The Tabs3 Blog
Enhance Your Law Firm's Cybersecurity with Tabs3
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Secure technology is important to all industries, but it is especially important for law firms to ensure high levels of cybersecurity.
As a lawyer, you are certainly aware that you have an ethical and legal obligation to protect your clients’ information. As stated in the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information, “a lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
This means that, in the event of a cyberattack, even if you are not at fault, you and your law firm will be held responsible for any data breaches that affect clients. And data breaches are not uncommon. According to ABA’s 2021 Legal Technology Survey Report, 25% of respondents reported a data breach (such as a lost or stolen device, hacker, break-in, or website exploit) at some point.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your firm and clients’ sensitive data against cyber threats: using secure tools, implementing effective backup and recovery, training employees to use best cybersecurity practices, and more.
Not sure where to start? Keep reading to learn about how Tabs3 can enhance your law firm’s cybersecurity.
Five ways that Tabs3 supports a secure legal practice
1. Secure file sharing
When you share sensitive documents via email, flash drive, or even paper files, you run the risk of having lost, misplaced, or stolen data. Even if your clients give you the green light to send unsecured information, it’s your responsibility to follow the law by protecting their confidentiality.
With software integrations like LexShare, a file-sharing software that provides bank-level security measures, you and your clients can collaborate from anywhere, sharing confidential information without compromising data security or compliance. Not only does this offer an extra layer of protection against hackers, but it also allows you to share files of any size, a feature often limited by email capabilities.
In a world that is becoming increasingly virtual, the thought of scheduling a time to meet with your clients to obtain a signature in person can be daunting. As noted above, though, companies and consumers alike are aware that choosing to share files and obtain signatures via email can increase your risk of data breaches.
This is where eSignature comes into the picture. With LexSign, you can share files and obtain signatures in just a few clicks. This feature significantly increases client convenience and improves your law firm’s workflows, and it also deploys secure cloud technology to prevent files from being tampered with, stolen, or lost.
3. Tabs3 Connect
While Tabs3 software secures the technology at your firm, you may be wary of accessing your information from another location or device and putting yourself at risk of a cybersecurity breach. It’s understandable that you would have this concern. But with the right software, there is no reason to worry.
Tabs3 Connect allows for secure, efficient remote work by providing mobile access to your Tabs3 software. Use your smartphone to enter fees and costs, access documents, schedule appointments, and more, without worrying about data security. Our state-of-the-art technology ensures that encrypted data stays where it belongs and will never be stored on someone else’s server or even on your device (should it be lost or stolen).
4. Data Encryption
While it’s important to protect your data when working remotely or when sharing documents, it is equally important to protect your internal files. Encrypting your files helps your firm protect data that contains sensitive information by preventing files from being read by software other than Tabs3 Billing or PracticeMaster.
This Platinum feature adds a layer of security to your data without compromising functionality. As an additional layer of protection, you can restrict access even further by determining which software users can interact with encrypted files.
5. Security benefits of on-premise software
While much has been said about the security benefits of cloud-based software, it’s important to distinguish the advantages of on-premises software. On-premise software allows law firms significantly more control over how software and servers are configured, as well as where and how data is stored. The ability to customize means that compliance requirements for personally identifiable information, data retention, and data storage may be easier to meet. You can work closely with your IT staff and any technology consultants to come up with a plan that meets your law firm’s unique needs.
On-premises software also is more convenient to access if your practice needs to conduct security audits. Security audits are a smart way to ensure that your practice is taking all the necessary steps to protect client information.
Secure your law firm with Tabs3
With Tabs3 Software, you can improve workflows while also gaining the peace of mind that your firm and clients’ sensitive information is safe from cyber-attacks.
Ready to enhance your law firm’s cybersecurity? Request a free trial or schedule a walkthrough demo today.
October 27, 2022
Legal Tech and Security for Law Firms
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a collaborative effort between The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) to raise global awareness about cybersecurity.
Why is this important to law firms, though?
According to the American Bar Association (ABA)’s 2021 Legal Technology Survey Report, 25% of respondents reported a law firm breach at some point. With the vast amount of sensitive, valuable information involved in the day-to-day tasks of legal work, it’s no surprise that law firms, and their legal technology, are a common target for hackers.
To keep your firm and clients protected from cyberattacks, it’s important that you implement strong company-wide cybersecurity practices. Read on to learn more about the importance of secure technology for law firms.
Unsecure technology risks for law firms
Cybersecurity attacks can result in compromised communications, loss of access to essential information, data leaks, loss of trust in your law firm, and even malpractice claims.
These attacks don’t just impact your law firm, though. They also put your clients at risk. As a lawyer, you have ethical and legal obligations to protect your clients’ information. As stated in ABA Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information, “a lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
Additionally, three ABA formal opinions you should be familiar with include:
- ABA Formal Opinion 477R: Securing Communication of Protected Client Information
- ABA Formal Opinion 483: Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack
- ABA Formal Opinion 498: Virtual Practice
Even in the event of a cyberattack, you as a lawyer can be held responsible for any privacy breach that affects your clients.
Five ways to secure your law firm’s technology
To protect your law firm from cyber-attacks, it’s important to stay up-to-date with technology best practices and implement company-wide cybersecurity policies. The five tips below are a great place to start.
1. Be cautious with emails
Emails are common targets for phishing scams. Some common traits of phishing include:
- Offers or statements that are too good to be true
- Odd requests with a sense of urgency
- Attachments that are unexpected or don’t seem to make sense
If you receive an out-of-character email from a colleague or client, check the email address to see if it’s legitimate. If you’re unsure about a link, hover over the link to see where it goes, and if it’s a popular site, be sure to check that everything is spelled correctly. If you find an email to be suspicious, it never hurts to get a second opinion or confirm with the sender through another form of communication.
2. Browse safely
Whether it’s a pop-up, fake site, or questionable link, one wrong click can harm your device in a matter of seconds. When you’re working online, there are a few steps you can take to avoid compromising your data or device.
For example, make sure you’re using Google Chrome as your default browser to access your preferred legal journal. This will allow you to add privacy extensions to block activity such as spying ads and hidden trackers.
It’s especially important to browse safely when you’re working remotely. If you’re away from your secure workplace network, use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your IP address and keep your browsing activity from being tracked. This is crucial when accessing legal documents or transmitting client information.
3. Use secure passwords
How many online accounts do you log in to on a regular basis? Ideally, each of these accounts should have its own unique password. If your accounts share the same password, keep in mind that one compromised account likely means multiple compromised accounts.
