How to Choose Law Practice Management Software [Guest Post]

Your options for law practice management software grow constantly, making an important decision even more challenging. Here’s what you need to know to make that decision much easier.

We thank Sam Glover and the team at Lawyerist.com for this helpful guest post.

There are more law practice management software options today than ever before, and it seems like new options come out every few weeks. With such an abundance of options, deciding which product is best for your firm can be a challenge. Here’s what we think you need to do in order to meet that challenge and choose practice management software for your firm.

First, you have the right to expect a few things of your software providers. We call it a “bill of rights” for legal software. You should expect that:

  1. The price of legal software shall be published.
  2. There shall be a free trial, which shall be easy to get started.
  3. If software requires onboarding, onboarding should not cost extra.
  4. Security measures shall be clearly described.
  5. It must be possible to export data in a useful format.

Second, identify your requirements for law practice management software in two lists: must-have and nice-to-have features. Be prepared to be flexible; different software may offer the “same” feature in different ways. And remember: software is a tool, not a silver bullet. No software is going to do everything for you. (Although some software will do some things for you!) Check out this post from Heidi for more on making your list.

Third, compare the options with our law practice management software comparison chart. It identifies key features of all the software in our directory so you can identify the products that may meet your requirements. With the chart in hand, you should be able to narrow the options to 2 or 3. Once you know which seem most likely to meet your firm’s needs, sign up for a trial account with each and give them a try.

Here are some tips for your trial period. Don’t just poke around. Use a sample case and take it through each step in your process, from intake to outcome. Try to go through the same steps in each of the options you are testing. If the software offers advanced or unusual features, make sure you test them out, too.

You may be tempted to try to find the “best” software. Don’t. There is no such thing. Every product is different, and every product has lawyers that love it and those who don’t.

When asking other lawyers for recommendations, be strategic. Find out what they like about the software they actually use, and what complaints they have. If they are using it despite their complaints, find out why. (Sometimes the biggest fans also have the biggest complaints.) Compare their firm and its software requirements to your own list so you know whether their complaints are relevant to you.

If everyone at the firm is bought in to adopting new software, make a choice and commit to learning to get the most from your choice.


 

Visit the Law Practice Management Software section in our Mass LOMAP Startup Kit for some more information, and Massachusetts lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals can schedule a free consultation with one of our law practice advisors to discuss options further.


This post was delivered by Sam Glover and the Lawyerist.com team. Lawyerist is home to the largest online community of solo and small-firm lawyers in the world, where we help lawyers start, manage, and grow successful practices.

 

Technology Lawyers Need to Adopt in 2018

Find out what technology you need to focus on implementing in your law practice to elevate performance without burning out.

Some tech decisions are obvious, like opting to use a second monitor. But there’s an overwhelming range of choices to consider implementing across your law practice. If you’re a lawyer, you don’t have time to waste evaluating endless options. Tech exists to help us save time.

Automation tops the list of time-saving tech. To figure out where and what you should start automating in your law practice, read this post from Heidi.

Of course, tech has more to offer than time-saving abilities. And our friends at Attorney at Work sourced expert input on the most worthwhile tech to focus on in 2018. Heidi contributed the following:

Quality client service continues to remain one of the most essential aspects of a successful law practice. Indeed, elevating the needs of your clients will lead to more consistent collections, return clients, and referrals. While there is no doubt that focusing on client service has its time and place, the only way you can provide real value and efficacy to your clients is by putting yourself first.

There is something accurate underlying that annoying recitation to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. The reality is that practice is stressful and if you ignore your own needs you will burn out. If you are so busy that you can’t stop to take a breath, it’s time to take a step back from your practice and focus on you. What does this all have to do with upgrading your legal tech?

Well, legal tech solutions are no longer a scarcity; essentially, you can find an existing product to suit any one of your practice needs. Most importantly, implementing a legal tech solution requires thoughtful research, vetting, planning, training, and more; not to mention budgetary considerations. If you don’t have the mental bandwidth or proper mindset to adequately implement legal tech, it will lead to frustration, increased costs, and ultimately failure.

That said, before you dive headlong into system upgrades, work on first taking care of you. Schedule time for yourself on a daily basis, try exercising regularly, learn about mindfulness, test out mediation using an app such as Headspace or Calm, or just take a moment to breathe (try setting a timer or use Apple Watch’s Breathe app). Better yet, if you can make these practices a habit, you’ll reduce stress and approach your practice with clear head, thus enabling you to effectively implement whatever tech your practice needs in 2018.

. . .

Heidi’s expert colleagues offered a range of other suggestions in the full post on Attorney at Work:

  • Consider a Client Portal
  • Use Intelligent Client Intake
  • Communicate on Slack
  • Bring Together Best of Breed Apps
  • Reduce Production Time
  • Safeguard your Digital Credentials

You can find more Tech Tips here and in the Friday 5+ Tech Tip archive.

With every passing year, tech becomes more critical in every industry. ABA TECHSHOW 2018 has everything lawyers need to know about practicing more efficiently, serving clients more effectively, and better managing our daily lives with the most useful practical tools available. Registration is now open with early rates until January 22: Use our Discount Code – EP1819.