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Legal Case Management Software

Legal Case Management software coordinates documents, scheduling, conflicts, contacts, and reporting associated with legal cases. Case Management software enables an integrated solution to automate case management, client history tracking, and contracts as well as billing and accounting. Legal Case Management systems also often include database management, electronic discovery, and automatic document template editing features, enabling organisations to manage, distribute, and update key case-related data. Legal Case Management software is related to Legal Document Management software, Law Practice Management software and Legal Billing software. Find the best legal case management software for your organisation in Australia.

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Legal Case Management Software Buyers Guide

Legal case management software is a category of software solutions that have been designed to assist lawyers, paralegals, other legal professionals, and law firms with the management of information and operations related to legal cases. Ultimately, they are intended to serve as an integrated solution, allowing users to collect, store, access, and amend relevant data. Additionally, they provide the means for client tracking, case management, contract management, and accounting activities to be carried out from one place without needing to switch between applications.

The central database contained within legal case management software allows relevant data to be stored and organised in logical ways, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. At the same time, most best-in-class solutions within this category will provide automation tools, allowing some of the more predictable, foreseeable, formulaic or repetitive activities carried out by legal professionals and law firms to be performed automatically, with minimal or no human involvement. This then frees users up to focus their efforts on other areas that need attention.

Aside from keeping important information secure and structuring it in logical ways, legal case management software is intended to improve efficiency, assist with calendar management, and aid both coordination and collaboration between legal firms. Due to the nature of the software’s features and its intended uses, it is often categorised alongside similar software solutions, including legal document management software, law practice management software, and legal billing software. There is often significant crossover with such programs, especially in terms of features, and in many cases, these solutions can be integrated with legal case management software as well.

The features that are included within different legal case management solutions on the market can vary, as can the quality of those features and the ways in which they are actually implemented. With that being said, there are a number of core features, which buyers can expect to see in the vast majority of high-quality software packages of this kind, and which help to define the legal case management software category itself. Therefore, as a general rule, users of these solutions should expect to be able to achieve all of the following actions or activities:

  • Create, store, and manage case notes, containing important information about legal cases
  • Manage information about clients and manage communications across multiple channels
  • Generate and send invoices, and store relevant data related to financial transactions
  • Utilise calendar management tools to manage appointments, deadlines, and important dates

Legal case management software describes software solutions that are intended to assist those involved in law and related fields with the management of information and activities that are linked to legal cases. This includes managing case notes, client contact details, contracts and other important documents, financial information, and much more. Software of this kind typically serves as an integrated solution and is used by lawyers, paralegals, law firms, and others.

A significant part of legal case management software is centred around keeping important data secure and organised in a logical way, so that specific pieces of information can be found easily. Keeping data in one place also assists users looking to improve overall efficiency. The software can also help to enhance communication internally and with external clients while simultaneously enhancing collaboration within a law firm or across multiple organisations.

For the most part, legal case management solutions will primarily function as a centralised database, which can be used for securely storing, accessing, editing, and removing relevant information. However, artificial intelligence (AI) powered automation features are also often included, helping legal professionals by ensuring that the more foreseeable or repetitive tasks are carried out without the need for them to intervene and perform the tasks manually.

Generally speaking, legal case management software is offered as a standalone solution. Yet, it may also be possible to find many of the same features within a more comprehensive law practice management package.

The benefits of legal case management software are largely centred around its ability to consolidate data that would otherwise be spread across different software solutions, making it easier for those working in law firms or within the legal profession to access what they need, when they need it. However, there are additional benefits too, and it is useful to examine the full range of ways utilising legal case management software can help individuals and law firms:

  • Organisation of data: Legal case management software can help with the organisation of all of the relevant information and data linked to legal cases so that it can be easily found and accessed in the future. Having case notes, contract information, client contact details, appointments, scheduling information, invoices, and billing information all in a single place is extremely valuable for law firms and legal professionals alike, because it eliminates unnecessary friction and provides a sense of structure to organisations that deal with extremely large volumes of data. Organising data within a single package can also be useful for providing a level of consistency and standardisation to this data.
  • Greater efficiency: Through the use of a good legal case management package, work performed by legal professionals can become much more efficient, and this occurs for a number of reasons. Firstly, the aforementioned centralisation of data means law firms, lawyers, and paralegals will be able to find what they are looking for much faster because all of the relevant data is accessible from within the software. However, beyond this, the best software solutions in this category also provide a variety of options for automation. As a result, many of the more unnecessarily time-consuming activities and tasks can instead be performed automatically, with minimal human intervention, freeing up much more time to be spent on the activities and tasks that really require a human touch.
  • Improved data security: Keeping information about legal cases in one place can also provide law firms with benefits in terms of data security, ensuring that information is always available and protected from corruption, accidental deletion, or external cyber threats. Cloud-based solutions can help to protect data because they make it quick and easy to restore data to a previous state. Meanwhile, on-premise deployment options can still protect data via regular backups. Of course, regardless of which deployment option is used, information can be protected so that only those who are authorised to use the software are able to access the data contained within.
  • Scheduling benefits: Through the use of built-in calendar management functionality, it becomes much easier for law firms and legal professionals to manage their schedules and ensure that they do not accidentally miss important deadlines or overlook important actions that need to be taken at particular times. Users can arrange appointments and meetings, add them to the calendar, and manage their schedule more effectively, with options for alerts or notifications to be set up for when the most important events, activities and deadlines are approaching. Beyond this, many solutions will also include time tracking features, which can help legal professionals to manage their time while allowing law firms to understand which cases are taking up the most time, which cases require more attention, and when more resources need to be allocated to a particular legal case or task.

