While you may feel like you can do it all, no one person can successfully handle every demanding aspect of running a legal practice. That's why law practice management software is crucial for any firm, allowing you to balance every task and run your operation smoothly and successfully.
From matter management to client communication and time tracking, law practice management software can do it all. But with so many options, how do you choose the right software? After all, it's important to consider the individual needs of your firm and legal team before making your choice.
Learn more below about law practice management software, how it can benefit your practice, and how to choose the best one for your firm.
What Is a Law Practice Management Software?
Law practice management software is software used by law firms to manage tasks like appointment booking, time tracking, and document management. After all, running a practice is not just providing exceptional legal services; you must have an efficient infrastructure to back it up, and law practice management software can help you do it all.
Without this software, it can be particularly difficult to juggle every menial task needed to keep a practice running. Fortunately, the best legal practice management software comes bundled with capabilities like case management and legal billing so that everything can be done in one place, eliminating stress and frustration.
How Legal Practice Management Software Pushes Your Firm Toward Success
There are many reasons to use software for law firm management.
First and foremost, by utilizing management software, you improve your firm's efficiency and eliminate the potential for a lot of human error. After all, managing a legal practice is hard work, with many moving parts. But utilizing management software that allows you to do everything in one place helps keep your law office running smoothly.
Legal software also allows for improved collaboration between lawyers and staff. When multiple users can share documents and handle their day-to-day workflow in a unified location, everyone in the office can be on the same page — something critical in legal practices. Gone are the days of sifting through thousands of documents to find the one you need when you're on a deadline.
Management software can also significantly help law firms handle their clients. Busy firms can find it difficult to manage so many clients, but because clients are so critical to a firm's success, it's vital to foster these relationships and always put them first. Legal software helps firms handle everything client-related, from streamlined communication to client portals allowing for ease of access to documents.
Security is a major issue for law firms since they maintain sensitive information in their system. But law practice management software keeps information and documentation secure, providing firms and clients much-needed peace of mind.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of law practice management software is that newer, cloud-based software programs allow you to access client case information from anywhere you have an internet connection. This allows you to work on the go, no matter where you are.
When your office uses practice management legal software, you're truly setting yourself and your firm up for success.
Legal Practice Management Software: TOP 20
One of the most popular law practice management software options, MyCase is ideal for firms of any size, from solo practitioners to large firms.
- All-In-One Software: Enjoy a one-stop-shop solution for all of the day-to-day activities associated with a law firm
- Easy Management: Manage cases, clients, and pertinent information with the click of a button
- Simple but Powerful Calendar: Get reminders for deadlines and upcoming events
- User-Friendly: Browse a clean interface geared toward users of any age and skill level
Monthly prices are set on a per-user basis, with the basic level costing $39/month per user, $59/month for pro, and $79/month for advanced. There are also add-ons you can choose from, including website creation, site management, and accounting.
MyCase offers new users a 10-day free trial.
While Smokeball offers it all, it's most known for its legal billing software. Some of the best features of Smokeball include:
- Time and Activity Tracking: Tracks time spent on the app and every task
- Document Automation: Pre-loaded with over 20,000 legal forms and documents, with some forms filling themselves to save time
- Firm Insight Reports: Provides insight reports, including which types of cases have a high ROI, helping you grow your business
- Integration with Microsoft Office: Perfect for firms that frequently use Microsoft Word and Outlook
- Access to the Software On and Offline: Once synced, you don't need internet connection to access important files or client information
Pricing is per user and differs depending on the length of your contract, with prices ranging from $29 to $169 per month per user.
Clio Manage has one goal: to help law firms run more efficiently. This software allows users to track time, bill clients, manage schedules, and much more.
- Standout Features: While users appreciate the ease of tracking details like billable time, what stands out most is the document automation and calendar system
- Powerful Integrations: Clio can integrate seamlessly with separate systems like Quickbooks Online
- Easy Learning Curve: Clio Manage is easy for team members of all levels to use, and the advanced collaboration tools allow attorneys and staff to work together better
Clio Manage pricing depends on whether users choose annual or monthly billing, with prices ranging from $39–$149 a month per user. New users can try the software risk-free for seven days.
TimeSolv is one of the most established law practice management software options.
