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.