The features of legal case management software are designed to assist legal professionals with the management of data that is relevant to cases they are involved with. This is primarily achieved through database functionality, which enables data to be easily added, removed, organised and searched for. With that being said, it is also important to break down the list of features contained within software of this kind so that individual components can be fully understood. With this in mind, the most important and common features buyers can expect are outlined below:

  • Case notes: Make notes on individual legal cases and then store these notes securely within the built-in database. Through the use of case notes, legal professionals can track case activities, view updates, access important information, and stay on top of each individual case they are working on. Case notes also have a valuable role to play in helping legal professionals to get to grips with an existing case that they have not previously been involved with. High-quality legal case management software will typically allow case notes to be stored, amended, added to, and sorted in logical categories so that they can be easily found.
  • Client management: Add database entries for each client and store important data about each of them. Data collected about legal case clients may include contact details, information about their particular legal case, and a record of any and all communication between the law firm and the client. This then makes it much easier for legal professionals to pick up where they left off with a client or to access past emails or information collected via other communication channels. It may also be possible to include database entries for other legal firms—or other legal professionals working for those legal firms—which is valuable in instances where collaboration is required.
  • Document management: Create, store and manage documents through a centralised document management function. This may include documents related to legal cases, documents related to specific clients, contracts with individuals or organisations, financial documents, and much more. The best solutions will provide tools allowing documents to be categorised or assigned keywords, and this can then make it much easier to find specific documents when the time comes. Additionally, some solutions will offer full text search functionality, providing legal professionals with the ability to search for specific words or phrases within all documents stored in the database.
  • Billing and invoicing: Calculate how much clients owe, generate invoices, and then send the invoices so that clients receive their bills and ultimately pay for the services they have accessed. Almost all information related to financial transactions between clients and law firms can be managed from one location. Past invoices and billing information can also be accessed, which may be important for managing company finances. The top software packages will include tools that will automatically generate invoices based on the services being offered, the number of hours spent on a particular legal case, and the established rate clients are charged for legal services. To achieve this kind of automation, billable activities and actions can be defined within the software.
  • Calendar management: Maintain a work calendar, highlighting all of the important dates coming up for a law firm. In particular, the calendar management function can be used to schedule appointments with clients or other meetings related to legal casework. Through the use of the built-in calendar tool, amendments can be made, allowing organisations to track any appointments that are rescheduled and remove any appointments that are cancelled. Furthermore, notifications are provided within many solutions, and this can ensure users are alerted when a scheduled activity is coming up, even if the software is not being used at the time.
  • Client portal: Provide clients with their own dedicated space within the application to access their own data, read information about their case, and view past communications. The client portal may also include a calendar so that clients know when they have appointments or important dates, along with financial information, where they can access bills and potentially even make payments. Allowing clients to engage with law firms in this way can enhance communication, provide them with a greater sense of direct involvement, and make it easier to collaborate.
  • Task management: Plan, schedule, and update the status of individual tasks or activities that need to be carried out. Each task can be defined and even broken down into daily actionable activities. The status of tasks can also be updated, and this status can then be made visible to all authorised users. Such a feature can be useful for senior staff who need to check progress but may also be important in law firms where multiple employees have access to the same pool of tasks. High-end solutions may also provide the tools required for legal professionals to establish an order of priority for tasks so that the most critical or time-sensitive actions are performed first. This can then help to ensure lawyers and paralegals make the most effective use of their time and avoid missing deadlines.
  • Time tracking: Monitor the amount of time that is spent on each legal case or on specific tasks associated with a case. Time tracking can be beneficial for those working in legal professions for a number of reasons. Firstly, it allows lawyers, paralegals, and law firms to gain a better understanding of which cases are occupying the most time and how much time is being invested in each case. Related to this, time tracking can also be crucial for calculating the number of billable hours being worked, so that accurate invoices can be sent out. In this sense, the time tracking functionality can also double as an expense tracking feature within many software packages of this kind.

Using Capterra's legal case management software directory, it is quick and easy to sort through the available options based on the specific features they provide. This means buyers can filter out options that are unlikely to be suitable and begin their search by focusing only on those that provide the most essential features.

