Managing a law firm is a complicated responsibility. Aside from managing cases, other tasks need to be done such as hourly billing and accounting which can surely be a time-consuming task. In this regard, most modern law firms rely on legal practice software to manage client matters and enhance productivity in the workplace.
Law schools do not typically teach Juris Doctor students the skills they need to effectively run a law firm. Many law firms, therefore, use legal practice software to simplify matters and avoid clerical errors. Legal practice software for lawyers exists to organize, keep track, and store in the centralized location of all pertinent matters related to the practice of law and effective management. It also helps ensure a law firm’s efficiency and profitability. Here are the benefits of having a legal practice software:
It assures you that all files and regular back-ups are safe. A law firm keeps a lot of confidential data. Encrypted legal practice software keeps these data secure and accessible only to verified users. It also protects the data from data breach and data loss.
Having a checklist reduces errors for lawyers which means reducing the possibility of a malpractice claim. Workflow not only reduces errors for it also provides client management and increases the efficiency of the law firm.
Many studies claim that law firms often spend close to 50% of their time on non-billable and administrative activities which includes the following:
Searching for documents
Cataloging client information
Tracking of cases
Good legal practice software saves a lot of time because necessary tasks can now become automated and thus, reduce non-billable activities leaving more time for billable hours thereby increasing revenues.
Legal practice software centralizes billing. Invoicing and billing can now be automated that allows you to track time as well as the invoice of your clients which helps you collect payments on time.
A law firm is a business; therefore, its marketing efforts need to be tracked to determine its effectiveness. A software will generate reports that determine which marketing strategies are working, which are not, as well as solutions on how to improve the process.
It also helps measure the efficiency and effectively of the employee performance in terms of connecting with clients, and how fast prospects are converted to billable clients.
Legal practice software includes tools to efficiently oversee the day-to-day operations of a law firm. Lawyers and legal secretaries also use these tools to ensure critical client data are easily accessible and safely stored. The features of a good legal practice software includes the following:
Communication portals - Encrypted email may not be sufficient to secure communication with clients. This gives justification to the need of having communication portals to a legal practice software to make it more secure.
Document Management - Provides an organized system for document collaboration and sharing with co-counsel, clients, and other persons involved in a particular case.
Tools for Managing Tasks - This includes task management templates such as calendars, deadlines, and workflows per case or client.
Time Tracking - This ensures the monitoring of billable time.
Legal Billing - The preparation and sending of invoices to clients are automatically generated. This is captured through the time-tracking features of the software. Once the invoice is finalized, it can immediately be sent to the client.
Payment Processing - This feature allows clients to immediately pay via electronic payments or credit card after receiving the invoice.
Lawyers need to be updated on new developments within the Legal Tech space to ensure the smooth operation of a law firm and to be ahead in the practice of law. It can be overwhelming for lawyers to keep abreast of the latest technology. Lawyers are extremely busy staying on top of their field and representing clients.
After being done with their law studies, learning about the latest in technology can be a daunting task for it is something thorough that needs to be done. Deciding to use legal practice software for lawyers in a law firm is a step towards the right direction. The market is flooded with legal practice software and it can be a challenge to find the right fit for your law firm.
Whether you are buying legal practice software for the first time or considering a switch of a vendor, there are some things you need to ensure when choosing the right software for your law firm:
It is common for lawyers to start the search for the right software by first scrutinizing features without a clear picture of what their law firm needs. Analyze first the needs and goals before deciding on what software and tools to use. Knowing the direction of your law firm will give you a clear picture of your firm’s needs. This will allow you to choose software that will address your specific needs.
Working with a good tech consultant is a big help in selecting the right legal practice software for lawyers. Even if you are Masters in Law, you may not be an expert and well-versed with the latest technology.
You can provide the tech consultant with the needs of your law firm. Then, you may coordinate with the tech consultant in helping you assess the features of the different software specifically about template customization, security, and pricing preferences.
A lot of law firms intend to use the same legal practice software for the next five to ten years or even more. However, it is important to think about future needs and how it can affect the performance of your firm. Asking tech consultant is important to know where innovation and technology trends are heading. The information you gather can help you in considering your long-term plans to be able to decide in having the best software that can benefit your law firm.
If automated documentation, for instance, is an essential part of the future of your firm, find out not just the latest in document automation technology but also where innovations are most likely to transpire. It is important to choose software that can support and be part of the growth of your law firm. No one can predict future innovations in legal technology but the software you choose must be in the same direction as what your law firm needs.
A firm needs to develop a threat analysis and choose software that can help address the future risk and the needs to solve it. For instance, if your law firm specializes in divorce law, your client should use email and phone conversation that cannot be intercepted by the opposing spouse. This is indeed essential to mitigate the potential risk of your law firm and let problems be solved ahead of time.
Once you have created your goals and needs list, it is time to make a shortlist of possible legal practice software that is right for your law firm. Assess software based on the following:
Interface, design, easy usage
Ease in importing and exporting data from the software
Ease in adding more features
Vendor’s commitment to technology development
Initial and future cost of using the software
Reach out to your shortlist and seek answers to your questions and it would be better for you to use a trial period if it is being provided for you to access the software effectively. The trial period, can help you decide on which legal practice software for lawyers is the best for your law firm.