Legal TechFebruary 21, 2023

Best Legal Practice Management Software: Choosing the Right One

Most businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs through improved efficiency with the help of digital tools. Law firms are no exception, so it’s not surprising that the global legal practice management software market size is expected to reach $2,269.92 million by 2027.

In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of legal practice management software and provide the information you need to choose the right option for your firm.

What is law practice management software?

Law practice management software (sometimes called LPMS) is a specific type of legal software for lawyers. It’s designed to streamline the day-to-day functions of managing a law office, helping you save time and reduce admin costs.

This software typically covers case and contact management, document storage, expense tracking, billing, and client communication—everything legal professionals need to keep the practice running smoothly. It often automates tasks like tracking billable hours, online payment processing, and document assembly.

Alongside case management and document management, some practice management legal software offers specific tools for law firm client intake, such as Neos Intake Pro. You might also find a client portal for scheduling and self-service support. Other features can include:

  • Dashboards and reports
  • Matter management
  • Email management

  • Trust accounting

  • Conflict checking

Practice management software for law firms also gives you a central database for storing your legal case files and related documents, making them accessible and easy to search. It’s even simpler to use all-in-one software instead of separate apps for tasks and contact management.

CASE STUDY: Virginia-based law firm Kalfus & Nachman has found that Neos’ web-based case management software is ideal for remote teams, as it enables them to work with familiar tools no matter where they’re located. The practice also takes advantage of the mail merge features to provide a personal touch for clients.

Benefits of law firm practice management software

Legal practice management software can save you money and improve client and employee experiences. Let’s take a look at the benefits:

Reduce maintenance costs

If your firm has an on-premise software setup, you’ll require servers, which take up valuable space and are costly to install and maintain. You also have to buy software licenses for each device, install the software yourself, and deal with patches and upgrades—which often means having your own IT team or bringing in experts.

But a cloud-based solution is hosted and run by your software provider, who also takes care of any maintenance. Cloud-based apps don’t require installation, and upgrades arrive seamlessly without disruption. All costs are included in your monthly subscription fee, which means a predictable expenditure for your firm.

Web-based software for law offices is much more cost-effective. You’ll never need to pay for extra equipment, storage, or maintenance, even when your firm takes on more staff or cases.

Improve overall efficiency and productivity

Law firm management software boosts productivity by streamlining your processes. It will automate invoicing, time tracking, and scheduling workflows without the required technical know-how. Integrations with other tools mean there’s no time lost toggling between apps.

As well as saving time, you’ll see fewer errors when you eliminate the need for manual data input. For example, document automation lets you populate forms with existing data, and you can automatically pull in medical documents for personal injury cases.

With all files and data stored centrally, you won’t waste precious minutes searching for legal documents—and they won’t go astray as paper copies can. They’re easily accessible to everyone who needs them, enabling efficient collaboration between dispersed teams.

By spending less time on tedious admin, you can stay focused on your clients. Cloud-based law practice management software helps you be efficient and transparent, updating documents in real-time and sharing them quickly and securely. You can keep clients informed via built-in comms tools.

CASE STUDY: Buffalo law firm James Morris Law has made considerable time savings since switching to Neos. After years of manually entering client information, the staff can now generate new documents in just a few clicks by pulling data directly from a case. With customized dashboards and workflows, it’s easy to track every case from beginning to end.

Enhance cybersecurity

Businesses can often be wary about having all their operations and data online, especially law firms for whom security and governance are paramount. But cloud-based law office software is actually more secure than on-prem solutions, which is why cloud computing is among the rising legal tech trends.

The best law firm software provides end-to-end encryption, which means your information is only accessible to the intended recipients you’ve shared it with—it can’t be viewed by third parties while traveling between systems and devices.

Cloud providers house your data in multiple data centers so that it can’t be lost, and they have dedicated teams in place to handle data security. Most law firms don’t have the budget or infrastructure to do this themselves. Major providers also adhere to stringent security standards, privacy regulations, and compliance requirements.

Flexible workplace solutions

Law office management software gives you flexible options such as customizing dashboards, reports, and client intake processes, as well as creating editable document templates. But cloud solutions also provide more flexibility for the workplace in general.

54% of lawyers now work from home almost 100% of the time, and this software is ideal for remote and hybrid workforces. Everyone can access the platform from any place with an internet connection—even grabbing data from the mobile app in a courtroom. And dispersed teams can easily collaborate on files.

This type of flexibility has become a competitive advantage, helping with employee retention and recruitment. It’s also important for scalability, as you can hire more staff (from anywhere in the world) without needing large physical premises. Plus, you can deliver remote onboarding and training.

