Let’s face it: Law schools don’t teach attorneys how to manage a practice. To fill those gaps and streamline things, modern firms rely on law practice management software.However, the market is full of hundreds of products with different value propositions. How can you choose one that truly benefits your firm?To help you with your research, we’ve gathered and reviewed the best law practice management software in this article.Let’s check them out.
- What is Law Practice Management Software?
- Why is LPMS Important?
- The Top 20 LPMS
- How to Choose The Right Software
What is Law Practice Management Software?
Law practice management software (LPMS) is a software program that streamlines, centralizes, and automates the day-to-day legal, business, and administrative tasks of a law firm. This includes activities such as case/legal matter management software, legal billing, accounting, and client communication.Law firms use these powerful programs, often in conjunction with dedicated workflow management software to improve their workflows, increase lawyer productivity, and cut down on administrative costs.You can think of a law practice management software as an end-to-end project management tool (where the “projects” are a firm’s cases).While the exact features may vary, a decent practice management system will offer these functionalities:
- Case Management – consolidate information of your cases, including tasks, case files, invoices, etc., in one place.
- Contact Management – gather the contact details of all of your clients and teams and make it easily accessible.
- Task Management – streamline the collaboration on day-to-day tasks between the attorneys.
- Time Tracking and Invoicing – accurately track billable hours, help generate invoices, and process payments so that you don't need to rely on a separate timekeeping app.
- Document Management – store all of your legal documents in one central location, making them easier to manage and access.
- Document Assembly – fast-track document creation using pre-made templates.
- Calendaring – get a bird’s-eye view of all of your active cases, deadlines, upcoming events, and more.
- Accounting – streamline your accounting efforts and comply with trust accounting guidelines.
Some law practice management software also offers separate features for client intake.
Why is Law Practice Management Software Important?
As legal professionals, you need all the resources and tools you can get to make your job easier.According to the American Bar Association, about 52% of law firms stated that practice management software was available to them.
Here’s how implementing a law practice management software can help:
- Improved Organization – a law practice management system allows you to organize all of your data. Your staff can easily share, recall, and access documents, files, contact details, and more from one place.
- Higher Productivity – take the busy, administrative work out of the equation. This will enable your attorneys, paralegals, and other staff members to do what matters.
- Accurate Billing – a core challenge of running a legal practice is tracking billable time. A practice management software can automate this task.
- Flexibility to Work on the go – if your law practice management is cloud-based, your attorneys have the freedom to work from anywhere.
- Happy Clients – client satisfaction is tied to how good of a job your attorneys do. A legal practice management platform can enable your team to bring their A-game to the table every day.
Remember: the above benefits are possibilities, not guarantees. Success with a law practice management software boils down to how well a law firm implements it.
Our Top-Picks for the Best Law Practice Management Software
Not all legal practice management systems are made the same and it’s not exactly easy to pick one tool when there are so many options out there.That being said, the following tools are quite popular in the legal industry and ones that we feel are worthy of consideration.
Pricing: Undisclosed (they offer a core platform and 3 modules)A cloud-based law practice management software, Filevine is suited for managing small and midsize firms.With more than 50,000 users, it’s one of the most widely-used tools in the market.It’s an end-to-end solution for legal practice management, offering tools for:
- Matter/Case management
- Document storage
- Contract management
- Lead intake (they claim that they’ve helped capture 616k leads in the last 12 months)
- Time tracking and billing
- Business analytics
Filevine users also get access to their large community of legal professionals, which gives you the chance to expand your network, get referrals, and grow your practice.
Pricing: Starts at $49 per user/month (or $39 per user/month billed annually)Approved by more than 66 bar associations, Clio is designed for law firms of all sizes.If you’re considering running your law firm remotely, you should consider this cloud-based option.Their practice management features are bundled into a separate product called “Clio Manage.”It offers:
- Contact management
- Time tracking and billing via a client portal
- Online payment processing
- A separate mobile app for clients
The platform also offers over 200 integrations (for programs such as QuickBooks, NetDocuments, and Outlook), as well as a legal CRM and client intake tool called “Clio Grow,” making it a true end-to-end solution.
Pricing: Varies (they will calculate custom pricing based on your requirements)If you’re in the personal injury space, you may want to consider SmartAdvocate. It’s an integrated case management solution, with all the features of a powerful law practice management software.Here are some features that make it worth your time:
- Workflow automation (automatic generation of text, emails, documents, etc.)
- Legal calendar
- Special case tracking feature
- A dedicated page for insurance policies for cases
- Detailed reporting
SmartAdvocate also offers marketing and client intake, as well as a service through which their team helps customize and implement SmartAdvocate’s solutions in your personal injury law firm.
Pricing: Starts at $49 per user/month (or $39 per user/month billed annually)PracticePanther is one of the most intuitive and secured software on this list.Used in more than 170 countries, the tool is designed to “get more done in less time.”From case management to a native ePayment solution, it’s packed with all the features you’d expect from a top-rated legal practice management solution.The main thing that separates it from other platforms is its tight security:Their system is armed with 256-bit military grade encryption, which means you can rest assured knowing that your client and firm data will always be in good hands.
