Law Firm Software

In This Article

Introduction to Law Firm Software

Finding the right law firm software can be daunting.  You have several different types of small law firm legal software, each with overlapping purposes and feature sets.  You have vague terminology, premise-based and cloud options… and more.

For that reason, we maintain this comprehensive list of law firm software, the definitive lineup of small law firm legal software.

Software For Lawyers

In our list of software for lawyers, we’ll explain and cover each of the main categories of software that your firm may need, including Billing, Practice Management, Document Management, Productivity and more.

For each category, we’ll provide a shortlist of the top law firm software products for that type, and will provide resources to learn more about your favorites.

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Related:  Building Out Your Law Firm Tech Toolbox

Watch the talk with Uptime Legal and Clio on how to build out your law firm software toolkit.

Categories of Law Firm Software

Here at Uptime Legal, we spend considerable time helping law firms navigate the world of small law firm legal software.  A recurring theme is confusion around the different types of law firm software, and specifically which categories of software do what.  

Often we’ll hear that a law firm is disappointed because their newly-acquired law firm software product wasn’t meeting their needs or expectations… only to find out that they purchased the wrong category of software.

law firm software categories

For instance, a law firm might be exploring Practice Management software and see Document Management listed as an included feature for a contender only to find out that the included “Document Management” is little more than built-in basic online storage.

Similarly, Practice Management products that purport to include “Accounting” may be limited to billing and a general operating account.

While this article will cover numerous categories of software for lawyers, it’s important to understand that the core of law firm software generally falls into one of three categories:

Practice Management, Document Management, Accounting

We call this the Three-Legged Stool of Law Firm Software.  The confusion comes in that each of these three discreet and differentiated categories of software do overlap with one another.

Law Firm Software

It’s important to understand the differences (and the overlap) in these three primary silos of law firm software.  Before spending time evaluating small law firm legal software, clearly identify which of these three categories of functionality your firm requires.

What Are the Different Types of Software for Lawyers?

As mentioned, most legal software falls under the categories of practice management, document management, and accounting.

These are vast categories that can be broken down into more specific tasks, which is where they overlap. For example, practice management and document management software may both have features that are intended to boost productivity.

While this may not be ideal for some, and it can seem misleading, it’s not without reason.

The software that claim to handle multiple tasks that would fall under more than one of the main categories we mentioned above tend to be limited in their functionality. But that may be ideal for a law firm that needs a full-featured practice management software with limited accounting features.

With this important distinction out of the way, let’s dig into the top law firm applications within each category of small law firm legal software.

Productivity Software

Documents, Email, Collaboration

Productivity is the bedrock of law firm software.  Productivity software generally encompasses the tools your team will use day-to-day, and includes word processing, spreadsheets and presentation, email, and sometimes tools to keep these resources organized.

In addition to providing basic word processing, spreadsheet and email apps, some law firm productivity platforms serve as the working hub of your law firm.

Office 365

Office 365 (now called Microsoft 365) is Microsoft’s cloud-based package of the Office suite and online services such as Exchange email, SharePoint and OneDrive.

Highlight: MS Teams for Chat & Collaboration

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Data Security
Office 365 GuideMS Teams Guide

Google Workspace

Google Workspace (formerly Google Apps and G-Suite) is a suite of lightweight web-based apps for documents, spreadsheets and email.  Google Workspace is very easy to use, but users may find it’s features limiting.

Highlight: Browser-based Document Editing

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Data Security
Explore LexWorkplacePricing

LexWorkplace

LexWorkplace is a document management & productivity platform for law firms.  LexWorkplace allows you to store and manage documents, email and notes by client and matter.

Highlight: Save Documents & Emails to Matters

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Data Security
Explore LexWorkplacePricing

Time & Billing Software

Time Tracking, Expense Tracking, Invoicing

After productivity, the next law firm software a new firm tends to implement is time tracking and billing software.

Most, if not all Practice Management applications (which we’ll cover shortly) include time and billing.  However, some firms don’t want or need everything that comes with a full-fledged Practice Management suite, and instead want a stand-alone time & billing app.  For those firms, we’ll cover the top (mostly) pure time & billing products.

This is particularly true for law firms looking at small law firm legal software.

