Best Legal Software & Buyer's Guide

Top Best Legal Software & Buyer's Guide

A new precedent has been set: if you aren’t using advanced technology and new software to run your business, you’re going to be outpaced by other practices. The best legal software is relatively easy to find when you know what you’re looking for… but it can be a difficult road to get there.

I’ve created this guide to help you understand what types of legal software would be best for your practice, depending on your size, management, and specific goals.

Let’s get started.

10 Best Legal Software

In no particular order, these are the 10 best legal software tools that I’ve found and will be covering in this guide.

  • Tabs3: Best for detailed billing and comprehensive financial management.
  • Rocket Matter: Best for cloud-based legal practice management with robust integrations.
  • Smokeball: Best for small law firms needing automatic time tracking.
  • Filevine: Best for firms seeking customizability and project management features.
  • MyCase: Best for client communication and online portal functionality.
  • Clio: Best for comprehensive legal practice management, especially for solos.
  • PracticePanther: Best for automation and comprehensive legal practice management.
  • Cicero LawPack: Best for law firms seeking seamless CRM integration.
  • Amberlo: Best for cloud-based case management with budget-friendly pricing.
  • Neos: Best for firms looking for AI-driven legal research tools.

Expert Pick


Tabs3 86


Practice Management Software for Law Firms View Listing...

Best for detailed billing and comprehensive financial management.

What Is Legal Software

Legal software, also known as law practice management software or legal case management software, is a specialized tool used by lawyers, paralegals, and other legal professionals. It is designed to help law offices and legal departments manage cases, clients, and firm operations more efficiently.

Legal software can be used for a range of tasks including:

  • Case Management
  • Document Management
  • Time and Billing
  • Client Communication
  • Task Management
  • Calendar and Scheduling
  • Legal Research
  • Business Development and CRM

Legal software can be a powerful tool for law firms and legal professionals, helping you to streamline operations, reduce administrative work, improve accuracy, and provide better service to your clients. It can also assist with compliance with legal industry standards, such as maintaining client confidentiality and accurate billing practices.

Types Of Legal Software

As hinted before, there are different types of legal software, each serving specific needs within the field of law. Here are a few key categories:

Legal Practice Management Software - This type of legal software is a comprehensive solution that helps law firms manage all aspects of their business, from case management and client management to billing and document management. Examples include Clio and PracticePanther, which can help automate processes such as client intake through intake form generation.

Legal Research Software - This software aids legal professionals in conducting extensive research on case laws, statutes, regulations, legal journals, and more. Examples include Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Document Management Software: This software helps law firms create, store, organize, and manage legal documents, ensuring easy retrieval and compliance with record-keeping regulations. Examples include NetDocumentsNetDocuments and iManage.

eDiscovery Software - This software is used in the process of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a lawsuit or investigation. Examples include Relativity and Logikcull.

Legal Billing Software - Designed specifically to handle the unique billing needs of law firms, including time tracking, invoicing, and accounting. This solution can accurately calculate billable time and complete fast payment processing for online payments. Examples include Timeslips and Tabs3.

Contract Management Software - This type of software solution helps with the creation, execution, and analysis of contracts, ensuring they are kept organized and are easily accessible. Examples include Agiloft and ContractWorks.

Compliance Software - This software helps firms ensure they are complying with the relevant laws, regulations, and standards, and often includes risk management features. Examples include ComplySci and MyComplianceOffice (MCO).

Each type of software has a unique set of features tailored to the demands of the legal profession. Depending on the size, speciality, and needs of your firm, you may choose to use a combination of these types of software. Some firms may opt for an all-in-one manage matter solution, while others might prefer to use specialized tools for each area.

How To Choose Which Legal Software To Buy

Let’s find out which software is best for you – the key is to understand what’s a need-to-have and what’s a nice-to-have in order to avoid being overwhelmed by features or oversold on unnecessary elements of a program.

Which type of buyer are you?

To start, consider who you are – how do you operate?