In addition to having strong, unique passwords, you should also change them on a regular basis to keep them hack-proof. It’s also a good idea to enable two-factor authentication, which adds an additional layer of security to your accounts.
If you’re concerned about being locked out of your own accounts, consider implementing a password management tool such as 1Password or LastPass to keep your passwords safe, secure, and all in one place.
You’ll also want to train everyone at your law firm, from paralegals to partners, on how to create secure passwords and remind them of the dangers of sharing or reusing passwords.
4. Prepare an incident response plan
According to the ABA’s 2021 Legal Technology Survey, only 36% of respondents said their firm has an incident response plan (IRP). While implementing an IRP can be an expensive and time-consuming process, the aftermath of a cyberattack or data breach can be far more costly.
Your IRP should include provisions for cybersecurity issues and natural disasters alike.
5. Use secure practice management technology
With remote work on the rise, now is a good time to invest in practice management software that keeps your law firm up-to-date, efficient, and secure.
Secure file-sharing software eliminates the need for sharing sensitive information through emails, flash drives, and paper documents. Not only does this allow you to access your files from anywhere, but it also helps to protect your clients’ confidentiality and keep your firm compliant.
Keep your law firm secure with Tabs3
Our reliable, easy-to-use practice management software is designed to help law firms boost productivity, stay organized, and maintain client confidentiality. With secure file-sharing and e-signature features, clients can rest assured that their data is protected.
For added security, try the Platinum edition, which includes:
- Tabs3 Connect, which allows for more efficient remote work
- HotBackup, which backs up your data on an ongoing basis
- Auto-Recovery, which protects your data from power outages, lost network connections, and data corruption
Interested in learning more? Request a free trial or schedule a walkthrough demo today.
October 25, 2022
How to Kick Off Q4 for a Strong End-of-Year
The end of the year can often be a hectic time for any business. From strategic planning to client appreciation and wrapping up long-term projects, it can be overwhelming to enter this quarter without a structured plan in place.
Instead of diving in headfirst, eliminate unnecessary stress and administrative tasks by sitting down and planning out your priorities for the end of the year. By cutting out the “should do’s” in favor of the “must do’s,” you can establish clarity about shared goals amongst attorneys and legal staff, and give your entire legal practice the gift of an easier end of the year.
Here are the steps you can take in Q4 for a strong wrap-up in 2022, and an even stronger start to 2023.
1. Check in with your business goals
Ideally, law firms should evaluate business goals every quarter, not just to see if you’re on track, but also to make sure that your current business goals still make sense for your firm. But time is a precious resource, and it’s normal for larger business goals to get lost in the day-to-day of running a profitable operation.
If that happens, then Q4 is the time to check in on the goals you set at the start of the year. Take a look and assess them to decide if they’re still applicable. Then, pick your path:
- If they aren’t, set them aside and craft appropriate new short-term goals for the end of the year
- If your original business goals are still relevant, identify what steps you can take in the next few months to achieve them
This process is a good opportunity to reflect on why achieving certain business goals ended up taking a back seat. What could you do next year to ensure that they remain an ongoing priority?
2. Review your KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the metrics we use to evaluate success. Q4 is the perfect time to review how you’ve performed against the KPIs you set for yourself. Where is there room for improvement? Where did you go above and beyond, and what made that possible? What KPIs are unrealistic, or impractical?
Focus on the KPIs that matter, and make sure that you’re reviewing your firm’s performance against only the most relevant metrics, so you can gain a more accurate picture of overall successes or opportunities for improvement.
3. Identify areas to improve operational and administrative processes
Operational and administrative processes can be some of the most time-consuming (and least billable) tasks in a business. In Q4, take the time to review them and evaluate how you can increase efficiency while eliminating pain points or redundant manual work.
For example, tasks related to billing and calendar tracking are all too often pushed to the last minute, or late in the evening when everyone else has gone home. Consider billing management software that can automate these tedious tasks and sync data to cut down on administrative work.
For example, Tabs3 Financials are specifically designed to increase efficiency and improve accounting processes for law firms. With minimal setup and no workarounds needed to satisfy bar association compliance requirements, you can print financial statements, write checks, reconcile bank statements, and manage client trust accounts in one easy-to-use and fully integrated system.
4. Analyze growth goals for next year
Review your strategic priorities for 2023 and consider where you can cut down on costs or increase growth. Whether it’s ramping up marketing efforts, improving billing efficiency, or growing your client base, there are always opportunities to enhance existing processes.
For example, perhaps you want to focus on attracting clients that are a better fit for your particular legal practice. Teams can use the billing and collections process to improve your client base. Take a look at your best clients and consider how you can optimize a retainer to incentivize them to continue with your practice.
Alternatively, look at clients that regularly pose slow-payment issues, demand excessive discounting, or are otherwise disproportionately problematic. Are these clients the right fit for your firm? Or would letting them go free up time needed to focus on clients who are a better fit for your team?
5. Connect with your clients
Many people use the end of the year to review what’s working and what isn’t, and that includes your clients. Build a strong fourth quarter by revisiting your client relationships and seeing how they can improve. Now is a great time to follow up on past clients, check in with your current ones, and listen to their priorities for the coming months.
If you understand your clients’ needs, you’ll be better positioned to advocate for your firm and discuss how you can help with their upcoming issues. This time is also ideal for sharing new services or end-of-year promotions with clients.
Furthermore, connecting with your clients and listening to their feedback with an open mind is an important opportunity to learn what your firm could be doing better. Rather than just shaking hands and thanking them for their business, capitalize on this interaction to ask for their thoughts about your services. When done right, this will make your client feel valued and heard, and provide you with important considerations to take back to your practice’s stakeholders.
6. Plan for the holidays in advance
Q4 is full of holidays and celebrations, and it can also be the month of endless client gifts: cards, gift baskets, and other tokens of appreciation pile up on countless desks. It can be hard to stand out from every other business.
To ensure your firm isn’t lost in the crowd, don’t treat the holiday season as a rote chore. Start planning early to brainstorm, plan, and execute a holiday marketing plan that fits your goals and priorities. Rather than just mailing out a standard gift, be intentional with your holiday plans. Tailor your gifts and marketing to your clients’ needs and be sure to leave time for connecting with clients and other practices on a social level.
7. Start your 2023 marketing plan
Marketing is an important part of any business, and that includes legal practices. Use this time to realistically evaluate your existing marketing plan and how you can improve it in 2023.
You can examine your marketing through a number of different lenses:
- Are you exceeding or underutilizing your marketing budget? If so, why?
