With the rapid change in operating as a remote business, you know how important it is to find the right tools to help you transition from a physical office to your home. To start operating your law firm remotely, VirtualPostMail (VPM) has gathered a list of remote tools that can help you manage your legal matters, stay in secure contact with your colleagues and clients, and make sure bills go out on time.
1. Legal Practice Management Tools
Software designed for legal case management can change the way your law practice does business. These are the top legal practice management tools to help you manage your case and client records, coordinate billing and bookkeeping, as well as maintain deadlines, all in one place.
Clio combines multiple features in its software to manage all legal tasks, which include client intake, contact management, calendaring, document management, timekeeping, billing, and trust accounting. Clio can simplify all of this with its uncomplicated dashboard. Attorneys and firms can manage deadlines, documents, billing, cases, and more. Clio Grow helps you manage your customer details, e-signatures, and intake forms. Clio can be accessed from anywhere so it’s easy to run remote processes for your law firm.
MyCase can help lawyers in small firms keep track of customer communications and daily management of the firm. It handles all case details including invoices, calendars, documents, and emails. They are accessible even if you are working remotely, to facilitate improved caseload management. Try a free trial of MyCase.
Smokeball is a cloud-based legal productivity software that records time for increased profitability. It can help with all of your billing requirements regardless of whether you bill an hourly, contingency, or fixed fee. It contains more than 17,000 automatic forms and integrates with Word, Outlook, Quickbooks, LawPay, RingCentral, and more. This helps with getting paid faster, tracking cases faster, and assisting in effective management of legal firms’ practice. The Smokeball app for Android or iPhone can be accessed anywhere.
Zola Suite provides clients with a single, easy-to-use dashboard, one set of login credentials, and one monthly bill. It integrates with users’ existing email accounts and detects inbound emails from case-related contacts. Users can convert emails into tasks for their to-do list. Zola's document management capabilities allow users to manage and store documents, control versions, and comment on and tag documents. The dashboard enables you to manage and track legal cases from a single place and provides all the elements including activity log, upcoming events, emails, and calendar. You can sign up for a free 10-day trial to see if it is ideal for you.
2. E-Signature Tools For Legal Contracts
E-signature software enables you to obtain electronic signatures for any legally binding documents. Eliminate the laborious tasks of printing, signing, scanning, and faxing. This makes it easier to get documents signed by many different parties in remote locations as well as operate the firm remotely.
DocuSign enables law firms of all sizes to accelerate agreement turnaround time and reduce costs while ensuring document security and privacy. DocuSign saves you from performing repetitive manual processes and lets you track and archive agreements, store documents, and standardize your business processes. This means that you will no longer need to manually enter information. Connect and automate your full process for agreements. DocuSign Free Edition is perfect if you’re only after signatures, as it lets you sign an unlimited number of documents.
HelloSign enables you to obtain legally binding online e-signatures on your documents. It can be used by any size of business to get your vital documents signed. You can integrate HelloSign with Slack, Zapier, HubSpot, Dropbox, Google Drive, Drive.com, Evernote, and Skydrive. The free version offers three signed documents, and the full version offers features like flexible signing workflow, email reminders, and team management tools. This enables a more paperless office and a tool that can be used remotely from anywhere.
3. Project Management Tools For Client Cases
Project management software will help your law team collaborate on projects and set priorities and deadlines for cases. Together they can manage resources as well as keep track of goals and expenses.
Asana is becoming a popular tool for lawyers because of easy task management and case communication for teams. It offers a dashboard, to-do lists, and a calendar. When you are working with multiple people on one case, you can keep track of progress and discuss cases in Asana. Save time and increase efficiency by reducing phone calls and unnecessary deliberations. You can assign tasks to a law teammate, and include the deadline, instructions, and attachments. The assigned person will receive an email and mobile notification with the task. Once they complete the task, they can re-assign it to someone else or mark it as complete.
Basecamp is valuable to law firms for sharing files, discussing issues, and creating tasks. This platform will organize your information all into a single place even if you have remote workers. A motion for summary judgment provides a useful example of using Basecamp for task management. This task requires the following:
- Notice of hearing
- Proposed order
- Certificate of service
You can use Basecamp to create a to-do list for each item and assign it to a member of your law team. If questions arise related to the task, the assigned team member can use the messaging features to keep relevant comments, share and attach files in one place, or ask others on your law team.
