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Clio is a cloud-based legal practice management solution suitable for small to large law firms. The platform enables legal firms to track important deadlines, manage cases and documents and bill and collect from clients. The time... Read More
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Abacus Law is a case automation software for legal practices. The system works as a practice management tool and scales to grow with a business. This system allows users to automate deadline management through the use of rules based... Read More
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PracticePanther Legal

PracticePanther Legal Software is a legal management solution for small to medium-sized practices specializing in areas including bankruptcy law, personal injury, divorce, estate planning, litigation, criminal law and many more. The... Read More
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Firm Central

Firm Central is a cloud-based legal management solution by Thomson Reuters. It features matter management, time and billing, scheduling and document assembly. Three different packages are available: Core, Essential and Premier. All... Read More
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CosmoLex is a cloud-based legal management software that offers advanced features and fully-integrated applications for an all-in-one solution. Named TechnoLawyer Newswire’s Top 25 Product of 2014, it includes time tracking, billing,... Read More
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HoudiniEsq is a law practice management soluiton for law practices of all sizes. This software can be installed both on-premise and in the cloud. HoudiniEsq features case budgets, time tracking, case and matter management, full text... Read More
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MerusCase is a legal practice management system offering an integrated platform of solutions for U.S. law firms. The system is HIPAA compliant and offers document management, timetracking and billing, calendaring and communication... Read More
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Jarvis Legal

Jarvis Legal is a legal practice management system designed for small law firms and solo practitioners. The software features include automatic time tracking, document management and reporting, client and case management. The application... Read More
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App4Legal is a law practice management solution designed by lawyers for lawyers. A Web-based system, it is available for server or cloud deployment and offers a mobile app for anywhere, anytime access. With App4Legal, users can... Read More
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A recent winner of the Silver Stevie Award for Best Customer Service, MyCase is a unique and intuitive web-based system created expressly for lawyers. Designed originally to help facilitate better communication between attorneys and... Read More
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LegalEdge is a web-based or on premise platform offering customizable solutions suitable for criminal, government, and litigation practices of all sizes. A smartphone interface allows users to access the system from any mobile device... Read More
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Logikcull is a cloud-based system for managing the process of legal discovery. With Logikcull, practices are able to drag and drop files, search, cull and create discovery productions within a secure system. Logikcull makes documents... Read More
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Essential by Anaqua is a mobile-ready platform offering legal management tools to intellectual property firms. It offers highly configurable workflows to meet a firm’s needs, policies, and procedures as well as client-specific processes. Case... Read More
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TimeSolv Legal

TimeSolv is a cloud-based project management and billing solution specifically designed for law firms, but it can also be used by accountants, consultants, architects, and freelancers. TimeSolv integrates project management features... Read More
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Conceptualized by a partner at a personal injury law firm, SmartAdvocate is a legal management platform that offers flexible deployment options and a modular suite of applications.  In addition to case management, attorneys and their... Read More
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LeanLaw is a cloud-based timekeeping and billing solution for small to midsize legal practices. Key features include time tracking, billing and invoicing, financial reporting and Quickbooks integration. A free mobile app is also available... Read More
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Smokeball is a cloud-based legal practice management for small firms that can be used in a variety of specialities. Key features include case management, contact management, calendaring, time tracking, billing and accounting.  Smokeball... Read More
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Mitratech is a legal management system suitable for midsize to large corporate law firms. Key features include case management, contact management, document management, calendaring and docketing, time tracking, billing and invoicing... Read More
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BQE Core Legal - Time, Billing, and Accounting

BQE Core Legal is a cloud-based solution that offers integrated accounting, time tracking, and billing and invoicing. It can support the operations of a variety of law firms including litigation, corporate, family, tax, immigration... Read More
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Zola Suite

Zola Suite is a cloud-based legal practice management solution for single users as well as small and midsize law firms. Key features include task management, built-in email, document management, client portals, a calendar, contact... Read More
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BillQuick Legal - Time Billing and Accounting

BillQuick offers flexible time billing and project management solutions in the market. Available as a stand-alone solution, self-hosted or a cloud service, BillQuick offers comprehensive business accounting, project management and... Read More
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Prevail Case Management

