Legal Practice Management Solutions (2019 Guide)

2019 Guide To Legal Practice Management Solutions

Any law firm that wants to compete in today’s technology-driven environment needs up-to-date practice management software. It integrates your firm’s departments and disparate work processes into a single system so you can manage your core operations with a single solution. To help, we’re highlighting four popular legal practice management solutions in this article. They each have their own strong points. So, you should take the time to learn about them and if they will align with your work processes.

1. Amicus Attorney

Amicus Attorney is useful for firms that need a wide range of functions and features to manage their operations. And it’s built for and by lawyers with in-depth industry knowledge.

It integrates all of your firm’s information into a single automated system to improve efficiency. It’s available as a desktop, cloud or combined desktop/cloud solution, and provides client/matter management, legal calendaring and tasks, contacts and business development modules, document management and automation, and time and expense tracking.

Amicus Attorney comes with three subscription options:

  1. The Private Cloud, a private virtual workspace where you can access your portal from anywhere you have an internet connection.
  2. Amicus Attorney, desktop software that allows you to go mobile while data remains on your firm’s server.
  3. Amicus Online which works over the Internet in your browser with cloud-based options and streamlined features that you can access from your PC, Mac or tablet. Amicus Online helps you run your law practice, without you having to run a computer system.

Amicus Attorney includes:

  • Legal Calendaring
  • Court Date Calculator & Rules-Based Calendaring
  • Link Events
  • Matter Management
  • Document Management
  • Time Management
  • A Client Portal
  • Billing Management

It integrates with:

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • QuickBooks
  • Google Apps
  • Dropbox
  • HotDocs
  • Microsoft Word
  • Timeslips

Precedent Workflows: You often have to do the same series of things on matters of the same type. Amicus Attorney combines these resulting in a superb workflow.

Client Matters: Client matters are the building blocks of your firm and everything you bill revolves around them. Amicus Attorney makes all your files and content instantly accessible, better organized, and much easier to use.

Tasks and Deadlines: Amicus is your ultimate to-do list. The Amicus Tasks module is fast and easy to use. All you have to do is type and hit return, and a task is created. With this, there are no unnecessary dialogs or wasted clicks.

2. Time Matters

With Time Matters you can keep track of your appointments, emails, documents, research, billing and matters–all from the same software. You can automate workflows across your firm, along with alerts and reminders.

Find documents easily: Everything is at your fingertips. Organize and track documents, events, phone calls and other information by clients and matters. You can find them by date, name, size, user, etc. If you remember a certain quote from a document, you can search for it.

Easy Contact & Client Management: Use the Contact Management form to record pertinent information about an individual, business or organization. This can include work and home addresses, names of spouses and children, Social Security Numbers, the properties they own, email address, website, and more. Form Styles ensures information is entered and recorded consistently. You can manage and control access to all of your client information and other parties involved in your cases.

Time Matters Is Mobile: You’re no longer tied to your desk. You and your staff can be productive on the go with the Time Matters Mobility Service that integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. Your Time Matters calendar and emails will sync with Outlook so you have instant access to calendar events you can link to your files.

Integrate Time Matters With Billing Matters: Although Time Matters includes its own basic billing and expense tracking system, you may want to integrate it with Billing Matters. When you do, you’ll have support for:

  • Firm-defined task codes.
  • Hourly, retainer, one-time charge, flat-fee, flat-fee plus actual costs, contingency, maximum or minimum charges per bill and progress-based billing.
  • Customizable invoices and approval workflows.
  • Discounts, markups and adjustments.

Document your billable hours and client expenses with timesheets, billing forms or timers. You can use hourly or fixed-fee rates. It also helps you search for billable hours. Your attorneys can keep their own “clock” when working on a case and have their legal assistant “push” it to the billing system where a bill will be prepared and printed.

Integrate Time Matters With Other Solutions: Along with Billing Matters, you can integrate it with other LexisNexis software like PCLaw and Juris, as well as with over 40 third-party billing systems and office software.

