Practicing criminal law can be a high-stakes endeavor, and we’re not just talking about client matters. Criminal law practices face unique challenges in managing and growing their practice, from navigating a competitive marketplace to working with difficult clients who may require payment plans.
As an attorney, it makes sense that your business practices and needs can sometimes take a back seat to immediate client needs. But in the long run, an inefficient practice management system will only lead to more problems for you and your clients.
This state of stress and disorganization doesn’t have to be the default for your firm. Effective practice management software can help improve operations, increase profitability, and reduce stress, all while providing better support and representation for clients.
What is legal practice management software?
Practice management software is designed to help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively. Features can range from all-in-one solutions to customizable packages.
Practice management software typically includes:
- Contact management
- Time and expense tracking
- Billing and invoicing
- Workflow and task management
- Detailed reporting and data analytics
Because legal practice management software is designed with attorneys in mind, law firms can quickly take advantage of the software’s functionalities to improve their operations. For example, instead of spending hours trying to get your generic accounting software to support your trust accounting workflows, you can implement built-in trust accounting software to ensure your law firm doesn’t miss a beat (or a three-way reconciliation deadline).
This means that from the outset, law firms are positioned to see a much faster ROI.
Three reasons criminal law firms need practice management software
Criminal law practices work on matters that are often time-sensitive. For such impactful work, it’s imperative that legal staff have as much time as possible to focus on their clients’ needs, without letting anything slip through the cracks.
When it comes to client intake, matter organization, and payment processes, practice management software can streamline your operations with results that benefit all parties.
1. Improved client communications build strong relationships
Clients come to you for support and guidance in stressful situations. Firms that achieve clear and consistent communication will attract and convert more qualified leads and are better positioned to build long-term positive relationships that can result in opportunities even after a case is completed.
Legal client relationship management
Criminal law is a competitive practice area. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, and that starts with responsive communication.
A legal client relationship management (CRM) tool works with practice management software to provide a number of benefits to law firms:
- Find quality leads: with logic based intake forms, criminal law practices can reduce the time it takes to sort through interested parties to find qualified leads for your practice
- Quick, tailored responses: with built-in triggers, a legal CRM can provide appropriate and immediate follow-ups to qualified leads, such as scheduling a consultation and other next steps
- Automated drip campaigns: increase touchpoints with prospective clients with email and text campaigns that can remind clients of upcoming appointments and deadlines, as well as other relevant calls to action
- Contact management: eliminate manual and redundant data entry with an integrated CRM that automatically syncs with your practice management software
Simplify email management
Client relationship best practices begin with effective communication, and email plays an important role in that. As such, your email organization should help you work better with clients. For example, PracticeMaster’s email management system syncs with Outlook so staff can add client emails to their respective matter. With this feature, your team can work with a consolidated list of client communications so that everyone has access to all pertinent information.
2. Secure and organized matter management achieves better results for your clients
Whether you’re helping a client fight a DUI or navigate a fraud charge, you can’t afford to overlook filing deadlines or misplace evidence. Practice management software, however, can help you better manage your time, schedules, and matters.
Efficient task management
You shouldn’t have to rebuild the proverbial wheel over and over again for repetitive tasks.
Practice management software provides workflows for task automation, including:
- Document assembly
- Running custom reports
- Starting emails
- Adding appointments
- Launching other software programs
These automated tasks reduce human error and save users time every single day, improving productivity and efficiency for criminal law firms.
Integrated calendar management
Instead of using an industry-agnostic calendar, consider powering your law firm with built-in calendars that help you track matter schedules.
Integrated calendar systems sync with your email and include:
- Applying jurisdiction-specific criteria to reminders and due dates
- Recurring reminders for regular meetings
- Customizable security settings that determine which employees can see appointments for certain attorneys or clients
These features maximize your time so you can spend your energy on your matters and strategic business priorities.
Secure file sharing and eSignatures
Criminal law practices often operate with tight turnarounds and firm deadlines. Secure file-sharing and eSignature features enable teams to request documents, get signatures, and securely send information as quickly as possible by eliminating the need to print, mail, and return documents.
3. Streamlined payment processes
Criminal law firms may need to employ a variety of fee arrangements to provide the right payment solutions for their clients.
Whether your clients prefer trust accounts, flat fee arrangements, retainers, or contingency, you can use your practice management software to support flexible billing options. Firms can use an attorney’s standard rate, bill by timekeeper level (associate, partner, etc), or add custom rates for any client.
In addition to the flexibility to create a billing structure that works for each client, your practice management software can help you:
- Accept online payments by optionally including a payment link within an emailed bill for faster payment
- Schedule future and recurring payments
- Track which draft statements are still under internal review
- Quickly edit and update transactions on bills to ensure statement accuracy
Build a stronger practice with Tabs3 Software’s comprehensive legal practice management tools
Top criminal law firms use Tabs3 Software to run a more efficient and profitable practice. Tabs3 is built to meet the unique needs of your practice, so you can spend more time working on the needs of your clients.
Schedule a demo with us and see why Tabs3 Software has been a leading choice that tens of thousands of legal professionals rely on every day.