Solo Practitioners

These are individual lawyers who run their own practices and handle all aspects of their legal work. PracticePanther Legal Software would be a good fit for solo practitioners as it offers a comprehensive suite of tools for case management, timekeeping, billing, and client communication. Its seamless onboarding process also ensures that it can be implemented quickly into business processes.

Small Law Firms

Smaller law firms with a handful of attorneys require software that can efficiently manage their cases, clients, and billing. Clio is a popular choice for small law firms. It’s a cloud-based solution offering robust practice management features, document management, and seamless integrations with other tools such as document automation and accounting software.

Large Law Firms

Larger law firms with multiple practice areas and a higher volume of cases need scalable software that can handle industry-leading, complex workflows. Filevine is an excellent fit for large law firms due to its customizable nature, project management capabilities, and collaborative features that enable streamlined communication and task management across teams.

Corporate Legal Departments

In-house legal teams within corporations have unique needs, including contract management and collaboration with other departments. For these departments, an end-to-end solution like Legal Files or Onit Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) would be ideal choices, as they provide robust legal technology to handle document management, workflow automation, and contract management features tailored to corporate legal needs.

Legal Aid Organizations

Non-profit legal aid organizations often require software that can handle a high volume of cases and prioritize access to justice. MyCase is well-suited for legal aid organizations, offering features for case management, client communication, and document management, all at an affordable price point.

It’s important to note that the software options mentioned above are just a few examples, and there are numerous other solutions available in the market. If you haven’t seen your specific situation listed above, keep reading to get more specific about what you’re after.

Key features to look for

These are the most important things you need to be watching for; if a feature is important to you, put it on your need-to-have list. If it isn’t that important to you, don’t let a salesperson convince you it is.

  • Security and Data Protection: Robust encryption, access controls, user authentication, and secure data storage to protect sensitive client information and maintain confidentiality.
  • Document Management: Efficient creation, storage, organization, retrieval, and version control of legal documents, contracts, pleadings, and other case-related files.
  • Case Management: Tools to track and manage case details, court dates, deadlines, contacts, and related documents in a centralized and structured manner.
  • Legal Research: Access to legal databases, case laws, statutes, regulations, and legal research tools to support legal professionals in their research and case preparation.
  • Task Management: Assigning tasks, setting deadlines, and tracking progress to ensure efficient workflow management and timely completion of tasks.
  • Calendar and Scheduling: Integration with calendars and scheduling tools to manage appointments, court dates, deadlines, and reminders.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Generation of customized reports and analytics on case metrics, financial performance, staff productivity, and other key data points to aid in decision-making and performance evaluation.
  • Automation and Workflow Optimization: Workflow automation features such as document assembly, email automation, and predefined task templates to streamline processes and save time. Though often overlooked, consider if there is unnecessary labour in your practice that could be made redundant through automations.
  • User Access and Permissions: Granular control over user access rights, permissions, and roles to ensure appropriate data access and maintain security.

Functionality to look for

Legal software can provide several functional advantages that help legal professionals and organizations overcome common challenges and avoid functional disadvantages. In addition to the features listed above, you should consider how these resonate with your situation and what you’re currently struggling the most with.

  • Efficient Case Management: Legal software streamlines case management processes by centralizing case information, documents, and deadlines. It helps organize and track cases, ensuring critical tasks are not missed, deadlines are met, and case-related information is readily accessible. This advantage helps improve productivity, responsiveness to clients, and overall case outcomes.
  • Document Organization and Retrieval: Legal software enables efficient document management, including storing, organizing, and retrieving legal documents. It eliminates the need for manual filing systems, reduces the risk of document loss or misplacement, and provides on-demand access to case-related files when needed. This advantage saves time, enhances collaboration, and ensures document accuracy.
  • Accurate Time and Billing Management: Legal software simplifies time tracking, expense management, and billing processes. It automates the capture of billable hours, tracks expenses, generates accurate invoices, and facilitates efficient financial management. This advantage helps improve billing accuracy, reduce administrative burdens, and enhance revenue generation.
  • Improved Collaboration and Communication: Legal software often includes features for internal and external communication, such as secure messaging, document sharing, and client portals. It facilitates seamless collaboration among team members, enhances client communication, and promotes effective teamwork. This advantage fosters collaboration, improves client satisfaction, and strengthens professional relationships.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: Legal software helps ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It aids in maintaining client confidentiality, tracking conflicts of interest, managing ethical considerations, and adhering to billing and accounting standards. This advantage mitigates compliance risks, safeguards professional reputation, and reduces the likelihood of legal malpractice issues.
  • Enhanced Research Capabilities: Legal software often integrates legal research tools or provides access to legal databases. It assists legal professionals in conducting comprehensive research, accessing relevant case laws, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents. This advantage saves time, improves the quality of legal research, and strengthens case preparation.
  • Streamlined Administrative Tasks: Legal software automates routine administrative tasks such as generating standard documents, calendaring, task management, and deadline tracking. It reduces manual work, eliminates errors, and frees up time for legal professionals to focus on higher-value activities. This advantage improves efficiency, reduces administrative burdens, and optimizes resource allocation.