- Variety of Features: TimeSolv with impressive features that include invoicing, budgeting, and a client portal
- Simple Interface: Reduce the time spent training your assistants and perusing endless menus and instruction manuals thanks to a simple-to-use interface
- Not Just for Law Firms: TimeSolv was not originally created for law firm management — users in other industries (including consulting, accounting, and PR firms) use TimeSolv
TimeSolv Legal's pricing depends on the size of the firm and whether the software is billed monthly or annually. This legal software is one of the best options for budget-conscious firms, with monthly pricing ranging from $32.36 to $39.95 a month per user. TimeSolv also offers new users a 30-day free trial with one-on-one training.
Zola Suite is another popular choice for firms that want a comprehensive suite of management tools.
- Top-of-the-Line Accounting Features: Its most powerful feature, and what users praise it for most, is a built-in accounting software
- Cloud-Based Management: Zola Suite is an excellent cloud-based legal practice management software for law firms, providing a user-friendly dashboard that allows users to manage tasks and information from one location
- Improved Communications: Client communication is made simple with its email management system and secure client portal, and its internal sharing capabilities make it an efficient way to store and location legal documents
Zola Suite pricing depends on whether you sign up for their Core, Enterprise, or Enterprise Plus packages, with prices ranging from $59–$89 a month per user. Zola also offers add-ons, including their iOS and Android apps and automation by the Zola Suite team.
You can get a 10-day free trial to test out the program and see if Zola Suite is right for your firm.
The Legal Assistant
Unlike many law practice management software options, The Legal Assistant was created by attorneys for attorneys, giving it an edge over the competition. In fact, their motto is "From Legal Minds, For Legal Minds."
Some of the best features of this program include:
- Email and Fax Integration: Incoming emails are scanned and assigned to the correct case files, and you can easily email or fax documents within the program
- Event Management: Schedule events and keep others updated on everything related to the event
- Marketing Campaigns: It's easy to create marketing campaigns (or even just email clients on their birthdays) to maintain communication and foster relationships
One of the details that makes The Legal Assistant unique is the choice between a cloud version and a local version. The cloud version allows users to access the program and information anywhere, while the local version remains on work servers.
The cloud version is $57–$63 a month per user, depending on whether you pay monthly or yearly. The local version is $49–$55 a month per user. You can also try a free customized trial to see whether The Legal Assistant is the right choice for you and your firm.
Westlaw is best known for its legal research tools, but they also offer law practice management software. This option should be no stranger to most lawyers and paralegals — Westlaw is a staple in the legal industry and has been for years.
- Very Widely Used: Among the various products offered by Thomson Reuters, Westlaw is such a popular option that most lawyers begin using it while still in law school, making the transition to practice that much easier
- All-Inclusive Platform: This software has everything a law firm could need, including case and billing management, not to mention an impressive client portal
- Seamless Integrations: Out of the many impressive features Westlaw offers, it is consistently and highly praised for its smooth integration with other programs, including Google Drive and Dropbox
- Increased Security: Westlaw also has outstanding security tools and safeguards, critical components for law firms
- Powerful Search: Another popular feature is its advanced search tool, a feature other solutions often struggle with
But such a comprehensive and thorough suite comes at a cost, and Westlaw's software is one of the priciest. It can cost several hundred dollars each month, depending on the number of lawyers in the firm. Despite the high costs, many lawyers and firms prefer Westlaw for its easy user interface and fantastic features.
If you're looking for a cloud-based solution for your practice management needs, PracticePanther may be right for you.
- State-of-the-Art Client Management: PracticePanther is widely known for and respected for its client management features, and many users appreciate the ease of keeping track of client details and case information
- Highly Customizable: Standing out from other options, PracticePanther is a customizable platform, allowing users to create personalized forms depending on the firm's needs
- Top-Notch Customer Support: PracticePanther's customer service is highly rated and regularly praised — no matter the issue, users can get helpful, friendly customer support 24/7
PracticePanther boasts flexible plans to fit every firm. They also stress that their pricing model comes with no surprises, since many management software programs do come with additional, unexpected fees. There are three separate plans that all offer different features, depending on your firm's needs.
Paying for the service annually saves firms $120 a year per user, with final pricing ranging from $49 to $89 per user. Monthly billing is also an option, with prices ranging from $59 to $99 a month per user.