- Are you intentionally focusing your marketing efforts with a clear plan for strategic growth priorities, or are you just going through the motions?
- Are your marketing efforts focusing on the areas of your practice with the most growth or profit potential?
- How are you evaluating your marketing? What data metrics are you using, and are those the right marketing KPIs?
- Are your marketing efforts reaching your desired audience?
- How can your marketing efforts be more efficient and deliver better results?
These are all important questions to ask when designing an effective 2023 marketing plan and can help build a better strategic agenda in the coming year.
Kick off a successful Q4 with Tabs3
With a robust suite of practice management, time tracking, billing, and accounting tools designed specifically to meet the needs of busy law firms, Tabs3 Software has all the necessities to help you achieve your law office’s goals, both in Q4 and 2023.
Experience the difference that Tabs3 software can make! Schedule your free walkthrough demo today.
October 19, 2022
Trust Accounting Software for Legal and Law Firms
Many people choose trusts to manage their money because trust accounts offer privacy, control, and tax benefits beyond those provided by a traditional bank account. Trusts are more than just bank accounts, though.
A trust is a type of legal arrangement in which one person grants another the right to hold and manage property or funds in accordance with specific instructions. The person managing the property, called the fiduciary, has a legal obligation to manage the money and property in the best interest of the owner.
Various industries use trust accounts. In real estate, property managers keep trust accounts to have money on hand for any repairs and updates that property owners need them to carry out. In the legal profession, attorneys use trust accounts to hold and manage funds that clients intend to use to pay for legal services.
For example, a client may deposit $5,000 into a trust account as a retainer. The attorney then transfers money from the trust account into the law firm’s operating account as work is completed on the client’s case.
What Is Trust Accounting?
At its most basic, trust accounting is the bookkeeping of trust fund accounts. To protect legal clients’ best interests, the American Bar Association (ABA) and state bar associations maintain detailed guidelines and regulations about trust accounting. In addition, attorneys must follow state-mandated tax rules for managing trust accounts.
Among these rules is the ABA’s expectation that client funds and law firm operating funds should always be kept separate. Also worth considering? Law firm earnings and trust accounts are subject to different tax rules.
This is one reason why it’s so vital to monitor the fiscal movements of a trust account closely and track transactions across various categories. Proactive organization also helps attorneys apply the proper tax application to every expense and receipt.
To provide accurate reports about the status of trust accounts to clients and the ABA, attorneys should also keep detailed records and notes about all transactions.
The Basics: Trust Accounting Best Practices
Even with trust accounting software on our side, attorneys should remain in the habit of regularly reviewing their state’s trust accounting regulations to stay in compliance.
When it comes to trust fund management, complete records and a reliable accounting process are crucial. The right trust accounting software will include built-in safeguards that prevent situations where necessary data isn’t readily accessible.
Keep trust accounting records separate from personal and business records, especially when you’re managing multiple trust funds at once. Listing trust funds on your law firm’s balance sheets is both confusing and unethical.
Trusts are often the target of fraud and other forms of theft because they usually hold large sums of money. It is your law firm’s responsibility to protect clients’ funds from hackers and identity thieves.
Every trust fund has a specific use in its rules. Trustees cannot withdraw money from it to cover other things. Typically, the purpose of legal clients’ trust funds is to cover the cost of legal services. Until those services are provided and the money is transferred to the law firm’s operating account, attorneys shouldn’t spend the money for any purpose.
Transparency is vital to successful trust accounting. Rigorous record keeping doesn’t mean that information should be buried away, hidden from view. Your trust accounting software should keep data readily accessible. Your firm should always be ready to provide each client access to their trust information.
Trust accounting can be an area of potential malpractice issues if you aren’t careful with your process. Many attorneys choose to structure payment plans to make as few transactions as possible to minimize the risk of mistakes and getting into hot water with the bar.
Finding time to meticulously track trust accounts can be a challenge for busy attorneys. Fortunately, trust accounting software designed specifically for law firms offers a powerful solution. As part of our comprehensive range of legal software solutions, Tabs3 provides trust accounting software to help with the management and maintenance of client funds.
Tabs3: Your Versatile Trust Accounting Software Solution
Tabs3 Trust Accounting helps you organize and streamline your work, increasing productivity, billable hours, and profits.
With accounting and management features consolidated on one screen, you won’t have to worry about juggling multiple software at once. Instead, your team will enjoy a versatile platform that streamlines processes throughout your whole firm.
With legal software products designed for the way you work, Tabs3 Trust Accounting will be one less distraction from doing what you do best: serving your clients! Tabs3 Software supports thousands of legal professionals in their efforts to improve their trust accounting process and shield their work against common compliance pitfalls.
Tabs3 Software Integration
Our trust accounting software works seamlessly with other Tabs3 applications to reduce the time attorneys spend on administrative tasks. When used alongside our billing, accounts payable, and general ledger software for maximum benefit, Tabs3 offers you the most informative overview possible of your law firm’s financials.
Tabs3 Trust Accounting is simple to use because it features an easy-to-navigate user interface. Integrated with Tabs3 Billing, you can view Trust balances at a glance from various reports and the Matter Manager. For example, your trust balances can be included in the work-in-process reporting and on statements. You can review trust balances and transactions as needed from either application. With Tabs3Pay, you can also process client deposits via credit card.
Automation makes Tabs3 Software even more useful for trust accounting. Any payments made to or from a client trust account will automatically be recorded, improving the accuracy of your firm’s trust accounting records with minimal effort required.
Why Software Is Important for Trust Management
With the complex tax factors and transactions that happen within a trust, keeping track of everything can get complicated. Even an experienced attorney can easily feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work involved.
While a legal professional may have the training and knowledge for the job, mistakes can happen easily when managing trust accounts for multiple clients. Even minor mistakes can have major ramifications when tax laws and industry regulations are violated, even unintentionally.
Dedicated software designed to assist with all trust-related tasks can increase your firm’s accuracy. Tabs3 Software can help you avoid inconsistencies that may impact your trust accounting. Compared to manually managing the trust accounting process, Tabs3 Trust Accounting software streamlines workflows and minimizes errors, saving your firm time and money.
Your firm can become fully liable for any issues with trust accounting, and accounting software reduces errors and protects you in the event that there’s a problem. Tabs3 records all transactions and keeps them organized, so you’ll always have easy access to them and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. The software warns you when an account goes below a minimum balance, and helps you easily reconcile your bank statements. In some states, multiple forms of proof that trust bank accounts are in balance may be required. TAS
provides this proof via the Three-Way Reconciliation Report.
