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Legal Software: Practice Management, Office Accounting, and Time & Billing Options

At the heart of your law firm is an information management challenge. Law firms consume and produce a massive amount of data. The ability to effectively manage your time, case, and accounting data is critical to running a successful firm. In fact, it’s a major business opportunity. Increasing productivity, maintaining compliance, minimizing errors, billing more quickly… Each offers a chance to gain a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Selecting the right software tools is a key step in tackling the information management challenge facing your firm.

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Find out why thousands of businesses trust Software Connect to help narrow down thousands of options to a managable list of top recommendations. There’s no pressure, no obligation, and no cost. Sound good? Let’s get started!

The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter

Software for the legal firm

So, what specific capabilities do legal software options offer to lower operating costs and deliver improved service? Well, legal software can really be broken down into three distinct functional areas. Each functional area serves the goal of creating a more efficient and competitive firm. Practice management, office accounting, and time and billing software provide the three pillars of a complete approach to legal information management. Each can be purchased as an individual program. But, it is common to see all three offered together as a complete legal software suite. Understanding the distinct capabilities and benefits of practice management, legal accounting, and time and billing software, can help you determine which is most beneficial for your firm.

Manage case and client data with practice management software

Robust practice management software is critical to managing client and case information. A capable practice management program can make a huge difference in promoting visibility and oversight across all of your firms clients and matters. In this respect, practice management software offers not only the base functionality to manage client and matter data, but the foundation for collaboration across the firm. The right choice in this area can help ensure you are spending less time tracking and searching for information and more time acting on it.

Clients are the lifeblood of any legal firm. An important capability of practice management software is the ability to track client data. Contact management functionality not only tracks client info, but lets attorneys and other employees record interaction with clients and to associate their related matters. An organized approach to client data tracking is critical not only for executing case work, but for proper billing and client retention purposes.

Case work itself is complex. A significant part of this complexity stems directly from the information management challenge. Who owns responsibility for the case work? What information must be databased? What internal resources need to be applied? How will resources be scheduled? Case management features are designed to ease the process of answering these questions.

A critical aspect of tracking client and case information is document management. Practice management programs are designed to minimize the difficulty associated with assembling the relevant client and case data. Common document features include the ability to associate emails and calls with clients and case, easily access related forms, and share data with relevant employees.

Office accounting in the law firm

Law offices, of course, are not exempt from maintaining accurate accounting records. In fact, law firms face many of the same accounting challenges as other business, as well as some unique ones.

Accounting software packages designed for law firms offer a full range of financial management tools. Accounting features include the ability to:

  • Print checks,
  • Pay bills,
  • Track expenses,
  • Manage payroll,
  • Create orders and invoices,
  • Manage receivables,
  • Establish budgets,
  • Perform bank reconciliations, and
  • Create top level financial reports.

With the right legal accounting software you are better able to centralize your data. Providing controlled access to resources across your enterprise can help reduce operating costs. Integrated accounting capabilities help prevent data re-entry, minimize errors, avoid penalties or lost business resulting from a lack of compliance, and establish other financial management efficiencies.

Legal firms often have the unique, additional requirement of handling trust accounting. Strong cash management and bank reconciliation capabilities are a must when managing investments across a client portfolio. Assigning which funds can be dispersed, cutting checks, and maintaining proper records are functions supplied by trust accounting software. Generally, basic bookkeeping and more industry neutral accounting packages do not offer the features required for efficient management of trust accounting.

Time and billing software for law firms

Your main product, as a legal firm, is the time and expertise of your attorneys. And more specifically, its the application of that time to meeting your clients legal objectives. Consequently, in most cases, your billing is directly tied to the time spent on your clients’ matters. A capable time and billing program is therefore one of the most important information systems for any law firm.

Whether you are billing on hourly rates or flat-fees, time and billing software is designed to flexibly meet your time tracking and billing needs. Most programs offer the ability to both enter and track hours in real-time, as well as create after the fact time entries. The ease of which attorneys can track time has a direct relationship with the accuracy of the resulting billing statements. Tedious time-tracking approaches majorly inhibit the ability to accurately track and bill time. The market is rife with companies offering time and billing solutions, though. This competition works to your advantage. Software providers have been continually refining their ability to offer lightweight, accessible, and intuitive time and billing software choices.

