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All lawyers know that much more goes into running a law firm than going to court. Administrative tasks can take up as much as 48% of a lawyer’s workweek, from sending emails to responding to lead inquiries, to attending consultations, to billing clients— there’s a lot that goes into keeping a law firm going. A lot of it isn’t just tedious, but it can be overwhelming to take on manually, especially if you’re running a solo practice.
With so much demanding behind-the-scenes work, efficient lawyers know the importance of using technology to their advantage to meet the needs of their clients.
Some technology can help with legal research, such as a litigation law firm software like Tracers public and private records database. Tracers is designed to help legal professionals find key pieces of information available only in public and private records to help complete the “fact-finding” side of legal research. With access to the best legal research software available, lawyers can quickly gather both the facts and the case law they need to complete their legal research and build the strongest case possible.
But legal research is just one piece of running law practice. Lawyers also have to deal with a variety of other administrative and management tasks. Luckily, technology can also provide solutions for that. In fact, the right software can speed up and streamline attorneys’ workloads so that they never have to choose between serving their clients or catching up with administrative tasks.
What is a CRM?
Regardless of the size of a firm, things can get chaotic. Not only do lawyers have to keep track of their clients, but they also have to continue bringing in a steady stream of new business, which requires marketing efforts. In order to ensure that they’re getting a return on their marketing investments, lawyers need to know which sources their best leads are coming from and tracking whether they’ve been followed up with or not. Keeping track of every lead, client, and everything else in between can start to eat up all of your time without an efficient system in place. A CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, reduces the need for paperwork, spreadsheets, and digging through emails to find information on a lead or client.
A CRM for lawyers functions as one centralized database that manages all of the most important elements of your law firm. From the client intake process to running reports on your productivity and revenue to scheduling consultations, the right law firm CRM serves as a methodical approach to handling your practice.
What Can a CRM Do?
One of the most valuable parts of a good legal CRM is law firm client intake software. Many CRM’s don’t address intake, so it’s important that you find one that does in order to bring on clients seamlessly. Rather than manually following up with clients at each stage of your client intake process, a CRM automates communication, so you don’t have to worry about whether clients slip through the cracks.
Rather than engaging in email ping pong trying to find the right time that works for you and your clients, lawyers can give their clients direct access to their schedule where they can choose an appointment time based on their availability. It’s as simple as syncing your Google calendar or Outlook, and clients will only see the dates you want them to see. Automated appointment scheduling results in improved client satisfaction and fewer client no-shows.
Creating legal documents can be time-consuming and tedious. A CRM can automate important document creation by importing client information with custom fields. Lawyers can then instantly send documents to be signed with an electronic signature for legal documents, saving everyone time.
Although analyzing data is a relatively new concept in the legal world, goal tracking for law firms is one of the greatest kept secrets of the most efficient practices. By observing patterns in your law practice, you can find any bottlenecks and places where your law firm has to grow. From tracking revenue to productivity to where your best leads are coming from, law firm reporting software gives you total control of your law firm’s data to use it however you see fit.
Does My Law Firm Need a CRM?
If your law firm struggles with keeping up with administrative tasks and finding enough time for clients, then it’s time to start streamlining your processes with the help of technology. The right CRM will automate tedious tasks that take up most of your day so that you can turn your attention to where it matters most at your law firm.
Not only will you save your firm plenty of time, but you’ll give your practice a modern edge that clients will appreciate. Software keeps track of each stage of the client cycle by nurturing relationships and encouraging repeat business.
Benefits of Using a CRM
More Efficiency In Your Law Firm
A CRM makes it easy to take clients from one stage of the client journey to the next seamlessly by tracking everyone in one single location. Rather than fumbling through your email inbox or through post-it notes strewn around your office, you can find everything you need in one single location.
In many cases, there may be multiple people in your offices communicating with the same contacts, and a CRM for attorneys makes it easy to start where the last person left off. By storing text messages, emails, documents, and client details in one single location, you can easily run your law firm efficiently with less risk of errors.
Without a CRM, it’s challenging to know who needs to be followed up with and which tasks need to be done. Spreadsheets can get chaotic, and pen and paper are downright archaic. Software makes it easy to stay in touch with clients and leads without wondering if anyone has slipped through the cracks.
No more missed opportunities or unfavorable reviews because you took too long to get back to someone. A CRM automates and streamlines your communication so that you can rest assured knowing that your clients feel valued and listened to.
