PerfectLaw All-in-One® Legal Software
Call us 800.749.6200
Request a Demo Request Information

PerfectLaw Podcasts

To learn more about PerfectLaw Software complete the form below:

Episode #4 - Two Firms, Same Decision

Gerald DeMaria II, Firm Administrator for Duffy & Sweeney talks about making the decision to implement PerfectLaw® at two different law firms. Everyone dreads the idea of change and having the complication of a conversion. In this episode, you'll hear why Jerry DeMaria decided PerfectLaw was still his choice the second time around.

Full Transcript

00:00:00 Anthony Beasley

Good morning everybody. This is Anthony Beasley with perfect law software and we're talking today with Geraldine Maria. Jerry has been working with perfect on some capacity now for about 14 years. 1415 years Jerry. He actually implemented perfect law at Higgins Kavanaugh and Cooney.

00:00:20 Anthony Beasley

Ann just want Jerry to kind of talk about that whole process and and what led to that decision. So Jerry just kind of fill us in. Let us know you know your thoughts.

00:00:29 Gerald DeMaria

Sure, so, as Anthony mentioned, about 14 years ago when I was at Higgins cabin on Coney, we were the software we were using at the time for time and billing and and some front office.

00:00:46 Gerald DeMaria

Uses had been bought out by a larger company and as is often the case, gets lost in the shuffle and wasn't being updated and support was difficult because it was with a different company. They didn't have the historical background so we thought it was time.

00:01:06 Gerald DeMaria

At that point to that, we need to make a move and we started looking at different products and we looked at several products and perf log was one of them.

00:01:19 Gerald DeMaria


00:01:21 Gerald DeMaria

We were looking for something to integrate throughout the firm, so not just do back office type of work like accounting and GL and accounts payable and obviously obvious timing billing, but also to really have a more robust.

00:01:41 Gerald DeMaria

Find office solution. So we are the product that we were using at the time. Did integrate for calendaring purposes, but that's kind of where it stopped. OK, you know calendaring, conflict searching, that type of stuff, but it didn't have document management, it didn't have.

00:02:03 Gerald DeMaria

Um contact management that was integrated with Microsoft products and so we were. We kind of stepped back and said, You know, we really, you know, this is where we're going.

00:02:17 Gerald DeMaria

We are, you know, committed to Microsoft and and their suite of products. We really need something that integrates well and so that was, you know, one of our determining factors as we went through and looked at different product's to part of our decision-making process. Another big component is we really wanted to have document management.

00:02:40 Gerald DeMaria

And we were looking at products.

00:02:46 Gerald DeMaria

Or in hoping to find a product where we didn't have to get a kind of like a Bolt on product like your standard products that are out there or were out there at the time.

00:02:57 Gerald DeMaria

Management and they have these two desperate systems working, which is, you know it was back then was was pretty common. So when we were looking around and we demo many products.

00:03:13 Gerald DeMaria

And we, you know, came across perf log. Really like what we saw.

00:03:19 Gerald DeMaria

From both the back end and the front end and just kept exploring it further and further and it was obvious to us at the time that this was kind of the solution that we needed.

00:03:32 Gerald DeMaria

To get some efficiency.

00:03:35 Gerald DeMaria

For both our back on backroom staff and then our attorneys and timekeepers and and administrative staff so it was definitely something we put a lot of time into upfront into researching and demo ING products and getting deeper dives into as we kind of.

00:03:56 Gerald DeMaria

We don't down. I think we started with five different vendors and we whittled that down. If I recall, down to two perfect lobbying one and we just started getting deeper and deeper into the products. And as we did, we, you know, kind of started peeling back the onion and.

00:04:16 Gerald DeMaria

Really felt that you know perfect law was was best for our particular scenario on many of those on all those points that I.

00:04:25 Gerald DeMaria

That I mentioned.

