A few years back, Microsoft Office was all the technology many law firms needed to run most of their internal processes. Today, even Office has been supplanted by cloud-based collaboration web apps like Google Docs.
This alone shows how much technology has changed to make the office more efficient and productive. As a law firm, you also need to keep your office running on the right software tools in 2021 and beyond to overcome the new challenges that have cropped up in 2020.
However, with so many software tools to choose from, you need to find the right law firm software that will help you work better, cut costs, and grow your firm.
This article takes an expert look at the top software tools that fulfill these needs. These tools help you to leverage the power of technology in daily functions such as case management, legal document management, productivity, communication, billing, and many more. Using these tools, your law firm will achieve better operational efficiency and generate better returns.
How to Choose the Best Law Firm Software
There is no such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to lawyer software, so it is a matter of finding what works best for you. The first thing you need to do is decide whether to go for an all-in-one software stack that covers all the needs of an average law firm or go for multiple specialist solutions that target specific functions.
The best law firm software will focus on a few aspects of law firm management that it can do exceptionally well. It can also integrate with other software programs so that you, as the client, can get the best of everything.
That is the case with LawBillity time tracking and billing software for law firms. While LawBillity specializes in time-tracking, billing, and reporting, it also integrates natively with tools like QuickBooks, Invoice Tracker, and LawPay. This way, LawBillity provides an all-rounded approach to law firm management solutions.
In addition to functionality, there are a few other concerns you have to think about when choosing law practice management software tools.
- On-premise vs. cloud-based: cloud-based software has now overshadowed on-premise tech solutions because of its versatility, portability, and affordability.
- Security: the software you choose needs to have solid security layers to protect you from confidentiality breaches, ransomware attacks, hacking, and exposure.
- Compliance: there are industry regulations regarding the tracking of billable hours, financial reporting, task tracking and follow-up, invoicing, document management, and others. The software you choose must meet the relevant regulatory standards.
- Cost: given that software today is subscription-based, it needs to be affordable depending on the size of your practice.
- Support: support is a must-have for any software platform today so that any problems arising can be resolved quickly.
- Scalability: the software you choose needs to grow with you and accommodate increased demand seamlessly.
- Ease of use: choose legal software tools that are simple, intuitive, and enjoyable to encourage lawyers to use them. Many of them may still be skeptical about using technology in their work.
LawBillity: Time, Billing, and Reporting
Lawyers lose anywhere from 25% to 50% of their time.
Sadly, it is a commonly accepted fact that lawyers will overcharge or undercharge their work at some point due to inaccurate timekeeping. This leads to money lost, which, given the current economic downturn, is unacceptable.
LawBillity provides the tools necessary to track both billable and non-billable hours in a simple, seamless way. In addition to accurate time tracking, the software also helps you to turn tracked time into branded LEDES and LSS format invoices for quick billing and payment. LawBillity has GPS tracking for transparent time tracking and billing.
LawBillity also brings added functionality such as invoice tracking, payments, and management of leave requests. It provides superb tools for cloud-based time and billing with comprehensive reporting for your law firm to help you take control of your operations in 2021 and beyond.
Clio: Legal Practice Management
Clio is a fully-fledged Law Practice Management Software (LPMS). It covers functions such as client management, case management, trust accounting, document management, and legal calendaring. Like LawBillity, Clio is also cloud-based.
Clio LPMS is designed primarily for larger law firms and offers affordable pricing in three tiers. Clio’s greatest strength is its ability to integrate with over 120 popular software tools such as Google Workspace, Quickbooks, and Allocate Legal.
Microsoft Office: Productivity Tools
The enterprise division of Microsoft Office went to the cloud long ago and comes to you as the highly popular Microsoft 365. The cloud suite offers office productivity tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, OneDrive, etc.
As a set of web-based tools, Microsoft 365 allows you to do everything around the office collaboratively, securely, and from anywhere. Every law firm will need Microsoft 365 for email, documents, and communication.
Zoom/Microsoft Teams: Video Conferencing
With the lockdown and isolation taking place in 2020, many law firms were forced to work from home like everyone else. Many lawyers discovered the use of video conferencing as a means of reliable communication on legal matters, and it helped them to continue working even while isolated.
Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams are among the best video conferencing apps because they can be used for free. With up to an hour of free calls or group meetings, they are invaluable tools for law firms in 2021. For more functionality and security, the premium version of Teams is quite affordable and appropriate for both small and large firms.
Adobe Acrobat: PDF Conversion
PDF document format means Portable Document Format, a secure and easily transferable document format that is widely used by lawyers. It helps to keep client data secure while remaining easy to open, share, and archive as needed. Adobe Acrobat is the world’s most popular PDF conversion software due to its functionality and security.
Dropbox: File Management
Law firms run on documents, and a standardized document or file management system is one of the best investments you can make. It helps you maintain fast, efficient file retrieval, storage, sharing, and tracking.
Given the many thousands of documents and files you are likely to deal with every year, a robust file management system is necessary. Dropbox is one of the top file management systems that also allows you to work with different types of files such as documents, images, and videos.
Dropbox is cloud-based, but you can also sync to an internal storage system. Your documents will be securely accessible from anywhere in the world, which ensures better productivity and collaboration. Already, over 60% of lawyers use Dropbox to manage digital files securely, safely, and efficiently.
Try LawBillity for Free
As Bloomberg Law reports, COVID-19 has forced many law firms to rethink the way they do business. They are asking questions like “Do we really need to be in the office” and “Do we really need all this?” What is happening is that many of them are looking to recalibrate, cut costs, gain new clients, and find ways to deliver a better customer experience.
Technology has helped law firms through the pandemic, and it will help them to recover and grow in 2021. LawBillity is one of the top software solutions that is poised to help your firm save money, achieve better operational efficiency, and get you better control over your firm’s administration. To see how our powerful law firm software solution will help you do this, sign up to try LawBillity for free today.
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Time Tracking & Billing Solutions For Legal Professionals