Almost all law firms are now using some form of law practice management software to streamline workflow and improve client services. From solo practitioners using Outlook to manage email trails and schedules, to large firms using integrated enterprise systems, law practice management software has become a popular tool in the legal profession.
Law practice management software to increase efficiency and case capacity
Many law firms, even small firms and solo practitioners, have eagerly embraced law practice management software as a means to substantially reduce the number of work-hours legal teams are currently investing in low-end tasks like tracking billables and generating reporting, and increase case capacity .
Results from a Blue Hill Research study recently released by LexisNexis reveals that many law firms using law firm practice management software are able to convert 20 to 100 percent of their nonbillable time to billable hours. Average break-even periods vary, but depending on the size and complexity of your firm, the system you choose and how much of the implementation you can handle in-house, the numbers suggest some smaller systems can pay for themselves in weeks.
To evaluate the many law practice management software products on the market, it’s important to remember that vendors offer a wide variety of options. Your choices will vary from comprehensive full-enterprise systems, a kind of all-you-can-eat model, to modular packages, where you select individual components a la carte from a menu of options. You will want to consult with your IT specialist to effectively evaluate software.
What about case management?
Certain case management functions are ranked as more important than others by lawyers themselves, and this ranking should be taken into account when evaluating software programs. According to the American Bar Association’s annual report on technology trends in the legal industry, lawyers rate these case management software features most highly:
- Centralized case management
- Document management
- Time and billing
- Contact management
A final feature to consider in your evaluation is client access, which is quickly growing in popularity. Access portals allow clients to easily and conveniently locate case information, view case-related documents, pay their bills and exchange secure messages with attorneys using the Web via desktops, laptops and mobile devices.
Law practice management software may not be a make-or-break issue for your firm at this time, but with statistics showing more and more firms moving ahead in this area, it’s best not to be left behind at the starting line when your competitors are already in the race.
Want to learn more about best practices with law practice management software and other trends in the legal industry? Download Robert Half’s Future Law Office 2020 report now.