4 Things To Consider When Shopping For Law Practice Management Software
Guest post by Lawyerist
When you are deciding what practice management software to purchase, you have several things to consider. Some are mere matters of preference, but some are mission critical. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you shop for and test drive law practice management software.
Does it include a secure client communication portal?
As a lawyer, you’re under ethical obligations to understand the technology you’re using and to make sure that your client’s data stays secure when using that technology. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a secure communications portal, a feature that is built into many law practice management software programs.
A secure communications portal is a website built only for secure messaging. To send a message to your client, you log into the website, type your message and attach files, and send. The website then notifies your client they have a message, which they can only read and respond to by logging into the website. Several leading law practice management software programs, including CosmoLex, Clio, MyCase, and PracticePanther, already have secure client portals built in.
How portable is your data?
Nothing lasts forever, so there may come a day when you want to move your data from one practice management program to another. Make sure, as you look at various software solutions, that you choose a program that will let you easily export your data should you want to move to another practice management solution. Your data belongs to you, not to your practice management software.
Do you want an all-in-one solution?
If you have already invested your time and money into a solution like QuickBooks for your accounting, you may not care if your practice management software program handles tasks like that. If you are just starting out, it might be easier to use a program like CosmoLex, which handles practice management tasks, billing, and (trust and regular) accounting.
Similarly, if you’re already using a standalone timekeeping program such as TimeSolv or Tabs3, you might not care if your practice management software can handle that task. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a program to merge that task with the remainder of your practice management duties, you would want to consider a program like Clio, which integrates timekeeping into its software.
How much can you learn about its security practices?
Security is extremely important when it comes to law practice management software. Because of that, those software companies should always be very up front about their security protocols. Good practice management software should encrypt traffic while it travels back and forth from you to their servers and should also encrypt it while it resides on their servers. It should also allow you to use two-factor authentication, which requires you to log into the practice management software with both a password and a secondary code that is sent to your phone. Above all, the company should be very transparent about the security measures it takes to protect your data.
All of these things are important to keep in mind as you choose your new—or very first—law practice management software.