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Five Top Tips to Improve Software Quality in Law Firms

David Moore talks us through his top tips for improving software quality in the legal sector.

In today's digital age, software is essential for law firms to operate effectively. From case management systems to document automation tools, software can help law firms to improve efficiency, productivity, and client service.

Software Quality is Critical for Law Firms

This means that software quality is critical for law firms. In a simple sense, by software quality, I mean that software should work as intended first time around. To do this, quality needs to be built into a solution, not looked for at the end of the development process by a separate testing function (as has been traditionally done for years). After all, if you look for quality at the end, but didn’t purposely build it in to the solution, it probably isn’t going to be there (unless you are incredibly lucky). As John Ruskin said...

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent efforts.

Ignoring quality will result in poorly designed or implemented software systems that can lead to errors, delays, costs and even legal liability – and that’s if these low-quality solutions even see the light of day, often IT projects are canned at a cost of millions due to solutions not being of the correct quality. That's why it's important for everyone in a law firm to be aware of the importance of software quality, in fact more than that, everyone needs to be responsible for building quality into solutions from the start!

So, Whose Responsibility is Quality?

Traditionally, software quality has been the responsibility of technical teams. However, in today's complex and interconnected world, software quality is everyone's responsibility, as Stephen talks about in his recent article.

The technical teams are responsible for designing, developing, and testing software to meet the needs of the law firm. However, the internal legal team, the business team (even board members) and the end users (typically fee earning, client facing lawyers) all have a role to play in ensuring software quality.

The internal legal team is responsible for ensuring that software complies with all applicable laws and regulations. This includes laws governing data privacy, intellectual property, and electronic signatures. The internal legal team should also be involved in discussions from the get-go and in phases of testing to help ensure that solutions created meets the firm's legal requirements and are of the required quality.

The business team is responsible for ensuring that software meets the needs of the law firm's business. This includes understanding the firm's workflows, processes, and goals. The business team should be completely bought into the plans and be pushing not only for a solution to the business challenge they are experiencing, but for a high-quality solution. This includes setting at the most senior levels within the business the ethos and expectations around quality. Appointing a senior stakeholder that is actively involved and has regular input throughout the Software Delivery Lifecycle (SDLC) will help ensure the solution meets the firm's business requirements and is of the correct level of quality.

The end user team in this setting are typically the lawyers, paralegals, business support staff other professionals who use the software on a daily basis. They are the ones who will ultimately be affected by the quality of the software. That's why it's important for end users to involved from the earliest opportunity providing requirements validation, insight, design expectations, etc. More than this, they should be actively involved in the development process to create shared ownership of the solution and a shared responsibility for achieving quality.

Five Top Tips to Improve Software Quality

In a practical sense there are five top tips law firms can take to improve software quality. These include:

  • Establishing clear software quality standards. The law firm should establish clear software quality standards that define what constitutes "good" software. These standards should be based on the needs of the law firm's business and its legal requirements.

  • Train all teams within the firm, helping them to understand the importance of shared responsibility regarding quality and how to identify and report problems – creating a one team mentality.

  • Involving the right people in the software development process. The software development process should involve all stakeholders who will be affected by the software, including the legal team, the business team, and the end users.

  • Monitoring software performance. Once software is deployed, it's important to monitor its performance to ensure that it continues to meet the firm's quality standards.

  • Quality Engineering skillset leveraged throughout. The team should be supported by experienced quality and test professionals who can challenge, advise, train, mentor and provide and technical skills (for functional, non-functional, and automated testing) to ensure solutions meets the firm's quality standards.

There are other more technical considerations to be made too, regarding methodology, process, tech stack etc. However, getting the whole organisation bought into the importance of quality is a crucial first step otherwise time and money spent on introducing new tools and new ways of working will likely not add the value legal firms are hoping for.

As a leading Quality Engineering Consultancy Roq are expert at changing the perception and ownership of quality across sectors, including legal, but I’d be interested to know your views on the topic so please do reach out to either, or on my LinkedIn, alternatively you can contact the wider team –

Roq have recently published a wide range of materials around Quality Responsibilities – a list of which can be found below.

Why Quality is Everybody’s Business

Our Ecosystem, Our Responsibility

How Do You Measure Quality?

Quality Across The Business


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