A deeper look into the types of legal software to find the right tools for you
You aren’t alone if your head starts to spin when you start searching for legal software. You want to improve the organization and productivity in your office, but there are so many options that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Do you need simple time tracking or a specialized accounting program? And what about legal matter management software? What features are the right ones to help your legal department manage what matters to you?
The team at Legal Files Software knows how overwhelming it can be to research the types of legal software, so we created this two-part series to look at the different categories of these specialized software programs. In the first part of this series, we reviewed the types of legal software that help you manage your time and money. These include time and billing software, corporate spend and expense tracking programs, and calendaring and docket management tools. Now, we’re ready to talk about the legal software programs that help organize information related to matters and cases.
The fourth type of legal software – Document and contract management
No discussion of legal software would be complete without mentioning programs that handle document and contract management. Every legal department and law office will tell you that managing all of the documents that are related to cases and matters can be a seemingly endless task. Regardless of the differences in each area of law, the struggle to stay organized is something that brings all legal practitioners together.
The word document is a much bigger term than most people realize. It includes research, correspondence, legal documents and emails. It also includes contracts, although these documents can sometimes require their very own management software. The phrase document management is also much larger than it seems. It doesn’t just involve storing documents. It also involves tools that help you review, draft and automate the assembly of documents.
Before you invest in legal software to help with document and contract management, you need to ask yourself some important questions. The first consideration is what types of documents your office handles. If you deal mostly with contracts, you may want to consider purchasing a piece of software with specific data fields that are dedicated to contract management and automation. This can be a huge time-saver for your office. If you’re working with a wider variety of documents, more generalized legal software for document management can help you get a better handle on all of this information. This is why thinking about what your office does and what it needs to do the job better is so important.
The fifth type of legal software – eDiscovery and litigation support
For legal practitioners who handle a lot of litigation, it’s important to have a tool or tools to keep everything organized and streamlined. This is where legal software for eDiscovery and litigation support comes into play. Before you begin the process of researching tools in this section, it’s important to understand how eDiscovery and litigation support are related.
Although litigation support software and tools for eDiscovery are related, they are not exactly the same thing. Litigation support is designed to help legal practitioners with litigation and document review. This can include databases that allow you to organize, search and review evidence, as well as documents like deposition transcripts, correspondence and produced documents. Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, refers to a subset of litigation support that involves identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information after receiving a request for production in a lawsuit or an investigation.
With this information in mind, you can decide what tools you need for your legal department. If you need to create a trial notebook and search for documents in a database, Legal Files Software can help you do just that. For more complex eDiscovery needs, your office may want to consider investing in a legal software product that specializes in this area.
The sixth type of legal software – Case and matter management
Legal software for legal case and matter management can touch on most of the needs we have discussed in this two-part series. This type of software provides attorneys with an efficient way to manage and share client and case information such as contacts, calendars and documents. Case and matter management software is designed to help bring together all of the information you deal with in your office, which makes it easier to stay organized and efficient.
There are so many software solutions for legal case and matter management. Some products are designed for specific types of legal environments or areas of law, but others can work for any number of practice types. One legal department may try to save money by purchasing a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, while another may invest in a customized program. Legal Files Software brings together the best of these worlds by combining the affordability of a COTS program with the flexibility of a customized tool that can work in a number of legal settings.
Before selecting a software program for case and matter management, you should do your research to determine what your office needs in such a tool and what program offers the right features and functions for your office. Implementing and learning a new legal software program is a big investment of time and money, so you want to make sure that you’ve made the right choice.
Closing thoughts on the types of legal software
The takeaway message of this entire series is that every legal department has different needs. The market is full of many tools that serve different purposes. Your task is to find what works for your office and not be distracted by software that won’t be a good fit for your needs. Legal case managment software is an investment in the future of your legal department. By doing your homework and selecting the right tool or tools, you’ll be able to better manage what matters to you.