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What is law practice management software?
Law practice management software , also known as legal software, helps lawyers to manage their case-related workflows and legal operations. The software manages documents, tasks, calendars, client communications, and more. These tools can support both front- and back-office workflows and allows users to store confidential information in one secure place.
The benefits of law practice management software
- Reduces lawyer time and effort to search case history: Law practice management software records all case-related information along with critical deadlines and client communication. Having this information in one place makes it easier for lawyers and paralegals to search case history and documents, allowing them to spend more time and effort in preparing for their case instead of sifting through extraneous files and papers.
- Better coordination between lawyers and paralegals: The software helps practitioners to improve task collaboration and coordination amongst themselves and their paralegal team. This allows everyone to be on the same page and improves the productivity of the team as a whole.
- Track work completed and bill clients accurately: The system keeps track of the work done by each staff member (attorneys, paralegals, assistants) on an individual basis. This data can then be used to calculate individual payrolls for everyone, as well as bill clients based on the number of hours spent by each employee on a case.
Typical features of law practice management software
- Document management: Collect, share, and centrally store all case-specific documents and files.
- Legal case management: Manage workflow related to legal cases by tracking emails, notes, payments, contacts, tasks, and time entries.
- Legal matter management: Manage corporate legal practice activities such as compliance, internal claims, and marketing.
- Calendaring: View tasks, deadlines, appointments, and meetings on a shared calendar.
- Billing and invoicing: Generate bills and invoices based on employee billable hours and other expenses on case-related tasks.
Considerations when purchasing law practice management software
- Evaluate the security standards of the solution: Law firms deal with sensitive and business-critical information such as client data and case details. Therefore, it becomes necessary to check and evaluate the security standards of the tool you are planning to buy. The software must offer enterprise-grade encryption, as well as secure messaging, digital signatures, etc. Extended security measures like multi-factor authentication and biometric signage are add-on features.
- Smooth client communication via a client portal: Having a dedicated client portal allows lawyers to share sensitive information with their clients securely. It is recommended to go with a solution that offers client portal functionality as it ensures your clients that you and your firm value confidentiality.
- Integration with third-party apps: Law practice management software should be capable of integrating with your existing applications for bookkeeping, CRM, email marketing, payment gateways, and others. There is software that allows lawyers to easily sign, manage, and track all digital documents and other systems that can be integrated with email platforms to sync emails, calendars, and contacts. Integration with third-party apps will enhance your experience and provide you with a single platform to carry out multiple tasks.
Relevant law practice management software trends
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming legal research methodology: Junior lawyers and paralegals are often burdened with copious amounts of audit and case research. They have a high probability of making mistakes or missing out on critical information while sifting through large volumes of paper contracts, case reports, investigation files, etc., any of which can disrupt or slow down case proceedings. To assist in avoiding such situations, vendors have started adding AI and machine learning capabilities to their law practice management software. AI-enabled tools look through a large group of unstructured reports and contracts to extract relevant and specific case-related information, thus saving paralegals a large amount of time and effort.
- Shift from manual legal contracts to smart contracts : Legal contracts are currently being written with physical signatures, which requires considerable time for a binding legal agreement to be concluded. It is vulnerable to human error due to the manual processing of legal documentation. A smart contract converts the terms and conditions of the traditional contract to computer code. The same scripts can be uploaded to the blockchain, which is a collection of data, resulting in a decentralized contract. Smart contracts are automatically managed on the blockchain and do not involve any third-parties. This reduces the risk of fraud and lowers transaction costs.