00:04:27 Gerald DeMaria

So you know for us again, it was kind of a no brainer and you know it took some time to get adjusted as as any implementation does and software and when you're talking about not having document management as an example at all. So going from Windows folders to now all of a sudden having.

00:04:48 Gerald DeMaria

Document management system that takes time to implement and get people used to and and buy in and all that kind of stuff. But when really thought it was important and I I know while I was there, it would you know.

00:05:05 Gerald DeMaria

While there was some resistance up front again because it was new.

00:05:09 Gerald DeMaria

Uh, you know within you know months or certainly within several months will say six months or so. If you were to take that away from people, they would, you know they they bite your hand off, you know, because they don't want to give it up at that point. 'cause they realized you know how much more efficient they can be in what?

00:05:30 Gerald DeMaria

Or they were getting out of the software so you know as time goes on, people get used to that and really can delve into all the different things that that perf log does offer.

00:05:41 Anthony Beasley

OK, now Fast forward to current day. You've made some moves and now you're working at a new firm.

00:05:51 Anthony Beasley

So just kind of tell.

00:05:52 Anthony Beasley

Us, you know, give us your thoughts. I know, you know we. We talked about some things and obviously there's new challenges. So just kind of give us some of your thoughts on on the new front, Duffy and Sweeney that you're at.

00:06:03 Gerald DeMaria


00:06:04 Gerald DeMaria

So about coming on three years ago, I decided to make a career change and that well, not so much a career change or just a fun change and came to a new firm.

00:06:20 Gerald DeMaria

Duffy and Sweeney as again, same position. Office administrator and finance director here and they were kind of in the midst. They had just been on the cusp of starting to do a technology survey. If you will. Or looking at all their all their different.

00:06:40 Gerald DeMaria

Technologies that they they had, networking equipment, servers, desktops, so different software that they were using. They really thought that they needed to do a.

00:06:53 Gerald DeMaria

Aggressive update, and so I kind of.

00:06:58 Gerald DeMaria

Was fortunate enough to comment at the beginning of that process that they literally had just started before I arrived and so.

00:07:09 Gerald DeMaria

I was I I came in and and was part of.

00:07:14 Gerald DeMaria

You know, committee that was looking at different technologies. Again hardware and software and you know we we set out to upgrade all the hardware. 1st. We thought that that was what needed to happen first. Certainly before implementing anything else. And so once we got that done and.

00:07:34 Gerald DeMaria

And squared away with servers and desktops and and all that kind of stuff. New firewalls and Whatnot. And then we turned our attention to the software we they were using a product really for just time and billing and trust.

00:07:51 Gerald DeMaria

And accounts payable so really all back office stuff.

00:07:56 Gerald DeMaria

Just an there was no. There was nothing fun office related at all. There was no contact management, no calendaring, no document management, literally nothing.

00:08:06 Gerald DeMaria

To the point of.

00:08:08 Gerald DeMaria

Even conflict searches of work done in the software they were using, they literally would send around an email and ask everybody if there was a conflict.

00:08:18 Gerald DeMaria

Uh, and that's how, and that's how a conflict search was was done. So it was very foreign to me to do things that way, but again, it it's something that worked for them, and that's what they have. But they didn't have that case. True case management system in place on the front end. And also it was a lot of.

00:08:39 Gerald DeMaria

Windows folders you had different attorneys using their own software that they like for different things. And really the the billing software in terms of if you want to call it a front front office function. The only thing it was used for on the front office was for time metrics.

00:08:59 Gerald DeMaria

And that was it. So people could get in time and so really it was just it was just back office billing.

00:09:08 Gerald DeMaria

Accounts payable, it wasn't even being fully utilized in the general Ledger so that some of that was being done manually by my predecessor so.

00:09:20 Gerald DeMaria

As one can imagine, having come from an environment of perfect law at the time I had been a 12 year perfect law user and as I said, that was kind of a foreign concept not to have those things. So we really started looking around him again. We did. We went through the same process.