Choosing the right law management software for your firm and clients

A quick online search will reveal no shortage of practice and client management software for lawyers. So, how do you choose the right one for your firm?

Determine your firm’s goals

Law practice management platforms are not one-size-fits-all—each one will have slightly different features and functionality, and some are designed for specific areas like family or corporate law. Before you start browsing, consider the unique requirements of your firm, such as the important law firm KPIs.

Separate the nice-to-haves from the essential features, and consider the legal technology you might want in the future. You also need to know what you want to achieve with the practice management system.

For example, your goal might be to increase efficiency in time management, in which case you should look for software with tracking tools for measuring productivity and billable time.

Consider the price

Of course, your budget will be a major factor in selecting software. Some free or low-cost options will appeal particularly to small law firms, but these may not have all the features and flexibility you need. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be swayed by the biggest, shiniest products.

Because prices for legal practice management solutions can vary widely, you should decide what represents good value for your firm. Does the software meet all your requirements? Is it scalable for future growth? Remember that the right solution will save you money in the long run.

Check the adjustment period for your firm

Whether you’re switching from your current SaaS platform or transitioning to cloud-based software for the first time, it’s a good idea to develop a change management plan before you start and communicate with staff throughout the process. The best providers will also create a bespoke transition plan for your firm.

Factor in time for onboarding and training all staff members so they can make the most of the new technology. The actual transition shouldn’t take long or be too disruptive, but try to implement the software during a less busy period in case the data migration takes longer than you expected.

CASE STUDY: When Karl Truman Law Office initially transitioned to a cloud software platform, it was a disaster. The data migration and implementation took far longer than expected, and the platform was difficult to use. Enter Neos—which not only provided a seamless transition but quickly helped the firm recoup the losses caused by the previous solution.

Ensure compatibility with existing tools

One of the benefits of cloud-based case management of moving and practice management is that the software comes with a host of advanced tools. But what about your existing tech stack? If you want to keep using familiar apps and workflows, you’ll need to ensure your new solution integrates with them.

If not, you’ll end up with multiple siloed systems—which involves the time-consuming and error-prone task of entering and transferring data between them. Seamless integration is vital for efficiency, enabling you to carry out many processes in one place. Look for software with a good range of integrations, which you can add now or in the future.

Gather input from your team

Your whole team must be involved in the process of choosing new software. After all, they’re the ones who are going to be using it, and they might highlight something you haven’t thought about. Different team members will have different needs, so check with everyone from attorneys and paralegals to admin staff.

Ask them which tasks take up the most time and effort and which workflows they think would benefit from being automated. Which processes are currently working well? You should be able to spot the most common concerns and needs and build a master list of critical features and nice-to-haves.

Maximize demos and ask questions

The only way to tell if a solution works for you is to try it yourself. Most software providers offer free trials or at least demonstrations, so make a shortlist of options and get in touch to complete your request. This is also an excellent way to see what their customer service is like.

Let all your team members test the features, interface, and navigation, and get their feedback. Does the tool seem easy to learn and use? Is it going to streamline your workflows effectively? Before making any decision, ask the provider some additional questions:

  • What’s the billing structure—will you pay monthly or annually?

  • How often will you receive updates and upgrades?

  • How easy is it to add new users or features?

  • What are the data security protocols?

  • How many integrations are included?

  • What is the level of tech support?

Work with the best law practice management software

Finding it hard to make a choice? There’s a legal practice management software that checks every box: Neos. It was created by attorneys, for attorneys, so it contains every tool you need to run your firm with maximum efficiency.

Neos automates your processes and workflows and keeps your files organized in one place, so your firm can move through cases faster. Customization options include client intake questionnaires, case templates, and dashboard reports, and there are integrations with Microsoft Office 365 (with Outlook and Calendar), DocuSign, QuickBooks, Lawpay, and more. You can also:

  • Call, email, and text clients directly from Neos

  • Track all communications with ease

  • Count billable hours with a lawyer time tracker

  • See a 360-degree view of your caseload and firm health.

A dedicated customer support team and a Professional Services Team will help you migrate your data and transition to the cloud. Security-wise, Neos offers comprehensive encryption protocols, complete backup and redundancy, and a greater than 99% uptime guarantee.

Microsoft Azure also protects the platform, which uses advanced AI for 24/7 monitoring and daily vulnerability scans. Nobody outside your firm can access your data thanks to measures like internal key vaults, biometric security, and a Web Application Firewall.

Neos lawyer management software will boost efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and increase profitability. Don’t let your law firm get left behind.

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