Time & Billing software  typically include the following functionality:

  • Time Tracking
  • Expense Tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Revenue Reporting
  • LEDES Billing (Some Applications)
  • Basic Client Management

Bill4Time

Bill4Time is robust time & billing software, used by a variety of industries including lawyers.  Bill4Time includes lawyer-centric features such as split-fee billing and ABA billing codes

Cloud-based Software

Highlight: Lightweight Case Management Features

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore Bill4TimeFree Trial

TimeSolv

TimeSolv is popular pure time & billing software.  TimeSolv is easy to use, and includes time tracking, billing, invoicing, expense tracking and reporting.

Cloud-based Software

Highlight: Legal Bookkeeping Services Offered

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore TimeSolvFree Trial

Sage Timeslips

TimeSlips, by Sage, is a long-standing time tracking and billing applications.  Law firms have been using Timeslips for over a decade.  The application is desktop/premise based.

Server-based Software

Highlight: Can Run a Virtual Desktop / Private Cloud

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore TimeSolvFree Trial

Practice Management Software

Clients, Contacts, Cases, Calendaring, Billing

Practice Management software lives at the center of many law firm’s technology toolbox. Practice Management software typically handles a law firms clients and contacts, case management, calendaring, document creation, time tracking, billing and accounting.

There are many applications to choose from today: Some focus more on “front-office” functionality (case management and calendaring), others focus more on “back-office” workflow (billing and accounting.)

There are well over 25 reputable Law Practice Management products in the market today.  We’ll cover the top 7 in our law firm software review, and will provide a link to the complete list at the end of this section.

Practice management software typically include the following functionality:

  • Client  & Contact Management
  • Matter Management
  • Calendaring
  • Task Management
  • Time & Expense Tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Limited Accounting
  • Document/Form Assembly
  • Conflict Checking
  • Client Portal

Sidebar:  Practice Management vs. Document Management

Practice Management software is well-suited to manage your firm’s time tracking, billing, calendaring, contacts and tasks.  Some Practice Management software also include limited or “light” Document Management.  But to be clear, Practice Management and Document Management are not the same, and you should clearly understand your firm’s document management objectives before implementing new Practice Management software.

Related:

Clio Manage

Clio Manage is easy-to-use and flexible law practice management software.  Clio helps manage clients, cases, calendars, tasks, time, billing & more.  Clio aims to be the Operating System for your law firm, and can integrate with many other cloud-based apps your firm may use.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Extensive App Integrations

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Clio Manage ReviewFree Trial

LEAP Legal Software

LEAP is possibly the most robust of the web-based law practice management applications. It provides time, billing, client and matter management and calendaring. Where LEAP really shines is its comprehensive library of state and federal forms (document automation).

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Robust Document Assembly

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
LEAP ReviewExplore LEAP

PCLaw

PCLaw is a long-standing practice management, billing and accounting solution for small and midsize law firms. It includes lightweight practice management (clients, cases and calendars), coupled with robust time tracking, billing and accounting.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: End-to-End Accounting

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
PCLaw ReviewPCLaw in the Cloud

Time Matters

Time Matters is a long-standing, popular Practice Management and Document Management solution. Time Matters is unique in its mix of LPM and DMS capabilities, a well as being one of the most customizable practice management products on the market.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Highly Customizable Software

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Time Matters ReviewTime Matters in the Cloud

ProLaw

ProLaw is robust practice management, document management and accounting software for law firms. It’s the only legal software platform that includes all three of these main pillars to running a law practice.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Highly Customizable Software

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
ProLaw ReviewProLaw in the Cloud

CosmoLex

CosmoLex is a cloud-based law practice management and accounting solution. It includes client and matter management, time, billing, business accounting and trust/IOLTA accounting, thereby eliminating the need for QuickBooks or other accounting software.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Complete Integrated Accounting

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
CosmoLex ReviewFree Trial

Tabs3

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster are a suite of robust case management, billing and accounting solutions for law firms. Tabs3 provides essential “back-office” functionality and PracticeMaster provides powerful “front-office” capabilities.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Top-Rated Customer Support

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Tabs3 ReviewTabs3 in the Cloud

Explore More Practice Management Products

These represent our view of the top practice management products within the broader scope of law firm software.  To see even more small law firm legal software, specifically practice/case management, check out our list of all of the law practice management products.

