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When LexisNexis officially announced it would discontinue its Firm Manager software, we wrote it up here on Legaltech News. In doing research for the story, I ran a Google search for Firm Manager, but I didn’t find much information about the now-defunct practice management software. Instead, I found a set of paid ads for different practice management platforms.

“Firm Manager Shutting Down? Here Are Your Next Options.”

“What’s Next From Firm Manager? Make The Right Choice.”  

“Firm Manager Discontinued – Choosing a New Legal Software.”

Firm Manager’s discontinuation has set practice management software companies into a frenzy as they look to claim the customers who’ve been left in the lurch. Although LexisNexis has promised Firm Manager’s subscribers a one-year subscription to its other practice management tools, Time Matters and PCLaw, neither platform is cloud-based.

Jack Newton, founder and CEO of practice management software Clio, has been in the practice management business for close to nine years. He’s seen the number of practice management-focused startups surge in that time, now capping out at around 30 different platforms.

“The practice management space, the cloud-based practice management space in particular, has become extremely crowded. There are a lot of people competing for customers, especially at the lower end of the market with solos and small firms,” he said.

But with any boom, you can generally expect a bust. Startups are not unilaterally successful, and dealing with cloud-hosted data makes firms particularly vulnerable to disruptions in service. Firm Manager’s discontinuation may signal that even a connection to a legacy vendor such as LexisNexis doesn’t ensure that firms won’t be forced to deal with cloud-based product sunsetting. 

“Firm Manager was one of the first end-of-life or closures we’ve seen. I don’t think it’ll be the last,” Newton said.

Case.one is another one of the companies vying for the affections of Firm Manager’s customers. Cathy Kenton, spokeswoman for Case.one, noted that there’s no shortage of practice management platforms, and standing out from the crowd can be tricky.

“Everyone in this business wants to grow their user base. There’s some smart marketing going on in terms of companies using pay-per-click advertising to jump on the Firm Manager demise,” Kenton said.

Case.one’s marketing team opted to forgo search term targeting in favor of a plan to offer Firm Manager customers free subscriptions and data onboarding to the Case.one platform for the remainder of their Firm Manager contracts.

Bahar Ansari, Case.one’s CEO and co-founder, explained that the offer is a way for the company to tap into a new customer base. “This is a way for us to reach more people and show our platform ideas on what the market will be,” she said.

Other companies are looking to set themselves apart by offering to help firms manage their data migration from Firm Manager’s cloud database into a new platform. Newton said that most practice management platforms have similar data architecture, one built around matters, tasks and calendars generally. However, there’s often is a risk of “impedance mismatch,” essentially a miscommunication between the database and the programming language a given software is written in, that can make data migration a little more complicated.

“The data migration piece is something that you develop a competency [for] over time,” Newton said. “We’ve really built a lot of muscle around being able to do that well as an organization.”

Software discontinuations are by no means a new phenomenon. But Mark Denner, senior director of the Information Lifecycle Management Practice at HBR Consulting, previously told Legaltech News that firms regularly continue using software that’s been phased out by a vendor, a practice made essentially impossible when a cloud-based practice management tool is shuttered.

Kenton noted that while some firms may hope to avoid changes in their software service by sticking to vendors they know, forgoing startups altogether may not save them much hassle. 

“It could happen to anyone. The reality is that you do your due diligence and you make sure the company is credible, but just because a company is a startup doesn’t mean it’s not well-funded and well thought out,” she said.

Newton suggested that in a cloud-first world, firms would be wise to reconsider the way they think about their vendors. “With cloud software, I think you need to look at entering a relationship with a vendor as more a marriage, a long-term relationship. For smaller companies, you need to realize there’s always a risk that that company goes out of business, and for large companies that are financially secure like LexisNexis, if a product isn’t succeeding, you may see the product end-of-life as well,” he said. 

When LexisNexis officially announced it would discontinue its Firm Manager software, we wrote it up here on Legaltech News. In doing research for the story, I ran a Google search for Firm Manager, but I didn’t find much information about the now-defunct practice management software. Instead, I found a set of paid ads for different practice management platforms.

“Firm Manager Shutting Down? Here Are Your Next Options.”

“What’s Next From Firm Manager? Make The Right Choice.”  

“Firm Manager Discontinued – Choosing a New Legal Software.”

Firm Manager’s discontinuation has set practice management software companies into a frenzy as they look to claim the customers who’ve been left in the lurch. Although LexisNexis has promised Firm Manager’s subscribers a one-year subscription to its other practice management tools, Time Matters and PCLaw, neither platform is cloud-based.

Jack Newton, founder and CEO of practice management software Clio, has been in the practice management business for close to nine years. He’s seen the number of practice management-focused startups surge in that time, now capping out at around 30 different platforms.

“The practice management space, the cloud-based practice management space in particular, has become extremely crowded. There are a lot of people competing for customers, especially at the lower end of the market with solos and small firms,” he said.

But with any boom, you can generally expect a bust. Startups are not unilaterally successful, and dealing with cloud-hosted data makes firms particularly vulnerable to disruptions in service. Firm Manager’s discontinuation may signal that even a connection to a legacy vendor such as LexisNexis doesn’t ensure that firms won’t be forced to deal with cloud-based product sunsetting. 

“Firm Manager was one of the first end-of-life or closures we’ve seen. I don’t think it’ll be the last,” Newton said.

Case.one is another one of the companies vying for the affections of Firm Manager’s customers. Cathy Kenton, spokeswoman for Case.one, noted that there’s no shortage of practice management platforms, and standing out from the crowd can be tricky.

“Everyone in this business wants to grow their user base. There’s some smart marketing going on in terms of companies using pay-per-click advertising to jump on the Firm Manager demise,” Kenton said.

Case.one’s marketing team opted to forgo search term targeting in favor of a plan to offer Firm Manager customers free subscriptions and data onboarding to the Case.one platform for the remainder of their Firm Manager contracts.

Bahar Ansari, Case.one’s CEO and co-founder, explained that the offer is a way for the company to tap into a new customer base. “This is a way for us to reach more people and show our platform ideas on what the market will be,” she said.

Other companies are looking to set themselves apart by offering to help firms manage their data migration from Firm Manager’s cloud database into a new platform. Newton said that most practice management platforms have similar data architecture, one built around matters, tasks and calendars generally. However, there’s often is a risk of “impedance mismatch,” essentially a miscommunication between the database and the programming language a given software is written in, that can make data migration a little more complicated.

“The data migration piece is something that you develop a competency [for] over time,” Newton said. “We’ve really built a lot of muscle around being able to do that well as an organization.”

Software discontinuations are by no means a new phenomenon. But Mark Denner, senior director of the Information Lifecycle Management Practice at HBR Consulting, previously told Legaltech News that firms regularly continue using software that’s been phased out by a vendor, a practice made essentially impossible when a cloud-based practice management tool is shuttered.

Kenton noted that while some firms may hope to avoid changes in their software service by sticking to vendors they know, forgoing startups altogether may not save them much hassle. 

“It could happen to anyone. The reality is that you do your due diligence and you make sure the company is credible, but just because a company is a startup doesn’t mean it’s not well-funded and well thought out,” she said.

Newton suggested that in a cloud-first world, firms would be wise to reconsider the way they think about their vendors. “With cloud software, I think you need to look at entering a relationship with a vendor as more a marriage, a long-term relationship. For smaller companies, you need to realize there’s always a risk that that company goes out of business, and for large companies that are financially secure like LexisNexis , if a product isn’t succeeding, you may see the product end-of-life as well,” he said.