For your business law clients, what’s the most important thing you do? The answer is probably that your services help their business maintain a strong legal foundation and resolve any disputes and conflicts efficiently and with as little stress as possible. But what helps your practice increase its efficiency and decrease the stress of running a law firm? To provide effective guidance and support for your clients, you can’t rely on your legal knowledge and experience alone. As a business, your practice needs legal practice management software so you can maximize billable hours, reduce compliance risks, and deliver excellent client service—the kind that keeps referrals coming in.
What is legal practice management software?
Legal practice management software is designed to support business operations. The tools available through practice management software can streamline many areas of your work, including:
- Workflow and task management
- Time and expense tracking
- Contact management
- Billing and invoicing
- Robust reporting and data analytics
Depending on the needs of your practice, you may benefit from either a convenient all-in-one solution or one that allows you to customize your software with the features that are most important to your firm.
Why choose legal practice management software?
Unlike industry-agnostic software solutions, legal practice management software is designed specifically for law firms and tailored to their workflows and compliance needs. For example, a general email management tool might allow you to manage your contacts, but with a law firm-specific software, you can benefit from built-in conflict of interest checks. Another important example is law firm trust accounting: if one of your business clients relies on trust accounting, your team could spend hours trying to build usable trust accounting workflows with a generic accounting system. But with legal-specific software, your firm can use built-in trust accounting software for three-way reconciliation and robust reporting. Features like this help protect your firm from compliance violations at many levels while also improving workflows at every stage of matter lifecycles.
Four reasons why business law firms need practice management software
Because business law firms have their hands in widely disparate matters, it’s critical that your team has the tools it needs to stay on top of billable and non-billable tasks alike. Position your firm for success by taking advantage of these four benefits of legal practice management software.
1. Improved client communication keeps everyone on the same page
Whether you’re simply reviewing a contract for a client or litigating a merger gone south, communications are at the heart of your client’s experience. Even if you are able to achieve your client’s goals in the end, poor client communication throughout the process can lead to fewer new clients, fewer repeat clients, and a less-than-stellar reputation. Legal practice management software helps law firms maintain positive, personalized communications on both urgent and ongoing matters, so your clients feel valued and taken care of at all times.
A client relationship management (CRM) tool is a fantastic way to communicate with clients about the client intake process, scheduling, appointments, deadlines, and updates to your law firm. From first contact, a legal CRM can help you provide immediate responses via text and email communications, automated drip campaigns, and logic-based intake forms that help you identify leads.
Practice management tools can help you keep up with the fast pace of business law. If your team struggles to sift through endless email threads or maintain consistent client communication, email integration will allow you to get organized. PracticeMaster’s built-in email tools sync with Outlook, which means that team members can add client communications to their corresponding matter. With this integration, all legal staff can be apprised of any client communications so that nothing slips through the cracks.
2. Automated workflows reduce errors
Business law requires meticulous attention to deadlines, forms, and documentation. The smallest missed deadline can have significant compliance or liability consequences for your clients. Legal practice management systems provide many ways to streamline processes and help you stay on track, so you never miss a beat (or a deadline). Here are some examples.
- Document management allows you to build customizable templates, so you can assemble documents at lightning speed with automated client data population.
- Attorney-friendly calendars include advanced calendar functions, such as the ability to schedule a series of events from one kick-off date, alert users of a double-booking, and review all upcoming events related to a specific matter or client.
- Advanced conflict of interest checks with quick searches let attorneys instantly see conflicts of interest between potential clients and your firm through phrase matching, phonetic checks, and other features. No more digging through piles of paperwork or endless spreadsheets to cross-reference client information.
3. Task management automations save time
Even the most organized legal professional can save time with the automations available in practice management software. Instead of slogging through repetitive tasks, practice management software gives you workflow functionality to trigger tasks or send reminders following specific actions. With these automations, your software can take care of tasks like:
- Starting emails
- Adding appointments to your calendar
- Assembling documents
- Running reports
- Launching other software features
These tasks may not seem overly time-consuming in the moment, but the minutes you spend on them each day can really add up over time.
4. More efficient billing benefits your firm and your clients
Billing, invoicing, and collections can take up an inordinate amount of time for legal staff. The good news is that practice management software can help your law firm get bills out quickly and get paid even faster. Your software should streamline billing and invoicing by helping you:
- Track time and turn billable hours into fees on your client’s next statement
- Bill clients based on their fee structure (i.e. split fee, contingency, retainer, or task-based billing)
- Process credit card and online payments for faster payment processing (and a more convenient payment option for clients)
- Securely email invoices in large batches or one at a time
- Print draft statements and track which ones are under internal review
Get down to business with Tabs3 Software’s suite of legal practice management tools
Tabs3 Software is designed to help business law firms streamline their operations so they can focus on client matters. See for yourself why tens of thousands of legal professionals trust Tabs3 with their business when you schedule a demo with us today.