00:09:41 Gerald DeMaria

Even though I had quite a bit of experience with perfect law, we did our due diligence as anyone should an looked at different products and at this point you know the market is different. So there are cloud products. They're on premise products and we looked at the full breadth of those across.

00:10:03 Gerald DeMaria

Both kinds of platforms if you will, and you know did the same thing came up with, you know, kind of a pool of vendors. Maybe we had. I think maybe four or five different vendors we were looking at perfectly. Of course being one of them.

00:10:19 Gerald DeMaria


00:10:21 Gerald DeMaria

Again, started as we started peeling back, the onion again started saying OK, we want to do this. We want to do that with back office but we really have to have a front office solution now. I mean it's time they were using a cloud based document management system, but again, totally separate.

00:10:41 Gerald DeMaria

Zero integration with their billing platform that they were using. So really two different systems and anyone who's out there who have used two different systems, you know that it gets cumbersome and time consuming.

00:10:59 Gerald DeMaria

To be maintaining two different things then you you know you get into what's causing the problem on one end versus another, and you know that's that can just be from an IT standpoint, just a lot of extra hassle that that you don't need. So again, we started whittling it down and.

00:11:20 Gerald DeMaria

It certainly was always apparent to me that perfect law was going to be the right solution here, but others.

00:11:30 Gerald DeMaria

I didn't want to.

00:11:31 Gerald DeMaria

J the view.

00:11:32 Gerald DeMaria

Just because I had been a long time perfect law users, so I wanted others to come to that decision on their own. By demo ING the product's with me. All the different products and seeing the differences for themselves. Because, you know, of course I'm going to ride in and go. This is what we need. I know this is what we need.

00:11:51 Gerald DeMaria

I've done all the research. I've looked at all these products.

00:11:56 Gerald DeMaria

And I I already know that this is the solution based on what I'm seeing and what I'm being told and what people are looking for. But in fairness, when you're making an investment, you want buying from people you want people to see it. You want people to invest their time into it.

00:12:16 Gerald DeMaria

As well and really see, hey, these are these are differences in the product. So we did shoot so ultimately obviously and everyone knows by now at the podcast that we chose perfect. Like here we did choose an on premise solution. But what we liked about.

00:12:37 Gerald DeMaria

Perfect log in because we were not ready just internally yet to move fully to the cloud. That's just our own internal personal.

00:12:49 Gerald DeMaria

Choice at this point, however.

00:12:53 Gerald DeMaria

We liked the fact that perfect law gives you the option so you can choose an on premise solution with perfect law if that's what you're comfortable with. Or now you can choose a cloud solution with perfect loss. So we felt if we were going to stay on Prem at some point will be cloud because.

00:13:13 Gerald DeMaria

I think most people will, as as the market continues to develop and that the cloud space continues to develop.

00:13:20 Gerald DeMaria

So we wanted something that.

00:13:23 Gerald DeMaria

Eventually would be easy to migrate to, you know, and so you know.

00:13:29 Gerald DeMaria

It made sense to us that if perfect law already has both environments in both platforms, that the migration down the road and Anthony I discussed this at length when we were considering what vendor to go with, that migration becomes fairly straightforward in the perfect law environment, we can go from the on Prem.

00:13:50 Gerald DeMaria

To the cloud fairly quickly and Luckily during the pandemic we didn't have to. All of a sudden say Hey Anthony, you gotta spin up a cloud.

00:14:03 Gerald DeMaria

System right away, but we also know if something else happens down the road that that becomes needed that that can be done very quickly and so we can get into that environment.

00:14:17 Gerald DeMaria

Quickly if needed, but also we can take our time migrating there once we feel comfortable with the cloud, so you know it's it was just great to know and all those points that we were looking to do with the software in terms of the case management, the final office piece.

00:14:36 Gerald DeMaria

Or have been met we we got rid of our external cloud based document management system because that's built into perfect law and so it's really becoming the hub of everything. I mean, even more recently, we've been looking at.

