Managing a law firm and all the business aspects that go along with it can be challenging. In this digital era we are now living in, one of the best ways to simplify the day to day management of your law firm is through the introduction of software systems. These have so many benefits including making things more streamlined, reducing time and the potential of error. Many law firms utilise specialist software systems to ensure all the most important aspects of running a successful firm are met. Much of the software available on the market can help firms to organise diaries, meet deadlines, create invoices, collect payments, and manage cases and documents – all in one place.
All law firms are individual, so there isn’t necessarily one type of software to fit all. With that in mind, we have put together a comprehensive guide to some of the best software on the market.
Cloud-based or Local Server?
Legal software comes in two varieties – cloud-based or server-based. Nowadays, most of the top legal software providers have opted for a cloud-based approach. This allows for larger, more adaptable storage, wider accessibility from mobile and desktop devices, and the added extras of cloud-based security features.
Main Features of Legal Software
With hundreds of different software providers out there, it can be difficult to sift through and decide what features you are looking for. Features can include:
- Trust accounting
- Case and document management
- Deadline trackers and calendars
- Client relationship management tools
- Integrated billing systems
- Client portals
- Employee management tools
- Workflow systems
- Integration with popular business systems and applications
- Secure document exchange
Before deciding on which software would work best for your law firm, first think about what you would hope to get out of it. Some programmes will allow you to manage case-based work, others will allow you to manage all business aspects of your firm, as well as managing cases, documents and appointments, as well as finances.
Three Key Players:
To give you a taster of what is available, here are three of the most popular legal software systems currently on the market.
1. Clio Software
Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management system suitable for firms of all sizes. It allows you to track deadlines, manage cases and documents, bill and collect from clients, and has a task reporting feature providing data analysis into team progress and productivity. It also has a secure client portal, allowing clients to access billing and account information. Clio is available for mobile and desktop devices and has the added bonus of iOS and Android apps.
Clio is one of the most popular systems, partly because it is cloud-based, adding to its overall security and its accessibility from a variety of devices. In addition, it is considered extremely user-friendly, particularly due to its integrated billing system and its task templates.
Another cloud-based product, Cosmolex is considered an all-in-one solution. Its features include time tracking, billing, trust accounting, calendaring, and task and document management. A useful feature of Cosmolex is that it automatically assigns activities to their specific legal matter, keeping tasks organised and connected.
Perhaps its most redeeming feature for many users is its integrated accounting, helping manage client funds and print cheques, deposit slips and bank statements. Like Clio, Cosmolex is considered very user friendly and simple to adapt to. With the added bonus of trust accounting, current Cosmolex customers feel that it can help avoid trust accounting errors and protect from ethical pitfalls.
Sticking with cloud-based software, Actionstep is known for its power and functionality. It is customizable to suit your individual needs, and includes time recording, billing, a full general ledger, and trust accounting. In addition, you can manage marketing, sales, employees, passwords, facilities and insurance policies, covering just about every aspect of running a firm. One key feature of Actionstep is its customer relationship management tool, tracking new and existing clients. This software is particularly useful in managing the business-side of the running of small law firms.
Reviews suggest that this software’s workflow system is one of the best on the market. When compared specifically with Clio, reviewers found that Actionstep rated slightly higher for the customer experience, scoring 100%.
Other popular software brands include Logikcull, TimeSolv Legal, Practice Panther and Abacus Law, all of which have their pros and cons. For more information on all of these, visit www.softwareadvice.com or www.thebalance.com, or for expert advice on the best software for your firm, contact CBSIT today.