When purchasing legal case management software, there are many things that need to be considered or contemplated in order to ensure buyers find the best possible solution for their specific needs. While legal case management solutions will share many of the same features and functions, it is important to understand that these options do still vary significantly in terms of who they are aimed at, what they are designed to achieve, and how advanced they are. A good way to find the best software package is to ask a series of questions, such as:

  • How much does legal case management software cost? Any time software is being purchased, the price should be a major consideration. After all, legal firms are like any other organisation and must operate according to the budget they have available. Yet, while price should always be contemplated, decision-makers need to think more holistically and consider the overall costs associated with each solution they are interested in. More specifically, it is essential to think about the total costs associated with acquiring, deploying, and utilising the software, including any costs linked to training employees or accessing technical support and software updates. Of course, the issue of cost also needs to be viewed within a wider context. Ultimately, a purchasing decision should be based around weighing up what the software can offer against what it will cost. It may be worth investing in a more expensive solution if it will provide clear benefits over cheaper options on the market. Similarly, it may be worth sacrificing some features or some level of functionality in order to acquire a more affordable solution.
  • What are the most essential features for a legal case management solution? Next, buyers need to consider what the most essential features are for their legal case management software. While most options will share similar core functions, not every law firm, legal department, or legal professional will have the same priorities, and not all of these features will necessarily be essential for everyone. In this sense, buyers should think about the features they specifically need and try to find the most suitable solution for them. This may even mean overlooking a solution that is objectively superior if many of its features are not actually going to be used.
  • What is the best software deployment option? When exploring the different legal case management solutions on the market, buyers will find that there are two main options in terms of how the software is deployed. On-premise deployment involves paying to acquire the software licence and then installing the software on company systems. This option has high upfront costs, but the long-term costs may end up lower, and there is a greater sense of control. However, companies are also responsible for handling the data and keeping it secure. The alternative is cloud-based deployment, which involves a third-party service provider taking responsibility for deploying the software - using cloud infrastructure for secure data storage. This has extremely low upfront costs, and there are advantages in terms of data security. In most cases, it is also possible to access the software remotely, from anywhere in the world, using a wide range of different internet-enabled devices. However, there will usually be a monthly or annual subscription fee to pay, and this means the long-term costs may end up higher. Buyers will, therefore, need to weigh up the pros and cons of these two approaches and consider which option is most compatible with their needs, budget, infrastructure, and wider strategic objectives.
  • Can legal case management solutions integrate with other software? Finally, it is worth taking the time to consider whether the options on the market can integrate with other software packages and, more specifically, whether the software is compatible with the solutions that are already in use within a law firm. The best solutions will provide options for integration with third-party calendar applications, database software, time management applications, task management applications, and CRM solutions. This kind of integration can help to avoid unnecessary duplication of data while also making sure data is consistent across applications. Of course, integration can also save considerable time and effort, meaning that more work tasks can be performed through the use of the legal case management software alone, and this can then result in further productivity benefits.

The most relevant legal case management software trends, as well as trends within this field in general, are also worth thinking about prior to making a purchasing decision. Understanding these trends can provide the foundation upon which to make decisions because buyers need to know that software has been designed with an awareness of the current legal landscape in mind. Furthermore, software developers that have factored in the most relevant trends are more likely to produce tools that remain useful over time, and this is crucial for future-proofing an organisation. With this in mind, some of the most significant trends related to legal case management software include:

  • Improvements to artificial intelligence: One of the biggest trends to be aware of when exploring legal case management software options is the improvements that have been made to artificial intelligence (AI) technology over recent times. Across a wide range of software categories, AI is now being used to carry out complex tasks that would once have required human users to perform them. Within the context of legal case management solutions, AI can provide a variety of tasks and processes, including electronic discovery, contract renewals, and analytics, helping legal firms to identify trends or better understand performance. It is recommended that buyers explore the available options with an awareness of how artificial intelligence can be used so that they invest in a solution that maximises the use of this technology, along with the many advantages it can deliver.
  • The growth of digital signatures: With more and more business being carried out entirely online and across wider geographic regions, it is no longer sufficient to rely on paper-based contracts and physical signatures for important legal documents. Digital signatures are considered equally valid across Australia and many other parts of the world, and software used by legal firms needs to be designed with an awareness that paper-based work is in decline. In fact, digital signatures should be encouraged as much as possible because research shows that they can greatly improve document turnaround times. This means deals can be concluded much faster, progress with legal cases can be sped up, and overall efficiency will increase.
  • Hybrid and remote work models: Improvements to electronic communication, especially in terms of video communications technology - along with the growth of cloud-based software deployment - have helped to make remote and hybrid work models much more viable. The process of actually adopting these work models was greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and companies are going to continue to reap the rewards. Logically, this means that law firms and legal professionals need to be investing in software solutions that have been designed to facilitate such work models. Remote accessibility in legal case management software is going to be essential in any law firm where remote or hybrid work occurs, and mobile accessibility may also be extremely valuable here too.