You’re probably doing too much work running your practice. With so many streamlined tools available for free or at a low price, a more profitable and efficient law firm is at your fingertips.
Project management software can make scheduling assignments and team communication easier than ever. Some can even help with automating daily administrative tasks. These tools come in enough varieties that you’re bound to find one that slots into the demands of your practice.
If you’re tired of tasks falling through the cracks or need help with scheduling, our guide will steer you toward the right tool for your law firm.
Understanding the Difference Between Software Categories for Law Firms
Most project management software is flexible enough to satisfy the majority of businesses. It’s the only operations tool they need.
But lawyers can choose from three different software categories for managing tasks:
Each can help you organize your work, but there are trade-offs to picking any one of these over the other. In some cases you may need supplementary tools like time tracking software for lawyers.
Project management tools are the most customizable, but they aren't specialized for law firms. The other two have specialized features but take out some of the customization features.
We’ll break down the key differences in all three categories below so you can pick the most appropriate software for your practice.
Project Management Software
Project management software is broader in scope than the other categories. These tools focus on the bigger picture of seeing projects through to completion.
With the aid of project management software, legal project managers can either automate or more easily complete common tasks such as:
- Assigning, tracking, and updating tasks across team members or departments
- Invoicing and billing
- Crafting reports
- Compiling data analytics
Most project management software is not geared toward any industry in particular. Instead, you can customize the tool to fit your needs.
Most tools offer both manual customization options or pre-made templates for different industries. Depending on the software you choose, you may even be able to integrate programs or apps you’re already using.
Practice Management Software
Practice management software narrows down from project management software by focusing on businesses in the medical or legal field. While having some similarities with project management software, this tool prioritizes industry-specific needs.
While you’ll still need to implement some personalization in your practice, you can let this software shave away time from repetitive tasks such as:
- Client intake
- Scheduling and follow-up
- Billing and accounting
- Balance tracking
- Time tracking
Examples of practice management software are Litify, an all-in-one software with a focus on automation, and Filevine, a software that focuses more on customizable workflows.
Case Management Software
Narrow things down even further and you land on case management software. These tools focus almost exclusively on planning and executing cases in the legal system.
Case management software offers you some much-needed breathing room in your packed schedule by automating tasks such as:
- Billing and invoice tracking
- Managing and tracking documents
- Schedules and to-do lists
- Organizing cases
Examples of case management software are TrialPad, an app that helps you plan and execute courtroom presentations, and CasePeer, a cloud-based platform for personal injury attorneys.
What Should I Look For in Project Management Software for Law Firms?
There is no right or wrong software for you to use here: just better and worse for your particular business needs. We chose the following legal project management software for their effective features and flexible pricing.
When 29% of project failures are chalked up to poor communication, project management software has the ability to see more of your projects through to completion.
Project management software should achieve the following objectives for your practice:
Speaking of communication, our first recommendation for features to seek out in project management software is anything that bridges gaps between you and your legal team or clients.
Look for features such as:
- Chat tools
- Automated status reports
- Real-time reporting
Think you can’t gain another hour or two back into your average workday? With time-saving features in project management software, you’ll be able to automate tasks and free up your schedule.
Look for features such as:
- Task automation
- Automated reports
- Scheduled billing or invoicing
Project management software’s biggest strength lies in its customization. While practice and case management software have the benefits of a niche focus, project management can be tweaked to your heart’s content.
Look for features such as:
- Customizable workflows and/or workflow templates
- Custom fields, forms, sheets, and dashboards
- A broad selection of templates to save you time
5 Best Project Management Software for Law Firms
There are plenty of project management tools for lawyers to choose from. We've boiled it down to the five that work best for the legal industry.
If you don't have the time to read the full reviews, this chart will give you an overview of how they compare with one another.
When so much of a legal practice’s success hinges on storing and protecting sensitive information, Monday.com’s appeal is immediately apparent. Its cloud-based data storage makes it well-suited to the demands of a law firm.
Monday.com is intuitive and comes with useful delegation and privacy features. Some of Monday.com’s most effective features include:
- Cloud-based data storage for frequent updating, as well as protecting sensitive information
- A selection of workflow templates for task management, operations, and sales/CRM
- Customizable templates
- App integration with popular platforms such as Outlook, Google, and Excel
Monday.com has multiple plans (including a free one), so you can try the platform without committing yet. Their Basic plan starts at $8, their Standard at $10, and their Pro at $16. Contact them for a quote on their Enterprise plan.
If you want to see what other cloud-based project management solutions are out there, ClickUp has a free version with a well-rounded set of features. The ability to easily customize your workflow will accommodate the unique details of your day-to-day routine.
ClickUp is particularly appealing for its minimalistic user-friendly interface, making it easy for beginning or experienced software users to jump right in. This all-in-one suite gives you the ability to have your tools, workers, and tasks in one place, a boon for practices that get tired of having to oversee multiple resources.
A few of ClickUp’s best features include:
- Visual collaboration with whiteboards
- Real-time reporting
- Live chat options
- App integration with popular platforms like Google and HubSpot
ClickUp has flexible pricing, including a free version, so you can try the platform right now to get a feel for it. If you want features such as custom role creation or admin training webinars, you can upgrade to the Business or Enterprise versions.
Do you need to travel a lot for your law firm? This web-based, mobile-friendly project management tool is handy for business on-the-go (or if you just don’t want to keep downloading new programs).
The simple and appealing interface makes Trello a breeze to use, able to communicate completed tasks or missed deadlines at just a glance. Palace Law, a firm that specializes in personal injury, prefers this tool due to how easy it makes the client-lawyer relationship for them. Trello’s standout features include:
- Easy ‘drag and drop’ boards for tasks and attachments
- Timeline view for ongoing projects
- App integration with popular platforms like Slack and Dropbox
- Scalable for expanding teams
- Customizable and automated workflow
Their free plan includes the full range of features, making this one of the most effective and accessible project management software available today.
Do you work on several projects at once? Smartsheet’s developers explicitly designed their platform to help you successfully juggle plates, standing above both Google Sheets and Excel as a must-try spreadsheet model.
This software combines reports, project management, tracking, and scheduling in one seamless interface. You can boost security by setting task visibility permissions, then take even more work off your plate with consultation packages.
SmartSheet’s best features include:
- Eliminate data silos with their all-in-one platform design
- Customizable sheets
- Automated workflows
- Real-time project management templates
- App integration with popular platforms such as Google, Slack, and Zoom
Smartsheet comes with a free demo, then flexible monthly pricing options starting at $9 for a Pro account with ten members and $32 for a Business account with unlimited members. If you want to consider their Enterprise model, contact them for a quote.
Clio occupies a gray area between project management software and case management software. If you can’t choose between the two categories, this software might be your ideal fit.
This handy software cuts right to the chase with a cloud-based management system that’ll help you manage legal clients, send out bills, and track time all in one place.
Clio’s best features include:
- Automated law firm insights dashboard
- Client portal to improve collaboration
- Online payments
- Calendaring and scheduling
- Document and case management
Clio has a free seven-day demo, then several monthly or yearly subscription plans. Their EasyStart plan lets you hop right in at $49/mo, while their Essentials plan has broad cross-app integration for $79/mo. Their Advanced plan has nearly all features for $119/mo, while their Complete plan is $149/mo.
Choosing between project management options is just one piece of the puzzle of operating a law firm. There are other lawyer tools that could also help streamline your business such as:
A good project management tool could help you organize your law firm's work. It can keep client expectations high by ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. It could even help with internal projects like growing the firm or hiring new employees.