Modern software can offer great benefits to legal practices large or small. Having a strong app stack can make a huge impact on the workflow of your legal team when it comes to organisation and efficiency. Software providers continue to improve and expand on their offerings – even in just the last decade, apps have greatly improved in their ability to increase productivity and free up time from tedious but necessary admin work.
Legal practices can get even more benefit than most other businesses. A good app stack will help your team stay on top of admin and paperwork while reducing the time needed to complete them, as well as giving you tools to keep your day organised.
How Does Being a Lawyer Effect What Software You Need?
Legal work can have several unique needs to solve, and the software you choose for your app stack will reflect that. While the everyday essentials like billing or team communication tools will still be important for you, you’ll also need solutions to tackle the demands of legal work. From tools for researching law libraries to complete document/file management, our list of essential software for lawyers will set you up for future success!
5 Essential Types of Software Every Lawyer Should Use
Time Tracking and Billing Software
As a legal professional your time is possibly your most valuable resource. It’s also likely that at least part of the way you bill your clients is time based. The value of your time makes it hugely important that you stay organised during your workday and have an exact record of where you are spending your work hours.
Time tracking can make recording your work a lot less of a hassle: A dedicated tracker makes it much easier and quicker to record time as opposed to regular data entry. Even better, you can also take detailed notes for your time entries, and even translate them into invoice lines to share with your client.
Time tracking offers you a complete record of where you are spending your resources during your workday. Using this data, you can work out where you are most productive, what areas of work are your most profitable, and where you might need to address some issues with your workflow.
There’s also the potential for timekeeping software to make billing your clients easier by automating some of that process. For example, MinuteDock can generate invoices based on your time entries to make billing faster and easier. Bringing time tracking into your work process could be a way to save time you’d otherwise spend on admin tasks. a
With the right fit for your team, time tracking can give you a great way of managing your workload/productivity without hurting your productivity.
Consider carefully which timekeeping service will fit your needs and workflow best, as this decision could make a big impact on your work. You want to be able to record time efficiently without this process intruding on your workday.
Being able to quickly communicate and collaborate with the rest of your team can make a big impact on your work. Keeping your team up to date on where things are at with a given project can help you with meeting deadlines and staying on track with your workload.
With flexible office hours and work from home situations becoming more and more common, a good team communication tool is more important than ever before. If your team are needing to cooperate without being in the same office using email simply won’t cut it.
You can also manage your time more effectively by reducing the need for face-to-face meetings where possible. Using a conferencing tool will let you be more flexible in organising your client meetings by making it possible to hold meetings without making clients come into the office.
Video conferencing can be a much more effective mode of talking than email or even phone calls. Much of our ability to interpret meaning when talking with someone comes from things like facial expression. Using a tool to make video calls such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams can be a good way of making your meetings more effective than a call would be.
Legal Library/Research Tools
As a lawyer much of your work time may be dedicated to researching information which is not the easiest to access. A good library tool like Fastcase can give you quick access to a large library of legal resources as well as providing you a quicker method of searching for the information you need.
Being able to refine your research process could save you a huge amount of time, which you can then put towards other tasks. Potentially you could find your practice being more profitable!
There are a few options out there when it comes to law libraries and other research tools. It may be the case that, rather than choosing one over the others, you will find it useful to use a few different law library tools.
If you need to be able to access statutes, case law precedents, or any other law resource you’ll find yourself saving a lot of effort and time if you make use of tools which can put the details you need right at your fingertips.
Document/File Management Tools
Practicing any kind of law tends to involve a lot of paperwork. Organising your mass of files can get messy quickly without a good file management tool. These days you can get software which caters specifically to the needs of lawyers, such as LawCloud, or use options which are a part of a larger legal practice management solution like Clio.
Modern technology makes dealing with paperwork much easier than it was in days past. You can securely store documents digitally to reduce the need for physical storage. Digitisation also makes it much easier to search for the document you need at any given time.
Even if you still need certain physical documents, it can be worth uploading a digital copy as that can be easier and faster to access when needed. When you are dealing with large/complex documents the ability to search for certain words or phrases can save you a lot of time in finding the information you need.
Practice Management Software
Organisation is the backbone of any successful practice and using the right management solution is a big part of staying on top of things. A good practice management solution will let you keep your workflow organised and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines or details.
There are a good number of popular options for lawyers, such as Clio or PracticePanther Legal Software. These apps give you the ability to track deadlines, manage documents, and stay on top of billing/payments.
A choice like Clio may be particularly useful as a more comprehensive tool covering a few aspects of this list. You can cover your document management/storage and receive payments into a clients’ trust or operating account through Clio Payments.
If you take the time to source the right practice management solution for you team, you may be able keep your app stack to a more manageable size by covering a few different needs in one solution.
Finding the Best Fit For Your Team
It's important not to forget that your team is unique, and so what works best for others may not be best for you. With that in mind you should take your time to explore the many options out there when forming your app stack. Make sure to try before you buy wherever possible, and understand that the choices you make for your solutions can have a big impact on your team's workflow!