00:14:51 Gerald DeMaria

Different ways to manage Contacts in outlook and be better at that in terms of updating and what?

00:15:01 Gerald DeMaria

What I have told people to do is hey manage your Contacts in perfect law. That's where you manage and that becomes the author or authoritative source. And because it's integrated so well into the Microsoft Suite in outlook, you can push those Contacts down to outlook and have them sync what? What more do you need than that so?

00:15:21 Gerald DeMaria

It was really. It's been a good marriage, you know, we've been with perfect law. Now our our conversion happened in December of 2018. So we're coming up on two years now and I think people have seen again. I've seen the benefit once they start using the product. You know that day-to-day benefit. I mean, you can see the.

00:15:42 Gerald DeMaria

The General overview and the benefits in it, and you know when you're looking at all these different systems. But then once you start using the product now you see the day-to-day benefits of it, and I think those are even more than what you expected them to be in the demo.

00:16:01 Gerald DeMaria


00:16:02 Anthony Beasley

Now it you know I've had a talk to quite a few people over time, and you know, we know where the marketplace is. We understand how competitors think and what's going on an.

00:16:15 Anthony Beasley

As an administrator, you know into a new place.

00:16:19 Anthony Beasley

How how tough is it to say, you know, I gotta do this again? I mean, I, I've worked with a couple of people who've gone through that. That whole transition I, you know, I'm at a new place and I know perfect law or they bring to the table. There's always a sales job on on one side and this is what you know and is what the expectations are.

00:16:39 Anthony Beasley

But how tough is it to say I'm going to recommend this product again?

00:16:44 Gerald DeMaria

Well, I you know, I mean for me in terms of recommending the product itself.

00:16:49 Gerald DeMaria

It was fairly.

00:16:50 Gerald DeMaria

Easy, because I I spent so much time with it and I really for me the system inside and out so it wasn't hard for me to recommend what I will say is no one likes to.

00:17:05 Gerald DeMaria

Going through software conversions so you know.

00:17:08 Gerald DeMaria

We'll just say that.

00:17:09 Gerald DeMaria

Up, but it's never fun. It's an arduous process. It takes time. However, I have now that I've done two of them and have done them both with perfect law and have done them with other companies in the past. What I can say is.

00:17:27 Gerald DeMaria

Perfect long makes that arduous process less arduous, it is, it was.

00:17:36 Gerald DeMaria

You know it, it's still gonna take you time. You still have to audit your records, but you know I wasn't afraid of the conversion. I wasn't worried about the conversion because I I saw how it was handled the first time and processes just get better overtime with it so.

00:17:56 Gerald DeMaria

You know 12. You know. Fast forward. 12 years later, you know I I didn't have the fear of the conversion itself. Sure that it's still work to do, but there wasn't kind of an unknown like uncharted territory like I. I don't know how this is gonna go. Is my data gonna be there? Is it gonna be correct is It?

00:18:17 Gerald DeMaria

You know there's always those fears, but.

00:18:20 Gerald DeMaria

You just have to.

00:18:21 Gerald DeMaria

You just have to resign yourself to you know if you want to do this upgrade.

00:18:27 Gerald DeMaria

There are some. There are some pieces that you you're gonna need to be doing yourself for auditing purposes, but in terms of the recommendation to go to perfect like now that that that that part was easy.

00:18:41 Anthony Beasley

OK, Alright, Well you know we've.

00:18:44 Anthony Beasley

Had a lot of fun talking to you dear, and what we'd like to do is just give you a final parting shot just so that you can.

00:18:51 Anthony Beasley

Push in quite a few things. I will mention to folks. So one of the things that is wrong with us is our is our user group and I know that I have worked with you and hopefully in the in your area. The Rhode Island Boston area of that area where we can begin to get more and more perfect law firms involved with you. So just kind of take some parting shots and you know we can wrap things up.