PracticePanther offers a seven-day free trial for new users, with the ability to add several additional trial users to get the full experience and see how your firm would use the software to its maximum potential.
No matter your firm's area of law, from personal injury to estate planning, PracticePanther is a fantastic option for those wanting to take their practices to the next level.
Serve Manager was created for process-serving firms, but it does offer features for law practice management.
- Excellent Serves Capabilities: Given its origins, it's no wonder that the software is excellent for managing serves, as well as generating affidavits and creating custom documents
- Powerful Security and Cloud-Based Capabilities: Serve Manager includes several security features and offers users a cloud-based experience, making the program available from anywhere
- Not Originally Intended for Law Practice Management: Because of its origins, created for process serving firms, Serve Manager does lack some features, including in-program email management and contract management
Pricing for Serve Manager depends on the number of jobs per month and offers new users a 14-day free trial to help determine whether this software fits your needs.
Many say that SmartAdvocate is one of the best law practice management software options available today, and the number of awards the software has won would seem to agree. The platform offers several features needed to operate efficient and successful law practices. While SmartAdvocate is best for large litigation firms, it is beneficial for any type of firm.
- Automation Features: SmartAdvocate allows users to automate menial tasks to save precious time
- User Favorites: Its document management is particularly impressive, and users love the customizable dashboard, as it provides plenty of details and information all in one place
- Cloud and Local Options: SmartAdvocate offers cloud- or server-based options, depending on a firm's preferences and needs
Pricing is not available on SmartAdvocate's website, but interested parties can contact them directly to get more information. They also offer personalized demos, which you can schedule at a time convenient for you and your firm.
While SmartAdvocate is known to be one of the pricier options for law practice management, its amazing features and user-friendly interface make it a favorite. You truly can do it all with SmartAdvocate.
CASEpeer is a great option for every type of law firm, but it's commonly one of the highest-rated options for personal injury law.
Both big and small law firms can benefit from using CASEpeer, which makes it easy and efficient for lawyers and staff to manage case and client information. Among the impressive features, these stand out most:
- Case Management: Simply create cases, track expenses for every case, and assign case-related tasks to different users
- Calendar: Manage events and important dates using CASEpeer's user-friendly calendar system
- Time Tracking: Enjoy effortless time and expense tracking using a simplified, powerful interface
- Invoicing: Create professional invoices with just a few clicks
- A Powerful Mobile App: CASEpeer's mobile app seamlessly connects to the desktop version, allowing users to work and complete tasks on any device
It's important to note that CASEpeer is only available on Windows operating systems and is not compatible with Apple and Linux.
Compared to its peers, CASEpeer has one of the better free trial periods, giving new users 30 days to try the program and get acquainted with it.
If your area of law heavily utilizes legal documentation, Legal Files may be one of the best options for you, as it's best known for its powerful legal document management.
Legal documents can be challenging to manage, taking time away from other tasks and preventing you from giving clients the time and attention they need. But Legal Files has several features that make it much easier to enhance workflows for all users, helping to manage cases efficiently from inception to completion.
Aside from the outstanding legal document management features, Legal Files is also best known for the following:
- File Sharing: Real-time file sharing makes it so that so everyone involved in a case — including lawyers, paralegals, and clients — can always have access to the most important legal documents
- Advanced Search Tools: Legal Files' discovery tools allow users to search through documents, emails, and case files to find information when they need it most
- Database Structure: The excellent database lets users keep track of clients, cases, documents, and emails — all in one location
Legal Files has several types of case management software, depending on your business and needs. It's a popular choice that's commonly used in many industries and organizations, from corporations to government agencies.
Pricing is not available on the website, as it is unique to you and your firm. Pricing and demos are available by contacting Legal Files directly.
One of the more unique programs available, Lawcus provides users with a Kanban board to increase productivity and efficiency.
- A Visual Approach: Lawcus is a great option for users who enjoy a visual experience, and the workflow visualization allows users to bring some clarity to their workflow and processes
- Easy Learning Curve: The software is easy to use since it features a simplified graphical interface that's not overburdened by verbose instructions
- Jack of All Trades: Lawcus is great for overall legal practice management, client communication, and legal document management
Lawcus offers different plans, including Standard, Plus, Business, and Enterprise. The website only provides prices for the first three levels, ranging from $34 to $69 a month, and users can contact Lawcus for pricing at the executive level.
