As we say goodbye to 2014, we say hello to a new year. The New Year is all about changing old ways and starting fresh. Some of the first items to reevaluate are your law firm’s IT operations and budget.
What did you spend on IT support in 2014? Will you need to replace hardware to keep things running smoothly? What software are you going to be required to upgrade? Have you considered moving your law firm to the cloud?
With so many questions to consider, your IT challenges can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve put together this infographic to show how cloud services for law firms stack up against a traditional on-site IT solution. (Spoiler: The cloud can offer increased flexibility, security and legal industry support.)
Whether you’re getting ready to hang your own shingle or managing an established law firm, implementing a suite of legal software can seem like a daunting task. You might have been intimidated by the cost, the time to put the new procedures and tools in place and possibly the change from familiar processes. However, even with those hurdles, it pays (literally – it saves money) to improve your practice by adopting technologies that work best for you and your firm.
The four categories of applications commonly used by law firms include:
Practice Management Software
Document Management Software
Time and Billing Software
Legal Document Generation Automation Software
Practice management applications allow attorneys to streamline their workflow and business processes, thereby enabling them to spend more time generating revenue and less time doing tedious, unproductive tasks. These applications, at their core, offer fundamental matter-centric organization of contacts, calendaring, and management.
The use of practice management applications helps attorneys and staff with organization and quick reference to vital information, no matter the practice. These tools often integrate with other applications that allow for easier manipulation of that data as well as increased mobility.
Common practice management applications include:
Thomson Reuters ProLaw®
Document management software applications are powerful tools in any law firm’s workflow. These applications provide the firm with a centralized and searchable depository of documents, emails and other matter-related items. Law firms deal with volumes of data in a variety of forms and formats. With the billable hour in mind, the ability to quickly search and recall documents or emails is essential for optimizing the firm’s workflow.
With paper documents converted to electronic files, less physical storage space is needed. It becomes easier to take or access documents off-site and audit trails become easier to maintain.
Two popular document management solutions are:
Time and Billing
Two of the most common struggles with any law firm, regardless of the size, is capturing billable time and getting bills out in a timely fashion. The right time and billing application can assist a timekeeper with these tasks and can even help capture more of their billable time. Used correctly, time and billing applications easily pay for themselves with more hours billed and more efficient billing practices.
Your accounting software can also be linked to your time and billing solution in order to facilitate invoicing and tracking accounts receivable and trust account transactions.
Popular time and billing software for law firms includes:
Legal Document Generation Automation
With law firms often collecting data for cases from a variety of disparate sources, assembling a single document from that data can be a challenge. Document generation software allows firms to streamline and automate that process.
These applications use templates and interview questions to help assemble the documents for attorneys. Firms can quickly automate the generation of releases, letters, government forms and other frequently needed documents.
Some applications that help law firms quickly generate these documents are:
Benefits of Integrated Legal Software Applications
Correctly implemented, these integrated technology solutions can save you time and money in billings, document generation and effectiveness – all while reducing risk.
Increase profitability – capture billable time
Increase productivity – automate documents
Increase effectiveness – build templates
Reduce risk – identify malpractice and disciplinary milestones
These benefits are reached not only through the efficiency of using each individual application, but also through reduced redundancy as the various products share information with each other.
The Legal Workspace Solution
Legal Workspace provides a cloud-based legal work environment with licensing options for all the software applications mentioned in this article. The platform was created just for lawyers and law firms. Our base package includes the complete Microsoft®Office suite, as well as the latest anti-virus and anti-spam protection and nightly backups of your data.
You can also customize your environment to add any specific legal applications your firm already uses or wants to offer, including the unique e-filing software used to submit documents to your local court. We allow you to move existing licenses to the cloud or take advantage of our SaaS (Software as a Service) licensing model for many legal software applications.
Our solution can be implemented in less than a week, often with most of the process happening over the course of a weekend, meaning little disruption to your workflow.
No matter how new or well-established your firm is, you can discover time savings and return on investment by implementing the right legal software solution.
What if your workday was more about practicing law and less about running an office? It can be with Legal Workspace – your law office in the cloud. Watch this video to see why law firms are switching to the cloud:
Legal Workspace is a cloud-based IT solution for law firms. Our turnkey solution means you won’t need to hire an IT person, invest in equipment and hardware, or worry about managing IT issues. Legal Workspace gives you 24-7 support from legal IT experts who know your programs and the software you are running.
All of your software programs are hosted along with all your files on a virtual cloud server. The applications and software you need to run your practice can be accessed anytime, anywhere on any device. Co-workers can access documents and programs seamlessly and simultaneously for efficient collaborative work, whether they’re in the office next to you or somewhere town or anywhere around the globe.
If you’re ready to learn more, contact us for a free demo to see how Legal Workspace can change the way that you manage your practice.