Running a law practice involves much more than just the practice of law, it also includes the administrative work essential to managing a business. It's not an easy task to coordinate both seamlessly. Lawyers have extensive amounts of work to complete in order to stay caught up on a day-to-day basis. Between meeting with clients and attending court dates, leaving time to properly file paperwork, manage a calendar, and client consulting can be next to impossible without management assistance.
Without some form of management assistance, lawyers open up themselves, and their firms to professional liability risks. The most common reasons malpractice claims emerge is due to disorganized administrative habits or inadequate communication. But, these issues can be easily avoided when proper organization and documentation is practiced throughout the entire law firm.
One of the easiest ways to reduce risk and avoid a malpractice claim, is by faithfully utilizing two central docket or diary systems in order to maximize organization and tighten the room for error. There are countless case management softwares available that strictly focus on helping firms stay organized, save time, and subsequently remain claims free.
The use of case management system is a fantastic way to help firms save time on simple tasks and keep documents organized. Case management software includes, but is not limited to, calendaring features, document management, document assembly, billing and time tracking, accounting, contact management, and customer relationship management. Implementing legal case management software will help you stay organized, maximize productivity, protect against potential data loss, track leads, track expenses, and stay connected with clients. But which case management system is right for you?
Check out the five best case management systems, highly rated by legal professionals:
Clio is an extremely user-friendly legal management system that specializes in time tracking, document management, invoice generating, and case organization. Clio is easy to work with and integrates with LawPay, Office 365, Xero, NextChapter, and Box – just to name a few.
A stand-out feature Clio capitalizes on is its ability to integrate with Fastcase, unlike most other case management systems. Clio is known for their customer service, offering 24/5 live assistance, as well as video tutorials to help you through the implementation process.
Complaints regarding this software are few and far between. Small glitches through Cloud exchange of data seems to be a common complaint, but is resolved quickly as Clio is constantly updating and offering additional features to existing customers. Clio’s iPhone & Android apps allow access from virtually anywhere.
Pricing greatly varies depending on the types of access you wish to have at your fingertips. After a free trial, Clio membership runs anywhere from $39 per month to $99 per month for access to all of the software’s features. Although a little pricier than competing case management software, Clio is a standout software that helps keep a firm running most efficiently.
Founded in 2006, CosmoLex focuses on meeting the needs of small firms who are looking for a complete, all-in-one, case management solution. CosmoLex is the only case management software to include practice management features along with built in accounting features. These accounting features allow firms to complete all accounting matters in one place - eliminating the need for additional software like QuickBooks. The system’s user friendly interface makes implementation a breeze for new employees to the firm, as well as clients using the secure client portal.
While CosmoLex advertises customer support services, many reviews reflect a lack in education of the company’s support staff. Many firms express their wishes for better assistance when questions arise. In addition, the software’s lack of compatibility with other applications can be a nuisance for firm’s that typically use other forms of assistance or organization. CosmoLex was built to fit all of a firm’s needs without integration with other applications. Therefore, if a firm wishes to continue to use other customer relationship management services, like Lexicata for example, CosmoLex is not compatible.
Overall, CosmoLex is a good choice for a firm that is looking to keep all of their case management needs in one place. This software is also a great choice for firms looking to simplify compliant law office accounting, without the use of additional software.
CosmoLex ranges from $59 to $69 per month, depending on choice of payment, but does also offer a free trial to get started.
MyCase focuses on being a one stop shop for contacts, calendars, emails, tasks, invoices, and documents. Efficient time tracking, client communication, automated billing, scheduling, and contact management are just several of the key features MyCase has to offer. Additionally, MyCase has mobile app accessibility allowing for use of all of this software’s features from anywhere.
One stand out feature is MyCase’s ability to interact directly with clients. Law firms have the ability to send secure messages and even sync schedules with clients to make appointment management a piece of cake!
The one downfall that seems to follow MyCase, is not offering a user friendly interface for the client portal. Clients seem to have a hard time navigating the software. Common complaints revolve around clients missing new messages, most likely due to the dashboard not being well-fit for small screens when accessing from an cell phone.
MyCase charges $39 per month per attorney and $29 per month for support staff, which can really add up for larger firms – yet would be financially beneficial for a solo firm without any support staff. With that being said, MyCase does offer a free trial, which is probably best to take advantage of before taking the leap.
Overall, the case management features MyCase has to offer would get the job done, but doesn’t appear to stand out from the rest, especially at its price point.
Used in over 170 countries, PracticePanther has goes to great lengths to keep a firm running in its most efficient manner. PracticePanther has countless features to help you manage your firm including time tracking, billing, scheduling, CRM capabilities, and case management - all on a user friendly interface.
One of the most noteworthy features of PracticePanther is its ability to minimize time between invoice and payment. Through directly accepting credit card payment for invoices, integrating with business apps (such as Box, QuickBooks, LawPay, & Office365), and a client access portal, PracticePanther can improve a firm's billing procedures significantly.
There are a few other distinct features that stand out from other leading software including document automation and the ability to generate multiple bills in one-click. PracticePanther also features HIPAA complaint file management and impeccable data security, allowing firms to work safely from anywhere.
While PracticePanther appears to have extremely minimal complaints from its customers, there are a few slight downfalls including errors when syncing with Box, the inability to completely customize invoices, and not being the best solution for estates and trusts practice.
PracticePanther offers a free 30 day trial, and membership afterward ranges from $19.50/month to $39/month. The free trial includes access to the software’s exceptional customer service team, live online training, and Webinars to assist in making a firm comfortable using the software. Overall, PracticePanther is a great choice for a firm looking to streamline their overall practice.
Designed specifically for solo and small firms, Rocket Matter focuses on helping law firms go paperless while becoming more profitable. Being the first cloud based case management software on the market, Rocket Matter has built a solid customer base and maintained their popularity through frequent updates. This software allows firms to manage documents, legal cases, and emails while time tracking, billing/invoicing, and providing a space for clients to interact. Rocket Matter conveniently integrates with Office 365, Evernote, Dropbox, ScanSnap, and Cloud.
Customers rave about the software’s trust accounting capabilities. Other leading software appears to lack in this area of practice, while Rocket Matter has listened to the customers’ needs and provides a solution. In addition, the software’s Communicator feature allows instant messaging between members of the firm, video conferences with clients, and file sharing, all to make collaboration and communication a breeze! The Communicator feature is compatible with iPhone, android, Mac, & PC.
While negative reviews are few and far between, customers do express concern with the client's inability to upload documents into the client portal, as well as slow response time when clients reach out to the support team.
Rocket Matter offers a seven day free trial along with webinars and live online assistance to get a firm on their feet with the system. Monthly access runs at $55 per month and includes all of Rocket Matter’s features.
Overall, Rocket Matter provides all the necessary legal management needs to help keep a firm organized and running efficiently. Firm’s with a practice focused on trusts or estates work may want to consider software such as this.
Today’s modern law firm is faced with countless management tasks that can easily become time intensive and leave room for error and omissions. Using case management software can assist in these tasks allowing a firm to stay organized and save time for other important matters. It is proven that a well-managed firm with a proper docket system is in place is less likely to experience a claim. The proper case management software is crucial to running a successful law firm.