New users get a 14-day free trial with Lawcus, and scheduling a demo could give you an even better idea of whether Lawcus is right for your firm.
SimpleLaw is another program that was made by lawyers, for lawyers. It is a unique program with features other programs do not offer, including:
- On-Demand Paralegal Support: SimpleLaw can connect you with a skilled paralegal to assist you when needed
- Co-Counsel: When you can't do it alone, SimpleLaw can help you find the right co-counsel to help manage your case
- Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM): Keep track of potential clients and keep in touch with previous clients thanks to a powerful CRM
SimpleLaw also comes with powerful legal document management and strong security features. However, the program isn't perfect, as it has limited features compared to other solutions. For example, it has no email, task management, or bookkeeping features.
Pricing varies from $27–$49 a month per user, but you can enjoy a free trial for 14 days. Should you need an extended trial, you extend it another 28 days after providing payment information.
SimpleLaw is for every type of firm, but its specific features make it particularly helpful for solo practitioners and smaller firms.
CosmoLex covers everything you need for daily operations in your law firm, from case management to billing and invoicing.
- Incredible Accounting Capabilities: One of CosmoLex's most impressive features is its accounting capabilities, eliminating the need for third-party accounting software programs like Quickbooks and also allowing your firm's accountant to log in for free
- Document Storage and Assembly: Among other impressive features, CosmoLex also offers unlimited document storage and document assembly
Pricing is slightly higher than other law practice management software options, but CosmoLex makes up for it with robust features that other systems don't offer. Pricing is $85 a month per user if billed annually, or $95 a month per user if billed monthly.
There is a 10-day free trial for new users, and if you purchase the software, CosmoLex provides free one-on-one training and help with data migration.
According to MerusCase, "every successful lawyer needs a powerful sidekick." As such, the software comes with every feature a firm needs to handle the daily ins and outs of case and firm management at an affordable price.
- Not Originally Intended for General Practice: MerusCase was originally created for workers' compensation law firms — however, it's now a popular law practice management software for mid-sized legal firms of all kinds
- Unlimited Cloud-Based Storage: Never run out of room again thanks to MerusCase's generous unlimited storage
- Other Famous Features: Among the many features MerusCase provides firms, it's especially known for document creation, automation, advanced collaboration, security, and personalized onboarding and support
Pricing is not available on the MerusCase website, but you can contact the business directly for personalized pricing. You can also request a demo.
Bill4Time was not created for use in the legal industry, but many law firms find it helpful and easy to use.
- Amazing Choice for Accounting Needs: As the name implies, Bill4Time is a strong first choice when it comes to its billing and accounting capabilities
- Expanded Client Payment Options: One of the best features it offers is the online payments tool, making it easier for clients to pay firms much faster
- Many Additional Features: Bill4Time doesn't just offer additional support for accountants; it also includes a host of features for all firms, including client and case management, project management, and data security
- Not Fully Comprehensive: Because Bill4Time is not exclusive to the legal industry, it is missing some key features like email and contract management
Pricing for Bill4Time ranges from $29 to $89 a month, depending on whether it is billed yearly or monthly. Bill4Time also offers a 14-day risk-free trial for new users.
Rocket Matter puts productivity at the forefront, intending to make running a firm much easier.
- Pleasing and User-Friendly Visual Interface: This system is another that lets users organize their processes using Kanban boards; it also provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to find all important information in one easy location
- Specialized Billing Technology: Billing has never been easier with Rocket Matter's "Bill-As-You-Work" technology, utilizing multiple timers, batch billing, and bulk invoicing — Rocket Matter Pay also allows firms to get paid faster and allows for setting up payment plans and recurring billing
- Advanced Document Capabilities: Rocket Matter makes document assembly and sharing incredibly fast and easy
Pricing for Rocket Matter depends on whether users would rather pay monthly or annually, ranging from $39 to $99 a month per user. The website allows you to easily compare plans to decide which option works best for your firm.
A personalized demo and 10-day free trial are also available.
Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management software for law firms that prides itself on giving lawyers everything they need to run their businesses and providing a program that grows with the firm.
