When we were at ABA Techshow last month and attended a session on legal practice management software, we were surprised to hear advocates of both Time Matters and Amicus Attorney state that once you chose a legal practice management solution, you were unlikely to switch, as there’s no good way to get your data out.

“How could this be?” we thought. “Surely there’s an XML standard or ISO adherence for legal software.”

It turns out there are standards, but the market leaders for practice management don’t adhere to them, putting the end-user in a position where they cannot migrate their data from one solution to the next.

Rocket Matter has decided to embrace the open standards, publicize them, and to try to advocate their wider adoption in the legal software industry.

One of the standards is LEDES, or Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard. It’s a standardized, defined way of moving client, matter, and billing data around, directly addressing the needs of legal practice management and time and billing software.

When LEDES is combined with the iCalendar format (for calendar information exchange) and vCard (the standard for contact data), the only thing standing in the way for data migration are non-compliant legal software companies.