Easily Manage Multiple Client Trust Accounts
With Tabs3 Trust Accounting, you’ll be able to process and track every transaction across multiple trusts with ease. With seamless integration between all Tabs3 Software applications, you can check ledgers while managing trust without the need to switch tabs. In addition, Tabs3 Trust Accounting complies with all major trust accounting regulations. Because our trust accounting is built specifically for law firms’ trust accounting needs, you’ll have no trouble keeping complete and accessible records with Tabs3.
You can also customize your software to adhere to additional in-house security protocols. Tabs3 offers an extra layer of security, which protects funds from anyone intent on stealing from your clients. The software tracks all transactions within the trusts connected to it to keep you informed.
Being able to find your way around your trust accounting software is critical. With Tabs3 Trust Accounting, you can access a comprehensive overview of your firm’s trust accounts and their standing at a glance. Navigating the home page to complete a transaction or start a reconciliation is intuitive and fast. With just a few clicks, review additional account summaries and other detailed transaction information.
You’ll also be able to view recent transactions within any individual client trust, as well as a combined list of transaction information. Pin your most used actions in the dashboard to customize your process, so you can print, check, and record data all in one place.
Tabs3 Trust Accounting includes a Positive Pay Export program, which offers greater security in a more streamlined workflow. Directly export approved checks and upload them to your financial institution to support the Positive Pay fraud prevention program.
Experience the difference that Tabs3 Trust Accounting software can make for your firm!
Schedule your free walkthrough demo today.
October 04, 2022
Mobility Plus Data Security within Practice Management Software
Like it or not, the modern legal industry operates at a break-neck pace. To have any hope of keeping up with clients’ increasing expectations, every member of your legal team should have remote access to your firm’s legal practice management software. By embracing cloud hosting, your entire legal staff can provide an outstanding client experience even when traveling or working from home.
Whether your legal staff works from home year-round or simply needs to track time and expenses when out of the office, Tabs3 Connect has the flexibility required to keep your law firm nimble, agile, and secure.
Remote work is here to stay
Let’s embrace it.
Law firms around the world were forced to adopt remote work out of necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while some firms have chosen to return to strictly in-person operations in the office, many have decided to continue exploring the frontiers of legal technology and allow attorneys to continue working remotely.
Attorneys are generally thrilled to gain back the time and money spent on their former commute. Meanwhile, law firms benefit from a simultaneous decrease in overhead costs and an increase in staff productivity and loyalty.
In light of these conveniences and many others, managing partners now recognize that there’s no real reason to chain attorneys to their desks at the office. Remote access to law firm practice management software, makes it possible to coordinate and supervise legal staff with ease, all while protecting clients’ confidentiality.
Most trials and court hearings are still held in person, of course. However, with secure access to fully integrated law firm practice management software, attorneys can complete their most common tasks from home, including:
- Conducting negotiations
- Reviewing legal documents
- Keeping clients up to date on their legal matters
- Planning and setting appointments
- Sending and receiving secure emails
- Time tracking
Aside from a bit of trust in your legal staff, all you need to get started is remote access to a reliable, seamlessly integrated law firm practice management software.
3 pathways for remote access to Tabs3 Software
As a leading provider of law firm practice management software, Tabs3 is trusted by tens of thousands of legal professionals every day. Though Tabs3 Software is an on-premise practice management solution, advancements in cloud technology have enabled them to offer multiple convenient, reliable solutions for remote access.
1. Tabs3 Platinum + Tabs3 Connect
This winning combination provides remote access to all of your law firm practice management software’s most essential features on a phone, tablet, laptop, or home desktop, including the Tabs3 Matter Manager. Tabs3 Connect allows attorneys to enter fees and costs, check their calendar, view documents, and more with ease.
To protect data security, sensitive client information is stored on the law firm server, rather than on attorneys’ mobile devices.
2. Remote access software
Remote access software provides secure access to your legal practice management software via an internet connection between your office server and home computer. When configured properly, remote access software offers your legal staff secure access to all Tabs3 Software features from almost anywhere. With this method, only a minimal amount of data travels between attorneys’ home devices and office computers.
For the best results, pair your remote desktop client with a VPN, and consult with your IT team about configuration.
3. Cloud hosting service provider
Most cloud hosting service providers specialize in supporting law firms with compliance, data security, and performance you can count on. Cloud hosting allows your legal staff to enjoy complete access to the desktop version of Tabs3 while managing partners can breathe easier about IT concerns.
For long-term remote access to Tabs3, cloud hosting can be a good option for a high level of data security and convenience.
More tips for secure remote work
Though the benefits of remote work are easy to see, legal staff must proactively embrace enhanced cybersecurity measures to preserve data security. In recognition of the myriad challenges that accompany remote work in the legal industry, the American Bar Association has directed lawyers to “make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
Fortunately, law firm practice management software makes remote work practical, secure, and efficient. Still, training all legal staff on the importance of confidentiality, data privacy, and security protocols is a must. Managing partners should also prioritize developing a written work-from-home protocol that dictates the exact steps attorneys and other legal staff should take to safeguard data security when using legal practice management software outside of the office.
Your work-from-home protocol may direct attorneys to:
- Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi connections when accessing law firm practice management software
- Avoid transmitting client information over unsecured Wi-Fi connections
- Utilize virtual private networks (VPNs) when accessing legal practice management software or transmitting client information
- Set up multi-factor authentication for all work-related applications
- Choose strong passwords for all work-related hardware and applications
- Avoid accessing legal documents or video conferencing with clients without a private environment
- Turn off listening-enabled devices (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, etc.) in their workspaces during phone calls and videoconferences, because these devices listen to and record conversations automatically
Your IT support team should also review the terms of service of all law firm software and ensure:
- All computer systems are equipped with up-to-date firewalls and anti-malware software
- All data that’s stored remotely is backed up securely
- Portable devices can be scrubbed of client data remotely
Embrace mobility and data security with Tabs3 Software
There’s a reason that over 98% of our customers are satisfied with their software solutions. (In fact, 9 out of 10 of them recommend Tabs3 Software to other law firms.)
Stop compromising on cybersecurity by using vulnerable, unsecured platforms for remote work. From document and project management to time and expense tracking and more, Tabs3 Software offers the reliability and trusted service you expect from an industry-leading legal practice management software.
Remote access with Tabs3 Software is secure, compliant, convenient, and accessible. With over 40 years of experience providing cutting-edge legal technology to law firms just like yours, we’re committed to upholding even the industry’s strictest compliance and data security regulations.