With 21 years of experience, Prevail Case Management System by Practice Technology, Inc. has one of the market's most popular legal case management solutions, offering some of the lowest total cost of ownership and fastest ROI in their... Read More
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BEC Legal

Operational in the legal market since 1997, BEC’s server-based legal management system offers case management, contact management, calendaring and docketing, document assembly, document formatting, and metadata management within... Read More
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Coyote Analytics

Coyote Analytics is a comprehensive financial software system specifically built to meet the needs of law firms that is available in both web-based and on-premise formats. The program includes modules for billing, accounting, and administration,... Read More
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Actionstep is a cloud-based legal practice management solution designed for growing and midsize firms. The integrated solution offers tools for managing cases, billing, invoicing and accounting as well as enables businesses to automate... Read More
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Rocket Matter

A Legal Management system designed for small and mid-sized practices, Rocket Matter provides a way to improve invoice accuracy, and reduce the time it takes to generate invoices. The system also provides document management, so that... Read More
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Suitable for mid-size and large legal practices, ProLaw by Thomson Reuters Elite helps to streamline key parts of the law firm management process. The financial management application automates the time tracking and expense management... Read More
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Law Ruler Legal Practice Management

Law Ruler is a web-based practice management system with a full suite of features for law firms. It offers case management on a standalone basis, as well as document management, contact management, calendaring and docketing, billing... Read More
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CoCounselor provides a cloud-based legal management solution tailored specifically to the unique needs of plaintiff’s lawyers. With CoCounselor, users gain access to a comprehensive suite of solutions that shows them the health of... Read More
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LegalTrek is comprehensive legal practice management solution designed for boutique and midsize law firms worldwide. Focused on project management and billing, LegalTrek helps structure and improve day-to-day operations so firms can... Read More
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Legal CRM

Legal CRM by FyNSiS is a legal management software solution. It is available either hosted in the cloud or as an on-premise deployment. It includes functionality for case management, contact management, billing and invoicing, calendaring... Read More
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LawAlign Case Management Software

LawAlign is a legal management software solution specializing in personal injury case management. This solution offers customizable integration plans based on the systems users already have in place and is available for on-premise... Read More
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Everlaw is a cloud-based legal management solution specializing in e-discovery support. Key features include advanced search capabilities, a prediction engine that calls up relevant documents and a context panel where users can see... Read More
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The Legal Assistant

The Legal Assistant is a complete legal management software solution available for either cloud-based or on-premise deployment. It is suitable for legal practices of any size. Different modules are available for specific areas of law,... Read More
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LawGro is a cloud-based business management solution for small to midsize legal practices. Key features include contact management, case management, task management, time and expense tracking, billing and invoicing, document management,... Read More
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Filevine is a cloud-based case management solution for small and midsize legal firms and legal professionals. It helps in managing case documents, communication and project management. Key features include bill and expense tracking,... Read More
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TrialWorks is a legal case management solution designed for litigation firms of all sizes. It helps firms manage processes including case intake, trial preparation, contact management and document management. TrialWorks enables users... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

Law firms are famous for the high volume of paperwork they must manage. Additionally, attorneys must keep track of their time for billing purposes, which is challenging when they have multiple clients or are working on contingency.

Legal practice management software streamlines the lawyer’s workflow with a centralized database, fast and flexible searching, calendaring, task tracking, phone messaging, mobile access and app integration and more. It helps enhance firm efficiency and prevents attorneys from being buried under physical files. Moreover, it helps prevent calendar and deadline-related errors, which are responsible for most legal malpractice claims (according to The American Bar Association).

