Technology has fundamentally changed many aspects of our personal and professional lives, including the management of law practices. Attorneys need specialized legal billing and accounting software to accommodate the unique needs of law practice but they need to be aware of the three types of products out there.
The earliest attorney time and billing software packages were much simpler and less featured than today’s products. The first personal computers to find their way into attorney’s offices had less processing and storage power so there wasn’t much room for sophisticated features. One of the biggest problems was that business networks were almost never seen outside of huge technology firms, so even big law offices used billing solutions that isolated each attorney into a separate world.
Surprisingly many smaller law offices still use the same kind of software today. Typically there is one billing computer. Attorneys, paralegals and other staff turn time sheets into the bookkeeper who enters the information into the billing software to create invoices to be sent to clients. This system is slow, prone to errors and no longer practical.
It is inexpensive and simple to network computers so, unless you are a lone attorney with no staff at all, all the computers in your office should be networked. Modern time and billing software takes advantage of fast and reliable business networks to allow each user to access a central database of case information. Users have permission levels so each person sees only relevant information and makes only approved changes to case billing.
Networked software was a huge boost to law practice management and made it easy to manage billing even for complex cases that might involve dozens of attorneys, assistants and other support staff. The biggest flaw in the network concept is that attorneys are increasingly expected to be mobile. Lawyers in many specialties need to be out in the field working with clients, other attorneys, investigators, judges and countless other professionals.
Just as the affordable office network make single-user solutions obsolete, so has the cloud made traditional networked billing software for lawyers a thing of the past. Cloud software stores case information out on the cloud, which is a fancy way of saying “on the internet”. The information is stored securely so it is just as safe as or even safer than if it was locked in a file cabinet in your office. Access is limited to authorized users and is backed up regularly in case of disaster.
Attorneys can access cloud-based billing from anywhere with an internet connection and from any device including a desktop or laptop computer, an iPad or an Android tablet. Lawyers have the flexibility to be where they need to be, and yet retain access to case information and billing records.
You need legal practice management software solutions that are as flexible as your practice. Contact Easy Soft to find out more about how our technology gives your firm the versatility you need to be competitive in a fast-moving industry.