Check out the Platinum Edition product page to learn more about what Tabs3 Connect has to offer.
Request your free trial or schedule a walkthrough demo to see how Tabs3 Software’s fully integrated suite of software products can revolutionize the way your law firm functions on a day-to-day basis.
August 22, 2022
7 Efficiencies of Streamlining Processes with Legal Practice Management Software
73% of businesses believe that ease of use, simple integrations, and reliability are the three most important factors to consider when selecting practice management software.
73% of businesses also believe that the practice management software solutions currently available on the market lack at least one of these factors.
What do you think?
Are the legal workflows at your law firm thriving or weighed down by inefficient practice management tools and techniques? If your productivity feels stifled, it could be because law firm efficiency drops when legal workflows become congested by overly complex or unspecialized practice management software.
Legal practice management software that includes firm-friendly project management features can help, but how do you know you’re choosing the right one?
The purpose of legal practice management software
When you decided to invest in legal practice management software to streamline processes at your law firm, did you do any pre-planning? Many partners skip this essential step, never taking the time to consider which tasks attorneys need support with to improve workflow efficiency.
“Practice management” is a phrase that can encompass a wide range of day-to-day operational tasks at your law firm. Without carefully auditing attorneys’ existing legal workflows, you risk inadvertently investing in a “solution” that lacks some document management, matter management, or project management tools you need.
Investing in additional software to fill the gap might seem like a suitable compromise, but before you know it, your new “productivity-boosting” tech stack could decrease your law firm’s efficiency.
If you’re staring at a laundry list of suites designed to “simplify” legal workflows but experiencing lower law firm efficiency than before you started, consider this:
The purpose of legal practice management software is to manage your entire practice from one convenient, time-saving software interface.
Your legal practice management software should empower you to complete all of your daily tasks without jumping between software, including:
- Assigning due dates
- Onboarding new clients and matters
- Tracking matter progress
- Coordinating clearly with legal staff
- Organizing and searching matter files and tasks by status, attorney, due date, and more
- Clearly visualizing the week and month ahead in an attorney-friendly calendar
If your legal practice management software lacks these capabilities, it doesn’t streamline processes.
Achieve these game-changing efficiencies with the legal project management tools that are already built into your practice management software
1. Matter management tools make finding critical information easy
Matter management tools create a control center for your law firm, where you can streamline processes by organizing and managing multiple legal matters on a single screen. Accessing this type of “control center” from anywhere empowers your team to collaborate and manage deadlines more effectively.
When emails, fees, documents, appointments, phone records, and notes are just one click away, law firm efficiency skyrockets.
2. Document management is more dependable
Even the best project management software in the world can’t make up for poor document management. Look for legal practice management software that streamlines legal workflows with built-in document management.
Being able to track when changes were made to a document, as well as which staff member made them, is a game-changer when attorneys collaborate on a single client matter. Likewise, linking to documents or client matters makes communication between attorneys clearer and more informative.
3. Attorney-friendly calendars streamline legal workflows
Save the paper planner for personal events. Any legal practice management software worth investing in should include an attorney-friendly calendar that syncs with Outlook, so you never miss an event.
Whether you want to view everyone’s appointments on a single screen or just the events related to a specific matter or client, utilizing color coding and other organizational features make it possible.
Legal project management features do more than make your calendar easier to read, though. Scheduling should also be a snap, so you can spend less time planning your work and more time completing it. Look for project management features that enable you to schedule single or recurring tasks and appointments for individuals, groups, or the entire firm.
The best software for law firms should also include calendar plan templates, which allow you to schedule a series of events from one kick-off date. For example, the tasks you complete for every new matter (collection, follow-up, etc.) should automatically be added to your calendar when you onboard a new client.
Double-booking alerts and optional task reminders can also improve workflow efficiency by keeping legal staff on task.
4. Simple searches speed up checking for conflicts of interest
Rather than digging through piles of paper or sifting through spreadsheets for hours, instantly see conflicts of interest between potential clients and anyone in your firm. A reputable legal practice management software with robust document management and matter management tools should simplify checking for conflicts of interest to improve law firm efficiency.
Search through legal documents, emails, attachments, and other files quickly and accurately with phrase matching, phonetic checks, and other flexible features.
5. Email management supports document management
In the era of digital communication, email management is just as essential as document management. With legal practice management software that integrates with your email, it’s easy to track and bill time spent reading and drafting client emails.
The most robust legal practice management software can also automatically upload attachments from clients’ emails, filing them conveniently within your document management system for later review.
6. Track time for multiple client matters with ease
If your law firm bills by the hour, time tracking is one of the most essential project management investments you can make. Billable hours are lost when attorneys fail to track the time spent on calls, emails, research, document assembly, and more—yet entering time while on the go is inconvenient without the right mobile-friendly software to support legal workflows.
The right legal practice management software will allow you to track time for various client matters with the click of a button, whether you’re using your phone, tablet, or laptop.
7. Billing is better with legal practice management software
Accurate, streamlined billing is more than a law firm efficiency issue. It’s critical to your bottom line. Because there’s no need to click through multiple websites and apps to get the job done, project management tools streamline the process of tracking time, invoicing, sending invoices, and managing trust accounting.
In addition, industry-specific software keeps clients’ sensitive information more secure with features that restrict users’ abilities to edit, view, or delete client and matter billing information.
Boost law firm efficiency with PracticeMaster
You could spend hours searching for comprehensive legal practice management software, but you shouldn’t have to. PracticeMaster encompasses all of these efficiency-boosting software functionalities and more.
Tabs3 Software has created industry-leading legal software products for over 40 years, so you can trust that every PracticeMaster feature has been expertly developed to directly support legal workflows and boost law firm efficiency.
Ready to see the difference that a more organized, more productive approach to project management can make for your law firm’s bottom line and overall client satisfaction?
Schedule a walkthrough demo today.
July 20, 2022
6 Perks of eSignature for Law Firms
Paperless law firms aren’t waiting just ahead on the horizon. They’re here, and thriving, right now. A growing number of service-based businesses, including law firms, are opting to do away with the filing cabinet and manage their legal documents and daily workflows digitally.
One of the many advances that makes a paperless law practice possible is eSignature. Whereas collecting physical signatures from clients used to require in-person meetings, today’s attorneys can save time and increase convenience for clients with secure signature links that can be completed from anywhere.
