It takes a lot to run a successful law office, and the abundance of tools and resources on the market only makes it more challenging to figure out the best options for your law firm. This post will explore 12 of the most common business tools used by attorneys and firms. So, if you’re unsure about which tools your practice can and cannot live without, this is the list for you.
- Practice management software – Law practice management software is a useful tool no matter how big or small the firm. These tools let law firms manage and automate cases, communications, calendars, court forms, templates and case files. While there are various types of practice management software options, cloud-based platforms offer greater organization, improved security, and a higher level of accessibility.
- Legal research tools – These are tools that make legal research quick, easy, and affordable. With the simple user interface, attorneys and support staff can upload legal documents and the software quickly identifies relevant case law, saving potential hours of research. Platforms like CaseText and FastCase maintain large databases of state and federal case law and statutes, so you have an entire legal database at your disposal. These programs also offer citator tools to take the guesswork out of citations.
- Note-keeping tools – Think about all of the ideas, notes, and thoughts you have during any given day. If you’re maintaining all of these thoughts on random pieces of paper, you need a better option. Note-keeping tools allow attorneys to keep track of all their notes in one place. With platforms like Google Keep and Evernote, you can keep it all together and organized from your phone, tablet or laptop. From pictures to event reminders and shopping lists, a note-keeping tool makes your random thoughts a lot less random.
- Productivity software – Lawyers have a lot on their plates each day, but productivity software helps them stay organized and on task. There are a variety of software options on the market that can be used on desktops and laptops. You can also choose from various apps for your tablet or smartphone. From calendars to reminders and to-do lists, these options help you move through the workday more efficiently and effectively.
- PDF conversion software – As more and more law offices choose to go paperless; a PDF conversion program is a must-have to turn all of those cumbersome paper documents into PDF files. With this software, users can scan paper to PDF and even apply OCR to scanned images for editing purposes. This software also allows you to add encryption, remove metadata, and build forms. Adobe Acrobat continues to be the leader in PDF conversion software.
- Document automation/document assembly software – The future of legal technology has provided innovative options for building documents. With a document automation program, lawyers can customize existing templates in a number of ways, as necessary to meet the needs of specific clients. With clause databases, lawyers can insert specialized wording into documents.
- Time tracking software– Accurate time tracking is vitally important for law firm success. So, effective software is imperative. Recording every minute of time means more revenue and profit for your firm. TimeSolv time tracking and billing software offer law firms the tools they need to track every hour and send bills in a timely manner. TimeSolv’s time tracking tool lets attorneys track their time as soon as tasks are completed. With their cloud-based software and mobile app, users can track their tasks from virtually anywhere in the world, even without an internet connection. The system then automatically synchs the tracked information when an internet connection becomes available. With multiple timers, timekeepers can track several tasks simultaneously. Custom abbreviations also allow attorneys to create a uniform language for the entire firm and save time while making entries.
- Billing software – Every minute you spend working on an invoice is one less minute of billable time. With TimeSolv’s invoicing tools, law firms can get bills out faster using flexible templates and custom narratives. With LEDES billing options and automatic tax calculations to easy-to-apply discounts, TimeSolv makes it simple and easy for law firms to turn tracked hours into detailed bills with minimal effort.
- Document management software – While you may be able to get some document management with a general document automation tool, a standalone management tool offers more comprehensive useful versions of these features, including version control, check-in/check-out access control features, integration with folder systems like Google Drive, and related software like Microsoft Word. Offline access, matter management, labeling, and global search functions are also offered with document management software platforms. The organization and efficiency of these programs are extremely useful for law firms that work in team settings.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software – CRM tools provide basic contact management features, including the ability to add notes to files, and data analytics that can help convert leads into conversions. With these platforms, law firms can keep track of all client communication with a comprehensive view of your law firm, you can better which marketing strategies are successful, and which ones are not call-tracking functionality.
- Internal communication platform – To improve law office communications, many law firms are implementing restricted-access, internal communication systems. Platforms with calendaring features allow lawyers to assign tasks and make notes on those items. Asana is a platform that helps keep all team members on the same page with workflows, milestones, and automation tools.
- Accounting software – While attorneys use legal billing software to handle client accounting needs, general accounting platforms like QuickBooks can be extremely helpful for maintaining the business accounting needs of the firm. Its features help you keep track of your firm revenue and expenses, so you will always have a clear view of your firm’s financial well-being.
At their core, law firms are businesses that need to run as such. These useful tools help attorneys build their practices while also providing stellar legal representation. To learn more about TimeSolv, click here for a free trial.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.