Affinity Consulting Blog

When news broke in August that Abacus Data Systems bought Amicus Attorney, we anticipated change would be coming. Business acquisitions and mergers are common place, this isn’t anything new. But for many of OUR clients, this news has caused panic and concern, frustration, and has even forced firms to make major decisions in short and even uncomfortable time frames.

Here is a summary of the changes as of now.

Amicus Small Firm Edition

  • As of August 5, 2016, you can no longer purchase Amicus Small Firm Edition or Credenza.
  • As of August 5, 2016, existing Small Firm Edition users can no longer add a new license to their existing system
  • Current firms using Amicus Small Firm Edition will be supported through the end of their maintenance agreements.
    - Whether you are on a 1 year plan or a 3 year plan, you will have access to technical support through the duration of your original agreement with the former Gavel & Gown.
  • Firms using Amicus Small Firm Edition without any maintenance or technical support agreements in place with the former Gavel & Gown Software cannot get support from the vendor.
  • Firms can get support from Affinity.
    - Affinity is thrilled to help, of course – but this option is risky and should be a short term solution for firms. The product has reached its end of life. No more sales, no more development, it has effectively died. It is time to make a decision about where to go from Small Firm Edition.

Amicus Premium Edition / Amicus Premium Edition plus Billing

Prior to the acquisition of Amicus by Abacus, support for Amicus Premium Edition 2013 ended (June 30, 2016). It should come as no surprise, then, that Abacus will not support Amicus 2013. They are running an aggressive campaign to get people to upgrade to the most current version, Amicus Premium 2016. By aggressive, we mean free if you upgrade in the next 90 days. Affinity can’t exactly compete with free, but we are offering to upgrade our clients for a much reduced fee. Contact us to see if your firm is a fit for the upgrade.

Amicus Premium Billing is no longer being sold to new firms. Existing Amicus Premium firms can add it to Amicus, existing Billing firms can add licenses and get support. Otherwise, no new sales.

We knew change was coming, and here is another big one. Amicus Premium Edition will no longer be sold under a “perpetual licensing model.” In the past, you paid $849 (or something close to that) and you OWNED the license. You could purchase maintenance, or not, but at the end of the day – you owned a license to the software that lived on your server. With the acquisition came a switch to subscription pricing. $77 per user per month, to be exact. So, even if you already BOUGHT the software in a prior year, you can consider that a sunk cost, as you will be switched over to the $77 per month per user model.

When will it switch? A few things can trigger it…first, when your maintenance or tech support agreement comes up for renewal, you will be converted to subscription pricing. IF you need to add a new license (even if that is PRIOR to your renewal), you will trigger subscription pricing for all of your licenses. And, if you take them up on their FREE offer to upgrade you from a prior version to Amicus 2016, you will convert to subscription. Now, we have been told that any balance of your maintenance or technical support agreement will be prorated and credited towards your subscription – but we don’t have the official word on how that will calculated. In any event, if you are talking directly with Abacus (we still want to be your Trusted Advisor and advocate – so please let us help with these conversations), be sure to know when you paid your maintenance, when it expires, and pay attention that you are getting the credit you deserve.

The Reaction

It’s not hard to image how the change, the speed of the change, and the financial consequences have affected our clients and others using Amicus. The subscription pricing will increase some firm’s costs by 2-300 percent. We don’t love how things have gone down, but we want to try to bring some calm to the situation.

$77/ month / user is more than you have ever paid, but you are getting a seriously powerful program for that amount. Converting to another PMP program out of anger, frustration, or spite is an expensive endeavor, and will likely cost more than the Amicus subscription. Subscription pricing is new to a lot of people, but it isn’t a new concept. It is likely the wave of the future for software, and frankly – does provide firms with the ability to better anticipate and budget software maintenance costs while using the most up to date software.

Other Confusing Distractions

In addition to emails and letters about end of life, old versions, support, and scary letters about compliance and security, many firms are also asking “What is Abacus Private Cloud?” Abacus Private Cloud is a completely hosted infrastructure – it is not a replacement for Amicus Attorney, it is a replacement for your servers. All of your programs would be migrated to the Abacus Private Cloud, and it is a completely different offering than Amicus Attorney. It isn’t a bad product – or a bad decision to go hosted – we recommend it all the time! Deciding to move your firm to a hosted infrastructure is NOT a decision to be made quickly or lightly, and certainly not because you have a coupon for $1500 off.

One last thing. Amicus Cloud is now called Amicus Online. Because, well, that was the only product left that didn’t have some news attached to it!

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