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Ten myths, misconceptions and mistakes by general counsel about software

An earlier foray into erroneous thinking about one kind of software left a lot of flawed thinking to cover (See my post of Sept. 5, 2005: myths of matter management systems.). Here I have generalized common technology-related mis-perceptions.

  1. The hard part is selection. Wrong: the tough sledding comes when getting the software onto users’ desktops and used effectively.
  2. You can bank on the vendor’s ROI calculations. Wishful thinking: in fact, most of those calculations rest on crucial assumptions and very forgiving methodology. A good discipline, but hard to hold out as airtight.
  3. Conversion and integration of historical data is a snap. Sure, since nothing is impossible to the person who doesn’t have to do it (See my post of July 20, 2011: legacy contracts and conversion.).
  4. IT is on your side. Possibly, but their requirements, mandated involvement, bureaucratic requirements, and charge backs put the lie to this ingenuous hope (See my post of April 26, 2006: tension between IT function and legal function on hosted systems.).
  5. Software does not require training. Oh yes it does, and lots of it for a long time!
  6. The vendor will customize the software to help you. Vendors will adjust settings for you and do what they can within the modifications available in the existing package, but to write new code?
  7. People easily change to fit software. Hardly, since ruts resist software.
  8. Software can overlay and integrate with existing ways of work. That is the promise, but the reality falls far short.
  9. Most people will give a new system a fair chance. Actually, most people don’t like to learn and feel incompetent and will bark.
  10. Software will transform users. Just as soon as the law department goes paperless.
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