The 7 Types of Law Firm Software Solutions You Need
Technology is one of the biggest drivers of change in the legal industry. It’s made research and discovery easier, enabled e-filing, and streamlined attorney-client communication. For law offices of any size, technology can be a game-changer—as long as the firm invests in the right solutions.
To ensure you’re maximizing efficiency in your practice (and not sacrificing the quality of the client experience), take a look at these essential categories of software for law firms.
Timekeeping and Billing
Forming great billing habits isn’t always easy. Thankfully, there is a type of law firm software that can help streamline this tedious task: timekeeping programs.
With a timekeeping program, you can organize projects by client and run a stopwatch to track the time you’ve spent on each. Some of the most popular solutions today are mobile apps, which allow busy lawyers on the go to run their stopwatches from their phones or tablets.
The legal software industry has several fantastic solutions for timekeeping and billing available to suit the specific needs of all different types of firms. Here are a few of our top picks:
With every case you take on, there will be numerous documents and files to support it. Storing such sensitive data on your computer’s hard drive for extended periods of time is not recommended. These documents could be compromised in the event of a cybersecurity emergency, such as a data breach.
A legal document management program can store these files within a secure digital vault while also providing handy organizational features. There are many free file storage solutions available, such as Google Drive, with premium options available that can increase your storage limit.
Other powerful and proven solutions that are popular in the legal industry include NetDocuments and Worldox. Many of these solutions are also cloud-based, allowing legal teams to access and collaborate on documents from wherever they are.
Online Payment Processing
According to the most recent Survey of Consumer Payment Choice, 60 percent of bills are paid online or automatically. In addition, last year’s Clio Legal Trends Report found that 50 percent of consumers in need of legal services are more likely to hire a lawyer who takes online payments. Not only that, 40 percent of individuals in need of legal services said they would not consider hiring an attorney who didn’t accept credit or debit cards.
An online payment processing solution allows you to accommodate the preferences of your clients and do so securely. Rather than being restricted to only in-person transactions or having to mail a paper check, your clients can easily pay invoices from their computer or mobile device using a credit card, debit card, or eCheck. All sensitive information is encrypted and transmitted directly between financial institutions, keeping it safe from being compromised.
Plus, when you partner with an online payment processor, all payment details are verified instantly. You’ll be informed immediately if a bank account has insufficient funds or if a credit or debit card number is incorrect.
While there are plenty of generic payment platforms you could use, it’s a much better idea to use an online payment solution designed with attorneys in mind—like LawPay. Because LawPay was developed specifically for lawyers, it not only prevents commingling of earned and unearned funds, it also protects your trust account from any third-party debiting. It’s the only payment solution that ensures ABA and IOLTA compliance for credit card, debit card, and eCheck transactions.
Productivity tools are among the most widely used computer programs in the world and an important part of any list of essential law firm software solutions. These include word processors, presentation programs, and spreadsheets, with the oldest and most famous of these solutions being Microsoft Office Suite.
However, many businesses today have switched to cloud-based solutions, such as Google’s G Suite, where creative teams can collaborate on documents in real time from separate machines. Best of all, G Suite is free of charge.
Not every document you receive in your day-to-day practice is digital. Some of your clients may have vital documents that predate the advent of personal computers or that simply weren’t created in a digital form.
With a PDF converter, you can use a scanner to scan a hard copy of a document and convert it into a digital file which can then be shared through email and cloud-services. It can even be searched like a word processing document with optical character recognition (OCR) technology.
The leading solution on the market is Adobe Acrobat, which has provided reliable PDF conversions for over 20 years. The latest version of Acrobat is only available through a subscription service, so more cost-conscious law firms looking for a powerful PDF conversion solution might find Icecream PDF Converter more appealing. It can be used with limited features for free, with a one-time premium cost to unlock the full version.
Far too many professionals take too few precautions when it comes to protecting their accounts and passwords from cybercriminals.
With password management software, you can keep your accounts secure by storing all of your passwords within a secure application, which you can use to readily recall your password when you need it. Since the app remembers your passwords for you, you have the freedom to create complex, hack-proof passwords that you could never remember on your own.
One of the most popular and powerful options for password managers is LastPass, a premium web browser extension and mobile app that is compatible with nearly every browser and operating system, respectively.
If you like the idea of an app securely storing your private data, you may find Dashlane appealing. Aside from passwords, it can also store billing addresses, credit card data, identification cards, and other personal information.
Some practices prefer to use a law firm software solution that can do a little bit of everything. These practice management solutions come with an impressive collection of features—from document and case management to timekeeping, billing, calendaring, and email organization and even payment processing—all from one application.
There are many excellent practice management solutions on the market, and here are some recommendations:
Regardless of which law firm software solutions you choose, your practice will certainly benefit from taking advantage of the latest technology designed to help run your practice more efficiently.