For law firms, it can be overwhelming to sort out exactly what software and programs you need in your starting line-up to operate at peak performance. Firms need to balance utility with user interface, cost, frequency of use, and a whole host of factors that can be difficult to predict.
This can result in a team of tools that aren’t built to complement each other and may actually slow your firm down.
This can be as frustrating as watching your favorite college basketball team miss a game winning shot during March Madness.
But while tech grievances are common, your legal practice can leave them in the past. It’s possible to build a system with all the functionalities your firm needs to succeed, without outdated or mismatched technology that drags you down.
If you’re looking to create a more efficient workflow for your law firm, here’s the starting line-up to get you there.
Practice management software
Practice management software is a centralized system designed to help legal practices function more efficiently. The software itself can range from all-in-one packages to customizable solutions designed specifically for your law firm, but the end goal of these solutions is to allow firms to manage their entire practice from one intuitive, convenient interface.
There are many functionalities within practice management software that support better workflows and task tracking for attorneys, including matter management, documentation, calendaring, communication, and more.
Matter management tools keep case files organized, enabling your team to store all case data, files, contact information, phone records, tasks, and calendar events in one secure system. Authorized team members can collaborate with one another in the system from their desktop or smartphone, making it easy to find what you need, no matter where you are.
Document management and automation
Look for legal practice management software with built-in document management. This feature lets teams track who made what changes in a document, and when they did it. Your software should also enable linking between documents and matters. As a result, team members have more transparent collaboration, as well as a clear history of case matters and updates.
Document automation allows firms to build custom legal templates to save time on generating document. With document templates, team members can easily populate client or case information into the template, which helps reduce human error and manual administrative time.
More than your average calendar app, integrated calendars enable you to schedule tasks and appointments for individuals, groups, or the entire firm. The best software will also include calendar plan templates to schedule a series of events following a kick-off date, such as automated follow-ups after a client is onboarded.
For extra points, practice management calendars also alert you to double bookings. This feature can save hours of untangling scheduling problems and prevent missed appointments.
File-sharing and eSignature capabilities
Two-way secure file-sharing makes it easy to collaborate with clients and outside parties while minimizing risk for all involved. With eSignatures, clients can sign legally binding documents from any device, eliminating the need to print, sign, scan, and email documents. This improves the client experience and boosts turnaround time for documents, since clients are more likely to quickly sign and send forms when you make it more convenient for them to do so.
Time tracking software
Time tracking software can streamline administrative tasks and make tracking billable hours easier for everyone. When members of your legal team don’t account for their time until the end of the day (or the end of the week), it can lead to inaccurate reporting. This can result in either shortchanging the firm or overcharging the client.
Neither scenario is ideal for growing a firm and can even pose compliance risks for your practice.
Time tracking software lets team members record how they spend their time throughout the day, which creates an accurate picture of their activities as they work. Look for software with mobile capabilities so your team members can track time no matter where they work.
With time tracking reports, your team can also analyze how they spend their time so you can check on their performance, client time allocation, and administrative pain points. As a result, firms can make informed decisions regarding how they need to spend their time.
Client relationship management software (CRM) is a tool that helps firms manage their client intake process and marketing efforts. Legal CRMs are built specifically with law firms in mind, which reduces the need for heavy customization.
Legal CRM provides many valuable tools for law firms, including email and text campaigns as well as automated follow-ups.
Automated client follow-ups
A robust legal CRM provides automated client follow-ups via email, phone calls, and/or text messages. With CRM software, firms can send automatic reminders about upcoming appointments or other deadlines. Firms can also use automated messages to follow up on missed calls to keep the conversation going with potential leads.
Email drip campaigns
Email drip campaigns can build stronger relationships with your leads by creating valuable touchpoints. For prospective clients, email campaigns can communicate information about the services your firm provides or next steps in the client intake process.
Text message functionality
Text messages have almost a 98% open rate, so it’s an important resource for client communications. With a legal CRM, firms can share documents securely by text, as well as important reminders and next steps for clients. You can set up text message communication based on certain triggers or to send to multiple groups.
Billing and invoicing software
Billing and invoicing does not have to be complicated. With the right software, firms can create efficient systems that improve payment processing and compliance reporting without the usual headaches.
Get bills out quickly and easily
If your time tracking software is integrated with your billing software, creating and sending bills can be a quick and easy process every time.
Billing software makes it easy to:
- Set up automated batch billing or send invoices one at a time. Bills can be password-protected for high-profile clients.
- Pull billable hours from time tracking into client invoices with easy editing features for bills that need review.
- Send invoices at the same time each month to create consistency for your clients.
- Run advanced reporting to review records and ensure compliance.
As an added bonus, billing software makes it easy for firms to bill with flexible rate types such as split fee, flat fee, contingency, retainer, progress, or task-based billing.
Get paid faster
Within a robust billing and invoicing software, firms can use tools that will help them get paid faster, while also creating a streamlined payment experience for clients.
Look for software that accepts credit cards and online payments. Many clients prefer paying online because of the added convenience and are more likely to pay invoices in a timely manner. This helps with your firm’s liquidity and reduces the time it takes you to follow up on past-due collections.
Trust accounts have very specific parameters for compliance and state regulations. Billing software helps build trust accounting that is efficient and in compliance for your peace of mind.
Trust accounting features can provide:
- Intuitive tracking and dashboards
- Three-way reconciliation reports for trust accounts
- Notices when an account falls below the minimum threshold
- Tracking for an unlimited number of trust accounts
- Positive Pay programs for your bank’s fraud prevention program
These features make it easier to manage trust accounts with confidence while providing increased transparency for clients.
Make your tech stack work for you with Tabs3 Software
The technology you use should make your law firm easier to run, not harder. For a well-balanced and complimentary tech stack, an integrated system of practice management, CRM, time tracking, and billing software will create a winning strategy for you and your clients.
Build the tech stack you need with Tabs3 Software. Tabs3’s suite of client and law firm-friendly tools offers fully integrated billing, accounting, and practice management tools to help law firms run more efficiently and profitably.
To see how Tabs3 can help your law firm work better, schedule a walkthrough demo today.