Pricing: $85 per user/month plus an activation fee starting at $225 (for 1-3 users)CASEpeer is another legal case management software solution tailored to personal injury attorneys.If you fall within that category, and you’re looking for a tool that’s easy to implement, this is it.Apart from basic features like case management, workflow automation, and document storage, CASEpeer offers:
- Settlement tools to manage demands and negotiations
- Litigation tracking
- High-volume client intake management
- Streamlined client communication
The software also offers trust accounting and basic bookkeeping, but does not have billing and invoicing features.
Pricing: $59 per user/month (or $49 per user/month billed annually)A cloud-based law practice management system, MyCase is another ideal option if your goal is to run your firm remotely.The relatively unique thing about MyCase is its one-bill policy:By paying one fixed price, you get access to all features, including, but not limited to:
- Financial and case reporting
- Time and expense tracking
- Trust accounting
- Contact, document, and email management
Furthermore, MyCase offers custom web development services tailored to law firms, as well as bank-grade security (using 128-bit SSL encryption) to protect your firm’s data.
Pricing: Starts at $49 per user/month billed annuallyActionstep is a highly configurable, all-in-one legal practice management software.This flexible tool is capable of scaling with your law firm. With Actionstep, legal firms can manage everything – including both front and back office tasks – in one place.Here are some features worth highlighting:
- A conflict checking feature
- Workflow automation
- Web form builder for client intake
- Secure client portal
- Outlook integration
Actionstep can also integrate seamlessly with your existing legal tech stack, including popular tools like LawPay, Xero, and QuickBooks.
Pricing: Undisclosed (speak to their sales team to get a custom quote)Legal Files is case/matter management software suited for government agencies, law firms and clinics, universities, and corporations.Their law firm case management software offers all the good stuff, including:
- Contact management
- Case document management and assembly
- Pleadings index reports
- Team/Task management tools
And that’s just scratching the surface.Legal Files also offers over 90 templates for standard reporting, a mobile app for on-the-go staff members, and automated timekeeping features.
Pricing: Starts at $39 per user/month (or $34 per user/month billed annually)Made for law firms of all sizes, Lawcus is an all-in-one law practice and client management solution known for its superior legal workflow automation capabilities.It allows you to configure rule-based triggers to automate certain repetitive tasks and boost firm productivity.In addition, you can:
- Manage all of your cases in one place
- Create insightful reports and powerful dashboards
- Build client intake forms
- Do trust accounting and accept online payments
- Manage your legal calendar
All things considered, Lawcus has everything you’d expect from a competitive tool at fair pricing.
Pricing: Starts at $24 per user/month (or $19 per user/month billed annually)App4Legal offers solutions that are suitable for both law firms and in-house legal counsels.Their platform is offered as both a cloud-based and on-premise/self-hosted solution.Their two main products include:
- App4Legal Core – a comprehensive law firm management software. Key features include case/matter management, time tracking, financial management, and IP tracking.
- Contract Management – a separate solution for managing the contracts of your law firm.
App4Legal also offers additional modules, powerful add-ons, and support services.
Pricing: Starts at $40 per user/month (or $30 per user/month billed annually)If you’re looking for a powerful case management platform, CaseFleet is a good candidate.This robust software is packed with features designed to enable lawyers to be in complete control of their cases.Some of their suite of features include:
- Case chronology building tool
- Full-text search feature
- Native audio and video review tool (with automatic transcriptions)
- Deposition transcript reviewing and management tool
- Case outlining
CaseFleet also offers tools for task management and case reporting.It doesn’t have some basic LPMS features like online payment processing and basic bookkeeping. Consequently, if you opt for it, you’ll need to use some third-party tools for those purposes, such as LawPay and QuickBooks.
Pricing: Varies (they create a custom pricing based on your requirements)MerusCase is highly customizable software, suited for legal firms and other organizations of all sizes.With configurable solutions, this tool can grow with your law firm.Apart from the usual features (such as time tracking, task management, and reporting) the product also offers:
- Batch scanning (organizes documents of your cases for you)
- Predictive searching to help you find documents and files quicker
- Auto-population of court forms and documents
- Tiered calendaring system
MerusCase provides bank-grade security. In fact, they claim that their protocols exceed HIPAA compliance standards. Furthermore, if you migrate from another tool to MerusCase, they offer a white-glove onboarding experience to make the transition smoother.
Pricing: Varies (contact their sales team to get a custom quote)Smokeball is an end-to-end legal practice management solution, primarily known for its legal billing software.It’s perfect for firms struggling to improve staff productivity and automate some of the administrative and clerical work.Smokeball categorizes its solutions into:
- Productivity – improve firm productivity with features like automated time tracking, document automation/management, electronic signatures, and more.
