Software for Law Firms

Software for Law Firms

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Software for Law Firms


A Short Guide to Software for Law Firms

What is law firm software?

Law firm software assists law firms in the everyday tasks of their job, from keeping track of their schedules to writing binding contracts and petitions to conducting legal research. Such a definition is very broad—any word processing software can be defined as law firm software under it—but it makes clear that to be successful, law firms must depend on a number of different resources.

What is case management software for law firms?

Case management software helps lawyers to manage all of their information related to their clients and cases. Think of it as a computer-based amalgamation of calendar, filing cabinet and accounts ledger, since this software allows you to record important data such as contact information, appointment schedules, and payments already made.

Special case management software is made for very large firms, but the majority are pitched and small-sized firms with an indication being that they do away with the need for a legal secretary or personal assistant. At larger firms, case management software is purchased to increase efficiency among support staff.

Some of the important tasks of case management law firm software include:

Case management: Software allows you to save in one location all information about past and ongoing cases with an efficient mechanism for searching through them; database enables quick checks for conflicts of interest and statute of limitation violations.

Time tracking and billing: Record your billable time to the minute, with the extra precision giving both yourself and your client extra ease; with the same program allows you to easily calculate billings and even backward search to see which billings resulted from which work periods.

Annual calendar and docket: Schedule appointments, meetings and court appearances months or even years ahead of time and store the information in secure location that you can’t forget; lets support staff view your calendar to help build meetings around your time.

Contact management: The centralized interface allows you to log information regarding past phone calls, e-mails, formal letters, and petitions, billing time when appropriate and scheduling dates when later contact is required.

Document assembly: Allows you to use word process technology in pre-built legal forms and documents; enables the creation of self-made templates and documents as well.

Mobile access: Connect with all the information stored through your case management law firm software via your smart phone.

Some of the most popular case management law firm software includes:

1. Abacus Law Classic: Price is customizable based on firm-size and options, with a no-obligation quote available here: https://www.abacuslaw.com/forms/pricing/index.php.

2. Amicus Attorney: Small firm edition starts at $500 with a $400 first year license. Large firm editions start at $1,000. 

3. Clio: A web-based case management law firm software, it doesn’t require installation with a physical disk. Also, pricing is based on a monthly subscription fee: $50 per month for each lawyer and $25 per month for each member of support staff.

What is law firm software as a service?

Software as a service indicates that a law firm software is not actually bought, installed and licensed, but instead rented with no physical disk ever being bought. One the service of its use is purchased on a month-by-month basis or whatever other time schedule is agreed upon.

The main advantage of the software as a service format is that it allows for continual development of the software. When you purchase software on CD-ROM, it remains essentially the same program the entire time it is installed, until you buy a whole other program. With software as a service, the software can be updated online on a day-to-day basis, so that all conceptual developments in law firm software are taken into account.

Another great advantage of law firm software as a service is that it is available across the whole spectrum of personal computers. While physical software usually requires a Windows PC with an up-to-date operating program, software as a service can run on any machine including an Apple computer because software as a service is accessed through a computer’s internet browser. This also makes access through smartphones like IPhones much easier.

A significant drawback of law firm software as a service is that all of your data will be stored remotely or “in the cloud.” Since all attorneys are legally obligated to keep your client information confidential, significant concern has to be shown from the software company that they’ve taken measures against outside hacking or any other methods of information leakage. The most reputable software as a service firms argue that their systems are safer than traditional ones because they have complex security measure in place, while most firms simply leave records in the office computer, entirely vulnerable to physical theft.

As far as cost goes, it is difficult to evaluate which is cheaper, traditional law firm software or software as a service. Traditional law firm software usually costs several hundreds of dollars, plus hundreds of more in annual licensing fees. Still, you’ll likely be paying around $50 a month for software as a service, or around $600 yearly. This is less than the cost of a new edition of physical software, but you will spend more in two year with software as a service than if you simply used purchased software for two years without change. 

There are many prominent software as service products. They include:

• AdvologixPM

• Bill4Time

• Clio

• Kemp’s Case Works

• Lexbe

• Net Documents

• NextPoint

• Rocket Matter

• TimeSolv WorkSolv

• Time59

• VLOTech

What is hosted software for law firms?

There is a rival to legal software as a service programs called hosted software. Hosted software is  not necessarily accessed via your interned browser and doesn’t include multi-tenancy, which allows for more than one lawyer or professional to access a single document or application instance. Programs that qualify as hosted software include Masterfile and Lexis Nexis Concordance Hosted FYI. 

 

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