Here at CosmoLex we are, not surprisingly, big advocates of how technology can help improve law firm practice management. However we also recognize that not all firms, especially solo and small practices, can afford to lay out several thousand dollars. You can save money by focusing only the key law office software you need, and by shopping around for budget-conscious solutions.
Office Suite – You will certainly need a good word processor. There is a good chance you will also need presentation, spreadsheet and maybe even database software. The standard choice is Microsoft Office but that can be tough on a tight budget. The cash-strapped attorney might look at the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365, which incurs a monthly fee rather than a flat cost. If you are willing to go outside Microsoft, then Apache Open Office is a free office suite that can save documents either in Microsoft format or in their own format.
Digital Security – You absolutely need security software to protect the confidential information on your systems, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money — or even any money. There are many highly-rated and completely free antivirus solutions including AVG, Avast, Avira and Microsoft Security Essentials. And while the Windows firewall isn’t bad, you might want to look at ZoneAlarm, Comodo or other free firewall software to stop hackers, Trojan horses and other security threats.
Backups – Automated cloud backup protects your data against disasters ranging from hard drive failure to hurricanes. There a number of both free (e.g. Symform, Cyphertite, MiMedia) and low-cost (e.g. SOS Online Backup, Carbonite, Backblaze) backup utilities that are easy to use, run automatically and store your data on professionally-managed servers with features such as redundant power supplies and on-site physical security.
Practice Management – The modern attorney really can’t remain competitive using traditional practice management methods. You need the flexibility, speed and security of an online solution such as CosmoLex. While there are other legal practice management solutions out there, CosmoLex is the only one to offer all these features together: full-feature billing, integrated trust account software, comprehensive conflict checking, localization and much more.
Law firm management software doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. By shopping around and making careful choices, you can get the technology you need to run an efficient law firm without going bankrupt in the process.