald, ‘It ain’t what they do, it’s the way that they do it.’

Each solution is going to solve firms’ problems in a different way, and unless you have a deep understanding of your challenges, you won’t know which is the best way. Approach it like a three-year-old — never stop asking, ‘But why?

Your fee-earners aren’t recording their time properly.

But why?

It takes a long time.


Well, the system is hard to use.


The layout of the program is inefficient, and they have to enter a lot of stuff manually.

What happens then?

They get frustrated and want to get it over with as soon as possible.

Then what?

Either they don’t check it properly, or they just put in something roughly correct and leave it there.

…and so on. When you know what behaviour you need to fix, what fixing it will change, and what’s causing that behaviour, then you can research solutions properly.

Starting questions

That’s how you might dig into the question of timesheets, but what else might be a problem, and what are some helpful ideas as research starting points?

Case Management

If there seems to be a problem, how recent is it? If there’s been a dip in the quality of your case management, or it’s been harder to manage lately, it could have something to do with remote working.

It’s not that you need to be suspicious of how well or how hard your remote teams work. It’s simply that in the office, work is more casually visible and conversations are more organic. It might be that things simply aren’t flowing well because of that. Drill down by asking the right questions, and you’ll find out if that’s the case.

Client Management

A growing client book means you’re likely to encounter a variety of client ‘types’. People need and expect different things, and you’re not only having to scale your typical client service routine, but you’re also having to adapt it more often.


If compliance is getting harder, it might be simply a matter of volume. Your fee earners are more stretched, and so are your compliance officers. It might be more than that. Perhaps it’s not simply the extra work, but that the volume of work is magnifying existing weaknesses in your procedures. You will only know after proper investigation and questioning.

Finding the answers

We built Insight Legal by asking all of the questions that firms need to ask themselves, and by getting to the root of why practices aren’t as streamlined, productive, or efficient as they can be. If you think you might have outgrown the system you’re using, there’s plenty more research material on our resources page.

If you’d like advice from one of our team, call 01252 518939 or email;