Cloud Storage Platforms

Simple online storage for law firm documents

Next in our roundup of the best law firm software, we’ll explore cloud storage platforms.

These are online document storage systems that are simple, both in terms of ease of use and in terms of features.  If your law firm is looking for secure cloud storage, but needs a very light feature set, one of these products might be a good fit within your law firm software toolbox.

Cloud storage platforms typically include the following functionality:

  • Create Folders and Subfolders
  • Store and View Documents Online
  • Sync Files/Folders to Local Device
  • Share Documents With Others
  • Limited Search Capabilities

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive, part of Office 365, provides simple cloud storage and is built right into Windows, making it an easy and obvious go-to for simple storage needs. OneDrive includes basic online storage and easy external sharing.

Industry Focus: None (General-Purpose)

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
App Integrations
OneDrive Review for Law FirmsExplore OneDrive

Google Drive

Google Drive, part of Google Workspace, is a popular cloud storage and file backup service.  Google Drive is part of the Google Ecosystem which means its easily accessible from your Android phone and integrates with other services such as Google Docs and Google Photos.

Industry Focus: None (General-Purpose)

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
App Integrations
Google Drive Review for Law FirmsExplore Google Drive

Dropbox

Dropbox was the first, and is possibly the most well-known basic cloud storage solution. It provides easy-to-use cloud storage for individuals or teams. Dropbox can sync your file system across multiple devices.

Industry Focus: None (General-Purpose)

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
App Integrations
Dropbox Review for Law FirmsExplore Dropbox

LexWorkplace

LexWorkplace is secure cloud storage with sophisticated tools needed by law firms.  LexWorkplace allows you to store and manage documents, email and notes by client and matter.

Industry Focus: Legal

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
App Integrations
Explore LexWorkplacePricing

Cloud Storage Caveats

Simple cloud storage solutions are an attractive easy-button for storing your law firm’s documents in the cloud.  These solutions do, however, come with drawbacks that become more pronounced as law firms grow beyond just a few users.

Related Video:

Explore More Cloud Storage Solutions

These represent our view of the top cloud storage platforms within the broader scope of law firm software. To see even more options, check out our list of all of all cloud storage solutions for law firms.

Legal Accounting Software

Business Accounting, Trust Accounting, Financial Reporting

Next in our roundup of the best law firm software, we’ll cover legal accounting software.

These are applications that (in most cases) focus on the specific accounting needs of law firms (such as trust accounting), or general-purpose accounting software applications commonly used by law firms.

Accounting law firm software typically include the following functionality:

  • General / Business Accounting
  • Trust IOLTA Accounting
  • Cash Basis (vs. Accrual)
  • Multiple Billing Types
  • Financial Reporting
  • P&L, Balance Sheet, Cashflow

Accounting Software vs. Practice Management Software (The differences and the overlap)

Law Practice Management, Billing, and Accounting are three related, but discreet functions. And each can be managed with different software (or, all in one software suite). This is where the fuzzy terminology makes understanding what any given software package does confusing.

Law Practice Management, Billing, and Accounting are three related, but discreet functions. And each can be managed with different software (or, all in one software suite). This is where the fuzzy terminology makes understanding what any given software package does confusing.

With that clarified, let’s just into our law firm software, list of top legal accounting software.

Juris

Juris is a robust law firm billing and accounting platform. It’s incredibly robust and flexible, making it a top choice for law firms of 10 time-keepers or more. Juris provides full-fledged accounting as well as nuanced, detailed billing for a variety of billing models.

Server-based Software

Industry Focus: Legal

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Juris in the CloudExplore Juris

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is by far the most well-known accounting software. And for good reason, it’s robust, powerful yet easy to use. QuickBooks is not law-firm-specific, so while a great application, it may lack some of the legal-specific functions your firm requires.

Cloud and Desktop-based Options

Industry Focus: None (General-purpose)

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
QuickBooks ReviewQuickBooks in the Cloud

PCLaw

PCLaw is a long-standing practice management and accounting solution for small and midsize law firms. It includes lightweight practice management with full-fledged accounting (including robust financial reporting).