Other considerations for the legal software buyer

Do you require a fully integrated legal software solution? That’s one of the main questions facing you as a buyer. As noted, practice management, legal accounting, and time and billing software can be found as standalone solutions. This sort of standalone approach can be very attractive. Companies often gravitate toward it in order to leverage existing investments by adding components. Standalone programs may offer more out of the box specialization and the ability to more closely target unique needs.

On the other side of the coin, there are many full systems that offer a complete, integrated approach. This type of approach can decrease ongoing support costs related to maintaining integration. Complete systems also promote efficiencies related to decreasing the duplication of data that might occur when maintaining multiple systems. Also, a consistent GUI is simpler and quicker to learn. The fact is, there are few industries where the minute-by-minute time spent by users learning software represents as significant of a lost earning opportunity as with law firms.

Another important consideration for legal firms is the access to support and services. Implementing a new software program is a major decision not only because of the monetary cost, but the potential impact on time. Data conversion—that is, bringing in your existing data to a new system—is particularly intense for law firms because of the data-centric nature of the business. Additionally, there is a learning curve with new systems. Consequently, for even the smallest firms, it’s almost always advisable to contract with a knowledgeable software partner for implementation, training, and support services.

Taking the next steps

If you are at the point where you are ready to find which legal software options are right for you, we can help. Through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate a handful of solutions that can address the issues you are currently experiencing. Get started today!

Popular Legal Software Products

Looking for software for your legal firm? Over the years, we’ve helped match thousands of firms just like yours with great software. Below you can check out a list of the options most commonly considered by others in your industry. Browse for fits or let us help you find the best choices for your needs.

Which software is right for you? Get quick and accurate recommendations.

What if you could simply tell someone about your software needs and they’d find your best choices? Look no further. We’ll listen to your needs and find your top software matches. That’s it. There’s no pressure, no cost.

The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter
  • AbacusLaw by AbacusNext

    Unlike competing software that forces you to work within the constraints of the program, AbacusLaw is designed to let you choose how you want to practice, then configures to your unique needs. So whether you practice in one area of law or many,...

  • PCLaw® by LexisNexis®

    Take the headaches out of running the business of law with software that enables firms to easily manage matters; track time, expenses, calendar appointments and tasks; bill and collect payment from clients; pay vendors; reconcile bank statements;...

  • LawToolBox by LawToolBox

    LawToolBox automates deadlines and rule changes so litigators can focus on the substantive issues that will win or lose their cases. Deadlines for Outlook Outlook 2007 – 2010 Office 365/Outlook 2013 Deadlines for Matter...

  • PCLawPro by Alumni Computer Group

    PCLawPro has all of the easy to use features of PCLawJr, but also includes accounts payable, networking, past due notices, and a diary system. PCLawPro starts at 10 users/10 timekeepers. ## Accounts Payable The Accounts Payable module gives your...

  • ByLaw & Revenue by Diamond Municipal Solutions

    The Bylaw Series tightly integrated Business Licensing, Pet Licensing and Cemetery Management modules are designed to assist in typical revenue and management functions of local governments. Use windows-based computing to make efficient work of...

  • Clio by Themis Solutions Inc.

    Completely web-based, Clio is a practice management system that is specifically designed for solo practitioners and small law firms. Your important client data is securely accessible anywhere—from your PC, your Mac, and even your iPhone. DOCUMENT...

  • CosmoLex by CosmoLex

    CosmoLex software is built for one purpose only – to simplify Legal Practice Management. Whether you’re an attorney or law firm, Legal Billing & Timekeeping Software by CosmoLex puts an end to time wasted by trying to work in multiple programs. Our...

  • MyCase by MyCase

    MyCase provides affordable, intuitive, and powerful web-based practice management software designed for modern solo and small firm legal professionals. Get the time-saving benefits of MyCase so you can spend less time managing your practice and more...

  • Amicus Attorney by AbacusNext

    Amicus Attorney integrates with your favorite applications into a lean, mean, automated machine that improves efficiency and profitability. Large, small, or in-between, we're here to help you grow! Designed for legal professionals who want the...

  • Perfect Practice by ADC Legal Systems

    Perfect Practice Case Management integrated with Time and Billing provides your firm a solid foundation for your entire practice or business management needs. You can customize our solution as you evolve, giving your firm one solution to handle all...

