Legal technology: customize vs configure

Lauren Lee | August 29, 2019 | Articles

For legal professionals interested in purchasing new legal software, the age old question of customizing software vs opting for a configurable out-of-the-box solution must be answered. To help those uncertain of which option is the best fit, we’re diving into what customizing and configuring means in the world of legal tech.

Custom Legal Technology

If you’re looking to purchase software for your legal department, you likely have a set of criteria that the software must satisfy, along with expectations for how the software should function. The more complex your requirements, the more likely you’ll be interested a custom legal tech solution. The issues with customizing software include:

  • Enabling Bad Processes – Just because things have always been done in a certain way within your organization or department, doesn’t mean they’re correct. Customizing software to an inefficient or dated process won’t make the process better. Instead, it can exacerbate the issue.
  • Increased Downtime – As you add custom functionality to software, legacy versions are created that each require their own development team, patches, and backward compatibility testing. In addition to this being a time consuming process, you’re also making updates to the core application, which requires new code to be written. When upgrades are released, the application can break and result in downtime – a major issue for global teams who access the system around the clock.
  • Inability to Scale – What works within today’s current process, might not work in the future. Customizing legal software also takes a substantial amount of time to design and requires a custom implementation. By the time your software is ready to be used, legal department and business needs may have evolved, making your highly-customized application out of date and hindering your overall ability to scale.
    Building functionality that doesn’t currently exist can be costly and time consuming, which brings us to another option available to legal operations and in-house teams: configuration.

Configurable Legal Technology

Legal technology (legacy solutions in particular) is often feature-rich. Unfortunately, this additional functionality goes unused because it’s not needed or the department doesn’t have the time to learn the nuances of the platform and use it to its maximum potential. However, when a solution is configurable, it provides legal teams with the flexibility to leverage software in a way that aligns with their current business processes, needs, and requirements.

We mentioned that you don’t want to customize a solution to a bad process, and the same goes for configuring software. It’s critical to work with a reputable legal tech vendor that can help your legal team set options and map essential business requirements to your system, offering guidance and best practices along the way.

Some examples of configuration might include, but are not limited to:

  • Changing field labels to match internal nomenclature
  • Setting user roles with different permissions to enforce data security and control access
  • Modifying reports to reflect business requirements
  • Hiding specific fields to create an instance that highlights departmental needs
  • Requiring specific fields for the collection of essential business information
  • Setting up notifications to trigger when a specific action occurs, like the submission of a new request for legal work

Configurable solutions are also more easily administered, meaning legal teams can make small modifications without supervision or time and resources of the vendor. This eliminates back-and-forth between legal and their technology vendor, allowing the in-house team to move at the pace the business demands.

Intuitive & Highly-Configurable Legal Operations Software for Modern Legal Teams

SimpleLegal is a modern and intuitive legal operations platform that is highly-configurable, empowering legal teams with a system that not only meets today’s needs but can easily scale with growth.

At SimpleLegal, we understand that legal operations technology must align with business needs and have a dedicated implementation team that works closely with customers to gain a deep understanding of business requirements and objectives. This ensures that SimpleLegal provides immediate value from day one, and is configured to provide long-term value and return on investment as the department and organization continue to evolve.

To learn more about SimpleLegal’s features and functionality, download our product datasheet or schedule a personalized demo to learn how our platform can align with your departmental and organizational needs.