When we say never marry your IT company, we mean never be put in a position where if you want to leave them, you would lose services that your law firm depends on. Just live together and keep everything separate, own your service accounts, have them in your firms name. For example, when we take over law firms, part of the process is converting all service accounts from the old IT company to the firm. It’s like your ex having your banking information, at any time they can shut your account down or delete it entirely, and you won’t even know when it happens. Last week we started working with a new law firm who purchased email spam filtering services from their old IT provider. Once they axed the old IT company, the spam filter refused to speak to us as the new IT company and even refused to speak to the client. According to this spam filtering company’s policies, the law firm is not the client, the old IT company is the client and had all control. At any time, they could have stopped the flow of mail with a few clicks. Eventually we cancelled the service because they were unwilling to cooperate in order to transfer the account in the name of the law firm. Stupid policy because the spam filtering company missed out on business.
Re-seller services like these are dangerous. They give the IT company total control over your firm’s mail flow and leave the firm with no recourse if they wish to terminate the relationship. Good email and spam filter service providers will understand that this happens every day and stay on the side of the paying client to save the income. They should simply convert the reseller account from the old IT company’s to a direct account on behalf of the firm. Some service providers will simply refuse to work with the client making them quickly go out and find other services. We see this all the time unfortunately, and it’s because the law firms don’t ask the right questions during the service sales pitch. Make sure IT services are signed up in your name and will continue to operate despite your relationship with the current IT services provider. This is most important.
How do we handle this? Funny you should ask. Rekall does not resell services like email & spam filtering. We have “Advisor” accounts with our hosted services. This means that we get a percentage of the clients monthly fee simply for the referral. The account is owned by the client and managed by Rekall. At any time, if they wish to part away from us, they can take their account without issue or problems, just a phone call to the host. We don’t believe in locking law firms into anything. If they want to leave, they should be able to leave without any strings. Most IT companies do not show this consideration and make it hard to leave. Don’t be dependent on a bad IT company just because they resell your services. No matter what, there is always a way out.