While there are standard features across practice management software, different vendors will have their own unique offerings.
- Does the vendor offer features that you need and will drive value (e.g. automated client intake, document management, payment processing)?
- Does the vendor offers integrations with your current system (such as Outlook, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and so on)?
Lawyers need to operate under strict rules when it comes to security, such as the duty to protect client information.
- Which encryption methods are used?
- Where are the servers used to store data located?
- How often data is backed up? If you plan to host your own servers through an on-premise solution, be aware that you may be at greater risk for disruption in the case of a fire, flood, earthquake, or other disasters.
Ease of Use
Make sure to trial different options to see which one is the most intuitive.
- How easy is the practice management software to use on a day-to-day basis?
- How easy is it to set up and customize for your firm?
Using any kind of new technology usually comes with a learning curve. Having responsive, readily available support is important when you’re dealing with client matters.
- If you have a question or need help, how do you get in contact with your vendor?
- What hours is support available?
Cloud or On-premise
Choosing on-premise or cloud-based deployment will depend on where you want your data to be stored.
- Can you access practice management software through any web browser, from any device, on any network?
- Are you responsible for storing data and maintaining servers? With cloud-based, this is handled for you.
The cheapest legal practice management software is not always the best one for your firm. Each vendor will offer different pricing but it’s important to understand the value and return on investment you’ll get compared to the number on the price tag.
- Are you locked into contracts once you sign up?
- Can you take your data with you if you choose to cancel?
- Is data migration included? Is support?
What is the difference between law practice management software and case management software?
Case management and practice management are two sides of the same coin. Case management software is a platform where all case-related information (such as deadlines, evidence, witnesses, and more) is stored, managed, and accessed.
On the other hand, practice management software helps lawyers manage their firm and includes case management features along with document management, client intake, calendaring, and other features that help with firm processes and workflows.
There are vendors that will lean more towards the managing law firm aspect over the case management aspect of practice management software. However, for lawyers both are very important.
What is the best case management software for lawyers?
As with most complex legal matters, the answer is it depends. Not all practice types are created equal. Layer jurisdiction specific regulations on top of these nuances and you have law firms of all sizes and shapes that will have different needs. The best case management software for a solo practitioner may not be the same as the best one for a law firm that’s looking to scale.
The best case management software is the one that best meets your needs as a lawyer and your clients’ needs.