Important purchase considerations

But that’s not all. Before you buy, you need to think about all of the factors that might matter in your future with this software. Here are some of the big areas to consider:

  • Scalability and Future Growth: Consider whether the software can accommodate your firm’s growth and evolving needs. Ensure that the software is scalable and can handle an increasing volume of cases, clients, and users without significant disruptions or the need for frequent software changes.
  • Vendor Reputation and Support: Research the vendor’s reputation, experience, and track record in the legal software industry. Check customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies to assess their customer satisfaction levels. Additionally, evaluate the availability and responsiveness of customer support, as prompt and reliable support can be critical for issue resolution and ongoing assistance.
  • Ease of Implementation and Training: Evaluate the implementation process and the level of training and support provided by the vendor. Determine whether the software is user-friendly and if the vendor offers training materials, documentation, tutorials, and webinars to help users quickly adapt to the software. A smooth implementation process and comprehensive training resources can minimize disruptions and maximize user adoption.
  • Integration Capabilities: Consider whether the software can seamlessly integrate with other tools and systems that are essential to your legal practice, such as document management systems, accounting software, email clients, or legal research platforms. Integration capabilities help streamline workflows, reduce duplicate data entry, and enhance overall efficiency.
  • Data Migration and Compatibility: If you are transitioning from existing software or systems, assess the ease and cost of data migration to the new software. Verify the compatibility of your existing data formats and databases with the new software to ensure a smooth transition without data loss or compatibility issues.
  • Cost and Pricing Structure: Evaluate the pricing structure of the software, whether it’s a one-time license fee, subscription-based, or a combination of both. Consider the upfront costs, ongoing maintenance fees, and any additional costs for training, support, or system upgrades. Ensure that the pricing is transparent, fits within your budget, and offers a good return on investment (ROI).
  • Data Security and Compliance: Assess the software’s data security measures, including encryption, access controls, data backup, and compliance with relevant data protection regulations. Ensure that the software adheres to industry standards and best practices to protect sensitive client information and maintain compliance with legal and ethical requirements.
  • User Feedback and Recommendations: Seek feedback from other legal professionals, colleagues, or industry associations regarding their experiences with the software you are considering. Their insights and recommendations can provide valuable information and help validate your decision-making process.

By considering these factors alongside the features and functionality of the software, you can make a more informed decision when selecting legal software that aligns with your requirements and provides long-term value to your practice.

Other Legal Software

Key Takeaways

When evaluating legal software, here are the most important things to remember:

There are different types of legal software available: consider what you stand to benefit the most from implementing, then use that. You can always add more tools but you can’t ask for money back if you didn’t use the software.

Features are only as important as your business makes them out to be. Make a list of need-to-have features and one for nice-to-have features. Don’t make concessions due to a sales call.

Figure out what else matters to you and where your practice could use some help; ask about these functional advantages in your vendor calls.

Think about all of the other factors: cost, scalability, data compatibility, integration, etc.

I hope this guide helped you gain a clearer understanding of what you need out of your legal software. If you need any help choosing specific software, reach out to my team and we’d be happy to help you.

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