Law Practice Management Tech Center
Law practice management software helps attorneys manage the core business and practice functions of their law firms. Many products in this category are suites, which typically cover management of cases, contacts, calendars, documents, timekeeping and billing, and may also include features such as accounting and electronic payments.
Also in this category are standalone products that help attorneys handle specific aspects of their practices, such as invoicing, accounting, payments and marketing.
Which Products Are Right for Me?
Choosing a practice management product relates mostly to how and where you will use it:
Firm size. Some products are designed for larger firms, some for mid-sized firms, and some for small firms. Be sure to look for one that is intended for your size firm and that is compatible with other products you already use.
Cloud or on-premises. Some products are delivered via the cloud, while others are installed locally on your computer or office network. Most modern products are cloud-based.
All-in-one vs. integrated apps. Practice management suites differ in their approach to providing you with the tools you need in your practice. Some are all-in-one products, combining all the essential tools a lawyer needs, including trust and general ledger accounting, for a single subscription. Others provide a core set of tools and then allow customers to integrate with other applications to add other functionality they may need. This latter approach is better for firms with specialized practices or needs, but the added applications usually required additional subscriptions.
Categories of Law Practice Management Products
Within this Legal Tech Center are the following categories of products:
Law Practice Management Suites. A law practice management suite is the operating system of your law firm. It helps ensure you attend to your cases in a timely manner, have ready access to your contacts, keep all your documents organized, get your invoices out regularly, and keep on top of your accounts receivable. Suites typically cover management of cases, contacts, calendars, documents, timekeeping and billing, and may also include features such as accounting and electronic payments. Used properly, practice management software is both a boon to efficiency and a hedge against malpractice.
Accounting/Finance. Law firm accounting and finance software provides general business accounting and/or IOLTA trust fund accounting tailored to law practices and either integrates with general accounting software such as Quickbooks or includes its own complete accounting functionality. Additional features may include payroll processing, billing and payments.
Client Portals. Client portals provide an online interface for lawyers to securely communicate with clients. Among the features portals may include are file sharing, messaging, collaboration, invoicing and payments.
CRM, Marketing and Business Development. Products in this category help law firms automate, track and analyze digital marketing, client pipelines, client intake, and business prospects.
Conflict Checking. This software enables law firms to check for potential conflicts of interest before taking on new clients.
Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity products assist law firms in protecting the security of their firm and client data.
Firm Analytics, KPIs and Reporting Tools. These tools enable law firms and legal organizations to integrate data from various sources and apply analytics for insights on profitability, performance, effectiveness, market trends, marketing and other business considerations.
Matter Management. Matter management software is software used to manage every aspect of a corporate legal practice, both internally and externally.
Payment Processing. Payment processing products allow law firms to receive and track clients’ payments electronically, both by credit cards and electronic checks.
Time and Billing. Time and billing software enables attorneys to track their time and expenses and then create and send invoices. Products may be standalone or part of practice management or accounting suites.
Virtual Receptionist. Virtual receptionist services answer and process phone calls to a law firm. Services may also perform client intake, and some offer chat and text messaging.
Pro Bono Management. Pro bono management software is used by law firms, legal departments and legal organizations to manage their pro bono matters and support attorneys working on those matters.
Categories of software used in Law Practice Management
Time and Billing
Firm Analytics, KPIs and Reporting Tools
Pro Bono Management
CRM, Marketing and Business Development
Law Practice Management Suites
- Legal time and billing software enables attorneys to track the time they spend and expenses they incur in performing legal work and then create and send invoices to their clients. Time and billing products may be standalone or included as part of a practice management or accounting suite.
- Firm analytics, key performance indicators (KPIs), and reporting tools enable law firms and legal organizations to integrate data from various sources and use data analytics, advanced reporting, and dashboards to gain insight into profitability, performance, effectiveness, market trends, marketing campaigns, and other business considerations.
Accounting and finance software applies accounting principles to law firm operating accounts, client trust accounts, and Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) — a method of raising money for charitable purposes, primarily providing civil legal services to indigent persons.
- Client portals provide a web-accessible resource for lawyers and law firms to securely communicate with clients on mobile and other internet-connected devices and share messages and documents, such as intake forms and invoices. Client portals can reduce inbound calls to the firm while enhancing the ease and security of client-attorney communications.
- Legal CRM, marketing and business development products help law firms manage the process of converting potential clients to retained clients. They enable law firms to automate and manage client pipelines and intake, to track and analyze digital marketing campaigns, and to manage communications with current and prospective clients.
- A law practice management suite is the operating system of your law firm. It includes a variety of tools to help ensure that you attend to your cases in a timely manner, have ready access to your contacts, keep all your case documents organized, get your invoices out regularly, and keep on top of your accounts receivable.