Practice Management

How to Choose The Right Legal Tech Software for Your Law Firm

Adrian Aguilera
Adrian Aguilera
July 21, 2023

Since the height of the pandemic, the adoption of cloud-based legal tech software has grown. This trend is mainly attributed to building a firm that is not only competitive in the current landscape but also profitable in a remote and online-based world. According to the LawPay & MyCase 2022 Legal Industry Report:

  • 81% of law firm respondents use cloud-based software, compared to 73% before the pandemic
  • And 70% of law firm respondents reported remote technology as part of the firm’s long-term business continuity plan

However, this surge of cloud-based legal software use has led to a multitude of options. And not all systems may be a proper fit for your firm. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to select the best legal tech software specifically for your law firm, which includes:

  • A short overview of the benefits of some of the most common legal software platforms
  • The pros and cons of each legal system
  • Key considerations that can help narrow your search

What Are the Most Common Legal Software Systems?

The best legal tech tools are designed to diminish time-consuming administrative tasks while improving overall case management. Below are a few common software systems that can elevate attorney processes, productivity, and cash flow.

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Basic Features: Legal Billing Software

Starting off with one of the most basic and useful options, legal billing software allows law firms to accept online payments such as debit, credit, and e-check options from clients. Additionally, payment storage and payment plan features enable firms to improve the payment experience for their clients by providing additional flexibility.

Implementation of these billing features can benefit the cash flow of one-person businesses to large operations, making this a popular choice. According to the 2022 Legal Industry Report, the vast majority of law firms (75%) implement legal-specific payment process tools, with 84% now accepting credit card payments, and 61% offering payment plans. Additionally, 61% of respondents shared that their firms collected more money because of online payment processing software. Below is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons of this legal tech software option.

This system is typically best for:

  • Firms of all sizes, from solo attorneys to big law operations

Pros:

  • Great potential for increasing cash flow from exponentially higher transaction speed
  • Higher likelihood of client satisfaction through convenient online payment options
  • Typically affordable

Cons:

  • Manually syncing your current invoicing process with online payments software
  • The inconvenience of managing multiple software programs if paired with other legal software systems

Middle-Ground Features: Legal Billing and Invoicing Software

If you’re looking to streamline more operations, there are also solutions that handle invoicing and billing (in addition to online payments).

For example, time tracking and invoice creation/automation capture more billable hours and eliminate manual assembly of invoices. And, per the 2022 Legal Industry Report, 42% of law firms have legal billing and time-tracking as part of their cloud-based software tools.

In addition, some legal billing and invoicing software systems, such as LawPay Pro, include an invoicing dashboard so you can see all statuses for each invoice, as well as time-tracking goals. Below are the pros and cons of these legal tech tools.

This system is typically best for:

  • Small to mid-sized firms

Pros:

  • Online time tracking (linked to cases) to help capture more billable hours
  • Quick production of invoices from time and expense entries that sync to each bill
  • Ability to pair online payments with each invoice and set up automated payment reminders

Cons:

  • Potential management of multiple software systems such as billing and invoicing software, document management, and client intake online tools
  • Small learning curve and adjustment to set up a new system for tracking time and billing clients

Full Suite of Features: Practice Management Software

If you’re looking for the ultimate setup to scale your firm, practice management software that includes full case management features can help your firm increase profit.

For example, MyCase contains a plethora of practice management benefits that go beyond billing and invoicing, such as client intake and lead management for easy onboarding, client portals for better collaboration, and case management for improved file organization.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA) 2022 Tech Report, the use of practice management software is increasing each year among firms of all sizes, from solo practices to larger firms consisting of 100 or more attorneys. Below are the pros and cons of this complete set of legal tech tools.

This system is typically best for:

  • Small to mid-sized firms (especially for legal firms looking to scale and grow)

Pros:

  • Potential for increasing the net amount of case leads and conversions via lead management tools
  • Improved client satisfaction and case clarity through client communication tools such as client portals
  • Easier and more organized case management with tools to organize documents and keep all staff informed through automated workflows

Cons:

  • Typically more costly compared to a la carte features
  • Can involve a bigger learning curve and set up, (but this learning curve is dramatically improved with great software support and onboarding team)

For additional information on software solution types and benefits, check out this article.

Which Legal Software System is Best for My Law Firm?

Based on three of the most common cloud-based platforms, below are actions you can take to select the best legal tech software for your firm.

1. Assess Your Law Firm’s Needs

Begin with an evaluation of current processes that are working well and systems that could use improvement. Below are some questions that can aid in your evaluation. If you’re not a solopreneur, gathering input from all levels, from partner to receptionist, can provide the most accurate assessment.

  • Do clients clearly understand the process throughout their case? Are they typically satisfied or dissatisfied at any point?
  • Are you satisfied with the current process of billing clients and receiving payment?
  • Is there an efficient line of communication between clients and attorneys/staff?
  • Are case documents easy to track, manage, and update?
  • Is the current internal review process for files clear and easy to follow?
  • Are there any other specific pain points the firm is currently experiencing?

The answers to these questions can provide a starting point for the exact features that will solve your firm’s current trouble areas.

2. Key Points to Consider During the Selection Process

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Once you’ve determined your firm’s pain point and narrowed down specific software systems/features, refer to the questions listed below to help you choose the ideal legal tech tools for your firm.

  1. Does the provider offer a guided and easy process for migrating data—especially if you’re upgrading from current software?
  2. Is the legal tech system easy to use and customizable—with a guided setup for implementation?
  3. Will you have access to a responsive support team that not only answers questions but guides you to solutions specific to your firm’s needs?
  4. Does the service abide by security and compliance standards for sensitive information and accounting?
  5. Is the service clear with pricing, or are you locked into some commitment with hidden costs?

3. Try a Free Trial or Demo as a Test

If the software provider passes the test above, it’s time to try a demo and/or free trial as the final step toward determining whether the features are the right fit for your firm. Get Started Today With LawPay or MyCase! LawPay’s payments and invoicing software and MyCase’s full practice management suite can improve your firm’s productivity, cash flow, and client satisfaction.

If you’re interested in how LawPay’s offerings can help your firm grow, we invite you to schedule a demo!

If you need the entire set of practice management benefits, you can try MyCase today risk-free with a 10-day free trial. We offer affordable monthly and yearly subscriptions. Plus, no commitment or credit card is required, and you can cancel anytime.