- Includes the Full Suite of Legal Practice Management: Actionstep doesn't miss a beat and includes everything you'll need to manage your firm, including client and matter management, impressive billing and accounting features, data security, email, marketing, payments, and more
- Expanded Integrations: Actionstep not only integrates with the Microsoft Office suite, but also with many other programs, including Gmail, DocuSign, and Dropbox
Three plans are available: Practice Pro, Practice Pro+, and Premier. Pricing ranges from $89 to $149 a month per user, based on annual billing. More information regarding pricing and booking a demo is available by contacting Actionstep directly.
GrowPath is a great option for firms looking to build and grow.
- Exclusive Features: GrowPath includes 25 patented features that you won't get with other case management programs
- Comprehensive Management: GrowPath offers the critical features needed to handle the daily tasks of a law firm, including document management and storage, case management, and client management
- Advanced Growth and Marketing Features: The software also makes it easier for firms to understand what they need to grow, including features such as a lead scoring tool that helps lawyers evaluate intakes with high-value cases
One look at the GrowPath website, and you'll understand what makes them different. They've worked hard to set themselves apart from the competition, and because of this, they report to be the highest-ranked law firm management software. With its impressive set of features, it's an obvious choice for many firms.
New users can ask about pricing and request a personal demo to see everything GrowPath can do for their firm.
You Need Practice Management Legal Software If…
You Depend Too Much on Paper and Manual Work
In today's day and age, having papers scattered all over your office should be a thing of the past. If you're still relying on hard copies and going crazy with so much paperwork, it's time to consider switching over to practice management software.
After all, paper only hinders your productivity — there's only one copy of a document unless someone takes it to the copier, sheets can be easily lost or ruined, and if you want to take a document with you, you have to physically carry it.
But when you use management software, you can access your documents any time you need them, especially if you opt for a cloud-based program. There's no need to carry papers everywhere you go. You also don't have to worry about losing or ruining your documents, as they are safe within your software.
It can be difficult for lawyers to even think about transitioning over to law practice management software, especially if you're used to paper. However, once you make the move, you won't regret it.
Your Recent Law Firm Software Management No Longer Fulfills Your Needs
It's not uncommon to eventually get to a point where you feel your practice management software no longer fits your needs.
After all, law firms grow, and some management software is incapable of accommodating this growth. While several programs are better for solo practitioners and smaller firms, they fall short when asked to handle high volumes of cases and clients.
You may have also been fully convinced that a program would suit your needs during a demo, but after using it for some time, you may have come to the realization that it just isn't right for you.
Times have also changed. Thanks to digital advances and safety concerns, more and more businesses and firms are working remotely, which requires certain software and cloud-based systems.
No matter the reason, if you find that your management software no longer suits your practice, it's time to consider other options.
You Struggle to Bring Everything Together
One of the biggest challenges lawyers and law firms face is bringing everything together so your firm runs smoothly. After all, no one wants to talk to three different paralegals and search six separate file cabinets just to find one document.
Ideally, you'd want a software program that allows you to do everything all in one place. From client management to accounting and billing, having the ability to handle all of your most important tasks and find information all in one place is priceless.
Many firms utilize several different programs for everything, including time tracking and invoicing. While this may seem sustainable for a while, eventually you'll hit a roadblock and feel frustrated. It's all too easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous different programs you need just to get through a standard day at the office.
When lawyers and staff feel stressed and unproductive, it can cause a domino effect and affect the whole firm. And when lack of productivity is a firm-wide issue, it can severely harm the business.
But today, there are so many law practice management software options that you won't have to face this stress and burnout. With so many programs on the market, you'll undoubtedly find one that suits your practice area, firm size, goals, and needs.
Before Choosing Lawyer Office Software, Make Sure If…
Becoming familiar with some of the most popular law practice management software programs is only one step in the whole process. It's important to take the time to think about what your firm needs personally, including what features would be most helpful and what you could potentially do without.
Knowing your firm, present needs, and future goals can prove beneficial when determining what lawyer office software is right for your firm, lawyers, and staff.
Consider all of the following before making your final decision.
Software Is Meant Specifically for Law Firm Management
There are countless software programs available that promise to boost productivity and help make business processes effortless. While this all sounds wonderful, you need to think about whether the software you're considering is meant for law firms.
After all, the practice of law is unique, and law firms are unlike other types of businesses. Because of this, firms need special programs that have all the features they need most.