Improved Client Satisfaction
Modernizing your practice with the right technology doesn’t just make your life easier, but also your clients! Automation means immediate follow-ups, convenient self-scheduling, and tailored client communication— resulting in happier clients and a happier practice.
Manually running your practice can leave you struggling to give each client the attention they deserve. With so much administrative work that goes into a practice, many lawyers are forced to make the impossible choice between serving clients and catching up on tedious tasks. A CRM makes it easy to set up workflow automation for law firms, putting your law firm on auto-pilot so you can focus on what you do best— practice law.
The right legal CRM makes it easy to fully control each stage of your client’s journey by creating automated custom workflows. From legal file request automation to follow-ups, you can communicate with your clients based on their individual characteristics, programmed to send out at the right time to the right person. The end result is an accelerated and more efficient law firm and happier clients!
What’s the Difference Between Practice Management Software and a CRM?
Although practice management software also manages your legal contacts information, it’s fundamentally different from a CRM in several ways. Most importantly, a CRM handles leads, clients, and past clients, whereas practice management software handles existing client matters.
What Practice Management Software Does:
Practice management software can create tasks for each of a lawyer’s different cases and respective notes, as well as any important upcoming dates.
Lawyers can easily manage all of their case details and view the status of each case. They can see any changes that have been made, making it easy to track where each client’s case currently stands.
Rather than bothering with papers or multiple files stored in different locations, practice management software keeps all of the important documents for each case in one centralized location. From images to police reports to contracts— lawyers can easily access whatever they need without having to dig for it.
Billing can be laborious in a law practice— especially when you have a lot of clients. Practice management software keeps you up to date with who owes what and even generates invoices and sends them out, making it easy to stay up to date with any unpaid bills.
A combination of practice management software with a legal CRM is the best way to maintain great client relationships and reduce the risk of human error. However, your CRM is the key to managing your sales funnel, modernizing your practice, increasing efficiency, engaging leads, and ultimately taking your law firm to the next level.
CRMS for Lawyers to Consider
Known as the most robust and complete law firm CRM and client intake solution in the industry, Lawmatics provides law firms with sophisticated and easy-to-use automation tools to attract new leads, manage clients, and reach your law firm’s goals.
Designed for law firms of all sizes, its intuitive interface automates routine tasks so lawyers can focus on the most important matters at their law firm. From streamlining operations to increasing staff productivity, Lawmatics is undoubtedly the best choice for a modern practice. Its wide range of capabilities makes it the best choice for value.
- Custom Automations
- Custom Form Builder
- Appointment Scheduling
- Legal Document Automation
- File Requests
- Pipeline Management
- Custom Fields
- SMS for law firms /Text Messaging
- Email Drip Campaigns for Law Firms
- Custom Email Suite
- Dynamic Email Workflows
- Audience Segmentation Software
- Legal reporting software
- Integrations With Other Software
Law Ruler is a well-known law firm CRM tool appropriate for law firms of all sizes. Because it was the first of its kind, it’s well known in the law industry and has been helping law firms handle their practices for over a decade. Some of its features include:
- Dashboard Analytics
- Integration with Microsoft 365
- Billing Software
- Reporting Tools
- Workflow Management
- Case Management
- Document Automation
Although it has a great reputation for being easy to use with fully customizable features, it’s niche-specific. Unless your firm specializes in personal injury, it may not be the best solution for your practice compared to other options.
HubSpot is a popular CRM used to organize and track leads and clients in a variety of industries. Because its functionalities are not law firm-specific, it’s a popular choice for many businesses. Although it is offered as free, its premium tools cost a monthly fee. Some of its features include:
- Lead Generation
- Marketing Automation
- Reporting Software
- Scheduling Software
- Customer Support
- Full customization
For small law firms who have never used a CRM before, it may be a useful tool. However, larger law firms with more complicated processes who have tried a CRM with law firm-specific functions may find that HubSpot comes with too many limitations.
Built with productivity in mind, Lawcus is a CRM and case management software and a great choice for law practices looking for a full practice management software that’s easy to use. Some of the features include:
- Case Management
- Document Management and E-Signature
- Workflow Automation
- Reporting Dashboard
- Legal Calendaring
Although Lawcus automates many legal tasks, they don’t cover all of the automations that stronger competitors do, which may lead to important to-do’s slipping through the cracks.
