What is Law Practice Management Software?
Law practice management software is a software or web application designed to manage a law firm’s case and client records, billing and bookkeeping, schedules and appointments, deadlines, computer files and to facilitate compliance requirements such as document retention and courts electronic filing systems.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has found that calendar and deadline-related mistakes account for most legal malpractice claims. Because law schools do not generally teach new attorneys the business skills to run a law office, many law firms have turned to technology to ease the learning curve and reduce clerical errors. In short, law practice management software, while an initial investment, can yield long-term savings by reducing clerical errors and improving the operations of law practices.
What Does Law Practice Management Software Do?
Law management software allows you to keep all of your firm’s information in one secure place, creating a working environment that improves access to information and the management and scheduling of a wide range of legal tasks. As a result of the powerful capabilities of legal management software, law firms can complete many administrative tasks more efficiently with less chance of error.
Core Features of Legal Management Software:
1. Case Management: a good case management system keeps you organized and provides easy access to information when you need it.
2. Legal Document Management: allows you to securely edit and store your legal documents.
3. Billing: most legal practice software includes billing, allowing you to automate time-consuming tasks and helping you get paid faster.
4. Contact Management: Manage all of your clients and contacts easily in one secured place.
5. Trust Accounting: Simplify reconciliations and manage your trust account regulations. Most legal software management allows you to sync to third-party accounting software such as QuickBooks Online.
6. Calendaring: Many law firm mishaps and missed deadlines happen due to a lack of a calendaring system. With legal management software, you can stay on top of deadlines and keep connected wherever you are.
7. Task Management: Improve your productivity with features like to-do lists, project management, and task progress to keep your law firm team organized and in compliance.
8. Law Firm Insights: Get data analytics on time, utilization, and collection rates so you can make informed business decisions. With a birds-eye view of your firm, you can improve performance and find opportunities to increase productivity and revenue.
How Legal Work Gets Done With Technology
More and more legal work is becoming mobile. Working on legal documents in a client’s office, a meeting room, or court is becoming more common. The days where you have to be in the office to get legal work done are over. 80% of lawyers bring their smartphones to court, and over 77% of lawyers regularly work from home.
Lawyers in the courtroom or legal proceedings are using technology to access their law practice management software, legal documents, calendar, and the internet. Because of the growing use of technology in the legal space, it is important to have your law practice’s technology secure and supported by a managed service provider.
How to Choose the Best Law Practice Management Software
There are many choices for law firms when it comes to law practice management software. Popular software such as Amicus Attorney, Clio, Practice Panther, Smokeball, and Tabs3 are excellent choices for law firms looking for management software. We’ll go over a few of them in this section. But first, let’s go over some ways to determine which software is right for your law firm.
The difference between on-premise and cloud management software:
On-premise legal management software is more of a traditional software model where law firms purchase licenses for individual staff and then install the software from a disk or via download onto the individual’s computer. With this option, all information is stored on a dedicated computer. This creates the need for having a central file server to be shared across the firm to conduct work. A secure network that is backed up routinely with access available outside the office through a virtual private network (VPN) will need to be set up and maintained. EVERNET, a legal IT support service, can help you install, manage, and secure your on-premise software and network.
Cloud-Based legal software management, also known as web-based software or software as a service (SaaS), is a newer option for law practices that utilize the web to deliver software applications. To access cloud-based legal software, an attorney will use a web browser like Chrome or Microsoft Edge to log into their law firm’s software account to access their data and software features. Instead of using a dedicated network where your legal information is stored, the data is securely stored on cloud servers. Having security measures in place like multi-factor authentication allows attorneys to access cloud-based legal software at any time from any device.
Costs & Maintenance of Legal Management Software
How much does legal software cost? Do you go the licensing route or the subscription route? How does legal management software affect your firm’s IT? These are all questions law firms have to consider when looking for legal management software. If you’re looking for legal IT support along with legal software, EVERNET can help you with both.
Law practice software involves updates, security patches, networks and servers, and cyber security measures. Choosing a legal management software that offers security and predictability is a great advantage to attorneys.
EVERNET’s Law Practice Management Software Recommendations:
As a law firm, you have many options when it comes to law practice management software. From Needles, Tabs3, and PCLaw/TimeMatters. It all depends on the specific core software needs your law firm has. Below are EVERNET’s top 3 recommendations for legal software.
Amicus Attorney is a cloud-based legal management software by AbacusNext. It is a powerful case-management software with integrations to various third-party vendors like QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. Amicus Attorney features include case management, calendar, billing, document automation, and state court forms. They also have additional billing software and serve all law practice areas.
Amicus has assisted me organize my practice for over 25 years. The integration with the Billing program, Quickbooks and the APX credit card payment acceptance program is a convenient timesaver, very much appreciated. – Mark Johnson Attorney at Law
Clio is an easy-to-use legal management software with quick setup and features including case management, calendar, billing, document management, and client intake forms.
Generally Clio changed my practice. The software makes it easy to access critical data which is right on your dashboard, such as billing goals (day/month/year), A/R, actually vs. targeted billing, client and matters, just about everything a lawyer needs at his or her fingertips to make billing easy and efficient. – Edward David & Associates LLC
Practice Panther promotes a seamless, intuitive interface to manage your law practice. Features include case management, legal CRM, billing, document management, e-signatures, and military-grade security.
PracticePanther has helped keep my firm organized. We handle a large number of cases and we needed software that could help us manage them all, stay on top of tasks, and store information efficiently. PracticePanther has also been key in allowing for rapid growth in my practice. – Patton Law Office S.C.