Complete Business Solutions for Legal Practice Management

The advancement of technology never ceases to amaze us. Computers have changed our lives for the better, at both the personal and professional level. While entertainment has entered a new era, and worldwide communication has become faster and easier than ever before, computers have also revolutionised the business world. Plunging into and surviving in the world of business is no longer possible without computers, as long as you want to be competitive and successful. Every day, new software is being developed, making business activities and operations easier to perform and fulfil. Everyone selling their products and services can benefit tremendously from the complex and comprehensive software available on the market.

The legal practices are now presented with comprehensive, easy to tailor and fully scalable solutions that meet their specific needs and requirements. All the functions that practice management requires can be integrated in one piece of software, thus simplifying operations, whilst being time and cost-effective and improving overall performance. Document assembly and management and case costing and matter are integrated into a single piece of software, which can be deployed to both LANs and WANs. If required, this legal technology solution can also include facilities like digital dictation, legal accounts and integrated web services.

This multi-module legal technology solution provides all the functions that practice management requires. The most practiced areas of law are covered in this family of applications, and legal offices can benefit from comprehensive solutions for the management of their cases and files. This one easy-to-use system includes modules such as document assembly, document management, accounts integration, digital dictation, fee earner tasks, electronic files, post room and case history, text messaging and workload and work done.

With this practice management software, users have easy access to all key information from the system by using a comprehensive contacts database that holds data files. This complete business solution incorporates functionalities such as practice management, case management, legal accounting and client database. Furthermore, the optimisation of the number of cases that a practitioner can work on is possible, as this legal technology solution integrates all the tools that this process requires.

This practice management solution helps to reduce the document production time significantly, as it uses in-built intelligence to assemble documents, letters and forms. Once these documents have been created, they can be tracked and accessed at any time, ensuring the completion of all vital procedures and actions. Furthermore, all the information for any matter can be displayed instantly. The need to complete documents manually is totally eliminated, as forms and documents will be completed by entering information only once. This facility eliminates all time-consuming aspects of document assembly and management and increases the fee earning potential.

Should additional applications be required by future circumstances, the modular framework of this legal technology solution allows their integration.

All in all, with the help of legal technology solutions, legal firms can save time and increase earning potential. This easy-to-use software integrates all the functions and modules necessary for an optimal performance. The needs and requirements of legal firms are various, but the legal technology solution is highly customisable and fully scalable.

Technology Investments In 2007 And The Long-Term Implications For Your Firm

A recent study by Thomson Elite reveals that software investments are a main focus for law practices in 2007 as firms are looking for ways to use technology to improve efficiencies and increase profitability. The survey was completed by technology managers and directors at all types and sizes of firms across the country.

In their study, they found that the number one priority for technology this year is solutions to improve business and administrative operations. Thirty-three percent of law firms indicated that it was their top priority. The other major focus this year will be practice and case management software, which came in second with 28% of law firms indicating that it was their top need this year.

The survey also found that 50 percent of surveyed law firms plan to increase technology spending over their 2006 budget. Right now, approximately 35 to 37 percent of law firms use case and practice management software and this figure will continue to increase alongside annually increasing technology budgets. This is important to note because soon firms that choose to go without case management software will not just be losing an opportunity – they will be unable to compete with rival firms who are using the software. If other firms are able to create a more efficient environment where they are able to take on additional clients without an increase in staff, can deliver better and faster information and services to clients, and have higher job satisfaction levels in their own employees, it will be nearly impossible to compete with them without these advantages.

With the vast array of proven benefits that case management software can offer, the question becomes obvious: why aren’t all firms using it? The problem is that firms are simply looking at the short-term instead of weighing in all of the long-term benefits of how improved operations as a result of this software can benefit and positively influence the future of a law firm. There are short-term obstacles: the time it takes to learn and implement the program and the initial start-up costs of new software. However, in order to compete not just as a law firm but as a business, they must look at how software will positively impact their operations and bottom line in the long-run. Among the numerous long-term benefits; more word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied clients as a result of streamlined processes to better address their needs, increased annual revenue as a result of more billable hours from saved time, and higher job satisfaction and lowered employee turnover from the decrease in monotonous tasks.

As your law firm makes decisions on how to use your technology budget this year, it is important to look at the objectives of your investments. If your law firm wants to use its technology dollars to maximize productivity and get the best return on investment while simultaneously benefiting your firm in the long-run, case management is the clear answer.

