Firm Central

Firm Central is straightforward small-firm law practice management software that is tightly integrated with Westlaw and several other Thomson Reuters products.

Firm Central Rating:
3.3/5

Features

  • Customer Experience & Support - 7/10
    7/10
  • Pricing & Value - 5/10
    5/10
  • Security - 10/10
    10/10
  • Innovation & Future-Proofing - 4/10
    4/10
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Details

Rating Breakdown

Our Rating: 3.3/5

Our rating is based on our subjective judgment. Use our resources—including our rating and community ratings and reviews—to find the best fit for your firm.

Firm Central is straightforward small-firm law practice management software that is tightly integrated with Westlaw and several other Thomson Reuters products.

Firm Central Highlights

Tight integration with Thomson Reuters products. This includes Westlaw, Westlaw Form Builder, Practical Law, and Drafting Assistant, although each is sold separately.

Searchability. All documents and other information you upload into Firm Central are indexed to make search quick, easy, and pretty comprehensive.

QuickBooks integration. This software can handle timekeeping, expense tracking, billing, and trust accounting, but it does not have a full accounting package. Instead, it integrates with QuickBooks.

Firm Central Pricing

Firm Central uses tiered pricing. The Core plan is $40/user/month, but most lawyers will want the Essential plan, which is $65/user/month and adds timekeeping and billing and trust accounting. The Premier plan jumps to $105/user/month and includes more powerful features like rules-based calendaring, docket notifications, and more.

It’s worth noting that the Thomson Reuters products with which Firm Central integrates are all priced separately. If you want the benefit of all those integrations you will need the Premier plan plus a subscription to Westlaw, Westlaw Form Builder, Practical Law, and Drafting Assistant, none of which have public pricing charts (which probably means they are quite a lot more expensive than Firm Central).

Features

Firm Central Law Practice Management Software
Website
legal.thomsonreuters.com
Starting Cost
$40/user/month
Apps
  • Android
  • Web
  • Windows
  • iOS
Installation
  • Cloud
Core Features
For law practice management software, the following are essential features, and you should therefore expect to see a check in every box in this section.
Case/Matter Management
Matter management is the defining feature of law practice management software, of course. However, some software is targeted at specific practice areas and may implement case management in different ways in order to manage information specific to those practice areas.
Client/Contact Management
Managing clients and other contacts is a core feature of law practice management software.
Task Management
Basic task management includes creating tasks with due dates that can be associated with cases/matters and assigned to different lawyers. Some products stick to pretty basic task management, while others offer enough features to make any Getting Things Done devotee happy.
Calendar
As with email, this feature means a full calendar client, not just an integration with Outlook or Google Calendar.
Timekeeping
Timekeeping is a core feature of practice management software, essential for lawyers who bill by the hour but useful even for those who don't.
Additional Features
Conflict Checking
An actual conflict checker is more than just a 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. It should check for conflicts accurately and intuitively, allow for a lateral hire to input their conflict database into the system, work quickly when new clients call, and comply with the rules of professional conduct for checking conflicts.
Email Client
Does it include a full email client? (Alternative solutions that don't amount to an email client, like plugins for Outlook or Gmail, do not earn a check for this feature. See software integrations, below.))
Document Management
Basic document management allows you to add documents and associate them with your cases/matters.
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.
Secure Client Portal
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 full accounting software.
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 for accounting.
Full Accounting
Some software includes full double-entry accounting features, making additional accounting software unnecessary.
Billing & Invoicing
Does the software allow you to send bills or invoices?
Online Payments
Payment processing is increasingly offered either as an included or add-on feature, especially with cloud-based law practice management software.
Software Integrations
  • None
Open API

Things You Might Want to Know

Deadline Assistant. Firm Central’s Deadline Assistant tool helps you manage court deadlines and syncs them with your Outlook calendar. You’ll even receive email alerts when important court dates have been changed. Only available to Premier plan subscribers.

Mobile apps. While the web app is mobile-friendly, there are no mobile apps for Firm Central.

Security. This company provides plenty of information about security on its website, but the important parts are these: Firm Central encrypts your data in transit and at rest using “bank-grade” encryption. All data is stored on Thomson’s US-based data centers. (Many other law practice management software providers use Amazon Web Services servers.)

Secure client portal. You and your clients can send and receive messages files, and tasks securely.

Who Firm Central is For

Firm Central is a good fit for existing Westlaw customers. If you don’t use Westlaw or other Thomson Reuters products, or if you need to use integrations with Microsoft Outlook, Windows Explorer,  or QuickBooks, Firm Central is still a decent option, but at a fairly high price relative to comparable alternatives.

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