4. Communication Tools for Internal Law Team
Good communication is vital in a law firm. Lawyers are using new technologies to improve communication, which in turn enhances collaboration and customer experience. Here are two of the best communication tools available to replace that quick question you’d have in the office or team meetings.
Slack is valuable for lawyers because you can keep communication in one place, for researching, sharing files, searching for conversations, and archiving chats. Use Slack to implement improvements in case discussions, team meetings, and tracking progress. You can create different channels based on daily law firm operations. This is a good option for replacing daily casual workplace chats and keeping up to date with caseloads and management of the firm.
Flowdock is a software for online chatting that lets you add all your tools, documents, and conversations in one place. You can use it to problem solve, prioritize, and search. It’s great to use across time zones, teams, and locations. Flowdock enables you to create a virtual workplace, where you can chat with one another and collaborate on different cases. If you are discussing something confidential, use the 1:1 flow tool. You can add color-coding to organize your chats.
5. Email Tools
Email is imperative to any type of company and provides documented details of any written communications and is useful when people are unavailable for a live conversation.
Gmail sorts and categorizes messages and sets up reminders. It’s free and works best with Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Calendar.
Microsoft Outlook is more expensive than Gmail. It is a premium email option that works with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
6. Calendar Tools
As a lawyer, managing your time is critical. It requires the right tools to stay organized and reliable, so add all your meetings, consultations, court dates, events, and tasks to your calendar with these tools.
Calendly improves scheduling client meetings and phone calls. Use Calendly as your personal assistant to take bookings from current clients and colleagues, and reduce no-shows for consultations. Simply enter your availability, then you can send invitation links to those you want to meet with. They can see when you’re free and then book an appropriate appointment.
Google Calendar is popular with Gmail users because of its seamless integration. Google Calendar helps you personally manage meetings with other lawyers, clients, and your internal law team. Improve your time management by adding in all events and meetings, or even make a shared calendar for the whole office.
ClientRock is suitable for a small law firm of up to 10 lawyers. It is a full appointment booking tool that can be integrated with LawPay. It is also useful for drafting agreements, creating a portal for your clients, and managing payments, and enables you to simplify your billing process for consultations.
7. Client Billing and Payment Tools
While starting remote work may have been a difficult transition for your law firm, getting paid has become even more difficult. Most businesses are worried about the loss of revenue and an unpaid bill can make or break your company at the moment.
Using a legal billing application or law firm software with billing features can improve revenue collection. Here are some billing and payment options that will let you get paid easier and faster.
QuickBooks makes it simple for lawyers and support staff who take part in billable activities to track their time for invoicing purposes. Use it to bill your clients, keep track of billable hours, and manage your costs. You can do this remotely from any device. It eliminates manual data entry, and you can even link your bank to QuickBooks for faster payments.
Xero is a straightforward online accounting software for lawyers to receive payments from clients and send them invoices. It is inexpensive and includes payroll features, which means separate payroll software is unnecessary. It also generates reports, which turns multiple pages of numbers into comprehensible graphs and charts that show which area of legal work is the most profitable for your firm. It enables you to work while you travel, offers automatic upgrades, easy data sharing, and it integrates well with other software. This helps with one of the hardest aspects of running a law firm, which is keeping track of time, then billing for it.
8. Virtual Meeting Tools
Virtual meetings will be necessary for meeting with clients and speaking with team members. It’s just part of going remote and you have a lot of options to choose from!
With Zoom, you can record your meetings and create separate meeting rooms within one meeting so you can talk in smaller groups. Attendees do not need an account to join the meeting. This video conferencing software lets you collaborate and chat about cases online. It’s ideal for large group conversations too, like your Monday morning team meetings. It’s important to configure the privacy and security settings of the meetings so they are more secure to ensure confidentiality. Use passcodes for a client to join a lawyer’s scheduled Zoom meeting.
GoToMeeting is another popular option for online meetings. It lets you record your conversations, video conference with clients, and share your desktop with the team. GoToMeeting is more of a meeting tool than a real-time collaboration tool if you compare it with Zoom.