Most practice management systems offer the same applications for all practice areas, but provide some degree of customization. And while many providers only offer their applications as a package, some are sold on a best-of-breed or “stand-alone” basis (e.g., time and billing systems). This guide provides an overview of legal practice management software to help you research and narrow down the best option for your firm.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Reviewers' Choice
What Is a Content Management System?
Common Features of Legal Practice Management Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
How Is It Priced?
Benefits and Potential Issues
The Best Tactics for Evaluating Software
Market Trends to Understand
Recent Events You Should Know About

Reviewers' Choice

legal reviewers choice


Reviewers' Choice Products

Clio Filevine
PracticePanther Smokeball
TrialWorks Zola Suite

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for Legal Management when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

Common Features of Legal Practice Management Software

Case management Offers a centralized database, fast and flexible searching, task tracking and management, phone messaging and checks for conflicts of interest and statute of limitations. Organizes the process of case handling and management from beginning to end, thus saving time and money.
Contact management/legal CRM Tracks, logs and stores details about phone calls and emails, and gives callback reminders. Provides you the tools needed to keep in touch through scheduled phone calls, correspondence and meetings. Adds automation to schedule meetings, write letters and emails, and make phone calls—all designed to cultivate your role as a trusted advisor.
Document management Drafts documents and links to word processing programs. Streamlines your document management process and decreases the time and energy required to find essential documents.
Document assembly Efficiently creates legal documents from automated templates that encompass simple forms and letters to complex legal documents. Integrates with programs such as Dropbox and Evernote, and provides case and matter tagging. Reduces the time it takes to create drafts of document.
Calendaring and docketing Allows you to view tasks, deadlines, appointments and meetings by day, week, month or year. Calculates calendar dates, schedules appointments and meetings. Enables you to automatically schedule dates in accordance with court rules relevant to the case, and submit calendar requests to the docketing department who can quickly calendar these requests without many manual steps.
Time tracking & billing Records billable time on an hourly, contingent or transactional basis. Links to time, billing and accounting programs, and generates client invoices. Improves workflows to increase your billing speed and improve cash flow, potentially leading to better client communication, faster billing and decreased administration costs.
Accounting Manages billing, receivables, trust accounts and payroll, and creates financial reports. Helps you organize, track and accurately report your financial transactions.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Prior to purchasing software for your legal practice, it’s important to understand your organizational needs and how a practice management solution can help meet those requirements.

Solo or small practice with 2-5 employees. The majority of U.S. law firms have fewer than five employees, yet they’re often in need of the same suite of applications that benefit larger firms. Small practices we’ve spoken with have cited the following as reasons they are evaluating practice management software for the first time, or for replacing an existing system:

  • Enhance office efficiency and accountability.
  • Consolidate case information across applications.
  • Need better technical support.
  • Want a single, integrated system rather than multiple, disparate applications.

Best-of-breed buyers. As mentioned, most firms will need an integrated suite of applications. However, some providers do sell stand-alone options, which is especially true for time tracking, billing and accounting systems. Many buyers we’ve spoken with who seek these applications had been using pen and paper or off-the-shelf options such as Outlook to manage their needs. Reasons they decided to switch to practice management software include:

  • Tracking everything by hand is too slow and inefficient.
  • Need software with industry-specific features.
  • Want a more modern system with significant tech support.

How Is It Priced?

Cloud-based legal practice management software is typically priced on a per-lawyer, per-month basis, with systems starting at about $50-$70 per user, per month. Some vendors will provide discounts if you pay annually instead of monthly.

On-premise software, on the other hand, is most often priced according to the number of perpetual licenses required. These fees are typically paid upfront for the right to use the software in perpetuity (as opposed to paying a monthly or annual subscription). Some vendors, such as HoudiniEsq, offer their software for free to solo attorneys.

Regardless of whether the software uses a perpetual license or subscription pricing model, many vendors will offer packages with varying levels of functionality. In these cases, the price of the system typically increases with the breadth and depth of features offered.

Most often, basic software packages are best suited for solo practices, or very small groups, while “Pro” versions are better for larger organizations. This is because more expensive software might include features that are only relevant to larger practices (e.g., batch billing and team collaboration).

Benefits and Potential Issues

Legal practices that adopt the right types of software may realize many benefits, such as:

  • Improved task coordination among attorneys and support staff. Firm efficiency is enhanced when duties are appropriately delegated and deadlines are managed.
  • Linking all notes, tasks, calendar additions and contacts to specific cases and matters. This saves sanity and time by keeping cases organized.
  • Reducing the paper shuffle with fast and efficient searches of digitized documents through use of document management applications. These systems can be especially essential during client calls when there is a need to rapidly reference many different documents.

