Law Practice Management Software

Alphabetical List

How to Choose Law Practice Management Software

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. Here’s how to choose the best law practice management software for your firm:

  1. First, know what you should expect from software with our Legal Software Bill of Rights.
  2. Next, identify your firm’s specific needs. Break down your law practice management software requirements into must-have and nice-to-have features.
  3. With your needs in hand, download our comparison chart below, 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.
  4. 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.

law practice management software comparison chart

Feature Comparison Chart

See all the key features for all the law practice management software options in our directory.

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Law Practice Management Software Feature Explanations

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, 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. It should check for conflicts accurately and intuitively, work from anywhere at any time, allow all the attorneys and staff in your firm to use it simultaneously, allow for a lateral hire to input her conflict database into the system, work quickly when new clients call, and comply with the rules of professional conduct for checking conflicts. Finally, remember the “Garbage In, Garbage Out” principle. Even the best conflict checking tools are only as good as the data upon which they rely.

Document management. Most law practice management software includes basic document management that allows you to 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 (not time tracking).

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.

Discontinued Software