Legal Practice Software Key Features
Perhaps you’ve heard from a peer at another law firm that they have new legal practice management software and they love it. Perhaps you are frustrated by the limitations and expense of your current LPMS (or lack thereof) (see Audit) and are searching for an alternative.
What should you be looking for when considering a new LPMS?
1. Access and Hardware
Legal practice management software can be provided as an on-premises, server based solution or via a cloud, browser-based solution, as well as hybrid solutions. There are pros and cons to each solution, though the cloud is predicted to eventually prevail.
2. Client and Matter Management
The ideal case management software keeps your client matters organized and puts all of that information at your fingertips. Further, the best LPMS is matter-centric, making a single entry point for all the integrated features that follow:
Legal practice management software can provide tools for managing your calendar, assigning tasks, managing work flows and docketing.
4. Secure Client Communication
Any good law practice management software must assure client data and communication security. You must safeguard your clients' information and correspondence. Bank-grade encryption, data redundancy, and physical server security are a must. A client portal for communicating and the two-way sharing of documents is critical.
5. Time and Billing
Ease of tracking time spent on client matters and automating the production of pre-bills, invoices and bulk invoicing saves you time and assures accuracy.
6. Collecting Payments
Having payment links within invoices speeds payment collection. Integration of collections with the firm’s accounting system assures accuracy and saves time.
Trust and business accounting functions that are integrated with client matters, time and billing minimizes data entry errors, saves time and provides the key performance indicators to manage your firm’s profitability.
8. Customer Relationship Management
From tracking prospects to automating the onboarding of new clients, a great LPMS will keep your most valuable resource well cared for. It makes your clients’ happier too!
9. Firm Dashboard
A customizable home screen dashboard will put the KPIs for your firm front and center so you can focus on profitability through data driven management of your firm.
Beyond the KPIs lie an array of financial and operational reports that can guide your focus on long term results.
11. Legal Document Management
An excellent document management system provides you with a built-in organizational system for your files, linking them to the matters they relate to. It should include permission based document sharing and collaboration with experts, co-counsel and clients.
12. Online Payments
Billing also entails payment processing, which allows clients to pay using their credit card or by ACH payments once they receive an invoice.
13. Task Management
Excellent law office software provides task management as a separate feature or in combination with calendaring. Here, you can establish task templates or scripted workflows at the outset of your engagement that automatically make calendar entries, tasks, and deadlines for your firm’s common case types.
14. Integrations with other software
Robust integrations with other software is the key to providing or enhancing many of the features above, as well as accessing even more features.
15. Mobile Access
The ability to have documents at your fingertips, start/stop a timer while away from your desk and other on-the-go features is critical in today’s anywhere, anytime work environment.
Curious about any of these features? Have needs that go beyond those listed above? Please contact me to discuss this further.