There are three common purchasing options for Legal Practice Management Solutions:
1. OLD SCHOOL: On-Premise Server - Perpetual License
2. MODERN, INNOVATIVE CLOUD PLATFORM: Software as a Service (SaaS) Subscription
3. OPEN SOURCE: Less Attractive Option
With the Perpetual License option, the law firm pays upfront to own the software licenses and uses the product in perpetuity. This is the antiquated and traditional model for outdated software with on-premise servers.
This option usually has a short technical support timeframe of 30 days with purchase and product is obsolete when a newer version is released. If future technical support is required, and the product is current, an expensive mandatory support contract must be purchased immediately to resolve technical issues.
SUMMARY: upfront costs are higher, recurring costs are lower and the other costs are unknown.
And, if the software is not current and now obsolete, you cannot get any technical support and an upgrade must be purchased. Also, if the law firm is experiencing growing pains and requires additional licenses, LEDES billing, or wants to purchase add-on products – you must be on a current version of the software.
When you think of the “old school” way of purchasing and implementing software, the law firm hires their IT Provider to review, analyze, recommend, and install software to their on-premise server. With this “old school” thought leadership, the firm may not realize the IT Provider bills services by the hour and these overhead costs add up quickly.
Because the IT Provider specializes in hardware and does not specialize on the individual (outdated) server-based software packages, they will have technical issues. These technical issues involve configuring the on-premise server and workstation installation, data extraction, conversion, and migration to the new solution.
With that, when a law firm tries to be “penny-wise and pound foolish” management may not realize that this “old school” method of purchasing software will cause budgets to be out of control. When this happens and they access the damage, the price for the perpetual license and cost of ownership has just spiraled and skyrocketed!
When law firms choose to purchase software with the antiquated “old school” perpetual license option, they will not benefit from technical support or future development. Law firms often look to their IT Provider for advice on software not realizing this is inefficient because they support hardware not software!
When upgrading or implementing a Legal Practice Management Solution, it is imperative to utilize experts, have on-going 24/7 access to technical support. These resources will provide the specific product knowledge, technical resources, and customized training for a seamless transition.
Subscription Licenses - Software as a Service “SaaS”
With the Subscription License option, commonly referred to as “Software as a Service” (SaaS), a monthly fee is charged to use the software based on the term of the subscription. This is very popular with Cloud Platform software offerings.
With the SaaS subscription pricing option, technical support is included, and legal product experts are available 24/7 to answer questions.
SUMMARY: upfront costs are lower, recurring costs are higher and additional costs when customization or user training is required.
With technology being on the forefront due to the current “work-from-home” trend, Software as a Service (“SaaS”) is in the realm of buzzwords in legal technology and is now “top of mind” for law firms. Many innovative and modern “boutique” law firms have seamlessly migrated data and transitioned their entire practice to the Cloud Platform.
Law firms that have not transitioned and are stuck-in-a-rut managing antiquated, on-premise servers are losing out and will not be “cutting edge” or get to the “boutique” level of professional services. By moving business operations to a Cloud Platforms and choosing a SaaS Solution your law firm will gain traction, popularity, and market share. Because SaaS solutions offer the flexibility of Module based pricing, they are typically a lower upfront cost than a perpetual license.
While your law firm will have full access to the solution and the ability to customize it, the technology provider will maintain the software and ensure that it is regularly updated, patched and secure. It is also scalable to accommodate your practice, so as you hire more timekeepers or staff; you can add users easily.
In the world where technology can virtualize your law firm adding the benefit of anytime, anywhere access, Cloud Platforms and SaaS solutions should be the only choices in the evaluation process.
Regardless of the pricing option your law firm chooses, be certain to perform due diligence and do your homework.
With the Open Source option, the licenses are usually free of charge to the end-user to reduce upfront costs. However, the costs associated with data conversion, training and implementation are expensive. Ongoing technical support is not included, and technical issues will mandate purchase of a support contract, and hourly cost or by the incident.
This purchase option is not widely used because law firms cannot plan, budget, or forecast IT costs. And, with this option and costs get out of control quickly. Also, if integration of other products is required the price really skyrockets.
SUMMARY: no upfront cost, average ongoing recurring costs and other costs are out of control.
When making the final decision to move to a Legal Practice Management Solution, not matter which pricing option suits your budget for licensing, SaaS pricing is the legal industry standard and the best modern all-inclusive option. With unlimited 24/7 technical support provided by legal product experts and all updates, there will be no hidden costs.
Core Legal’s Cloud-based technology with a fully functional Mobile App, provides anytime, anywhere access, and is an essential business tool for the innovative modern law firm. Law firms that are touted as or “cutting-edge” or “boutique” had the vision and innovation to virtualize their entire legal practice workflows and business operations to the Cloud platform.
Law firms relying on outdated software and manually processing financial data are losing profits, wasting overhead hours, and are at huge risk of human error, which could result in malpractice. These archaic ways of managing data by hosting software on outdated on-premise servers, or processing time, billing, and accounting financials in more than one software, are hindering revenue growth.
Manual and inefficient processes also result in longer turn-around-time for case work production, which will lead to diminished professional legal services and loss of clients. By moving to Cloud and implementing an intuitive Legal Practice Management Solution to efficiently manage business operations, and provide the business intelligence to measure performance metrics, your law firm will scale growth.