Law firms that fail to realize some of these core benefits might do so because they:

  • Didn’t disclose that they have an international office—Some software systems are not formatted to handle addresses and phone numbers for non-U.S. countries; some also don’t support international currencies, making invoicing for global clients problematic.
  • Didn’t take adequate advantage of the software’s customization option to optimize usefulness for their practice area and specialties.
  • Didn’t ensure that the best-of-breed software bought integrates well with their existing software and systems. If they opt not to purchase a software provider’s full application suite, firms must make sure to investigate the compatibility of the purchased applications with those they are already using.

The Best Tactics for Evaluating Software

Reviewing legal management software can be overwhelming. There are literally dozens of options to choose from, each offering potentially very different features. The system you choose will depend on your practice’s unique needs. So, how do you make sure you choose the right system?

We recently surveyed hundreds of real software buyers to determine which tactics are most effective for evaluating software. From this analysis, we discovered that “checking vendor references” (meaning feedback from real customers) and having an attorney review your license or subscription agreement are the two best tactics for evaluating software. Additionally, any tactics listed in the green corner of the quadrant below were deemed highly effective.

Software Selection Quadrant

Quadrant indicating where selection tactics fall on the “impact” and “satisfaction” spectrum

To determine which tactics were considered “most effective,” each was evaluated against two metrics:

  • Y-axis: How much the tactic impacted the outcome of the project, meaning whether people in the sample who applied it experienced a different outcome than those who didn’t.

  • X-axis: The likelihood of being highly satisfied with your software selection, based on the percent of people in our sample who applied the tactic and rated satisfaction a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale.

Our hope is that adhering to the selection methods in the “most effective” quadrant (while avoiding those in the least effective quadrant) will help buyers save time and ensure they choose the right product for their needs.

Market Trends to Understand

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud practice management software gives your staff and clients the ability to access sensitive data from any computer with an Internet connection. Based on our conversations with buyers and vendors, most purchasers feel confident with cloud security—this makes sense because cloud providers’ data centers are often more secure than those of individual practices.

Multiple state bar associations have issued formal ethics opinions on the security of cloud computing, saying it adheres to attorneys’ confidentiality-related obligations. However, it’s important that you ask what security measures are used by the cloud service providers you’re considering, as well as where and how frequently the information stored is backed-up. Also, how much bandwidth does your practice need to be comfortable? Will cloud options be able to handle your data load, or should you choose an on-premise solution instead?

Mobile computing. Attorneys are often on the go and accessing systems from other offices, home and mobile devices. Tablet (e.g., iPad) and smartphone application integration is increasingly common.

Mobile view of CosmoLex

A significant benefit of many legal practice management software options is the flexibility you have to securely access your client and case information while commuting or waiting in court, thus allowing you to maximize each moment. Therefore, when researching and evaluating legal practice management software, you should consider if mobile support is a requirement and ask vendors about what kind of options they have.

Do they have native applications for iPhone and Android devices (usually the preferred access method)? Or, do they simply provide access through a mobile Web browser?

And what kind of security do they have in place? Do their mobile apps allow you to control who at your office gets access to the system?

Recent Events You Should Know About

DTI and Epiq merge. In September 2016, DTI, a legal process outsourcing (LPO) company, announced that they had acquired Epiq, a legal management software vendor. DTI and Epiq will merge their software and services into one. In the short term, the Epiq and DTI brands will remain in place.

PracticePanther releases multi-language update. Law practice management software vendor PracticePanther announced in October 2016 that their platform had been officially translated to Spanish. PracticePanther is now available to attorneys and law firms in Spain and Latin America.

Ultimedia and Just Costs Solicitors launch CostsbudgIT. Software vendor Ultimedia, in a joint venture with Just Costs Solicitors, released CostsbudgIT in October 2016. CostsbudgIT is a cloud-based software system designed to assist lawyers with budgeting and finance.