A brief history of eSignature
Cryptographers Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Len Adleman first invented the algorithm used to create basic eSignatures in 1977, but it was more than two decades before eSignatures would become a legal alternative to pen and paper. With the enactment of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act in 2000, digitally signed documents became legally binding. This made requesting eSignatures a viable prospect for law firms.
The move toward the paperless practice
In recent years, consumers have grown more aware of the option to e-sign. As a result, many legal clients now expect to review legal agreements and add secure eSignatures.
Rather than an advanced feature, eSignature and secure file sharing are now an industry norm. If you aren’t making plans to accommodate these new demands, you could fall behind competing firms with your client acquisition and retention.
6 perks of eSignature for law firms
Law firms that offer their clients the option to sign documents digitally enjoy the following benefits.
1. Fewer signing errors
There’s nothing worse than having to reprint a lengthy legal document because the client signed on the wrong line or realizing at the last minute that deep within a legal agreement, a signature was missed. These types of errors are frustrating on a small scale, but can also seriously disrupt your legal workflow when they occur across several client matters.
When you request client signatures via a secure eSignature platform, signing errors are minimized, if not eliminated altogether.
The right eSignature software for law firms can guide your clients and help them navigate through legal agreements. All of the areas designated for client signatures are clearly marked. Clients won’t be able to sign in the wrong area of the document, and you can even set up custom fields for documents with multiple signers, so that each person can only sign the fields assigned to them.
2. Greater security
Contrary to popular belief, eSignature technology offers more layers of security than sending legal agreements via email or the postal service. Specialized encryption tools, knowledge-based authentication (KBA), secure file sharing, and secure links protect clients’ data security and uphold the legal industry’s strict ethics and compliance regulations.
eSignatures don’t just protect clients’ data security online. Using digital document management and obtaining client signatures electronically means that legal documents are also protected in the event of a fire, flood, theft, or other physical threat.
3. Smoother workflows for attorneys
Don’t waste billable hours comparing calendars with your clients via phone tag. Making in-person appointments to obtain pen-and-ink signatures isn’t necessary with the right eSignature software.
With legal technology on your side, your attorneys can send a secure client signature request via email in just a few minutes, then move on to their next billable task.
4. Client convenience
Simplified legal workflows benefit clients, too. Few clients look forward to sitting in traffic to sign legal agreements. Even if they don’t have to head to your office to sign, pen-and-ink signatures can be a hassle when you consider the time it takes to print, sign, and scan or fax signed documents.
Secure eSignature software reduces the time clients spend reviewing and signing documents by 40%. No wonder 69% of respondents to one study stated that they anticipated continuing to utilize eSignature options over signing in person even after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease.
In short: adopting eSignature technology is one way to show your clients how much you value their time, convenience, and security.
5. Faster turnaround
Implementing secure eSignature tools at your law firm can drastically decrease the wait time for signed documents. Aside from minimizing the hours attorneys spend requesting and collecting client signatures by phone and in person, taking the digital approach diminishes turnaround times by 80%.
6. Lower costs
A single sheet of paper doesn’t cost much on its own, but office supply costs add up quickly when you consider just how many pages of legal agreements attorneys need to print (and reprint) in a day.
The average office worker in America goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year. At 5 to 15 cents per page, the potential savings of switching to digital document management and eSignatures are significant. As an added bonus, cutting out all of that paper waste is a great way to contribute to the long-term health of the planet.
The validity of eSignatures
Despite these benefits, some attorneys remain concerned about the validity of eSignatures and whether they hold up as well as paper legal documents in court. Per the ESIGN Act, digital signatures are just as legally binding as pen-and-ink signatures, as long as the signing individual:
- Accepts a clause to conduct business electronically
- Is provided the option to sign with ink and paper instead
- Demonstrates a clear intent to sign
- Receives a copy of the completed document (along with all other signers)
In addition, the attorney must maintain a clear audit trail and/or record documenting how and when the client’s signature was obtained.
Streamline your legal workflows with Tabs3’s secure eSignature tools
As an industry-leading provider of software solutions for law firms, Tabs3 offers quick, convenient, and secure eSignature functionality powered by LexSign. Using Tabs3’s eSignature tools, your attorneys can easily send eSignature links to clients without ever leaving their email. Clients can easily input their signature using several convenient methods, such as drawing their signature with a cursor or typing it out. Thanks to LexSign’s powerful security features, you can rest assured that confidential client documents will remain secure throughout the process.
Tabs3 also gives your firm the tools it needs to cut down on printing and embrace fully paperless document management. With PracticeMaster’s customizable templates, attorneys can easily assemble common legal documents and automatically populate fields using client data that’s already been entered into the software.
PracticeMaster’s document management tools also make it easy to save and organize legal documents from common document software like Word and Excel, and our search feature allows you to reference any document in seconds. Intuitive document history features maintain a clear and readily-accessible record of who signed which document and when, allowing your firm to uphold one of the key validity requirements of the ESIGN act.
If you’re ready to see how Tabs3 can help you run a modern, paperless law firm, request a walkthrough demo with one of our product experts today.
July 15, 2022
Is Your Practice Management Software Meeting Your Firm’s Needs?
Finding the right tools for running your law firm is hard. You must understand your workflows, consider both current and future needs, and anticipate how new technologies will impact your staff, clients, and potential revenue.
Because it’s not an easy decision, law firms often rely on traditional fallbacks to manage their practice. But if your law firm is still using Outlook or other general-use practice management tools, you might be missing out on key features that can help you:
- Boost your efficiency and productivity
- More effectively manage projects and deadlines
- Streamline time-tracking, billing, and payments
- Increase revenue and improve cash flows
- Make more informed, data-driven decisions
And if you’re using multiple software products without robust integrations in place, you may also be losing additional time as you switch between different software tools and manually transfer data between them.
There is a better solution. Implementing a fully integrated practice management solution can streamline project management, time-tracking, billing, and accounting – especially if your tools are optimized to meet the unique needs of law firms.
It might go without saying, but whatever practice management software your firm uses should empower your attorneys and staff to manage matters more effectively. That means the right software solution will offer a full suite of project management tools built specifically for lawyers.
Calendars and matter management
Your practice management software should allow you to create customized project timelines for different clients and matter types. This feature facilitates easy access to all activities associated with a matter in one place. A built-in calendar can also help you keep track of appointments, deadlines, and other important events.
You should also be able to import, name, organize, and file documents within your project management software. Your software should integrate seamlessly with common document tools like Word and Excel, allowing you to save future documents directly to your practice management system.