3. PC Law

LexisNexis offers PCLaw practice management software to help you automate and streamline your law firm’s administrative tasks. It’s a cloud-based, legal management software geared to legal billing and accounting. It suits small start-up practices as well as mid-sized firms.

PCLaw partnered with Uptime Legal™, a legal-specific cloud service provider that has successfully moved hundreds of law firms to the Cloud. It’s recognized by the ABA and hosts PCLaw on dedicated cloud servers. They provide unlimited support and run constant antivirus and security monitoring so you can be assured that your data is always safeguarded.

PCLaw isn’t new. It’s been around a long time as an on-premise solution. Now that it’s cloud-based, you can easily and securely access your files from anywhere you have an internet connection. It remains on the shortlist of legal practice management applications that help firms handle case management, time tracking, billing and full-fledged accounting.

Features: With its calendar, you can keep track of important deadlines and meetings. Access critical matter information and search using client number, matter number, matter description or type of law. Via its dashboard, view useful information at a glance and toggle between “My Practice,” “My Clients,” and “My Business” modules to find everything you need.

PCLaw will take the hassle out of running your firm with easy:

  • Matter management,
  • Time tracking for billable hours,
  • Appointment and task scheduling, and
  • Tracking of your firm’s performance.

It’s a powerful billing and accounting software program. You can:

  • Collect payments;
  • Manage payments and business expenses;
  • Write and print checks from bank or trust accounts;
  • Reduce unbilled billable time by automating time capture with Time Entry Advisor;
  • Email bills or submit LEDES-formatted bills electronically and get paid faster with fewer hassles;
  • Balance your accounts and locate outstanding balances;
  • Review your profit and loss statement in real-time;
  • Reconcile bank statements; and
  • Manage trust accounts.

You and your staff can get customer support with:

  • Jumpstart Onboarding: Custom onboarding tailored to your firm from PCLaw’s help desk staff.
  • Support with a variety of tools inside and outside of the software.
  • Upgrades and new releases to keep you on top of the latest features.
  • Free training, plus ongoing tips and tricks to help you quickly brush up on the features you use the most.

The Authorized Hosting Program: LexisNexis’ Authorized Hosting Program meets the highest standards of reliability, security, ethics, and support. Your data is stored on an off-site, secure server.

Key benefits include:

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery with data centers that are continually maintaining and monitoring your systems, ensuring optimal reliability and security.
  • Remote Access: With private cloud hosting, you and your staff can work anytime, anywhere with a secure Wi-Fi connection. Your management, legal and compliance needs are readily available.
  • Security and Compliance: PCLaw offers secure and compliant access to the tools you need. With bank-grade encrypted security, LexisNexis’ partners offer multi-factor authentication, onsite cloud backup, and restricted access, so you know your information is safe.
  • Support and Upgrades: You can upgrade your software faster than ever. Instead of having to deal with multiple vendors when you have an issue, LexisNexis’ partners can assist with all of your technical and PCLaw questions.
  • Legal-Specific Hosting: Unlike cloud providers that offer services spanning across multiple industries, LexisNexis’ providers focus on the challenges law firms face when managing matters, billing, and accounting. Their extensive experience in the legal industry means that their understanding of your security and compliance are of high priority.

What many like about PCLaw is:

  • It’s straight-forward and simple to use.
  • Setup is quick.
  • You won’t need other accounting software. It’s a complete billing and accounting software package.

PCLaw is a good choice if you need a robust billing, accounting and reporting platform, and you don’t have a need for more comprehensive case management features (such as document/form assembly and rules-based calendaring).

4. Tabs3

Tabs3 was explicitly designed for law firms. You can use it to invoice and receive payments quickly, reconcile bank statements, manage clients’ trust accounts, and integrate it with other software you use.

Law firms have been using Tabs3 for 40 years. Its newest version provides even better tools for entering time and managing documents. According to Tabs3, their clients are so satisfied that 9 out of 10 of them recommend it to other firms. Plus, their customers have a 96% + satisfaction rating for Tabs3’s customer support.

