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LAWS/Pro Conversion from Elite Software - An Accounting Manager's Perspective

We've had used Elite for what seems like forever and were ready to upgrade. After evaluating many software packages we decided to go with LAWS/Pro.
I'm the accounting manager, for a medium sized law firm, and am responsible for overseeing most of the time, billing, and daily accounting functions in the firm. I interact as needed with the attorneys to make sure their time is entered in a timely manner and answer computer questions as they arise. The bulk of my time is spent on billing, payables, deposits, and client trust processing. I was the point man coordinating the Elite to LAWS/Pro conversion.
Since we had used Elite for so long, I was very familiar with its capabilities and was able to adequately perform my duties, but the software was old, the processing was cumbersome, the cost was very expensive. We were ready to update.
I didn't really know what to expect during the conversion process. I heard conversion horror stories --some involved literally months to convert, then parallel operations for several more months. I didn't want to go through that. The guys with LAWS/Pro told us that they could convert our data, and then implement the new system with minimal disruption and no parallel processing.
We decided on month end a cut-over date about 6 weeks after agreeing to install the program. During this period I forwarded data to be converted and we performed dry conversion runs allowing us to confirm the integrity of the converted data.
We used the Elite system until the date of the cut over. After all the time was entered through the cut-over date, I forwarded the current data to LAWS/Pro for a final conversion. This happened to be on a Friday. I also ran billing drafts from the Elite system for review by our attorneys. Over the weekend our data was loaded into LAWS/Pro and a trainer was onsite, the following Monday morning. Our data was intact.
The attorneys attended brief training sessions and started to enter their current month's time. We used the corrected billing drafts - from Elite, to generated invoices from LAWS/Pro. It worked out well because it allowed us to verify the accuracy of the converted time and costs, client trust allocations, and AR balances. We were also able to apply current receipts against the converted receivables, and process our payable checks. There was a little bit of a learning curve involved when using the new system, but there was no disruption in the first month's performance.
We've now have been using LAWS/Pro for over half a year and am very familiar with the program. The entire firm has realized improved efficiency pertaining to faster time entry, improved billing throughput, and integration between the accounting features. I'm especially impressed with the following:
Reporting:
    1. The ability for any partner from anywhere to access their own information. They don't necessarily have to rely on me.
    2. The ability for me to create a report and a pdf simultaneously for emailing to anybody, anywhere immediately.
    3. When a bill is created, LAWS/Pro automatically creates and stores a pdf copy of the invoice in the document depository. This copy can be sent immediately to a client which eliminates a few steps (ie copier, scanning).
Timekeeping:
    1. The flexibility that any timekeeper may enter, and has to continual access to, their own time records, ...with the ability to modify if needed. Troubleshooting is kept to a minimum.
    2. E-billing: The ease with which the systems handles Ledes98 bills. Also, Litigation Advisor's use of the scratch pad system is well thought out.
General Ledger Reporting:
    1. Easy to set up new accounts.
    2. Easy to report on any level of detail and revise, modify, etc.
    3. The bank reconciliation system is also easy to use and very efficient.
Research Tools:
    1. The conflict system is also a powerful research tool that I use a lot.
    2. The ability to research a timekeepers time records for certain verbiage (the use of filters) is a great time saver.
Required IT Support:
Use of LAWS/Pro also significantly decreases our internal IT costs associated with supporting our application. Since LAWS/Pro has been installed, the use of our IT consultant has dropped to zero. Let me repeat - zero!
I'm very pleased with our choice to use LAWS/Pro and would recommend it to any firm considering upgrading their computer system.
Signed

Accounting Manager
Los Angeles CA
 
 
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P.O. Box 455, Roscommon, MI 48653
Phone: (989) 275-4843

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