Feature highlight: Document management software can save attorneys time on document assembly by using the client information already stored in your system to automatically generate and populate common legal documents.
This not only saves you the time and tedium of manual data entry but also reduces the likelihood of errors from double data entry.
Conflict of interest searches
One of the benefits of using software designed specifically for law firms is that it allows you to more effectively check for conflicts of interest, heading off compliance issues before they even come up.
Legal practice management software can help your attorneys instantly spot potential conflicts of interest by searching through your records for all past and previous clients and contacts.
The resulting reports should also allow you to locate, access, and view the records in question.
Time tracking and billing
Matter management isn’t the only software tool your firm needs. You’ll also want a fully integrated time tracking and billing solution to help your attorneys capture time as they work and bill for it.
Accurate time tracking is key for any law firm, and attorneys that wait until the end of the day to record their billable hours can lose track of 10% of their billable time. Your law firm should look for software that includes easy-to-use timers, so they can track their billable hours as they go.
Invoicing and billing
Tracking hours is important, but so is quickly and easily generating and sending invoices. Manually preparing invoices can be a major administrative hassle and a drain on your attorney’s efficiency, but with the right invoicing and billing software, you can instantly generate invoices for time entries and send them as PDFs directly to your clients’ email.
Paperless pre-bills and batch billing can further streamline your billing workflows and free up more time to spend on client matters.
Accepting credit cards is one of the most surefire ways for law firms to collect payments faster and improve their cash flows.
Many law firms have historically shied away from credit card payments due to trust account compliance concerns and high payment processing fees. Thankfully, there are software tools specifically designed to help law firms compliantly process online payments.
Depending on your locality, the right software may even allow you to pass on processing fees to your clients through surcharging.
Time tracking and billing software that includes analytics and robust reporting can also help you assess your invoicing and collections processes and make better decisions for the financial health of your firm.
Reports can help you identify your most valuable clients and practice areas, spot unbilled transactions and hours, and gain a full-picture view of your firm’s accounts receivable.
Almost every law firm uses accounting software, but few firms use one designed with lawyers in mind. By choosing accounting software designed specifically for attorneys, you can print financial statements, write checks, and reconcile bank statements while ensuring bar compliance.
One of the greatest potential pitfalls in legal accounting is the need to remain compliant with the bar rules for managing trust accounts. The right trust accounting software can help your firm maintain trust fund accounting compliance while also making trust accounting easier and more manageable.
Tabs3 Software has the tools your firm needs
With a robust suite of practice management, time tracking, billing, and accounting tools designed specifically to meet the needs of busy law firms, Tabs3 Software can improve the operations at your firm.
To see how Tabs3 can help you run a more efficient and profitable firm, schedule a demo or sign up for a free trial today.
June 15, 2022
Benefits of Modern Payment Processing Solutions
Historically, law firms have been hesitant to accept credit card payments, largely due to security and compliance concerns.
This hesitance may have been justified in the past, but today’s attorneys have every reason to implement online payment processing. Modern legal payment processing solutions allow practices to protect clients’ card information while still allowing them the convenience of quick and simple online payments. In addition, firms are able to safeguard trust accounting practices and ensure adherence to compliance.
Here are seven key benefits of online payments and credit card processing for law firms.
1. Attract more clients
In the past, law firms shied away from accepting payments by card. But today’s clients see paying by card as normal in a professional context, and a growing number of your firm’s prospective clients expect to have the option. In fact, 84% of consumers now consider the option to pay by card as either a “nice to have” or a “must have.”
If you aren’t offering clients convenient ways to pay, they’ll be more likely to move on with another firm.
2. Build a strong client-attorney relationship
The convenience of paying by card can also boost client satisfaction. By accepting online credit card payments, you’re signaling to your clients that you care about them enough to make their experience with your firm as streamlined and effortless as possible.
Allowing your clients to make convenient online credit card payments also improves the chances they’ll pay quickly and reduces the need to follow up about their invoices.
3. Streamline workflows
Online payment processing can also cut down on the administrative hassle associated with collecting, recording, and allocating payments, especially when your payment processor is integrated with your legal billing software.
With the right software tools at your disposal, you can streamline billing and accounting processes by including payment links when you email your invoices, then use your legal billing software to automatically record and allocate payments as they come through.
It’s less work for your team than manually cashing and processing mailed checks, and it frees up more time to spend on service to your clients.
4. Get paid faster
The harder it is to pay your firm’s invoices, the more likely it is that those invoices will end up getting lost, forgotten, or put off until later. Providing clients a convenient and easy way to make payments can reduce the average time it takes them to pay and help your firm eliminate cash flow and collections issues.
In fact, one survey of legal professionals found that firms that accept digitized payments by card get paid 39% faster on average. That’s a significant improvement for legal professionals looking to collect payments.
These quicker payment turnarounds also make it easier for your firm to budget by taking the guesswork out of your forecasted monthly revenue.
5. Receive payments on retainer
Legal retainers are easier to manage if your firm is accepting credit card payments for trust or client funds deposits
That means you won’t need to waste waiting for a check to collect the money you have already earned. A good credit card processing solution for lawyers will also allow your firm to easily request funds when a client’s trust account balance gets too low.
It’s more efficient for the members of your firm and more convenient for the client, who doesn’t need to put in extra work to keep their trust account funded.
6. Compliant credit card payment is possible
Perhaps the most common reason for law firms to avoid credit card payments is the fear of violating the ABA’s ethics rules for trust accounting.
Under Rule 1.15 of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, there are strict rules governing the use of client trust/IOLTA accounts. Specifically, law firms have to take care never to commingle client and operational funds and to withdraw funds from a client trust account only as fees are earned or expenses are incurred.
Violating these regulations can come with significant repercussions, even if funds were commingled or withdrawn from a client trust account by mistake. For this reason, it pays for legal practices to be extra cautious when processing trust account payments.
The problem is that most generic payment processors withdraw their processing fees directly from the same account they deposit payments into. That means your client’s trust account funds are being used to pay processing fees, which is a direct violation of the Bar rules. And routing payments through your firm’s operating account won’t work either, since the ABA prohibits the commingling of funds between separate operating and trust accounts.
A legal software solution like Tabs3Pay can automatically withdraw processing fees from your firm’s operating account while depositing funds into the client’s trust account, so you can enjoy the benefits of trust credit card transactions without risking your practice’s professional standing.
7. Online payment processing is secure
The risk of security breaches is another reason law firms hesitate to invest in credit card processing. These concerns are justified given law firms’ responsibility to protect their clients’ confidentiality and credit card information, but today’s software solutions maintain a high level of security.
