Not all law firms see the growing importance of law practice management software to improve their practices. Basically, this is because back in school, lawyers are not taught much about the business side of doing law practice where this kind of tool is important. Technology is progressing rapidly, and it is only a matter of time when something becomes outdated. That is why it is imperative that professionals will not let themselves fall behind their competitors without giving a good fight.
This article will explore the many benefits of adopting law practice management software, especially at this age of Information Technology. It has to be understood that in every industry, one can only thrive if it has that competitive advantage – the one that gives them the leverage through efficiency, productivity, and informed decisions. Aside from the emphasis on having an onboard team of skillful lawyers, you can drive more clients you need through an effective law practice management.
What Constitutes Effective Software for Law Practice Management?
What is law practice management software? It is rather a vague terminology; since it is surrounded by a number of areas in a law practice and it is difficult to generalize its benefits or the solutions it can give. Not all softwares are created equal, and the market for the best law practice management software is also robust to address each law practice area of priority. Nonetheless, it covers several or more areas within a law practice:
- Calendar and case schedules
- Time tracking and billing
- Document management
- Contact management
- Centralized casa database
In a business perspective, the law can be a profitable practice provided that it has the right elements that will draw more clients to the firm. Aside from being competitive law practitioners, your edge lies on the level of your efficiency in addressing their cases. This is done with effective communication and accurate time tracking to ensure that information is well-conveyed and understood. Since law firms are dealing with a number of clients at a time, having software to centralize the correspondence and activities will help in giving a simultaneous yet proper attention to each.
In a law firm business development statistics infographic posted in the Business of Law Blog in 2013, the state of the legal market puts emphasis on the big impact of customer relationship management to law firms when it comes to improving its profitability in the market. This dynamic shift of trends puts the spotlight on the increasing need for a strategic approach to improving the market share and client satisfaction over the legal services industry.
In today’s commerce, IT-based tools such as management software intend to provide the benefits of electronic systems, which is, in centralizing activities using a single platform and database. To maximize its value, it should be also capable of being integrated with your other existing systems such as accounting and payroll.
According to the findings of the American Bar Association about how lawyers are using web-based software for law practice management in 2015, as published in the website Law Technology Today, 72 percent of solo law practitioners and small law firms are using cloud-based storages in their respective law offices. Their compelling reasons? Convenience and affordability are at number one, followed by data accessibility.
Most of all, an effective law practice management software is something that is practically useful in almost all aspects of your law practice. Your intentions should match the software’s features and benefits, so make sure that you have a full understanding of your firm’s needs to maximize its purpose. Usability and functionality will bring the benefits to playing in the right perspective for your business. And of course, an open mind and the willingness to adopt new approaches brought by technology will make the software more effective in the long run.
Benefits of Getting Software to Manage Your Professional Law Practice
One of the biggest benefits of using technology to support your business is getting enterprise-like solutions. You can now manage multiple aspects of your business without needing extra manpower. You can also integrate systems and see how a streamlined workflow can make your employees more productive with their tasks. A law practice management software cloud can even help a small law firm to save up on costs and time to run its business that could compete, head-on, with bigger firms. Overall, the benefits of getting a law practice management software scale with your business and continuously adapt to its needs.
That being said, here are more advantages and benefits of getting law practice management software:
1. Organize your schedule for meetings and client calls
You can take advantage of its multi-functional calendar that is capable of storing the details for meetings and remind you accordingly. It can be customized according to your preferred time of reminder to help you manage your to-do list with efficiency. You can input important client calls, client meetings, deadlines, and all sorts of dates and times to remember which the system can alert you into. You can also view your schedules by day, week or month and see a bigger picture of your things to do. This way, you can be more productive with your schedules and avoid stress from work overload.
2. Automates your time tracking and billing
By integrating your contacts list to the software system, you can start linking phone calls and its details to each client, which can be used to make accurate billing and organized client file system. It is also an effective time tracking tool for your lawyers on the go, say when they go to meetings outside the office premises so that billing is done more accurately.
3. Manage your contacts
You can better organize your contacts by creating specific profiles for them. The system will then automatically associates all activities, notes, phone calls, and messages to each client for easily retrieval and tracking. Subsequent changes in the contacts list like name, number, or other information will automatically reflect on other files as well.
4. Streamlines communication
You can stay on top of your team by giving them a centralized communication interface where they can course through all correspondences and associated attachments. This way, the process is transparent among the team which encourages better accountability in terms of responsibility. It also standardizes the way important matters are raised and reports being submitted.
You may also schedule group meetings that will fit in everybody’s schedule. You may install a group calendar where all the team members can input their schedules. This way, you can search for group availability which the system can automatically do for you.
5. Consolidates files and integrate with your document management system
You can centralize all electronic documents by having a document system where authorized users can access any time. It can also integrate to another document management system so that other concerned departments can also utilize your law practice information, especially on the aspect of compliance.
6. Customizes your reports
You can view and customize the information you want for reports and see how your designated Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) fare in real-time. This way, you can have a better understanding of how your business runs, and spot areas for improvement.
7. Minimizes errors in data entry
The system can intelligently alert you if you input a duplicate entry for schedules. You can also pre-determine the entry formats or designate a drop down list to standardize data input.
8. Helps in securing compliance requirements
With its centralized document management system, the compliance team can easily locate updated information to be used to complete compliance requirements. With a streamlined workflow, the team can also effectively track the audit trail and check for discrepancies more efficiently.
An on-premise law practice management software system allows access from authorized users by configuring the network connection of all the computers to a server. This way, the team can manage the files on their own workstations. More modern law practice management software can also be migrated to the cloud as Software as a Service (SaaS) wherein a third-party provider hosts the facility while your company pays per use. A law practice management software online system can also be made accessible through a web browser or a mobile application.
10. Email integration
The software can be integrated to your company email system so it can automatically retrieve attachments and sort it for storage and access. The system can also organize your emails by having the system associate each to the right client in your contacts list. This makes retrieval and review of emails easier and faster.
11. Centralized task assignment and management
You can now delegate tasks complete with details to your employees within the system. You can also monitor their milestones and designate a sound deadline depending on the workload and deadlines imposed by the clients. You can see a bigger picture of your operations by looking at each individual progress so you can effectively measure their performance as well as for the team. You can also evaluate the progress of the cases which you can report to the clients as well.
12. Integration with other business systems
When considering law practice management software to choose, it is best to check its capability to integrate with your other existing systems say, a trust accounting software. This way, you can streamline the workflow all over your company.
What is the best law practice management software? Maximizing the value of your software doesn’t lie on how extensive its features are, but rather on its usability to your law practice. You need a system that you and your employees can fit in and benefit from. In the case of law practice, using technology to support the business side of things can help you focus on giving the best service for your clients.
See how the best law practice management software reviews of CrowdReviews.com can help you in choosing the right tool that will meet the specific needs of your law firm.
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