Mergers and Signs of Things to Come?
Posted October 25, 2018 to Practice Management.
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In the last few weeks, several legal software vendors have announced mergers that will change the landscape and options for small and medium size law firms. Software Technology Inc, who make Tabs 3, Practice Master and more recently, Kurent, announced that they have acquired Cosmolex.
Amy and Carol are both Cosmolex Certified Consultants and have supported clients on Tabs and Practice Master. Tabs and Practice Master are premised based products that have been solid choices for small and medium-size law firms for decades. Kurent is a relatively new addition that is a cloud-based billing product aimed at solo and small firms. Cosmolex began in 2006 by Rick Kabra who had previously been part of Easy Soft. Cosmolex should be a good fit in the combined company whose core products focus on timekeeping, billing, and accounting. According to their press release announcing the purchase, Cosmolex is intended to provide a cloud-based option for firms ready to ditch their server.
At their annual conference, Clio announced it had purchased Lexicata. Lexicata focuses on the client intake and management process. Combining with Clio, this should help their customers with improved client experiences. This move focuses Clio on the client engagement aspects of practice management and should prove to be helpful to firms using Clio as well as spur on development in this direction by their competitors.
We are at an interesting time when it comes to legal software. The server-based products have had very few changes or improvements in recent years but have large numbers of customers with data that is not easy to move. They have increased their prices while offering few if any new functions or even promptly fixing known issues. Cloud products have some built-in advantages over the legacy products. They build in the ability to be more mobile and start with a cleaner slate in terms of features and links. Many of them have focused on imports from the leading legacy products making the transition simpler. The annual cost for most of the cloud products exceeds their server-based competitors, particularly if you look at the costs of a three to five-year period. However, costs for server related services like upgrades go away if the cloud apps you select replace all of your server-based products. Of course, it may also mean that you are paying for multiple subscriptions to replace all of the functions of your server-based products. Sometimes, firms think they need to change products when the truth is that their existing product does more than they realize and can be improved through customization and training. Many lawyers think they are going to save money on cloud products. If that is your focus, you may be missing the point. When considering any major change, you need to weigh all of the pros and cons. Cost is only one factor. Take a critical look at what your firm does, what it does well, what doesn’t work and what you would like to do that you aren’t. As your consultants, we can help advise you. We are certified on many of the leading products and familiar with the others. We know you and your firm and we know how to help look at these products to determine if they will meet your needs. If you are on older software or at a crossroads and thinking of making a change, call us to talk before proceeding. Changing products is expensive but changing to the wrong one will cost you even more.