CRM is Catching On


Despite the pushback at some law firms, CRM software is catching on, with 45 percent of firms now using some form of the software (up from 33 percent in 2005), according to the ABA Legal Technology Survey Report.

The idea behind CRM is to make it possible for a lawyer or secretary in the firm to coordinate sales efforts to find out who else in the firm works with clients or has contact with those clients. T

The problem is that most lawyers are loathe to share their contacts. Therefore, CRM systems try to make that pro­cess easier by automatically pulling information from Microsoft Outlook contact folders.

CRM is designed to win business, in particular to help firms coordinate efforts. With worldwide law firms em­ploying hundreds of lawyers, it’s impossible to know what they are doing and who knows whom. The idea is that CRM will help different practice groups within a firm avoid doubling up efforts trying to win the same clients.

Firms also use CRM to manage marketing and events initiatives, especially to provide mailing and invitation lists. In the past, these functions probably were done with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or Access databases, which don’t change when contacts change.

CRM has failed to catch on in many firms because it takes time and effort to make the database useful, and law firms must added staff whose job it is to update the data and check it for accuracy.

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