Lead Socket is a law firm-specific CRM used to manage and follow up with leads. With an easy-to-use interface, its simplicity is convenient for those looking for a clear display easy for anyone in your office to understand. If you’re a larger firm with a front-of-house staff, it’s a straightforward all-in-one platform for keeping track of leads and clients. Some of its features include:
- Full Dashboard
- Automated Text Messages
- Referral Tracking
- Data Importing and Exporting
With a fairly easy setup and ease of use, it can be a great tool for your law firm to view all its contacts. However, it lacks certain automation capabilities that still require manually completing certain tasks, which may not save your firm as much time as other CRMs.
Captorra is a lead and case management system that promises lead conversion and growth. It’s a great choice for smaller firms looking for a straightforward cloud-based software that integrates with a number of third-party products. Some of its features include:
- Contact Management
- Lead Conversion
- Full Dashboard
- Intake Management
- Referral Management
Built on top of a Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, many firms may appreciate that it works well with Office 365 products. However, some users have found that the limited control over their user experience is frustrating. Limited customization may be a problem for law firms looking for total control in a CRM rather than pre-selected lists.
Clio Grow, one of the three products offered by Clio, offers a CRM and client intake solution specifically created for law firms. From attracting new leads to managing clients, Clio is a popular choice for law firms looking to try out a CRM. Some of its features include:
- Client Intake
- Document Automation
- Custom Workflows
- Insights and Reporting
- Appointment Booking
Although popular amongst many law firms, it can be difficult to navigate. The interface can be complicated at moments, which may require a timely learning curve to get used to compared to other legal CRM options.
How Do I Choose The Right CRM For My Law Firm?
Each CRM comes with its own main claims, so it can feel overwhelming figuring out which one to choose. Ultimately, you want something that helps you with what matters most at your law firm, which can vary depending on where you have the most room for improvement. Here are some of the best tips for choosing the right one for your practice.
Consider The Features
The best place to start is by understanding what issues your firm is facing and which weak points you’d like to address.
You want to look at the functionalities of each CRM and determine whether they will facilitate the most important parts of your practice. Unless you consider yourself quite tech-savvy, it’s helpful to choose one that’s easy to navigate.
Remember, not all CRM’s have the same bells and whistles. If identifying bottlenecks in your practice is something that’s especially important to you, then you should ensure that your CRM offers in-depth data aggregation. To make the most amount of improvements in your law firm, you want to find software that can generate reports based on data of your choice. From individual productivity to which marketing sources are producing the most leads, data is crucial for finding areas for improvement in your law firm.
Although each practice has its unique needs and concerns, to get the most out of a CRM, you should make sure whichever one you choose minimally has the following in addition to data reports and basic contact management:
When multiple people in your practice are using your CRM, you want to make sure that everyone on your team knows how to use it. If your CRM is too difficult to use for your staff, then it won’t end up helping your practice, but it can cause confusion.
Integrations With Other Software
It’s important that you choose a CRM that connects with legal tech applications that you’re already using. That way, you can automate the most important tasks in your law firm and build a best-of-breed tech stack for your practice. From Zapier to Zoom to Practice Panther, you want a CRM that integrates seamlessly into the tools you’re already using to get the most value for your investment.
A great CRM gives you the power to trigger workflows based on client behavior. For example, when a client fills out a legal client intake form, they receive an initial email from your firm following up with useful information.
Look for a CRM like Lawmatics that makes it easy to set up custom triggers that send out email automation for law firms when you want them.
Built-in document generation is critical for streamlining your practice. Automated document generation makes it easy to merge data from your CRM directly onto documents, taking you a fraction of the time that it would have taken to do manually.
From contracts to NDAs, customizable automated document generation is a must when looking for the right CRM to save your law firm time.
Contact Customer Support and Read Reviews
When choosing your CRM, it helps to contact customer support to get a feel for what kind of customer service they offer. Making the switch to a CRM in your practice doesn’t always happen overnight, so you’ll need to make sure that you have the support that you need with any questions that arise.
If you call and get the sense that they’re helpful, and promise to guide you through the onboarding process with ongoing support as you get to know the program, then that’s a good indication. With Lawmatics, for example, you have a dedicated onboarding team that guides you through the process step by step. You can customize your onboarding schedule based on your firm’s unique needs and continue to get assistance beyond.
Not all CRM’s offer the same level of customer service with their product, so be wary of committing to a program that’s known for being difficult to get in touch with.
Read reviews online and get to know any pros and cons associated with the software. That way, you’ll have an idea of what to expect.