Whether it is gaining visibility on the internet, scheduling social media posts, or managing your growing list of clients, we compiled a list of some of the best productivity and marketing tools you should consider in order to streamline your workload and make more money for your firm:
- Word Processor: Microsoft Office 365 ($8.25/user/month)
The classic staple of attorneys, Microsoft office 365 offers a powerful suite of tools such as Word, Powerpoint, and Excel that help you draft and edit documents, generate spreadsheets, and create beautiful presentations. Although Powerpoint and excel are useful tools, attorneys typically spend most of their time editing and drafting new documents and contracts in Word, making it our number one essential tool for any attorney.
- File Storage: Dropbox or Box (Free or $5/user/month)
With thousands of documents created online every year, you will need a place to manage them all. With online file sharing apps such as Box and Dropbox, you will be able to keep all your files in one place so that you can access them anywhere from any device. You can even invite your colleagues or clients to share and edit documents inside the app and turn folders into shared online workspaces. With more attorneys focusing on becoming more efficient and less reliant on paper, Box and Dropbox are becoming critically essential tools for managing your legal documents.
- Tracking Software: Google Analytics (Free)
Google Analytics is the most widely used free web analytics service on the Internet. It allows you to track all of your traffic coming to your site so you can see exactly where your online marketing efforts are paying off. This is especially true for attorneys who have their own website, as they will need a way to track where their online visitors are coming from. Google analytics is the go-to resource for any attorney serious about tracking their online marketing efforts.
- Freelance Marketplace: Upwork (Hourly work or Fixed Price)
Upwork is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent professionals connect and collaborate remotely. The power of Upwork is in its platform, allowing you to hire freelancers in just about any part of the world in just a few clicks. Whether you’re hiring a part time paralegal or just need a someone to write blog posts for your website, you can get your work done in less time and for a fraction of the price compared to hiring someone full time.
- Video Conferencing: Go-To-Meeting (Starting at $24/month)
For attorneys who have clients in distant places and want to save on travel expenses, Go-To-Meeting is a must have tool. Go-To-Meeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software that enables you to meet with customers, clients or colleagues via the Internet in real time. Go-To-Meeting is a simple and cost-effective method for those who want to increase their productivity, spend less time traveling, and more time getting their work done.
- Print Marketing: VistaPrint (Products start at just $10)
Vistaprint empowers millions of business owners worldwide to market themselves professionally. Whether you need your own business cards, signs and posters, corporate gifts or any other marketing materials, VistaPrint can help you create the customized materials you need to get your message across. Because VistaPrint is catered to small businesses, you can order small quantities for affordable prices.
- Website Builder: Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace (Starting at $4/month)
A website, as everyone knows, is one of the most important branding and marketing strategies for your company. When someone thinks about you, hears about you, gets referred to you, gets a business card from you, will more than likely look you up online so you really want to make sure you make a good impression. Fortunately, popular web builders such as Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace have made it super easy to build your very own beautiful website. Simply insert a template, add text and images and click publish and you’re live! If an attorney wants to make a good first impression with potential clients, having a professional website is the key to making this happen.
- Email Marketing: MailChimp (Free or Premium)
MailChimp is a popular software tool for attorneys who want to send out email newsletters and announcements to their clients online. The idea behind starting an email campaign is to enable you to start building an email list of leads, potential clients, or even of current or past clients, where you can continue reminding them of yourself that you exist via beautiful newsletters or monthly campaigns. So if potential clients are looking for your services, you will always be on top of their minds.
- Payment Processing: LawPay
It is critical for attorneys to handle credit card transactions correctly. In fact, according to LawPay, trust account violations are one of the most common reasons for disciplinary action. Fortunately, LawPay is designed to correctly separate earned and unearned fees to avoid commingling funds when accepting credit card payments. More importantly, LawPay contractually protects your client funds by restricting the ability of any third-party from debiting monies from a Trust or IOLTA account. LawPay works with over 90 bar associations across the country, including the American Bar Association, to ensure their program is up-to-date and in compliance.
- Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner ($410)
If you truly want to go paperless, having a good scanner is the way to go. All you have to do is purchase a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and save all of your scanned documents to Box.com or Dropbox. You never have to worry about losing another file while also being able to instantly find and share any file with your team or opposing counsel.
- Scheduling Software: AcuityScheduling (free)
Acuity Scheduling is an entirely web-based system for scheduling appointments and meetings with your clients. There is nothing to download and it is completely responsive on any mobile device. The best part about it is that you can customize it to your website and schedule meetings straight from there.
- Business Phone: Google Voice (Free)
So you think you need a special office or business phone to carry around with you? Think again. With tools such as Google voice, you can have your very own customized business phone number that will forward directly to your cell phone, for free. The goal is to make and receive calls directly from your normal cell but with a different phone number – without having to pay for another phone.
- Note Taking App: Evernote (Free)
Evernote is a free app for your smartphone and computer that stores everything digital in your life to one location. Evernote works as one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer. You can write free from distraction, collect information and find what you need in a simple search. Attorneys love using Evernote because it enables them to keep track of ideas, store legal research, and share notebooks with business partners.
- Virtual Receptionist: Ruby Receptionist (Plans start at $259/month)
Want your practice to look a lot bigger and more professional instantly? You can, with a virtual receptionist. The most popular choice we recommend for a virtual secretary service is Ruby Receptionists. With Ruby Receptionists, your clients will think you have some big law office – without having to even lease any office space. The idea is that when someone calls your office, a live secretary answers the phone professionally and exactly how you want them to answer the phone. Almost everyone will agree that missed calls equal missed opportunities, making Ruby Receptionists an important tool for almost any attorney.
- Electronic signatures: Docusign (Starting at $10/month)
Docusign has got to be one of the most popular tools for attorneys for signing documents online. With Docusign, you can quickly and securely access and sign documents, upload and send documents for others to sign, and send reminders and check signing status any time. If you are an attorney who writes a lot of contracts and requires a lot of signing, Docusign is the way to go.
- Password Manager: Lastpass (Free)
Are you always having a hard time remembering your username and password? Well, the hardship is over. LastPass is a useful tool that you can use to store all your log-in information. In addition,LastPass is fully encrypted so you don’t need to worry about anyone stealing your information.
- Website Chat: Zopim (Free)
Zopim is a simple and cost-effective way to engage your customers via a messaging system. This is a very effective way to engage potential clients who visit your site who may have a question about your services.
- Social Media Management: Buffer (Free)
Buffer is a great way to drive traffic and increase fan engagement on social media. You can schedule, publish, and analyze all of your social media posts in one place without having to do it manually everyday. Buffer also has tools that help you create beautiful images in seconds, saving you time and money on hiring a professional designer to do it for you.
- Business Email: Google Apps for Work (Starting at $5/month)
Having a custom business email address not only makes you look more professional, but it also builds trust. Google Apps for Work helps you get set up right away with custom email for your business and allows you to add usernames and passwords as you grow your firm. One of the hidden gems of Google Apps for Business is the communication features such as internal chat and video meeting features.
- Local Marketing: Google Business (Free)
If you use Google Maps you should immediately think Google Business. Google Business helps you list your law firm on Google Maps so potential clients can find out more about your business and location. Not only is this a good strategy in generating potential clients but also improves your SEO for your website.
- Legal Marketplace: Avvo (Free or Premium)
Avvo is a very popular online legal services marketplace. Attorneys can link to their website, show off a list of academic and employment history, publication credits, awards, and cases they’ve won in the past. One of the best features of Avvo is the Q&A platform. So if someone, for example, posts a legal question about their small business and they see that you give a qualified answer, you have a much better chance of getting hired for that job by that potential client. If used correctly, Avvo can be an extremely useful tool for marketing your firm and getting new clients.
PracticePanther is a secure cloud-based law practice management software used by attorneys and paralegals worldwide. Manage your time, billing, payment processing, expense management, and calendaring in an all-in-one secure and mobile friendly software.