A reputable legal payment solution should allow your clients to log in to a secure online portal to make their payments, so your firm can ensure that card data remains encrypted and secure as payments are processed.
Your practice should look for credit card processors that are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which offers an exceptional level of security and safeguards your clients’ credit card information throughout online transactions.
Modernize your law firm’s payment options with Tabs3Pay
Tabs3 Software is an industry-leading provider of practice management, billing, and accounting software for lawyers. With Tabs3Pay, we’ve created a payment processing solution designed to meet the needs of legal practices.
Unlike most generic payment processors, Tabs3Pay includes safeguards to ensure that your firm stays compliant with ABA trust accounting rules while processing credit card payments. Our legal-specific payment processing software also offers:
- Simple and transparent pricing
- Certified PCI-compliant security
- The ability to accept payments either by credit card or by eCheck
- A surcharging feature that allows your firm to pass on credit card processing fees to clients (available in states that allow credit card surcharging)
If you’re ready to get started with convenient, compliant credit card processing for lawyers, get in touch or schedule a walkthrough demo.
May 18, 2022
Choosing the Best Practice Management Software for Your Law Firm
From client management tools to knowledge bases, accounting programs, and time tracking methods, your law firm has plenty of software options to choose from.
But do they create more challenges than they solve? Patching together different and sometimes outdated software can take a significant toll on a firm’s organizational efficiency, productivity, quality of service, and even profitability.
A reliable, integrated practice management software helps your law firm:
- Organize and execute matter-related workflows more efficiently
- Better capture and invoice for billable hours
- Increase transparency and accountability among team members
- Provide a more consistent level of service to your clients
There are dozens of practice management solutions on the market. How do you pick the right one for your firm to invest in?
Benefits of a practice management software
Your law firm already uses certain software for time tracking, billing, and other aspects of matter management, and you may be wondering whether a practice management software is a worthwhile investment for your firm.
Although your software needs will depend on how big your firm is and what practice areas you work in, there are a number of reasons why an integrated practice management software can serve as a worthwhile investment for nearly any practice.
The right practice management tools can help your law firm:
- Consolidate knowledge bases to increase efficiency and ensure consistency across matters
- Track billable hours more effectively and send more accurate invoices
- Increase billable hours by freeing up more time for your attorneys
- Better delegate tasks and facilitate easier communication and collaboration between team members
- Avoid costly mistakes, compliance violations, and billing errors
Taken together, these advantages can more than justify the cost of investing in an integrated practice management software.
Choosing a software: questions to ask
Once you’ve decided that a practice management software is right for your firm, the next step is to choose the best software for your practice’s needs. As you make that decision, there are a number of questions to consider.
Is the software cloud-based or on-premises?
One of the first and most important decisions you should make is whether you want software that is stored locally or in the cloud.
Cloud-based software offers your attorneys greater flexibility in choosing where they work since your practice management tools will be accessible from anywhere. They can also cut down on IT issues for your team and protect you against the possibility of data loss in the event of sudden hardware failure.
But cloud-based practice management tools also come with certain drawbacks. Since they rely on access to the cloud provider’s network, they may not be available if you lose access to the internet. They also present possible security concerns since your firm’s data will have to pass through the software provider and won’t be stored locally on-site.
By contrast, on-premises practice management software offers you a higher level of data security, which may be especially important if some of your clients restrict their data from being stored in the cloud.
Ultimately, the best choice for your firm will depend on your practice area, data security needs, and whether or not your attorneys need the option to work from home. For added flexibility, you can also look for a practice management software that supports both on-premises and cloud-based usage.
What integrations does the software offer?
A good practice management software should integrate with the other software tools you use every day. Otherwise, you’ll still find yourself switching tabs and windows throughout the day, and your firm’s data will still be stored in multiple discrete locations, increasing the chances of inconsistencies and errors.
In particular, you may want to look for software that integrates with your attorney’s email accounts and Office 365, so you can more easily generate, manage, and send matter-related documents.
What security features does the software include?
Your practice management software will be responsible for handling sensitive client data, and you’ll want to make sure whatever software you choose keeps this information secure.
If the software you’re considering is cloud-based, you should ask what the company does to ensure the security of data stored in the cloud. You should also look for software that allows you to set customized user restrictions, so you can place important limits on who has access to what data.
Is the software designed specifically for law firms?
There are many popular practice management tools on the market that serve as generalized “jacks-of-all-trades.” While these software options are perfectly fine in other professional contexts, law firms will usually find better value in a practice management tool specifically designed with legal practices in mind.
A practice management software built for law firms will include invoicing, billing, document assembly, and matter management features that are fine-tuned to meet the specific needs of busy attorneys, as well as industry-specific capabilities such as conflict of interest searches and trust accounting tools.
Does the software have the features we need?
This is perhaps the most important consideration of all.
A prospective practice management solution should offer a wide range of easy-to-use features that streamline your law firm’s workloads and free up more time for your attorneys. Here are a few important features to look for.
Calendars and matter management tools
A legal practice management software should make it easy to sort, track, and manage matters from client intake through to invoicing and payment. It should also come with an integrated calendar so you can keep scheduling clear and transparent for everyone at your firm.
Document assembly and management
The right software should also allow you to effortlessly import, export, file, and find all of your firm’s documents, even when creating those documents in another software like Microsoft Word or Excel.
Some practice management tools even include document assembly capabilities that allow you to quickly and automatically populate the fields in common legal documents.
Time tracking and billing
Integrated timers are another key feature that allows your attorneys to easily track their time from within your practice management software. And when it comes time to bill for those hours, your attorneys will also benefit from a software with time-saving billing and invoicing capabilities.
One of the biggest advantages of choosing a software that’s specific to law firms is the availability of conflict-checking tools.
The software you choose should include robust search tools that allow you to instantly see potential conflicts of interest, helping you stay within compliance regulations and protecting your firm’s reputation.
Options for remote work
If members of your team travel frequently, work from home, or sometimes do their work on the go, you may want to look for a practice management system that allows them to work from mobile devices or access the software remotely from home computers.
However, you should always be sure that the software provider has sufficient security measures in place before you invest in software tools that allow for remote access.
Get started with Tabs3
Tabs3 Software offers industry-leading software solutions designed specifically to meet the needs of law firms. Our mission is to provide legal practices with a wide range of reliable practice management, billing, and accounting tools.
To see why tens of thousands of legal professionals choose to trust our software, schedule a demo or sign up for a free trial.
April 28, 2022