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Mindset barriers to software adoption

This is part one of a two-part series where Korbitec president Alan Bass explores some of the myths and common hurdles lawyers and law firms face when considering new technology.

Alan Bass, president of Toronto-based legal software provider Korbitec Inc., says he has heard all possible objections — from the "sublime to the very hard to believe" — to using the Automated Civil Litigation (ACL) program.

"Some potential clients feel that using the software costs too much; and others believe it may put users out of their comfort zone to learn something new after years of using the same techniques to generate documents," Bass says.

"I once had a partner in a small law firm say to me, 'If my staff were to use your software they would become lazy and less sharp because they wouldn't have to think as much. The software does so much of the work,'" he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

"I couldn't believe it," Bass says.

Lawyers have suggested the software, which operates on PCs (and Macs with Virtual Windows software), would make them too efficient, meaning they would bill clients fewer hours, he says.

"We've even had firms say that they don't have enough work, so they really don't need to save time or be more efficient," Bass says.

But there are more practical reasons why law firms might struggle with adopting the software, he says.

Some mid to large firms have employees who are the document and content specialists — they maintain the firm’s precedents and might feel threatened by the introduction of an automated system.

"That's a tough sell," Bass admits. But he says automating processes saves time and money, often allowing firms to take on additional files while not adding staff.

Bass says he’s also had pushback that ACL is slower than existing methods, but that has more to do with the learning curve of introducing new software.

"It's absolutely not true, but to some, it takes time to learn a new way of doing something and when you're in a rush and under pressure — which defines the litigation environment — you don’t have time to try a new process, even if it’s more efficient," he says.

"Research shows that the biggest source of errors on legal documents is due to copying and pasting, and our technology eliminates that.”

Some firms believe they can't afford ACL, which is purchased as a licence and firms are charged monthly on either a per file or per lawyer basis, Bass says.

"If you open a matter in ACL, there would be an associated licensing fee per file, and many firms disperse that fee to the file; so ultimately it can cost them very little and in some instances, nothing," he says.

Bass says in situations where firms have built their own internal system, there can still be challenges to recognizing the value of ACL since they are already invested in another system.

"Maintaining a homegrown system isn’t a cheap solution because either internal or external staff are still being paid to maintain it and update forms,” he says. “Our system removes that and allows lawyers to focus on their core business.”

ACL is quick, always up to date with current court forms, and helps eliminate filing errors to reduce a law firm's exposure to possible action from clients, Bass says.

"Most lawyers don’t need to be convinced of the value of ACL after seeing the software and undergoing training," he says.

Stay tuned for part two where Bass discusses the reasons why law firms would be wise to use the cost-effective ACL legal document management software.

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