Do you feel like everyone you know is getting new software and moving to the Cloud? Do you understand what all the bells and whistles are or if you even need them? Software selection can be time consuming and frustrating.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be putting together a series of articles about the various legal software available to solo and small firms.   What the different types of software do and popular “brands”.

I’m not an IT provider and I’m not going to put a link at the end of the article to the software I recommend. In fact, I’m not going to make any recommendations. The goal is to explain which software does what in order to help you to decide if that type of software provides value to you and your firm.

Let’s start with the Glossary:

  • LPM, PM – Legal Practice Management Software
  • SaaS – Software as a Service – cloud based software
  • LCM, CM – Legal Client Management Software
  • LDM, DM – Legal Document Management Software
  • Time & Billing – Time capture and client billing.
  • Accounting – Firm financial software and accounts payable.
  • Cloud Software – The server is not in your office; it is in Ohio or Arizona or . . .
  • Dashboard – One Screen showing all program features in one place or all programs in one place.
  • Back Office Software – software that is related to the business of your law practice, not your practice of law.

Legal Practice Management Software

This software typically tries to put all needs of a law firm’s back office into one program. These programs normally provide information based on Matters and Task Type.

It usually has a dashboard type of interface. One screen would show different features.

For example:

  • Calendar
  • Bills
  • Hours
  • Tasks
  • Contacts
  • Documents
  • Internal Communications

At a glance you may be able to see – how many hours you have billed, what you need to do today, and firm financial metrics.

You will have access to this information anywhere you have an internet connection. The idea is that you work from this dashboard for all of your needs and information is at your fingertips.

Some of the players in this arena are:

  • AbacusLaw
  • Clio
  • CosmoLex
  • Gavel
  • MyCase
  • LEAP
  • Practice Panther
  • Rocket Matters

Questions to ask yourself and the software provider:

  • How many people will this program support if my firm grows?
  • How long have you been providing his software to law firms?
  • Will I use all of the features?
  • How well does it work with my other programs?
  • What is the cost of implementation?
  • How much customization does the program allow?

My suggestions for helping you make decisions:

  • Find someone who uses the program and talk to them.  
  • Do not assume it is easy and won’t take any time to convert.
  • Ask the company for referral to a person or company outside of their company to help personalize the program and train you and your staff. Find out the cost for their services.
  • For a 30-day trial, input only one or two client files. Not your entire practice.
  • Call the help line after hours to see what type of support they provide.
  • Do not feel rushed. The Great Price will be there in two weeks.

Next, I’ll explain Client Management Software. //

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