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  • InsideTrack
  • February 06, 2019

    The Secrets of Selecting Practice Management Software

    As the legal profession continues its move to the cloud, law practice management software simplifies and streamlines office processes. Learn how to choose the right software for your practice.
    lawyer using computer

    Feb. 6, 2019 – Wish you could access case documents and other necessary info from your web browser or device 24/7? Wouldn’t you feel better knowing your practice’s data was being consistently backed up and could be recovered quickly? Want your practice to become more digital without hefty information technology costs?

    Cloud-based law practice management software (LPMS) is the answer. In fact, more than half of lawyers surveyed by the American Bar Association are already using cloud computing software in their firms.

    Advantages of Law Practice Management Software

    Selecting and using a law practice management system can greatly improve your firm’s functioning, enabling you to better serve your clients.

    “LPMS systems bring advantages such as increased efficiency and mobility, help lawyers avoid malpractice claims, and improve data security,” says Christopher Shattuck, State Bar of Wisconsin Practice411 manager. “And many systems are more affordable and require less technical knowledge than ever before.”

    Practice management systems come packed with features to streamline your internal processes. “You’ll spend less time completing administrative tasks and more time providing quality, billable legal services,” says Shattuck.

    Common features include:

    • Client management (conflict checking, contact management, and client relations management)
    • Communication (secure client portals and email)
    • Workflow management
    • Digital document storage

    Steps to Find the Right System

    So, how do you find the right system for your practice?

    In their ABA TechShow 2018 presentation “How Do I Choose? Selecting and Implementing Law Practice Technology,” presenters Jim Calloway, Darla Jackson, and Natalie Kelly shared their advice:

    Start by reviewing your current LPMS (if you have one). Do you know everything your existing system can do? Not understanding how your current setup is or isn’t working for you can mean plenty of wasted money and time on unnecessary technology.

    Once you’ve confirmed you need a new system, examine your firm’s goals. Client relations management features will be important if you wish to grow your firm. Trying to go paperless? You’ll want a system with good digital document storage.

    Involve support staff and other end users like junior attorneys in the process. Because they are familiar with the firm’s everyday operations, their insight is invaluable for choosing the solution that best integrates with the goals and current workflows of the practice.

    Take the time to determine what features you actually need and prioritize them. Set a realistic budget for your LPMS purchase. Then, start exploring your options.

    Keep in mind that whichever provider you choose should be recognized by the ABA and multiple state bar associations. It should also be well regarded in the legal and technical communities.

    State Bar Partners Offer Member Discounts

    The State Bar of Wisconsin has partnered with three top-tier LPMS systems to offer you special member-only discounts.

    Clio streamlines everything from intake to invoice. And it directly integrates with more than 90 legal and nonlegal tools and service, including Fastcase. State Bar of Wisconsin members receive:

    • a seven-day trial;
    • 10 percent lifetime discount;
    • free ongoing access to training and live webinars; and
    • unlimited customer support access.

    MyCase organizes your contracts, calendars, cases, tasks, documents, contacts, time tracking, and billing in a single, easy-to-use location. State Bar of Wisconsin members receive a 30-day trial and a 10 percent lifetime discount.

    The State Bar’s newest partner, Zola Suite includes built-in email, business and trust (IOLTA) accounting, calendaring, client portal, document automation, task management and workflows, document and matter management, and iOS and Android apps. State Bar of Wisconsin members receive a 15 percent subscription discount for up to five users per account.

    All three providers ranked high in a recent grid ranking of management software by G2 Crowd, a website that collects user reviews to evaluate B2B software.

    Making Your Decision

    Feeling overwhelmed about which system to choose? Contact Practice411 Manager Christopher Shattuck and check out the Practice411 elist.

    Don’t Forget Your Website

    How is your firm’s web presence faring?

    Consider these startling statistics from

    • only 35 percent of law firm website designs have been updated in the last three years;
    • 40 percent of small law firms don’t have websites; and
    • only 53 percent of law firm websites have organized site content.

    It’s never too late to establish and improve your firm’s website. The State Bar of Wisconsin’s new affinity partner, Zola Creative, can help you with your website, blogs, enewsletters, and social media campaigns.

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