- Profitability – empower growth with powerful reporting, leads management, and legal billing.
- Organization – improve how you work with workflow optimization, legal calendaring, a library of automated legal forms, and more.
All in all, we would recommend this tool to a small law firm with a basic tech stack.
Pricing: Starts at $40 per user/month A Thomson Reuters product, Firm Central is a powerful online law firm software.However, it’s only recommended for existing users of Westlaw – a legal research tool and database for attorneys. That’s because most of its basic functionality relies heavily on Westlaw and other Thomson Reuters products.Its key features include matter management, trust and firm accounting, and time tracking and legal billing, among others.
Pricing: Starts at $59 per user/monthCenterbase is a powerful LPMS tailored to midsize law firms.It’s a popular, all-in-one law firm practice management software, offering an end-to-end solution.Its vast list of features includes:
- Document management
- Matter management
- Text messaging for clients
and much more.However, their basic plan alone requires their customers to have at least 5 users. Considering that, if you’re a solo practitioner or have less than 5 staff members who’ll be using it, you’re better off with another tool.
Pricing: Starts at $69 per user/month (or $59 per user/month billed annually)Zola Suite is another end-to-end law office management software.It’s recommended for firms that want a comprehensive, cloud-based solution that provides seamless remote access.Here are some features that make it special:
- Settlement management tools
- Built-in email management
- Customer relationship management tool
- Configurable calendaring
- Business accounting
Zola Suite also has a mobile app, available for both Android and iOS, so users can access it from anywhere.However, considering its higher price tag, Zola Suite might not be the best option for solo practitioners and small firms on limited budgets.
Pricing: Starts at $35 per user/monthNext on the list is Rocket Matter – a decent choice in law practice management software for small firms and solo practitioners.Made with productivity in mind, the tool is packed with features to improve your workflows, automate the busy work, and get more meaningful work done.It includes most standard LPMS tools, along with special features like Kanban boards, batch billing, and bulk editing.
Pricing: Varies (you can use the pricing calculator on their website to get an estimate)Used by thousands of legal professionals, Tabs3 is perfect for both small and midsize firms.This powerful legal firm management software offers:
- Billing management
- Powerful dashboards and reporting
- Conflict of interest checking
- Matter management
- Business and trust accounting
It also accepts credit card payments, a mobile app, and data backup and recovery (available in the Platinum Edition).
Pricing: Undisclosed (contact their sales reps to get a quote)AbacusLaw is a full-service lawyer management software.One thing that sets this tool apart is the fact that it can be offered via a private, fully-managed cloud (a self-hosted, on-premise solution is also available).AbacusLaw is packed with the best-in-class features that can help put your law firm on autopilot. Some examples include:
- Case chronology and status tracking
- Built-in accounting capabilities
- Automated generation of settlement statements
- Seamless payment processing with “APX” (Abacus Payment Exchange)
AbacusLaw is highly customizable and can easily be configured to fit most any type of requirement.
Pricing: Starts at $49 per user/month (or $39 per user/month billed annually)We’ll wrap this list up with SimpleLaw – a powerful attorney case management software.Apart from task management, online payments, and time tracking, here are some SimpleLaw features that caught our attention:
- On-demand paralegal support
- Conflict checking tool
- Flexible billing support
What’s more, SimpleLaw also offers an online directory of lawyers. Attorneys can sign up and create their profiles for free to attract more clients.
How to Choose the Right Law Practice Management Software
With so many options, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed when hunting for a suitable LPMS. After all, your firm’s precious time and money is on the line.However, by considering only a few things, you’ll find the perfect law practice management software. Here’s what you should do:
Consider Your Law Practice Management Requirements
Before anything else, you need to evaluate the specific requirements of your law firms. As mentioned earlier – and as we saw above – not all law practice management platforms are made the same or designed for the same kind of firm.The goal should therefore be to shortlist tools that have all the features you need, and omit the ones that:
- Lack key features
- Offer more than what you currently require
Legal practice management software varies greatly in terms of pricing.To further narrow down your options, set a monthly/annual budget.Some of these tools have more restricted pricing plans than others. Take your time to compare those plans and think about the overall value being offered.Ask yourself if it’s worth paying X dollars more and selecting option A over option B.
Think About Integrations
Whether you have an existing tech stack or are just starting out, integrations with other important tools for lawyers should be a deciding factor.Some tools integrate seamlessly with other third-party software, whereas others don’t offer much in the way of compatibility. To prevent issues, opt for a tool that offers a lot of integrations, as it’s more likely to be future-proof.
Narrow Down Your Options and Request Demos
Use all of the aforementioned variables to shortlist options and ease your research.When you’re left with only a handful of tools, contact their sales teams and request demos.Have your team members test them out, get their feedback, and make the decision.
Armed with powerful law practice management software, you can empower your staff to take your law firm to new heights.Remember: There’s no one best law practice management software.With careful market research, consideration, and a little luck, you can find a tool that was made just for your requirements.