If you choose a program not meant for the practice of law, it's very possible that it will be lacking some of the most critical features your firm needs. This will result in the need to acquire additional programs, or you may end up switching programs altogether in the near future.
You'll have more success with a program made for law firms, rather than a general program made for just any business.
You Know Your Exact Needs
No one knows your firm better than you. And picking management software that fits your firm's needs will always be the best move.
It's common for lawyers to watch software demos and fall into the salesperson's trap, believing their software would be the best for the firm. While you may believe that a program sounds great for your practice, it's nearly impossible to choose the right program if you're unaware of what your firm truly needs.
At the end of the day, there is no "one-size-fits-all" program. While there are numerous programs available, it does not mean that every single one would suit your firm.
Knowing what your firm needs also helps keep costs down. For example, if you choose the top-of-the-line program with all the bells and whistles (features your firm may not even benefit from), you may be spending money unnecessarily.
If you can avoid it, the answer is not to purchase one program, then switch if it doesn't work out. Switching from program to program can be difficult for everyone. To avoid the need for constant changes, consider your firm's present needs, but also what your firm may need in the future after some growth.
Team Takes Part in Choosing Software for Law Firm Management
It can be easy to only focus on the needs of the firm as a whole, but what about your team's needs?
Consider the fact that your assistants, paralegals, and law clerks are the ones that would most heavily use the task management software. Therefore, when picking a software program, you should think about what features your team would like and how user-friendly the program is.
To determine what your legal team wants and needs, and to let them take part in the decision-making, you can ask questions like:
- What do you dislike about our current software? What features would you like to keep?
- What do you think is lacking from our present process?
- What are the most important features you'd like to have in our law firm management system?
- What features do you think you could do without?
Get responses from every team member, if possible. Once you have everyone's answers, sit down and review them. Getting helpful information from your legal team members can be particularly beneficial when making this important decision, and it takes some of the pressure off of you.
You Know All the Options Your Legal Practice Management Software Offers
Most lawyers and law firms have on-premise task management software. What many don't realize is that this is no longer the only option. Now, there are three main choices: on-premise, private cloud, and native cloud.
On-premise means the software runs on local servers in the office — the traditional, non-cloud-based system. When firms have on-premise software, it's usually individually installed into each computer for every team member.
Private cloud programs are best for firms that have on-premise software but wish to have the benefits that come with cloud-based platforms.
Native cloud-based software refers to programs easily accessible via a web browser. Instead of being hosted inside your own server, these applications run via remote servers.
Your Budget Affords That
When choosing a law practice management software, you must consider your firm's budget. But with so many programs available, you'll likely find software that fits your needs and budget.
One of the biggest factors that affects how much you can expect to pay for software is whether you prefer on-premise, private cloud, or native cloud software.
On-premise software is usually the most costly, as it requires upfront costs to purchase software licenses for every computer. You'll also need to purchase additional tools, like servers, and contract IT specialists to set everything up.
Private cloud programs and native cloud systems are similarly priced. Prices vary depending on the particular plan you choose, whether billing is monthly or annually, the number of users, and any add-ons you include.
It's important to note that, unlike cloud-based services, private clouds do require software licensing for certain required tools.
Native cloud programs are often the most cost-effective, as they don't require any program installation or additional tools and software.
While budget is important, it should not be the only driving force behind your final decision. Some programs may benefit your firm more than others, and there are several details to consider before choosing a program.
You can also check our guide to law firm marketing budget.
If a Demo Version Is Available
Free trials and demos are great ways to evaluate a program for your firm's purposes. This allows you to get an idea of what to expect before committing to one program. After all, it can be difficult to choose a program without first seeing how it works and testing it out for yourself. Always make sure to ask companies for trials or demos.
Consider All of Your Options Before Choosing the Law Practice Management Software That's Right for Your Firm
Every firm has its own special needs. Task management, client communication, legal calendaring — the list goes on. Before committing to one program, consider them all. Finding the right law firm management system for your legal team and firm can be challenging but doable if you consider your needs, budget, and goals.
Commit to finding the right software for your firm. This way, you can drastically improve productivity, ease stress, and set your law firm up for a successful future.
At Grow Law Firm, we provide law firms with a high-performance digital marketing strategy. Contact us to learn more today.