There is a lot of law practice management software for lawyers to choose from, and more coming onto the market all the time. Even if you have identified your firm’s specific needs, it’s a challenge to sort through dozens of products to find a good fit.
Whether you are a first-time shopper or considering a switch for your firm, we’ll try to make it easy.
- First, know what you should expect from software with our Legal Software Bill of Rights.
- Next, identify your firm’s specific needs. Break down your law practice management software requirements into must-have and nice-to-have features.
- With your needs in hand, download our comparison chart, which shows the key features for all the software in our directory. You can get more information about the options that most interest you by visiting the product page for each, linked below.
- Finally, sign up for a trial account with 1–3 likely options, put them through their paces, and select the one that will work best for your firm.
Feature Comparison Chart
See all the key features for all the law practice management software options in our directory.
(New software not included.)
Below are links to more information, including our best-fit judgment for each product.
Law Practice Management Software
- AbacusLaw - AbacusLaw is a good fit for firms that want an all-in-one solution with access to a private cloud server and desktop software.
- ActionStep - ActionStep is a good fit for firms looking for a customizable workflow process. It’s also good for highly organized document management and full accounting.
- Advologix - Advologix is a good fit for firms looking for an organized, matter-centric program.
- Amicus Attorney - Amicus Attorney is a good fit for firms that need a wide range of functions and features to manage their practice.
- Clio - Clio is a good fit for firms looking for exceptional user experience in the cloud.
- CosmoLex - CosmoLex is cloud-based practice management software with a robust feature set that includes a full law-firm accounting package.
- Filevine - Filevine is a good fit for personal-injury firms looking for a straightforward and distraction-free interface.
- Firm Central - Firm Central is a good fit for small firms looking for a straightforward software with little bells and whistles.
- HoudiniEsq - HoudiniEsq is a good fit for firms who want email built into their practice management software, but it’s probably not a good fit for firms looking for full accounting features.
- Lawcus - Lawcus is a good fit for firms looking for a simple and visual software that heavily focuses on task management and the workflow process.
- LEAP - Leap is a good fit for solosmall attorneys looking for a robust all-in-one solution.
- Legal Files - Legal Files is a good fit for firms looking for a streamlined process when it comes to document assembly and management.
- MerusCase - MerusCase is a good fit for firms looking for robust accounting and bookkeeping capabilities built into their law practice management software.
- MyCase - MyCase is a good fit for firms looking for basic, reliable, and affordable law practice management software.
- Needles - Needles is a good fit for firms looking to work with an on-premise software program, but it isn't cloud-based and its user interface is seriously dated.
- PCLaw - PCLaw is a good fit for firms looking for powerful billing and accounting practice management software.
- PracticeMaster - PracticeMaster is a good fit for firms who want a well-rounded calendar to keep track of firm-wide appointments.
- PracticePanther - PracticePanther is a good fit for firms that like a clean and easy-to-use dashboard to manage their practice, including at-a-glance finances and calendar.
- ProLaw - ProLaw is a good fit for firms looking for an all-in-one solution to managing their practice, but it's not cloud-based and it may be overkill for many small firms.
- Rocket Matter - Rocket Matter is robust, productivity-focused law practice management software that works great for solos and small firms.
- SmartAdvocate - SmartAdvocate is full-featured and built for litigation firms by a litigator who developed it for his own firm over 14 years. SmartAdvocate has two versions: server, which you can install on your own server, and cloud, which SmartAdvocate maintains on its own servers. Unfortunately, SmartAdvocate doesn’t have public pricing, so you will have to get in […]
- Smokeball - Smokeball is desktop-based law practice management software for Windows-based law firms. Smokeballis is tightly integrated with Microsoft Word and Outlook and its document assembly and automation is its strongest feature.
- Time Matters - Time Matters is a good fit for firms looking for hefty, customizable desktop-only management software.
- Zola Suite - Zola Suite is a good fit for firms looking for an all-in-one solution, including mobile apps and fully integrated billing.
Email client. Outlook and Gmail integrations are common, but this check is reserved for law practice management software that includes a full email client.
If you aren’t sure whether you need a full email client, look closely at the email options for the software you are considering. You might happy with an Outlook plugin or Chrome browser extension that allows you to associate your emails with your matters from within Outlook or Gmail. Some products offer other options, like a secret email address so you can import emails by BCC’ing your practice management software.
Calendar. As with email, this feature means a full calendar client, not just an integration with Outlook or Google Calendar, which don’t allow you to associate appointments with matters and contacts on their own.
Some products offer both: a full calendar client that lets you associate appointments with matters and contacts, plus sync with Outlook/Office 365 or Google Calendar so you can more easily take advantage of all the apps for your mobile devices that rely on those more popular calendar services.
Client/contact management. Being able to keep track of clients and other contacts is a fundamental law practice management software feature.
If you are looking for more robust contact management and customer relationship management (CRM) features, you’ll need to look closely for the specific CRM features you need.
Case/matter management. The defining feature of law practice management software is its case/matter-centered organization.
However, some software is targeted at specific practice areas, and may implement this in different ways in order to manage information specific to those practice areas. For example, you can track statutes of limitation and expert witnesses in everything, but personal injury–specific software makes it easier without any customization required.
Task management. Basic task management means the ability to create tasks, add due dates, associate them with cases/matters, and assign them to different lawyers. Some products stick to pretty basic task management, while others offer enough features to make any Getting Things Done devotee happy.
Secure portal. Lawyers need a way to communicate securely with clients, and secure communication and file-sharing portals are probably the easiest way to do that. Conveniently, many, secure communication portals have become common, especially in cloud-based law practice management software.
Conflict checking. An actual conflict checker is different than a mere search box. This applies to software that actually has a conflict checking feature. Implementation varies, but at a minimum you should be able to search the entire database for matching names.
Document management. Most law practice management software includes basic document management so that you can add documents and associate them with your cases/matters. Some also offer integrations with popular cloud file storage services like OneDrive/Office 365, Box, and Dropbox.
Document assembly. Loading your firm’s document templates into your law practice management software can save time and ensure consistency. This check means basic document assembly, suitable for form letters, invoices, etc. For advanced document assembly you’ll probably need additional software.
Timekeeping. This means time tracking specifically, but not billing and invoicing.
Billing/invoicing. This means billing and invoicing features.
Online payments. Payment processing is increasingly offered either as an included or add-on feature, especially with cloud-based law practice management software. If you are hoping to integrate a payment processor you already use, look closely to see if you will be able to.
Trust accounting. This means you can track your client trust accounts, including expenses and payments. It is normal to see trust accounting without basic bookkeeping or full accounting, in which case you will need something else, like Xero or QuickBooks, for accounting.
Basic bookkeeping. This means basic checkbook register–style bookkeeping, which is more limited than full accounting. You should be able to keep track of your operating accounts and reconcile your balances, but you may still need QuickBooks or Xero.
Full accounting. Some software includes full double-entry accounting features, making Xero or QuickBooks unnecessary.