Purchasing a new software system can be a complex and risky proposition. Many law firms and corporate law departments struggle with the process of identifying, selecting and implementing technology solutions. Adding to the complexity is the lack of reliable, independent market information. Traditional IT approaches to selecting legal technology often do not apply. Specialized skills are required to understand the unique needs of legal practitioners and assess vendor capabilities.

Based on our work advising hundreds of legal organizations on technology, we have developed a set of guiding principles that are instructive in helping navigate the process of selecting legal solutions. We emphasize an understanding of the organization’s requirements, with a direct connection to how meeting these requirements will drive measurable improvements and add value. Our Vendor Evaluation Matrix is an example of a scoring tool for reviewing and assessing candidate vendors. The assessment must include not only functional capabilities, but also implementation skills, company viability and the vendor’s future vision. Identifying viable solution providers must go beyond market share so that clients can evaluate innovative new solutions. Objective, independent market research is a critical resource to understanding the landscape. Finally, implementation and ensuring users are trained and motivated to actually use the system are critical to success. Clients must focus on how to best leverage internal, vendor and expert resources in their projects.

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