Use Google Hangouts for your video calls if you use Gmail and the Google Suite of tools. You can send direct messages and conduct group discussions. It can be used with up to 10 Gmail users. You can’t record your videos, and it’s really meant for small or one-on-one conversations and meetings. It is free to use, and you can create video chats from Gmail.
Join.me is a good tool for collaboration. Communicate securely amongst your law firm. You will have your own URL with secure recording, scheduling, and audio. It provides you with a whiteboard feature for note-taking or brainstorming. Attach a meeting agenda, record meetings, share your screen, or change presenters.
Skype is an older tool that provides its loyal users with video chat services and can be used on smartwatches, Xbox One, tablets, mobiles, or computers. You can voice chat and send messages or audio. If you are already using Outlook 365 for Business Professionals, then you get Skype for Business at no extra cost, which allows you to conduct video meetings of 250 people. This service offers encryption, but you need to switch it on before every call.
9. File-Sharing Tools
A file-sharing tool is essential to keep track of case details, but the security of your cloud documentation is important when using any file-sharing tool. Both options below have a high level of security.
Dropbox will keep your confidential information safe. It is a simple platform for uploading files, which can be accessed by your clients or colleagues, depending on who you choose to share it with. Store files, create web shortcuts, and organize your documents for improved time management.
Google Drive is part of the G-Suite services and enables your files to be stored online. Files can be stored for free, up to a certain number of gigabytes. It’s easy to use and will be familiar to most of your employees and working on a document is easier. You can see edits in real-time, share, and add comments. It has ISO 27001 certification and will be private and safe with the correct settings.
10. Time Tracking Tools
Lawyers find it tedious to keep track of billable time, but it is necessary. If you don’t track time, then you cannot get paid. One of these tools should make this job easier.
Accelo can track your time for tasks, emails, and meetings. It has useful features such as notifications, custom dashboards, invoicing, and Gantt charts. It integrates with more than 1,000 apps so you can use it across different software.
TimeMiner helps you track billable texts and calls. It is an app that can integrate with Gmail, RingCentral, Outlook, and Clio. Track all of your time, including emails, texts, and calls. It integrates with client invoices to simplify your billing process.
11. Research Tools
When handling a case, you will often need to research case laws, statutes, and specialist information. Use these research software tools to make it easier to prepare for a trial or case and save you time.
Casetext was crowd-sourced by lawyers to create a platform for legal research. It uses a database with the collective expertise and knowledge of many lawyers, and the annotations provide many insights. It is easy to use and lets you upload a document to find relevant case laws, which can reduce many hours of research time.
If you are looking for precedents, Ravel Law can show you judgments on previous cases. It can even offer insights into patterns and the track record of judges. The huge database of case law can be useful to find out more about similar cases. Ravel Law makes finding relevant rulings much easier. Find key paragraphs with the software mapping tools provided.
12. Scanning Tools
A scanner is a relevant and critical component of a lawyer’s digital toolbox. This simple app is a tool for all your scanning needs.
Turn your phone into a pdf document scanner that allows you to scan documents, photos, receipts, and reports into an image or PDF. It has been used for more than seven years by millions of global users.
13. Mailbox Tools For Receiving Important Business and Legal Documents
Even though you are working remotely, you need to have access to your mail, to know what has been sent to you by clients or courts. You can use virtual mailboxes to get a new address and have mail received, scanned, and held for your law firm. A virtual mailbox can also deposit checks for you. It can be your digital mailbox.
Earth Class Mail sends all incoming mail to its processing facility. Here, they scan and digitize your mail so that you can access it on the cloud. This makes it easier to share mail across your organization and add it into your cloud-based document filing system. They also offer multiple integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, and Bill.com. It offers mail scanning and automated check deposit services.
VPM offers simple solutions to mail management for a legal firm. Receive all of your mail in one place and access it on your phone, laptop, or tablet. You can use it as your business address when you register as a corporation or LLC or use your new address on your website or social media. It provides mail forwarding, package forwarding, mail scanning, free registered agent, and check deposit services.
Do You Need a Virtual Mailbox For Your Law Firm?
Many important things can be handled with emails or other software. However, lawyers still require access to traditional mail, such as checks and legal documents, and therefore, need a physical mailbox.
However, you can outsource all mail services to VPM, which saves you space, resources, time, and money. It is a streamlined way of digitizing your documents.