  • Aderant Expert by Aderant

    Aderant Expert is a comprehensive suite of integrated legal software applications that helps law and professional services firms better serve their clients, manage their operations and maximize their profitability. Specifically designed to meet the...

  • Court Management by CMI

    CMI's complete court management tool. Users have the ability to track all aspects of a case through the court. - Court Case...

  • PowerPM by Commercial Logic

    OVERVIEW - PowerPM is a full featured practice management product with integrated CRM, Contact Management, billing, accounts receivable, and management information systems. PowerPM works in conjunction with other Commercial Logic products...

  • Legalmaster by Computer Software for Professionals

    Legalmaster is a powerful PC-based law office management software package currently in use by over 20,000 attorneys in firms of from one to 300 attorneys. Yes, it's Y2K-compliant. Time accounting and billing Open item accounts receivable...

  • DDI Practice Management System by DDI

    Since 1980, DDI, Inc. has helped law, accounting and professional service firms across the country improve their daily operations and bottom line through innovative and fully integrated practice management software. ## Conflict Checking/Extended...

  • TrackMaster Legal Software by Herzog & Associates

    Document Management software that writes numerous documents for any given legal case with only having to enter the data...

  • Court View by Caselle

    Finding a better software solution to manage your court is a question only you can answer. You are the expert on your court. You know how it should run. We're here to provide software that can manage your list of demands. Maintaining a close...

  • Legal Files by Legal Files Software, Inc.

    When the application was first developed in the mid 1980s, its focus was on serving the needs of multi-office law firms, by providing the most up-to-date information on every case to each person in every office, regardless of the geographic area....

  • Law Office Management System by Legal Software Systems

    Our Law Office Management System for Windows is a fully integrated system designed specifically for law firms. It satisfies the most sophisticated financial management, case management, and document management needs of law firms from all practice...

  • LegalPad 10 by Micro Craft

    Our Legal Series Software has helped thousands of law firms become more productive and profitable. We offer Verdict10 time and billing, LegalPad10 (a lite version of Verdict for entries only), General Ledger 8, CheckWrite 8 and Docket 9. Our...

  • Orion by Orion Law Management Systems

    Orion is your law firm's complete solution to centralizing and automating your Financial Management, Firm Management, and Practice Management. This fully integrated system allows you to enter an entry once and automate the process of posting the...

  • Retain by Pentana

    Retain is a software solution that meets the challenges of resource scheduling by allowing you to view and manipulate staff/job allocations efficiently and effectively in order to maximise utilization of available resources. Resembling a manual...

  • Rocket Matter by Rocket Matter

    Rocket Matter is the leading web-based law practice management software that handles legal billing, document management, trust accounting, client management, and task management. Integrates with Box, Dropbox, and Evernote. Includes iPhone, Droid, &...

  • SmartAdvocate by SmartAdvocate

    SmartAdvocate® is a fully integrated case management system created for personal injury and mass tort litigation practice. Designed by personal injury lawyers who understand the challenges of case management in today’s fast paced, highly...

  • KeyVision by SoftVenture

    KeyVision allows lawyers to monitor all key factors in their business: full reports regarding revenues, open invoices, efficiency for each lawyer and for the company, billing status, clients, contracts, time spent per each contract, file or...

  • PracticeMaster by Software Technology

    Practice management software that helps you find case, client and contact information for your law firm, and find it fast. Integrates with Tabs3 Billing Software, QuickBooks®, Paperport®, Outlook®, Blackberry devices (using...

  • Practice CS by Thomson Reuters

    The Practice CS allows you to manage your firm and stay on top of staff work flow. To do this, Practice CS uses a customizable digital dashboard; allowing you to manage your firms day to day activities from one location. Additionally, this...

  • Legal Insight by Versys

    Legal Insight is a comprehensive system addressing all aspects of law firm billing, accounting, management and reporting. It is fully integrated and is offered in modules, which include options to address the needs of individual law firms. The...

  • Clear Biz by Clear Biz

    Clear Biz helps Accounting Professionals take control of their practice. The program was specifically designed to effectively manage clients, tasks/deadlines, personal and corporate taxes, billing and much more. The software includes built-in...

Your Legal Software Recommendations

Ready to find out which software solutions are best suited for your business? Great! Understanding that you are searching for your legal firm gives us a good start. We’ve helped many companies find everything from single modules to full financial management systems. With a bit more information about your unique needs, we’ll narrow down to the choices meeting your specific functional requirements.

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