There’s no question that attorneys are adopting legal technology at higher rates than ever before. In fact, 65% of firms responded they are budgeting for legal technology in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association. 

Legal technology is a broad term that encompasses legal billing software, legal practice management software, online payment software, and more. Firms may feel as if they need multiple solutions to manage essential functions of their practice like case management and billing. ​​However, there are now solutions available in the market that enable law firm owners to manage all aspects of their practice in one easy-to-use legal technology platform.

While law firms are embracing legal technology, it begs the question if they’re adopting too many solutions that can ultimately complicate how they manage their practice. In this blog, we’ll uncover the parallels in legal technology and how law firms can simplify their most cumbersome processes on one platform. 

Let’s cut to the chase: Attorneys who rely solely on legal billing software miss out on the advantages of practice management automation. On the other hand, those who use law practice management software not only benefit from automated billing but automated features to manage every aspect of their practice.

An all-in-one law practice management software allows law firms to manage their firm’s operations twofold. This includes case management, client intake form generation, calendaring, document management, and more. In addition to robust billing features like time tracking, customized invoice generation, batch invoicing, and billing, invoice read receipts, payment reminders, and more. 

The best practice management solutions also offer native online payments to keep your billing and collections in the same place. This makes it easy for firms to process and allocate payments without manual entry. 

To effectively manage a law practice, it is essential to have reliable software that can automate various tasks from client intake to firm communications, managing cases, and ultimately, billing. 

As an attorney’s time is directly tied to their earnings, it is crucial to have effective processes that reduce non-billable administrative work. Practice management software, such as PracticePanther, offers a comprehensive solution that addresses all aspects of law practice to save firms time and money.

Let’s explore a few of the benefits: 

1. Accurate Time Tracking

Many lawyers use manual methods for time tracking, often leading to errors or missed time. Lawyers who miss a day – or longer – may end up forgetting about time spent on a case and can fail to provide full details for billing. This method of tracking time is prone to human error and can set the stage for client disputes due to discrepancies in their invoice.

Law practice management software with timekeeping features can track the time you spend on a client’s case, complete with notes that ensure the client has a clear understanding of what you spent the time on and why it’s relevant to the case. Every entry is accurate and detailed, so nothing is missed.

Innovative legal practice management solutions like PracticePanther allows lawyers to access time-tracking tools online, or remotely from different devices, and just about anywhere that has an internet connection. Attorneys from Barthelette Injury Law is one of the successful law firms that have benefit from getting paid faster by adding time entries whenever and wherever via the PracticePanther mobile app. With PracticePanther, time tracking is simplified, ensuring that lawyers are paid for all the billable time they spend on the case.  

There are numerous solutions to automation, but not all of them are designed for the specific needs of law firms. With law practice management solutions and built-in time tracking, lawyers can spend time on clients and internal meetings, rather than working on mundane tasks such as manually tracking time.

Law practice management software offers billing features like:

With its time-saving legal billing features, PracticePanther has helped many law firms improve their efficiency and save money. Ruttle Law PC is one such firm that has benefited from PracticePanther’s features. The firm is able to save time and money because their calendars, billing, and payment reports all sync automatically with all their open cases, all in one place. Lawyers can also eliminate the need to pay extra third-party payment processor subscription fees and get straight to booking meetings with clients by integrating their calendars directly into their PracticePanther account. 

3. Robust Billing and Reporting

Law practice management solutions with robust reporting features allow lawyers and firms to carefully monitor financial health and streamline the billing processes

This can be done with features including:

Some of the specific reports law firms can generate include accounts receivable, billing history, matter balance summaries, invoice payments, and revenue. 

Law firms that want to grow need to track performance beyond a simple payment statement. Effective reporting should track multiple metrics to get a big-picture view of the firm’s overall performance. 

PracticePanther offers real-time visual reports that can be created with just one click. It also has an innovative tagging feature to create customized filters and uncover insights on specific data to make more informed decisions.

4. Standardizes Your Invoicing Process

Invoicing is an essential, yet time-consuming process for most law firms. Especially, if they’re still using a paper process to generate, send and track invoices. 

PracticePanther standardizes your firm’s invoice process with templates that can be customized and branded to suit your needs. Create invoice templates based on case type or other routine cases, so you can quickly generate invoices without risking errors. 

5. Reduces Late Payments

While there are several reasons why a client may fail to pay an invoice, lawyers need to take steps to ensure that they’re paid promptly. One of the best ways is to set up expectations in advance and include a penalty for non-payment in the written agreement at the start of the relationship.

Another excellent option is offering online payments that are secure and convenient for the client. PantherPayments, a built-in feature from PracticePanther, allows clients to pay invoices in just a few seconds. This feature accepts all major credit cards, including Visa and American Express, and can deposit retainer payments directly into a trust account.

It’s vital that legal billing complies with American Bar Association requirements and Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account requirements. Commonly known as IOLTA, this is a valuable tool for expanding legal representation to charitable organizations and underserved populations.

Common errors lawyers may make include:

  • Commingling client funds
  • Failing to maintain three-way reconciliation
  • Inaccurate record-keeping

PantherPayments is a trusted and recognized merchant processor approved by the ABA and fully compliant with IOLTA, ABA, and state bar guidelines for legal billing. This billing software features daily reconciliation reports for real-time financial records and averages 70% faster payment for firms.

Legal billing is a crucial component of your law firm’s operations, and it stands to reason that any legal professional would look for a software solution with comprehensive, secure billing features. What too many attorneys and legal entrepreneurs may not realize, however, is that law practice management software is the most secure option available to attorneys and legal entrepreneurs — not just for legal billing, but for all of the information handled by your firm.

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