As an estate planning practice, you work with clients on emotional subjects: deciding what their legacy will be, mapping out their long-term care needs, and ensuring that their loved ones are provided for. Not only are you helping to plan for potentially difficult experiences for them and their loved ones, but the work itself also requires detailed and extensive documentation.
As an attorney, your goal is to help your clients solve their problems and prevent friction on often-contentious subjects, not to add further confusion with poor communication or less-than-perfect documentation. You can do this by supporting your clients with the right tools in place to streamline communications and accounting.
The best place to start? A practice management system built for you.
What is legal practice management software?
Legal practice management software is software designed specifically for law firms to help manage their practices more efficiently. Practice management software can range from comprehensive, all-in-one solutions to highly customized packages tailored to a law firm’s specific needs.
Practice management software performs a number of different functions, including:
- Contact management
- Task and workflow management
- Time and expense tracking
- Reporting and analytics
Legal practice management software may also offer trust accounting, billing, payments, and client relationship management features. These features tie into the basic practice management functionalities, ensuring that information is accurate and easily accessible no matter how you’re putting it to use.
Three reasons estate planning law firms need practice management software
Estate planning law can be complex, but the right tools can make it simpler for both you and your clients. Put your practice management to use for your law firm in these three ways.
1. Improve your client experience with better communication
Client communications are a critical component of estate planning law practices. It is at the heart of a client’s experience and can make the difference between a positive and negative experience with your firm. With this in mind, estate planning law firms need communication practices that simplify complex legal matters and bolster client confidence in your firm.
Legal client relationship management
A strong first impression is vital to converting leads into clients. One of the best ways to make a strong first impression? Being responsive with your communication.
A legal client relationship management (CRM) tool can make it easier to stay in touch with your clients from the moment they reach out with features like text and email communication, automated drip campaigns, and logic-based intake forms that help you qualify leads.
A solid email strategy helps build long-term relationships with clients. It allows you to educate them on topics related to their needs, build rapport, and remind them of upcoming deadlines and appointments.
That said, it can be difficult to stay on top of consistent communication for all clients without the tools to back it up.
Practice management software is a great way to simplify email management and keep everyone on the same page. For example, PracticeMaster’s built-in email management software syncs with Outlook and allows you to add client emails to their corresponding matter. With this feature, you don’t have to go digging through hundreds of email threads to find where your last conversation left off or forward email after email to colleagues.
2. Automate tasks to save time
Estate planning requires meticulous organization and record-keeping to ensure your client’s needs and wishes are followed correctly. If one task slips through the cracks, it can create a host of problems for both you and your clients. However, practice management functionalities can make it easier to stay organized without losing billable hours to project management work.
Secure file-sharing and eSignature
Secure file-sharing and eSignature tools remove the need to print, mail, and return documents, saving you and your clients valuable time. Clients can also sign a contract or upload documents from their smartphones. This tool provides added convenience for your clients, increasing the likelihood that they will return documents in a timely manner.
Besides being user-friendly, file-sharing and eSignature tools also provide a high degree of security compared to paper documents. With bank-level security for sensitive client data, your clients will feel safe sharing their data, and you can rest assured that you’ll be protected from compliance risks.
Organization is vital to an effective estate planning practice, but ongoing document tracking and assembly can be a tedious and time-consuming task. When you use robust practice management software like PracticeMaster, it’s easier for legal teams to automate document assembly, importing, and sharing. PracticeMaster offers features like:
- Document assembly: pull client information to fill forms and contracts with document assembly features, shaving hours off of traditionally tedious document assembly tasks.
- Import documents: import documents and data. System plug-ins enable integration across Word, Excel®, Windows, Adobe® Acrobat, and more.
- Built-in document management: track document changes, including which staff member made them. Firms can also link to documents and clients in their communications to keep everyone on the same page.
3. Utilize accounting software that caters to your fee structure
Robust accounting features in practice management software can cater to different fee structures and simplify billing for all parties.
Estate planning law firms in particular utilize a variety of fee arrangements to provide convenient solutions for clients. Some clients may rely on ongoing service agreements and trust accounts to secure services, while others may benefit from flat fee arrangements for more straightforward needs, such as drafting a last will and testament.
Tabs3 Billing gives you virtually unlimited billing rate flexibility. Use attorneys’ standard rate, bill by timekeeper level (partner, associate, etc.), or create custom rates for any timekeeper for any client. You can also use contingency, split fee, flat fee, retainer, progress, and electronic task-based billing when needed.
In addition to the features you need to create flexible billing structures, practice management software can also help you send your bills and accept payments faster, providing your firm with the tools needed to improve your cash flow. With Tabs3 Billing, your firm can:
- Accept credit cards and online payments, and include a credit card remittance form on a bill for faster payment with Tabs3Pay
- Print statements and email them as PDFs, one at a time or in large batches
- Print draft statements and track which ones are still under internal review
- Easily edit and update transactions on any bill to ensure accuracy for your clients
Do your best work with Tabs3 Software’s full suite of legal practice management tools
Tabs3 Software is the ideal legal practice management software for estate planning law firms because it provides the tools you need to run an efficient and profitable practice. Tabs3’s powerful features can be customized to meet the precise needs of your firm, so you can spend more time focusing on the needs of your clients.
See for yourself why Tabs3 Software has been trusted by law firms for decades, and schedule a walkthrough demo with us today.