It's not just a luxury, it's essential.
Why do lawyers need a legal software that provides them with centralised access to all matter related documents and information?
To some it may seem obvious, to others, it's a bit less clear. It is not uncommon for legal practices, especially those which are just starting up, to not have software that helps them intelligently manage their documents and other matter-related information. Some lawyers settle for creating a folder with the matter name as the title and storing all related material within it. Manual, slow, hard to find and easy to misplace, this strategy is inefficient to say the least.
Storage and access
With an intuitive Practice Management System (PMS), no matter the size of your practice you no longer have to worry about having large stacks of documents crowding your office, or getting lost. You can access any file, document, contact or correspondence from the convenience of any of your devices. A modern lawyer can no longer afford to not have access at all times. Extended periods of downtime caused by travel, having to pick up the kids from school, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment, which in the past were seen to be unavoidable stoppages are now seen to be opportunities to complete valuable work for clients. A waiting lawyer can now be a working lawyer. With lockdown restrictions regularly changing, working conditions have become more flexible, allowing lawyers to work from a plethora of different locations. Can you afford to not be able to access everything you need?
But aside from being able to access anything, from anywhere at any time, what else does centralised access do?
Removing the little inefficiencies
Creating files for matters on your desktop breeds inefficiency. Not taking advantage of a PMS means that you aren’t making the most out of your people, and when “your people” consists of just yourself, these inefficiencies can lead to big problems for your legal practice.
Say you spend an hour a day searching your folders for matter related documents, then on top of that you spend another hour saving emails and their attachments; that's two hours of every day spent on search and storage. By using a PMS that saves your emails from Outlook against the correct matter and then lets you send emails from the matter itself, you're getting a lot of time back, what could you do with that extra time? This also removes potential human error from saving it in the wrong place, meaning you won’t have to spend extra time searching through masses of folders.
What about billing? Are you writing up your invoices in word and sending them to clients? If your legal software integrates with third-party accounting software like Xero, which mattero does, then you can generate invoice transactions from within the system then sync them with Xero and they will handle the rest. A good Practice Management System should simplify your daily processes and make your life easier so you can get back to practising law.
Manage your client relationships
Having access to your documents is great, but what about the information related to clients and other involved parties? All corresponding information should be easily accessible with the click of a button. You should be able to easily find client, third-party, and company records, create and produce contact specific documents and summarise client interactions in the contact notes. Let's say a client has told you a piece of information about themselves that you want to remember, for example that they have a child the same age as yours, a good legal software will allow you to record these details for later reference. Remembering little details such as these can go a long way in creating a good relationship with your clients making it more likely they will give you return business or recommend you to potential clients.
Having access to everything you need in one place, anywhere at any time may seem like a side bonus, but the modern lawyer cannot afford to have any less. Sole practitioners who may not have support staff to rely on need this level of access to succeed in the competitive legal industry. Choosing the right Practice Management System is critical to increasing the productivity and efficiency of your practice, choose well.