Solo & Small Firm

Tech Tips: Where to Learn More about Legal Software Programs

By Robert M. Klein, Esq.:  A law practice devoted to helping personal injury victims.

robert@rkleinlaw.com

I decided to look for websites that rank or discuss legal software. I was hoping to find an unbiased site which would provide useful user information about software programs.

I started with SoftwareAdvice.com and was impressed with the layout of the website and the access to some basic information. The site provides names of many product providers and user reviews. However, I quickly realized that for me to receive more useful information, such as pricing or screen shots of the product, I had to provide my firm name and an email address directly to the product I was trying to learn about. This always causes me pause – I do not like being added to yet another email list. Luckily, a “Software Advice Chat” window opened up. I wanted to learn how I could get more information on listed products without providing my email address. A gold nugget was then handed to me.

The “Advice” representative was honest and told me all software listed, such as Clio or Practice Panther or Tabs3, paid to be listed on their platform. I asked if there were any competitors to their program and was told there used to be one, Capterra. Now, Software Advice and Capterra are owned by the same company, Gartner. Another company owned by Gartner is Getapp.com so I skipped this site. The Gartner websites list many companies and have reviews, but for more information, you are giving away your email.

I then searched for other websites which compare software products. The next one I found is called G2 (G2.com). Since the advice bot worked so well the last time, I tried again. This time my experience was discouraging as it was truly a “bot.” (Meaning a programmed piece of software provides very general answers no matter what question you are asking.) When I got a response from a real person, I was advised that G2 is a real-time unbiased review site for business to business software. I used the site to compare legal case management software. The site provides a nice interface with some general information. There are reviews, though the actual number of reviews is smaller compared to SoftwareAdvice.com. (Clio has 880 reviews on SoftwareAdvice vs. 165 on G2). So again, to get any in-depth information, I was directed to the software provider.

Next I tried trustradius.com. It is a product similar to G2. I searched for law practice management products and it provided 45 listings, many of which I had not seen before. TrustRadius is honest, letting me know when a practice management product had no reviews. Of the 45 products listed, only 15 had reviews and of those 15 only 2 had 10 or more reviews. When I searched reviews for payroll software, this site has a lot of information. It is a good website though presently it is not geared toward legal software.

I continued my search and tried crowdreviews.com. It has a nice site, with a nice layout, and it is easy to use. Once again, I started by looking at legal software. It had an ample list of software programs, but very few customer reviews. The same was true for legal document management software and legal billing programs.

I next looked at law-practice-management.financesonline.com. Like the others, it has a nice interface and featured a “headline” list of 12 products.  It ranked the top 12 popular law practice management software. The rankings were based on their own scoring and on user satisfaction, though more weight is placed based on their own ranking rather than user satisfaction. When clicking through and looking at listed software, I found good descriptions of what each brand of software can do and explanations describing “what is law practice management software.” This site provided other instructive information to consider when thinking about using legal software.

Finally, do not forget there are wonderful other resources for learning about legal software. There are websites such as aboutthelaw.com, Law Technology Today, Legaltech News, the ABA Journal, and local bar associations. However, my favorite way to learn about software is from a podcast site call the Legal Talk Network. As searching for software can be a difficult task, I still think one of the best ways to learn is simply asking friends and colleagues what they use and how they like it.

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