What is Legal Software and Why Does Your Firm Need it?

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Technology, including legal software programs, plays a big part in ensuring that your firm runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. The right tools can make all the difference, saving both time and money. On the other hand, outdated technology can lead to redundancies and inefficiencies that directly affect your firm’s bottom line.

It’s no surprise that lawyers have used different types of legal software to help them run their firms for decades. These legal software programs run the gamut, from legal research and dictation tools to software for word processing and legal billing.

When the necessary law office technology is in place, your firm’s processes are streamlined, and thus overall productivity increases. But that’s only the case if you choose the best law firm software for your practice. If your firm hasn’t upgraded its tech stack in a while, then it’s time to make it your priority in 2022.

How Can Legal Software Benefit Different Types of Law Practices?

The process of determining which legal practice software to use, which office functions to automate, and how to implement these solutions into your firm is not necessarily an easy one. There are several factors to consider when you decide to transition to new legal software services. That’s why we’re here to help make this journey easier.

Firstly, you must carefully consider your goals before you begin your research. Your choices and roadmap for implementation will vary greatly depending on whether you’re just hanging out a shingle or already have existing legacy software programs in place.

Once you’ve taken stock and identified your goals, you need to assess your current systems and determine which functions are ripe for automation. For example, if you’re just getting started, you want to consider building a legal software system from the ground up. Alternatively, if your law firm is already well-established and you’ve been using the same software programs for years, it may be time to upgrade to more advanced cloud-based legal software.

Legal Software in Use by Practice Area

Practice areas can also affect your technology choices. When lawyers have a single practice area focus, they often need practice-area-specific legal office software, which can offer unique functionalities and features that are frequently determined by court-mandated deadlines and forms. Since these court-specific rules directly affect a law firm’s workflows and processes, practice-area-focused software is highly desirable.

In recent years, due to a rise in demand, the number of practice-area-specific legal office management software tools has increased significantly. As a result, there were many new entrants in the market for the following types of law practices: personal injury, immigration, bankruptcy, elder care, and intellectual property software.

Which Types of Legal Software Does a Law Practice Need?

The options for different software available are seemingly limitless, and more are being developed every day. From productivity and to-do apps to billing and calendaring apps, there is online legal software available that can help you accomplish just about any task you can imagine, no matter what your practice area.

For example, criminal defense or family law attorneys require legal software packages with robust time-tracking, deadlines and court date calendaring, and document management. As Benson Varghese, Managing Partner at Varghese & Summersett, a criminal defense law firm, explains, the efficiency gained by using legal case management software, is the key to his firm’s success: “There’s no way we could have scaled a criminal defense firm to 10 people working towards a common goal without it.”

Similarly, according to William Neal of Neal Ashmore Family Law Group, “We’re more productive because of our practice management software. The more I can tell other lawyers what we need to be doing and how we need to be doing it, the better for the client, the more streamlined for the client–and the better the result for the client.”

Investing in the Right Legal Software 

When it comes to choosing the right legal software for your firm, it can be challenging to get started. Additionally, ascertaining which systems to upgrade is never an easy decision. When making this assessment, a thorough understanding of your firm’s needs and daily operations is crucial.

The very first step to take when choosing legal software services for your law firm is to determine what you’re trying to achieve. Ask yourself:

  • What’s working and what’s not?
  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • What aspects of your law practice are inefficient?
  • What’s draining your firm’s productivity?

Then, determine what types of leading legal software will solve those problems. Do you need all-in-one software like law practice management software, or will a tool that provides a single function, such as time-tracking software, do the trick? Once you’ve identified the types of software you need, your next step is to research the products available.

One key factor that will affect your choice is your budget. It’s important to determine your budget before looking at your options. Otherwise, you risk spending time on a software tool that your firm can’t afford to purchase.

What is the Best Legal Software for Your Firm?

Also important when researching software options is to thoroughly understand the features that are built into the software. Popular legal software features you may need include:

  • Secure communication via a client portal
  • Document and file storage
  • Task management tools
  • Workflow management tools
  • Time-tracking, invoicing, and payment tools

Finally, don’t forget to test-drive the software to ensure it’s intuitive and user-friendly. Can you figure out how it works on your own, or will you and your staff need training? If the software seems complex, how long will that training take? Perhaps it’s not worth the time investment if there are more user-friendly options available from another vendor.

Once you’ve found the best legal software for your firm, make sure your staff is comfortable with it and understands both how it works and how you would like them to use it. If necessary, schedule a training session or two with the vendor. Most reputable vendors offer both 1-on-1 training sessions and training webinars. After everyone is comfortable with the software, set a date for everyone to start using it. Then reap the benefits of your investment and watch the magic happen as your firm becomes more efficient and profitable.

The Way Ahead

Is your firm wasting valuable time by relying on clunky paper-based systems that are outdated? If so, it’s time to take advantage of cloud-based legal software packages that streamline your law firm’s processes from client intake to final billing.

FAQ

What is legal software?

Legal software refers to applications and platforms used by law firms to help streamline and automate legal processes. There are standalone legal software solutions, all-in-one legal software systems with several built-in features, and also a range of software options that sit somewhere in the middle.

What is MyCase legal software?

MyCase is an all-in-one case management software for your law firm and provides the tools you need to improve organization, increase efficiency, and scale your firm’s operations. Whether it’s document management, reporting, billing and invoicing, or collecting payments, MyCase has it covered.

How much does MyCase legal software cost?

You can learn more about your firm’s pricing options for MyCase here.

Interested in learning more about MyCase? Start your free trial today!

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