Tabs3 features include:

  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Calendar Management
  • Case & Client History
  • Case Management
  • Client Management
  • Client Portal
  • Conflict Management
  • Contact Management
  • Contract Management
  • Document Management
  • Email Management
  • Financial Management
  • HR Management
  • Library Management
  • Records Management
  • Task Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Trust Accounting

Billing: Tabs3 Billing makes it easy to get your bills out quickly. You can automatically email PDF statements to clients one at a time, or in batches. It’s customizable, but you’ll likely need IT support to help you align it with your firm’s unique requirements.

Tabs3 will work for most billing styles that attorneys use. Tabs3 Billing lets you customize statements and run insightful management reports. With Platinum, you can also access Tabs3 while you are away from the office via your smartphone or tablet.

Bill by hourly rate and customize rates according to each partner or associates. You can also set it for split fees, flat fees, contingencies, retainers and task-based billing. Use Tab3s’ Kurent software for billing in the Cloud. It gives you an easy way to track your time, create invoices, and record payments on any device.

Kurent: Kurent is designed for solo and small law firms. It’s an easy-to-use cloud program firms that typically don’t use and don’t want to pay for elaborate practice management features. Kurent gives you an easy way to track your time, create invoices, manage trust accounts, and get paid on any device.

Time Tracking: Tabs3 Billing includes timers that help you keep track of your time on the go. You can then convert your billable house into fees that will automatically show up on your clients’ statements. If you upgrade to Platinum, you can use Tabs3 Connect to enter time and view your calendar and documents while you’re away from the office using your smartphone or tablet.

Accounting: Tabs3 Financials will meet all of your accounting requirements. You can print financial statements, pay invoices, reconcile bank statements, and manage client trust accounts in an easy-to-use, fully integrated system. You’ll have modules for Trust Accounting, Accounts Payable and a General Ledger. You can also accept credit card payments with Tabs3.

You can set up your own compensation rules for primary and secondary timekeepers. For example, Karla gets 3% of the receipts from ACME Hardware up to $12,000, and Brian gets 2% of receipts from work performed by James, Laura and Robert.

Organizing: Tabs3 PracticeMaster provides an electronic case file for organizing your contacts, appointments, emails, documents, fees, and research. This makes all of your information easy to find, including for conflict of interest searches.

Reporting: You can run extensive reports for your work in progress, particular clients, unbilled work, per ledger and more.

Integration: You can connect seamlessly between Tabs3’s products for billing, financial, accounting and custom reports. It provides solutions for simple to more complex tasks. Choose what to use for your particular needs. It’s already integrated with Tab3’s Practice Master, a law practice management software. Tabs3 Billing integrates with Tabs3 General Ledger, Tabs3 Cost Recovery, and Tabs3 Trust Accounting. You can also integrate it with QuickBooks.

Security: You and your IT provider control how secure your data should be. However, if you use the Platinum level of Tabs3, you’ll have an encryption utility at your disposal. To access data from your smartphone or tablet, the data will be transmitted via SSL encryption. Secure Socket Layer Encryption works through SSL certificates with a pair of keys that verify a user’s identification.

Mobility: Tabs3 doesn’t provide an application for iOS or Android. To use Tabs3 from your mobile device, you must upgrade to Tabs3 Platinum and use Tabs3 Connect, the mobile interface. However, for small and solo firms, you can use Kurent for your cloud-billing as mentioned above.

Migrating To Tabs3: There’s a conversion tool you can use to transfer your information from Timeslips to Tabs3. Tabs3 provides users with a 15% discount for switching from Timeslips. Ask your IT provider for help migrating from one accounting software to Tabs3 to ensure you’re getting all the benefits that you should from the program.

Legal IT Services & Legal IT Support

In this digital world, your law practice must use all the modern technology available, from cloud solutions to practice management systems. This allows you to better serve your clients. Clearpath IT Solutions works with law firms in Central Illinois to help them keep their staff working as productively as possible. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.

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