Sources:

“IT Survey Shows Law Firms To Prioritize Software Investments in 2007.” FindLaw. Dec 4 2006. http://technology.findlaw.com/articles/01046/010488.html>

Legal Accounts Software

We live in a fast-paced world. Everything seems to be happening against the clock, and keeping up with innovations is essential in many aspects of our lives. Computers and the Internet have already shaped our life style, and we have gotten so accustomed to making the most of them that we could hardly imagine a world without PCs or software. Computers and cutting-edge software have also had a tremendous impact on the way businesses are being conducted. Every day, a new piece of software is being launched on the market, and businesses of all kinds are already reaping the benefits of employing all kinds of software that improve their overall performance to a great extent. Computers and software have left no industry dull, and the legal practice is no exception. The diverse and complicated activities taking place within the legal practices are definitely easier to perform with the help of legal technology solutions. The number of practices employing legal software is constantly growing, as a direct result of the numerous benefits that legal technology solutions bring.

The legal technology solutions include legal billing software, e-conveyancing, digital dictation software, legal accounts software, online case tracking, and so forth.

Meeting the specific needs of each legal office, while benefiting from the ultimate management solution is now possible due to the legal accounts software. This solution is integrated and comprehensive, and if implemented properly, it meets all the required rules and standards, such as Legal Aid Franchising Quality Assurance Standards, Law Society rules and Lexel standards.

Holding all the information regarding clients and matters in a single database generates a significant maintenance time reduction, as well as cost savings. The legal accounts software allows for the information inside a legal office to be held in such a single data source, which is constantly and centrally used and updated. Furthermore, the full integration of the legal accounts software with other legal technology solutions ensures the simultaneous updating of the accounts information, which delivers great control.

Both the common management reports and the accounting reports, which are normally provided by sophisticated packages, are included in the legal accounts software. Any piece of information, from Client Matter Balances to Profit, Loss and Balance Sheet reports can be analysed with the help of this software. Moreover, the analysis can be performed either by department or by branch, and standard reports can be modified as they are running, due to their pre-installed parameters.

The other functions of good legal accounts software include Cheque Printing, Ledger Card, Time Recording and Automatic Bank Reconciliation. The Cheque Printing function allows the printing of customisable cheques, either for the firm or for clients, from any bank account. The Ledger Card function displays essential information, such as client, office, bill, disbursements, and deposit balances, related to the client’s matter. Choosing the most appropriate way to record your time is possible with the Time Recording function of the legal accounts software. The accuracy of the information inside the systems is increased and the time spent on duplicating work is substantially reduced. The Bank Reconciliation facility allows the analysis and cross-reference of batch payments and receipts, and displays the changing reconciled balance.

How Technology is Changing the Legal Field

Technological advances are revolutionizing the legal landscape, completely changing the role of the legal professional. Automated legal processes have compelled lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries and other legal professionals to be not only proficient in law, but also technology adept as well. Legal professionals need to be acclimated to word processing, telecommunications, spreadsheets, databases and legal research software to maintain in this technological world. Technology impacts every aspect of the legal field, from law firm to corporate practice to document management to the courtroom itself.

Law Firm Technology

Electronic billing is gradually replacing traditional paper invoices in law firms. Technology has become an important legal marketing tool, with law firm websites posting updated legal blog content to stay current and vitally competitive on the Internet.

Electronic case management also changes how documents are handled. Firms will now electronically store case files that used to take volumes. Databases are used to track, edit, search, distribute and archive documents, performing in a few seconds what it used to take a room of lawyers days to do.

Corporate Technology

E-filing, or the process of filing documents electronically in court, is now common place in federal and state courts. Filings are posted on data-based websites, allowing counsel to access court records remotely from any computer. More and more courtrooms are reaping the benefits of an electronic age.

Technology and the Legal Professional

Legal professionals are using legal technology more than ever before. They use database applications daily. Video conference tools, Blackberries and other technological devices might not be replacing the traditional briefcase, but as they become more important, the briefcase becomes lighter and in all probability carries a laptop.

E-Discovery

New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enacted in late 2006 require parties in litigation to preserve and produce documents that are only in electronic format, such as an email, text or voice message. The time-intensive process of reviewing and producing millions of pages of electronic information has created a host of litigation database management tools. These allow legal professionals to image, code, analyze, review and manage the massive amount of electronic evidence in a process called electronic database discovery.

E-discovery and its many tools have given rise to the new profession of the litigation support professional who implements and manages these e-discovery tools.