Server-based Software

Industry Focus: Legal

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
PCLaw ReviewPCLaw in the Cloud

CosmoLex

CosmoLex is legal practice management software with end-to-end accounting. CosmoLex includes client management, time, billing, business accounting and trust accounting, eliminating the need for QuickBooks or other accounting software.

Cloud-based Software

Industry Focus: Legal

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
CosmoLex ReviewFree Trial

ProLaw

ProLaw is a modular practice management platform that includes a module for complete accounting.  With ProLaw, your law firm can manage its clients, matters, billing, documents and accounting on a single package.

Server-based Software

Industry Focus: Legal

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
ProLaw ReviewProLaw in the Cloud

Explore More Legal Accounting Applications

These represent our view of the top legal accounting products s within the broader scope of law firm software.  To see even more options, check out our list of all of the law firm accounting software.

Document Management Software

Full-Text Search, Version Management, Email Management

Next in our roundup of the best software for lawyers, we’ll cover legal document management software.

Document Management Systems (sometimes referred to as a DMS) is software that stores documents and provides more robust tools to manage them than you would otherwise see in basic cloud storage or practice management software.

Document management software can come in either an on-premise variety (installed on your own local servers) or can be cloud-based. The scope, features and capabilities of any given legal document management software varies from product to product; though broadly speaking, legal document management software performs the following functions:

  • Document & File Storage
  • Document Profiling / Metadata
  • Full-Text Search
  • Unique ID for Each Document
  • Document Check-Out / In
  • Document Sharing / Receiving
  • Microsoft Office Integration
  • Document Version Management
  • Email Management / Outlook Integration
  • Permissions Management
  • Favorite & Recent Documents

Document Management Security

Moreover, quality cloud-based legal document management products will provide additional security features, including:

  • Data Encryption In Transit and At-Rest
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Geographic Data Redundancy

LexWorkplace

LexWorkplace is document & email management software for law firms.  LexWorkplace works with Windows and Macs, and allows you to store and manage any type of document.  LexWorkplace includes full-text search, version management, and Office/Outlook integration.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Windows & Mac OS Compatible

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore LexWorkplacePricing

Worldox

Worldox is long-running document management software.  As a mature product, Worldox is powerful and cable, and integrates with a number of practice management product.  Worldox requires a moderately sophisticated server infrastructure.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Integration with Tabs3

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Worldox ReviewWorldox in the Cloud

iManage Work

iManage Work is a long-standing DMS used by a variety of industries.  iManage is powerful and provides many niche features for managing documents in a large law firm. iManage does require significant server resources, as well as a highly specialized IT expert to implement and administer.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Extensive Search Capabilities

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
iManage Work ReviewWorldox in the Cloud

ProLaw

ProLaw is a combination Practice Management, Document Management and Accounting solution for law firms. While its document management functionality isn’t quite as robust as some of the stand-alone DMS solutions, its all-in-one nature makes it a strong platform.

Server-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: All-In-One DMS, LPM, Accounting

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
ProLaw ReviewProLaw in the Cloud

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint, part of Office 365, is an Intranet and lightweight document management system.  SharePoint has lightweight DMS features, though is not configured for law firms (client/matters) out of the box, and requires setup by a professional.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Highly Customizable

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
SharePoint ReviewExplore SharePoint

Explore More Document Management Products

These represent our view of the top document management products within the broader scope of law firm software. To see even more options, check out our list of all of the law document management products.

CRM & Intake Software

Sales Pipeline Management, Intake Forms

Next in our roundup of the best law firm software, we’ll cover CRM & intake software.

A traditional CRM serves as a basic database of customers and prospective customers.  More importantly, most CRM’s provide sales pipeline functionality, where you can track incoming “leads” (prospective customers), and manage communications and outreach.

Law firm intake software provides functionality to automate portions of the intake process, and usually includes practice-area specific forms and questionnaires for clients.

