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Advantages of user groups for the software your department installs

Among the vendors of matter management systems for law departments (See my post of July 14, 2006 with a list of several), perhaps all of them host periodic conferences for their users. So-called user groups let licensees share ideas about how best to use the software, share customized reports, and push the vendor to add and improve the system’s capabilities.

There may also be user groups for other software that is commonly found in law departments – document management, project management, and document assembly software come to mind – but the user community is much broader than legal. For some specialized legal packages, such as corporate secretary and intellectual property databases, formal or informal networks or groups may also spring up.

Law departments that have licensed a package should take full advantage of the network of users, and might even consider hosting such a community if none exists. The ability to learn and benefit from other users gives licensed software a big edge over customized solutions.

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