If you want to run your law firm as efficiently as possible, you need the right software. Below we will highlight 21 of the most common software used by lawyers and legal firms, as well as answer some other common questions.
Legal software are applications or other technology used by law firms, legal professionals, and lawyers in order to efficiently do their job.
1. Practice Management Software
Practice management software provides a central solution for all the needs a law practice has. They typically merge matter management, task management, client management, and more all into one software suite.
2. Security Tools and Anti-Virus
Due to the sensitive nature of the documents and files that legal teams access, security tools (like encryption software) and anti-virus software (when opening files) is extremely important.
3. Legal Research Software
Law firms do a lot of research. Whether researching past cases, legal precedent, case law, or just common knowledge for a case, having the right research tools are key.
4. Document Management Software
Document management software is one of the most used software by legal teams. Most popular features to look for are: secure data storage, centralization of data with search, permission based access restriction, and the ability for firms to quickly create documents using document templates.
5. General Office Software
Although not specific to the legal industry, law offices will typically find themselves needing general office software like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Acrobat and Adobe PDF reader.
6. Task Management Software
Legal task management software is project management software that has been customized for law firms and independent practitioners. It allows you to quickly track what needs to be done, for when, and flag any potential issues in the process.
7. Law Firm Marketing Software
Law firms often want to acquire new customers, and when word of mouth is not enough, marketing can be a great way to do so. Due to the various requirements when it comes to marketing a law firm, specialized software is often needed.
8. Conferencing Software
Whether communicating with your team, your clients, or just fellow legal professionals. Video and phone conferencing software is utilized by legals teams more than most industries.
9. Billing Software
Legal billing software is just that. It keeps track of billable hours, per diems, and other expenses that should be billed back to the clients. Many companies specialize in billing software for the legal industry.
10. Courtroom Training and Practicing
The perfect solution for lawyers and practicing lawyers to hone their skills. Courtroom training and practice software can offer anything from text based situational testing, opening argument recordings, to even VR (virtual reality) walkthroughs to help lawyers prepare for their next case.
11. Litigation Software
Is typically used to create a central repository of all records needed for a law firm's litigation cases. Often it has similar features seen in document management systems.
12. Electronic Filing Software
E-Filing software is used to allow firms to file legal documents with the state through a back office filing system. Since each state has their own filing systems, legal firms typically need a practice management system or electronic filing software compatible with the states or states in which they operate.
13. Electronic Discovery Software
With more and more evidence/documents being found online (eg: email records, social media posts, corporate databases) the need for digital delivery of these evidence/documents is becoming much more common than it once one. Electronic discovery software allows firms to store, send, and share evidence online as opposed to traditional paper-based methods.
14. Legal Timekeeping Software
This software is used by law firms to keep track of hours being worked, how long it takes members of their firm to complete certain tasks, time utilization per lawyer or project, as well as how to attribute costs to clients and more.
15. Phone System Software
Whether you are a solo practitioner who wants to take and manage calls from clients, or whether you work for a large firm that needs individual inboxes, extensions, call recordings, and more. A well setup phone system software can save a lot of time and headaches for your team.
16. Law Firm Reporting Software
Tracking your metrics is the best way to improve upon them. Legal reporting software is typically built into a law firm's CRM but can also work as a standalone software. Typical KPIs that law firms tend to track are new customer acquisitions, client satisfaction, weekly, monthly and yearly revenue, hours billed and more.
17. Internal Communication Software
Internal communication software is used to communicate with your team (and sometimes your clients) in the most safe and secure way possible. Also known as business messaging software, this can include a combination of chat, text messaging, video conferencing, and more in one product.
Many law firms use docketing software, which is a calendaring software specific to the legal industry, to allow for the scheduling, calendaring, and tracking of important deadlines for cases and legal proceedings. For more information check out our guide to choosing calendaring and docketing software.
19. Knowledge Management Software
Knowledge management software creates a repository of knowledge that can be shared with your team all around the globe. From best practices, to frequently asked questions, to how to file an expense report, to common procedures, they help everyone at your firm find what they need quickly. Best of all it is created by your team so more senior people can share knowledge with people of any skill level.
20. CRM and Client Intake Software
Client intake software helps your staff collect all needed information from a client, including digitizing needed intake forms, before booking the first appointment. It can also check for potential red flags or missing information, to avoid unnecessary meetings.
21. Disposition Software
Disposition software and transcript software allows legal teams to manage, digitize, annotate, and search through dispositions and transcripts, quickly and easily as they build their case.
There is a wide range in pricing when it comes to legal software. For example, practice management software, which may have all the features you need, can cost several thousand dollars per month depending on the size of your firm. However calendaring software can cost only under 10 dollars per employee per month.
It is therefore very important to determine your needs before choosing any software. A bit more research in the short term could save you lots of money in the long term.
In short, no. If you are looking to represent yourself, this is not typically advised, but there is software that can help you, however they are very often paid for programs.