Lawyers typically work long hours with extensive to-do lists. In fact, most lawyers report working over 50 hours a week.
Between advising and representing clients in court, communicating with their clients, colleagues, judges, and others involved in the case, conducting research, and preparing and filing legal documents, attorneys at law firms will take any help they can get to streamline their work.
Enter the ultimate law firm organization tool: a practice management software.
What is practice management software?
Legal practice management software offers law firms a solution for managing their daily operations, business needs, and workflows. A robust law practice management solution allows attorneys, paralegals, and other employees the ability to easily track and manage:
- Legal matters
- Client intake
- Calendars and appointments
- Client management
- Tasks and projects
- Time tracking
- Billing and invoicing
Choosing a practice management software that has the capabilities to do what your firm most needs is crucial. Most firms want their software to be equipped with productivity tools that help with administrative organization, case management tools, financial and billing tools, and analytics and reporting functionalities.
Practice management software can help manage your contacts, emails, schedules, and even to-do lists. All of these support a positive client experience and ease of work at the firm.
Contact management features
26% of legal professionals fail to track their leads in any capacity, but contact tracking and management is a crucial step to your law firm’s success. The right practice management software can help you stay on top of your firm’s most important relationships.
Keeping all your clients’ information in one safe, secure, and accessible location can streamline client communications and help you foster positive relationships with clients. Additionally, the right contact tracking tools will allow you track the sales process for each client in your pipeline, interact and follow up with clients with ease, and easily get in touch with clients with updates on their case.
Practice management software are often equipped with email capabilities or integrations with your current email provider. Integrating your email software with your practice management software might be the biggest time saver there is. Email clients directly from their contact tab within the software and stay on top of your inbox with ease.
Attorneys are busy—and there’s no way around it! So what better way to avoid double-booking law firm staff than by utilizing a software that can show the entire firm’s cases, client appointments, and deadlines.
Practice management software can be fully integrated with your existing calendaring system. A good calendaring system helps you stay on top of deadlines and keeps you connected to your cases, clients, and work, even on the go.
Create actionable to-do lists, monitor task progress, and analyze internal workloads to keep your firm productive and profitable—without overloading your team. The task management tools in your practice management software can be fully integrated with your emails and your calendar, and some software can even automate the creation of these tasks from pre-existing templates.
Case management tools
One of the biggest draws of practice management software are the case management tools. Legal case management software is used by law firms to organize and manage their legal cases and clients, allowing attorneys and legal staff to focus on billable work with a more streamlined workflow and smoother billing, time tracking, and document management processes.
A good law firm practice management software will include case management features that allow you to keep your firm’s attorneys, paralegals, and legal professionals organized and up-to-date with easy-to-access case information. They’ll also allow you to build out customizable workflows for legal matters and assign key tasks and deadlines to attorneys and staff for better team collaboration.
Additionally, practice management software can help you save time with built-in document management capabilities. Edit, store, and organize new and existing legal documents within a secure environment. Some software even include document automation tools to help you effortlessly generate and populate common legal documents.
Invoicing and billing
Automate tedious billing and invoicing tasks while offering clients the payment options they prefer. The result? Faster payments, happier clients, and a more profitable legal practice.
The right practice management software can also help you keep better track of time and expenses. When implemented effectively, a time and expense tracking tool helps your law firm correctly bill clients for services, manage time entries, analyze how long tasks take, and increase productivity and profitability by identifying inefficiencies and workflow bottlenecks.
The right practice management software can help you handle all your firm’s accounting without the need to use QuickBooks or other accounting tools. It can also provide built-in, compliant trust accounting, handle reconciliations, and even run financial and profitability reports.
With built-in accounting, everything you input into your practice management software flows automatically onto your general ledger, including invoice payments, write-offs tracking, check printing, deposit slips, bank reconciliations, and even your accounts payable tracking.
Offering online payment options to clients makes payment more convenient on their end and can also help your firm collect on invoices more quickly and consistently. A good legal practice management tool will include built-in payment processing, so you can process credit card payments while staying compliant with trust accounting rules.
Choosing a practice management software: what to consider
There are many practice management tools on the market, and it can be difficult to choose the right platform for your legal practice, but here are a few crucial considerations to bear in mind.
Where your firm is headed
Consider the long-term needs of your firm rather than focusing on individual and enticing features. Think about what your firm will need in 5 years to be efficient and profitable—and consider what tools your team will need down the line.
Where your firm is now
Though looking ahead is important, it’s also important to recognize the current inefficiencies in your workflows, and to choose the practice management software that can best fill those gaps. Look for the software that can best help your paralegals, attorneys, and staff streamline administrative tasks and collaborate on complicated legal matters.
Your budget and tech stack
It’s also important to consider your firm’s budget for your tech stack, including your practice management software.
One of the benefits of using legal practice management software is that it reduces the need for multiple tools. Without one, your firm might rely on separate software for time tracking, expense tracking, client communications, email, calendaring, case management, billing and invoicing, accounting, payment, and document management. With a practice management software, these functions are combined. So while a practice management software may be more expensive than some of your other individual software tools, it could allow you to save money in the long-term by eliminating the need for other software subscriptions.
CosmoLex has everything your firm needs to handle project management, time tracking, billing, accounting, and more, all in one place.
Our cloud-based software is secure, compliant, and easily accessible for firm staff. With easy billing options and on-the-go time capturing, your firm’s time and money won’t fall through the cracks. And since CosmoLex is designed specifically with law firms in mind, our software is fully optimized to fit the unique workflows of legal work.
Ultimately, the right practice management system will offer flexibility, support growth, and fit your firm’s specific needs. If you’re ready to get started with a law firm practice management solution, get in touch today and try Cosmolex for free.