Like many industries, the legal industry is currently undergoing rapid digital transformation. Companies are waking up to the benefits of applying AI and automation to law firm practice, and beginning to leverage tools and apps that save time and maximize profits. Intelligent new software is being developed all the time – either specifically designed for legal workflows, or flexible enough to be tailored to your firm’s processes and existing tech stack. So what law firm software should you know about?
Types of law firm software
Sadly, not all law firm software is created equal. All-in-one software solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent, offering support for case management, accounting, HR and client invoicing all under one roof. But they’re not always the best choice for every law firm. Depending on which areas of management you want help with – and the size of your law firm – you may be better off with a more specialized solution. These may not cover every area of your practice, but they often provide superior user experience, ongoing development attention and ROI. When investigating any new software, be completely clear on what pain points you want it to address from the outset, so as not to get drawn in or distracted by irrelevant features and pricing bundles.
Smart law firm software
With that in mind, here are six tools that will help you run a smarter practice – broken down by the specific functions they excel at.
Time trackers are essential law firm software. But not all use AI and automation like Timely to accurately track all billable legal hours for you in the background. By automatically capturing all the time legal professionals spend in specific documents, emails, meetings and web apps, firms can account for all internal and client time. This provides completely transparent and granular client billing – which goes a long way in minimizing disputes and solidifying relationships – as well as watertight reporting on billable targets and utilization rates. Just from automating time tracking, lawyers can reduce the time they spend each week recording their time from two hours to ten minutes – dramatically removing administrative overhead so they can focus on what they do best: practising the law.
As any lawyer knows, the process of reviewing, negotiating and finalizing a contract can be frustratingly long-winded – so much so that in-house legal teams spend half their time reviewing contracts! That’s why using a tool like LawGeex to automate your contracts can slash costs by 90% and reduce contract review and approval time by 80%. LawGeex uses AI to review contracts based on your predefined policies – and unlike other tools that only highlight improper or missing clauses, LawGeex redlines the contract, just like a “real” lawyer. If that wasn’t enough, you can also use LawGeex to manage live negotiations with the counterparty.
Another tool that frees up hours of time by streamlining the contract review process is Clearlaw. Billing itself as “AI for the human side of your legal team”, Clearlaw uses natural language processing (NLP) technology to analyze contract language on a deeper level. This allows legal teams to move quickly and confidently through contract review, safe in the knowledge that their attention is always focused on the parts of the contract that matter most. By using AI to underline contract risk and supply a roadmap for closing, Clearlaw ultimately helps law firms to close deals faster.
For managing people and ensuring your practice runs as smoothly as possible, there’s Deltek. Deltek is a pretty comprehensive solution that can be used for business development as well as corporate finances and project accounting – but its HR and talent management capabilities are also extremely useful. To attract and retain top talent, law firms need to nurture employee development and Deltek helps law firms fortify their workforce by outlining a clear career path for paralegals, lawyers and other support staff. It provides tools that help you recruit, teach, manage and incentivize your team so that they’re always performing at their peak – and more likely to stay with your firm.
For small law firms or sole practitioners or paralegals, there’s uLaw Practice, a cloud-based practice management tool that incorporates legal accounting, general accounting, and trust accounting with robust analytics tools and practice management. It offers all the features necessary to ensure a positive client experience, to automate your practice, and to be fully compliant – from automated court forms to actionable analytics and simplified accounting. Ultimately, uLaw helps law firms become more productive, save time and stay in total control of their practice.
For billing and accounting, there’s Soluno, which makes it easy for law firms of all sizes to keep track of their accounts – regardless of the accounting system used. Soluno is both scalable and flexible, supporting accrual, cash, and two modified-cash variations, and being able to track hard and soft costs distinctly. It also has powerful reporting features, allowing you to create 70+ custom report views to track contacts, receivables and cash flow. By creating deposit slips and processing bank feed information, Soluno also makes banking a breeze, too.