ALA National Conference 2019: Takeaways

Clear Guidance Partners recently attended the Association Legal Administrators’ National Conference in Grapevine, Texas. Four days of speaking with law firm executives and administrators about the current concerns and needs in firms gave us a few key insights on the state of the industry, and the issues on the minds of firm administrators.

We had a few big takeaways:

  • The incumbent document management vendors are not getting it done. The Yeti cooler giveaway may have had something to do with it, but after speaking with other vendors including one of the most recognized DMS systems in the booth next to us, we possibly had the most interest of any software at the event. Over 100 firms signed up for a one-on-one demo of M-Files with us. The complaints included their system being complex to use, needing more workflows and integrations, or that a DMS is just too expensive.

  • Everyone is looking to better integrate their software better. Practice management, cost recovery, the list goes on. The systems in most firms are diverse and disconnected, which makes tracking information difficult and creates extra work for staff.

  • Recently a CTO at a large legal tech consulting firm said “Security will be easier than ever [in 2019].” That is the opposite of what we are seeing, hearing, and experiencing. Client requirements and audits are getting more complex every day. New attacks and vulnerabilities are requiring IT & staff to be ever more diligent. Not to mention the impact on budgets.

  • Upgrades are scary. Gathering options, reviewing requirements, negotiating contracts, managing implementations, scheduling proper training, the list goes on (pssst - we can help!). A large amount of the visitors to our booth were to relieve their most recent IT project horror story. Many firms are not making needed changes because they do not have the confidence in their IT team and vendors to ensure a smooth project.