For quite some time now it has been apparent that legal practice management technology is crucial to the modern practice of law — but now, the application of legal technology directly and formally involves the more general question of a lawyer’s competence. Lawyers now must be thinking about upgrading their technology platforms to keep pace with the evolving demands and innovations that are necessary for an efficient and profitable law firm.
The following are seven categories of legal software/practice management technology that firms should use to take advantage of the best options/programs available for streamlining their law practice management and workflow.
- Productivity software.
management is the key to a successful law firm. By eliminating emails and
sticky notes with comprehensive software task tools, you can quickly and easily
view open and completed tasks on a case firm-wide. Your legal team can see the
tasks waiting for them or check on the tasks that have been assigned to others.
If there is one thing lawyers commonly agree on, it’s that they need
productivity software to do the basic things required of their office staff:
drafting, emailing, creating presentations, creating and building databases and
spreadsheets. It is much easier to have accountability whether creating due
dates, or logging priority levels – task and messaging features help run a
tight ship. In-app notifications for new and completed tasks will encourage
firm-wide efficiency. Microsoft Office suite has typically been the go-to tool.
However, Microsoft Office is not the standalone version it once was. The main opponent
of the Office arrangement is Google Apps for Work, which features its
own productivity suite, in league with Gmail. Several freeware alternatives
exist as well.
- PDF conversion software.
If you want your firm to go paperless, a PDF conversion program is a must-have, since many law firms still receive paper documents. PDF conversion software allows you to scan a document to PDF so you can edit it. Among other features, you will be able to add encryption, remove metadata and build forms. Any scanner you purchase is likely to include at least some level of built-in software, but then again, you are not really streamlining, are you?
- Document automation/document assembly software.
There are still lawyers practicing that are dedicated to mail merge. There are much better ways to build documents these days. A document automation program allows you to customize existing templates in several ways. Law ruler, for example, has software that will customize document templates and automation with an online editor and automate printing and delivery to clients letting you save valuable time with this efficient process. First, open any document from Microsoft Word and sign into Law Ruler and go into the Document Templates and Automation screen. Next, locate the mail merge codes for each field that you want to add to the document. For example – client names, addresses, or Court. Paste the Law Ruler mail merge codes into the document, save your work in Law Ruler and a document template is created.
- Document management software
Is your staff still manually typing up a correspondence? Document management software uses information already entered on a case to automatically populate letters, forms, and envelopes. All the documents related to a case are stored in one place then indexed by type and have never looked so tidy. The software will let you generate correspondence and forms with a single click, pre-populated with the meaningful data that keep your firm running. All you must do is upload your custom templates and generate correspondence with a single mouse click. Although most document automation tools feature some level of document management control, standalone document management tools tend to offer heartier versions of those features, if not different features altogether. Included in this type of software you will find a number of applications such as version control, check-in and check-out features, integration with related software, integration with existing folder systems such as Google Drive, matter management, offline access/briefcase, labeling and tagging, and global search capability. Documents for every case are organized by category and users can read through files on the go without downloading them to a computer or device. Stored documents are searchable throughout the firm saving your staff time when tracking something down. Law firms capture and reference documents more than any other sort of data so since most firms work as a team or within a group, it may be that a document management system is a requirement for proper organization and efficiency.
- Time and billing/accounting software.
Almost every accounting program has time and billing features, and many time and billing applications feature at least some aspect of accounting features. For many solo and small law firms, a time and billing/accounting program must do four things:
- offer a convenient time-capture method, while including an invoice construction feature
- provide robust reporting tools and allow for trust account reconciliation management
- track time
- export that time log to an invoice template that can that be finalized
- Case management software.
Case management software purports to be an all-inclusive solution in that it will wrap the most common features for law firm management into a single, accessible package. Case management software includes contact management, email archive, document management, calendar management and time, billing and accounting.
- Case and user calendars
The management software user calendar will display meetings, individual tasks, and deadlines across your caseload. Case related events are linked to the necessary file. Meetings, deadlines, tasks, and events will automatically populate so you can manage your day effectively.
Law Ruler, a leader in legal practice management technology, provides comprehensive legal case management software combined with the best legal intake CRM on the market today. No other legal software vendor offers such a comprehensive solution for growing firms plus unsurpassed customer assistance.
Please schedule a consultative demo call to find out more about Law Ruler and to see if we are the right fit to grow your law firm. We look forward to answering your questions and discussing marketing and practice management solutions for your firm. Stop doubling your workload with separate systems and start simplifying your law firm’s management while increasing your profits.