The Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) is up and running. But why was it set up and what are its objectives?
There are some in the legal profession who are not benefiting from IT as quickly as other professionals. Practices always aim to improve the service offered to clients and to develop management systems to enhance profitability, cash-flow and planning. IT can help achieve these objectives, but only if there is trust between buyer and supplier.
But lawyers' confidence in IT generally and suppliers in particular has been dented by criticism of suppliers in the press and elsewhere. In most cases criticism has been unsubstantiated, but good suppliers are undermined by the lack of professionalism of a few suppliers.
LSSA aims to re-establish confidence in IT. It represents only dedicated software suppliers which have shown a commitment to the legal market, particularly in training, support and implementation.
Members agree to comply with a strict code of practice to ensure that suppliers behave in an ethical manner and are covered by adequate professional indemnity insurance. There is a disciplinary system for those who breach the code and a mediation service to help resolve disputes quickly.
Unlike the former Association of Legal Technology Suppliers (ALTS), the membership criteria of LSSA are demanding and because each member has to re-apply annually we ensure that LSSA only represents suppliers from whom law firms can buy with confidence.
Customers have been positive and relations with the Law Society have started well. Although discussions are at a provisional stage both sides agree that objectives can best be achieved by working together. Our long-term aims are to ensure that solicitors turn to LSSA members when investing in IT and that LSSA members constantly improve their services to the profession.