Running a law office is no easy task, especially in a solo or small practice firm. There is a constant need to strike a balance between administration and the actual practice of law. Fortunately, there are numerous computer programs on the market to assist with the various hats you wear each day. While you may be familiar with some that are tailored towards legal practice, you may not know what’s available on the administrative side. So, here’s a list of eleven apps that can help keep that balance and grow your law practice.
- QuickBooks – One of the most popular accounting applications in the business world, QuickBooks helps you track sales, expenses, profits, losses, and overhead costs. While the application does miss the mark on some of the specific billing needs of a legal practice, it still offers valuable accounting capabilities for keeping track of your firm’s financial well-being. Pair it with a comprehensive legal billing software like TimeSolv to handle all of your accounting and billing needs.
- Trial Pad – This app is designed to assists lawyers in arranging their courtroom presentations. It helps you organize your case files, complete with annotations, so you are ready for trial, mediation, or any other type of presentation. With Trial Pad, you can highlight text and create side-by-side document comparisons to share with your audience. You can also include edited video clips in your courtroom presentations.
- Fuze – When a client matter requires a conference call, Fuze is a video conferencing software that helps you host online meetings. The app works on a variety of devices, including iPhones and IPads, as well as Samsung phones and tablets. You will find it easy to download and use, with good video quality and audio you can actually hear.
- Wave – Wave is a cloud-based accounting alternative that is gaining traction among small businesses, sole proprietors, and freelance contractors. It is best suited for companies with less than 10 employees, allowing you to track sales and expenses, pay employees, maintain records of receipts, and generate a variety of financial reports. It also includes a personal finance software – so, as a solo practitioner or small practice owner, you can manage their personal finances within the same platform.
- Slack – This instant messenger platform enables communication throughout your entire office or smaller project teams. You control the privacy settings, in order to select which staff members can participate in each channel. What sets this app apart is the ability to drag and drop files, images, and PDFs right into the communication channels. With notification settings, your attorneys and staff members will always know when new messages or files are ready for their attention.
- Skype – Though there are numerous video conferencing options on the market, the Skype app is still very popular among all types of businesses. It allows for up to 25 people on a single call and also includes the ability to transmit photos, files, and videos. Skype also allows you to share your computer screen with everyone on the call.
- My Minutes – For the attorney with a wandering or overwhelmed mind, My Minutes is a personalized task app that keeps you focused on the duties at hand. The app allows you to set weekly, daily, and even hourly goals. You can budget your time by setting targets or limits on how much time you will spend on specific tasks. My Minutes also includes reminders, so you don’t miss out on important deadlines. The app includes a motivational aspect, allowing you to earn green streaks as goals are met. With My Minutes, you can prioritize your work day and organize your time according to the urgency of your tasks.
- Proven – Get your staff hiring in check with the Proven application. This program helps you create comprehensive job announcements and easily post them to numerous job boards simultaneously. Proven uses artificial intelligence to customize and choose the best job boards for your hiring needs, so you are more likely to receive viable candidates. Proven also helps you categorize job applications, quickly separating applicants into “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” categories. The program keeps track of candidate communications for easy follow up and interview scheduling. If your law firm is running smoothly, you shouldn’t have constant hiring needs, so Proven is a great app to help with those sporadic hiring spurts.
- Evernote – Organizing and storing information across multiple devices becomes an easy task with Evernote. If you are someone who likes to jot down notes on your cell phone and store interesting articles on your tablet, Evernote is the app that brings it all together on one platform. Go from disorganized sticky notes and legal pads to a structured system that is more conducive to actually getting things done. Evernote is becoming increasingly popular within the legal community, as a tool for overwhelmed lawyers. There are even numerous resources out there specifically aimed at helping lawyers get the most out of Evernote. Running a law office requires numerous ingredients, from marketing and administration to legal research and case management. Evernote helps you keep all of the moving parts in order.
- Expensify – If your law practice requires a lot of travel, Expensify is an app that helps you keep track of all your travel expenses. By linking your credit or debit card, you can easily create expense reports. You can also take photos of your receipts and allow the program to pull out relevant information for effective reporting and record keeping.
- Penultimate – Take your IPad from electronic device to a legal notepad with Penultimate. You can use your stylus or finger to take notes, which can be saved as a PDF and even sent to others as emails. It’s also a useful program for diagramming or sketching, particularly if you are someone who likes mapping or lists when brainstorming ideas. Penultimate is erasable, so you will never run out of “paper”. In fact, this digital handwriting app lets you get rid of the paper… or at least reduce it a little.
With these programs and apps, you can successfully tackle the administrative and legal sides of running your law office.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, The Legal Writing Studio, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.