In the competitive sphere of legal technology, where news apps, platforms, and software become available on a seemingly daily basis, it is crucial for consumers to know exactly what they’re looking for – and exactly what it is they find. The highly saturated market leads to increased pressure on providers to market their products and services in a way that makes them as visible (and seemingly appealing) as possible. Unfortunately, accuracy can be a casualty of the marketing ploys adopted to this end, leading consumers to walk away with catchphrases, promises, and free trials – but very little specificity when it comes to what their newly made investments can actually do for them and their practice. Among the leading sources of confusion for legal entrepreneurs everywhere is the blurry line between case management software and legal practice management software. This can lead attorneys to invest in disappointing platforms under the impression that they hold more functionality than they actually do. When it comes to entrusting your firm to a software, clarity is key.
What is case management software?
Case management software is specifically designed to automate and organize a law firm’s cases. This might seem like an altogether obvious definition, but it holds implications about the limitations of this kind of platform that are far more relevant to legal entrepreneurs than its qualities. Case management encompasses the intake and organization of contacts and matters, document generation and (sometimes) management, and – if you’re operating with a more advanced case management software – calendar management in relation to each of your contacts and matters. Too often, case management software is expected to streamline the various procedures involved in running a law practice in addition to its basic functionality. However, what many shoppers do not realize – and many providers do not clarify – is that this kind of automation is dominated by an entirely different kind of software.
Enter: legal practice management software
The double-edged sword of unclear language hits legal practice management software when it simplifies these advanced, versatile platforms to the title of “case management.” This is problematic for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this language sells this kind of software short. For instance, a comprehensive legal practice management software such as PracticePanther contains all of the functionality of case management software, in addition to features designed to streamline the internal procedures of a law firm and to facilitate its client interactions. The former features include automated workflow generation, internal chat and instant communication functions, automated task assignment, and various others. Meanwhile, the latter features are comprised of time tracking, billing and trust account management (including batch billing and payment plans), CRM (which stands for client relationship management), automated email campaign integrations, a comprehensive client portal, and direct email integrations, among various others.
What these features do is elevate the functionality of case management software to automate and streamline your firm from its internal procedures outward, all the way to the closing of your cases and beyond. Law practices are far more versatile and complex than the cases they handle, and legal practice management software is designed to address these specific needs.
Lawyers know better than perhaps any other professional that, sometimes, semantics matter. This is particularly true when seemingly subtle changes in wording have considerable implications regarding the performance of platforms upon which attorneys rely heavily. To understand the difference between practice- and case management software is to manage expectations and ensure that you are investing your funds and ever-valuable time into the services you actually need.