CRM and Intake are two discreet functions, but go well together in a single piece of software.  Most law firm CRM & intake applications include:

  • Client Database
  • Prospect Database
  • Workflow / Checklists
  • Lead / Revenue Tracking
  • Intake Forms
  • Intake Workflow Automation
  • Electronic Signatures

Clio Grow

Clio Grow (formerly Lexicata) is law firm CRM and intake software.  Clio Grow provides sales pipeline tools, prospect management, customer intake features and pairs well with Clio Manage for law practice management.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Integration with Clio Manage

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore Clio GrowFree Trial

Law Ruler

Law Ruler is a law firm CRM, intake and marketing automation platform.  Its marketing automation focus includes email drip campaigns as well as automated text messages.  Law Ruler also includes a number of notable integrations.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Marketing Automation

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore Law RulerGet a Demo

Lawmatics

Lawmatics is a law firm CRM, intake and marketing automation platform.  Lawmatics includes marketing automation including email marketing, as well as client intake forms with digital signatures and workflow tools.

Cloud-based Software

Stand-Out Feature: Electronic Signatures

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Explore LawmaticsGet a Demo

Payment Processing

Sales Pipeline Management, Intake Forms

Next in our roundup of the best law firm software, we’ll cover online payment processing solutions.

Getting paid is an important part of running a law firm, so having on online payment service is vital to growing and sustaining your law practice. Online payment services make paying your firm easy for your clients and automated for you.

Legal-centric online payment services, like the ones we explore below, will cater to the unique needs of law firms, including dealing with trust accounts and ABA billing codes. Online payment services are more than just cloud software for law firms, they are a service that provides payment clearing, authorization and other financial tools to help manage your practice.

Lawpay

LawPay may be the most well-known law firm payment processing solution. LawPay integrates with popular legal practice management software, and has been approved y 48 state bar associations.

Stand-Out Feature: Practice Management Integrations

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Reputation
Explore LawPay

Clio Payments

Clio Payments is Clio’s own payment processing service.  While boasting many of the same features as it’s counterparts, Clio Payments is particularly useful for firms using Clio Manage or Clio Grow for practice management, CRM and intake software.

Stand-Out Feature: Clio Manage/Grow Integration

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Reputation
Explore Clio Payments

LexCharge

LexCharge, created by the team at Rocket Matter, is payment processing exclusively for lawyers and law firms, and includes built-in capabilities for managing trust payments, accounts and disbursements.

Stand-Out Feature: Trust Accounting Rules

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Reputation
Explore LexCharge

Headnote

Headnote, a relative newcomer to law firm payment processing, includes capabilities for both credit card processing and ACH / electronic check payments. Headnote offers a simple client interface and an easy-to-use management platform.

Stand-Out Feature: AR Management Features

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Reputation
Explore Headnote

Explore More Payment Processing Solutions

These represent our view of the top payment processing platforms within the broader scope of law firm software. To see even more options, check out our list of all of the legal payment processing platforms.

Note-Taking Software

Taking, Organizing & Searching Notes

Next in our roundup of the best law firm software, we’ll cover popular note-taking software.

Note-taking apps do more than just replace the old legal pad: they bring a new level of organization, functionality and note-taking on the go.

Features of note-taking applications often include the following functionality:

  • Digital Note-taking
  • Handwriting with a Stylus
  • Organize by Notebooks and Tags
  • Create Tags and Annotations
  • Document Scanning
  • Save Web Pages (Web Clipper)
  • Search Across All Notes
  • Web Interface
  • Sync to Multiple Devices
  • Note Templates

Evernote

Evernote is a pioneer in cloud-based note-taking, and a favorite among law firms. Evernote allows you to take, organize and manage notes in a web browser or in a mobile app. Evernote has a beautifully clean interface and is easy to learn and to use.

Cloud and Desktop-based Apps

Highlight: Customizable Home Screen

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Sync
Explore Evernote

OneNote

OneNote is an application to take and organize notes, and part of the Office 365 suite. OneNote also integrates with the Office suite including Outlook for powerful meeting integration.

Cloud and Desktop-based Apps

Highlight: Part of Office 365 Suite

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Sync
OneNote ReviewExplore OneNote

Law Firm Software – Conclusion

There you have it, our overview of the top law firm software.  This list of applications should be useful whether you’re starting a new firm and just building your legal tech stack, or are a mature law firm looking to modernize your law firm software.

What did we miss?  What categories would you like to see covered?  What favorite law firm software did we not cover?  Let us know in the comments below.

Onward and Upward!