I have worked for countless law firms, attorneys, and paralegals. I have tried to save firms money on things like moving email to SAAS, or virtualizing server infrastructure. Applications on the other hand have been something that I have stayed away from suggesting change. Most firms have used two things since they started: Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. Google Docs has recently put a dent into Word, however, with DMS setups at most law firms it is still tough to avoid MS Word. MS Office is a tough pill to swallow, but usually you can justify the cost as it’s used constantly. The day is coming soon for MS Office as even they have started to offer online apps. Soon enough DMS companies like Worldox, iManage, Hummingbird will integrate with these setups.
Adobe Acrobat. I can’t stand Acrobat in law firms for a few reasons. One it’s always been there so firms just assume people are using it. A little research will tell you that most folks are just printing Word to PDF (which Word 2010 does now incidentally) which can be done free with many online utilities and applications. Secondly, nobody knows what it does other than a few paralegals or skilled administrative assistants. And at $200 or $400 depending on the version you are talking about a major investment.
I’ve been looking for a program that will handle all the functions of Adobe Acrobat Pro for years and I believe I have found one. NitroPDF Professional. http://www.nitropdf.com/professional/overview.htm Their new version 7, not stated on this page,will integrate with DMS. GENIUS! I know there are tons of competitors out there that can handle the functions of Acrobat Pro. There are also a couple other programs like PDFDocs but the interface to interact with DMS is not pretty.
Plus Nitro handles everything that Acrobat Pro does if not better. Bates labeling, OCR, conversion to all Office formats, plus text, and RTF. So don’t just pay that license fee, or upgrade fee because Acrobat has always been there. Look into NitroPDF. They even offer their own reader that can convert to PDF, but I know Adobe Reader has always been there too.