Last week, I had the most unique experience of my law practice management career to date. I was invited to Sydney, Australia to provide training on PCLaw® (practice management software) by the software developer, LexisNexis Corporation. Upon arrival (after a very long 15 hour trans-Pacific flight), I found Sydney to be a warm and inviting city with exceptionally beautiful vistas and an equally warm and welcoming population. I had time to visit the highlights of Sydney including the Rocks district, Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, Hyde Park, Manley Beach, the national observatory and, of course, the most famous of all Sydney sights, the Sydney Opera House.
However, this is not a travel blog, rather my blog focuses on law practice management. Having had the honor of being an independent contractor and trainer for LexisNexis practice management in North America, I was thrilled and honored with the invitation to train LexisNexis Australia’s support team on PCLaw.
What I discovered “down under”, was a difference in culture between the expectations of North American law firms and Australian law firms when it comes to practice management software. By this I mean, in North America, for the most part, many firms are accustomed to purchasing multiple software packages for what is known as front office, back office and document management (as well
as document assembly). North American firms frequently rely upon “data links” among these packages to share some, but not all data with the other, complimentary packages. Thus, U.S. and Canadian firms often buy PCLaw® together with packages like Amicus Attorney®, Time Matters®, HotDocs® and Worldox® to provide both front office, back office and document management/assembly functionality.
However, in Australia, most firms expect ONE software package to do “it” all. As a result of same, I re-explored and re-familiarized myself with PCLaw for its awesome multi-purpose functionality including its robust appointment and timekeeper calendar, to-do list, chained events, phone call manager, phone call messaging, document management, email management features as well as some document assembly features. PCLaw’s seemingly only front office weakness is its contact manager, but I trust that LexisNexis is working on a contact manager re-design right now. And, although there have been few, if any, additions to the front office features of PCLaw (word on the street is that front office improvements are on the horizon), because I would be training the LexisNexis Australia staff on these features, as I continued my review and training, I was quickly reminded about how well designed and comprehensive these first generation front office features truly were. In fact, I was quickly reminded that PCLaw really is one fantastic piece of software!
Moreover, although I refrain from selling from this blog, I would urge you, if you’ve not done so already, to take a look at PCLaw as a truly comprehensive practice management software tool. And while I tout my renewed respect for the “front office” (i.e. calendar, todo list, phone call manager, phone message manager, contact manager, document manager, email manager and the like), I also remember the robust time, fee, disbursement, trust, billing, general ledger and check writing functions with a myriad of options, reports, and choices built in. Coupled with the fact that PCLaw is backed by the strong financial backbone of LexisNexis, a well-known and well respected name in legal industry services and technology, I was quickly reminded why I was first interested in supporting this wonderful software to begin with. And while many old time users may find fault with bits and pieces of PCLaw, I challenge you to find a better “bang for your buck” out there today.
Thus, my experience in Australia was enlightening from the perspective of visiting a warm, beautiful and friendly country, but also a renewed excitement about PCLaw® and its truly fantastic and comprehensive features which will make your law practice more productive and more efficient….with just ONE software package covering front office, back office and document management.
If you’ve not seen PCLaw, call your nearest LexisNexis CIC (or my group at www.affinityconsulting.com). And if you’ve not been to Australia, definitely make plans to visit one day soon. I, for one, look forward to going back one day. G’day mate.