The Ultimate Guide to Legal Software

October 23, 2023

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What is legal software?

Legal software is any software or technology that is used to manage the business of a law firm or in-house legal team. This technology can help legal professionals manage the various tasks they are responsible for in their day-to-day tasks, whether that is contract management or document automation. Legal professionals who leverage legal software for in-house or legal software for law firms can adjust and customize their tools to meet the specific needs of the organizations they serve.

Who uses legal software?

The primary users of legal software include legal professionals like lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants and other support staff. However, legal software can be used by anyone looking to perform routine legal tasks such as creating legal documents. For example, in an organization, business users who are not part of the legal team can use legal software to draft any necessary documents such as NDAs.

How do I know if I need legal software?

While there are no set criteria for finding out if you need legal software, if you work in the legal industry, then there is a high chance you will likely benefit from using legal software. Legal software not only streamlines helps manage cases, documents and billing more efficiently, it helps legal professionals stay organized and save time to increase overall productivity.  

It’s no secret that legal professionals are being asked to do more with less resources and time. So, if you find yourself struggling to manage your workloads, keep up with paperwork or find most of your time is being spent working on tedious administrative tasks, then legal software could help mitigate some of these issues. If you are experiencing any of these pain points and inefficiencies in your work, it may be worth exploring legal software options to see if they can help you better manage your workload and improve your efficiency.

What are the categories of legal software?

There are several categories of legal software that work to address the needs of legal departments & law firms of all sizes. Below are different examples of legal software and how they are most used.  

Contract Automation Software

Contract automation software helps legal and business teams by providing an all-in-one platform to streamline contract workflows.  

Benefits of contract automation software:

  • Provides quicker turnaround times on contracts, generating contracts in a matter of minutes.  
  • Increased transparency on the status of approvals, signatures and renewals.
  • Enables lawyers to generate more accurate documents through standardized templates.

Use cases for contract automation software:  

  • Self-serve automation: Enable business users to resolve their contract request on their own without consulting legal.  
  • Generating Employee agreements: Simplify the process of creating and managing employee contracts that include all necessary terms and conditions of employment.  
  • NDA automation: Streamline the process of creating NDAs with standardized templates to create more accurate NDAs.  

Contract Lifecycle Management Software

A contract lifecycle management software is a tool that users can use to proactively manage contracts throughout their entire lifecycle.

Benefits of CLM

  • Easily integrates with other systems to eliminate data retrieval and entry while keeping contracts correct and current.  
  • Ensures security and privacy of data that is essential to the operations of any business.  
  • Makes it easier for business users to identify any issues within the framework of the contract generation process.  

Use cases for CLM  

  • Procurement agreements: Improves vendor relationships by streamlining the contract process.  
  • Financial agreements:Generate and automate financial agreements end-to-end
  • Sales agreements: Automates creation and negotiations of contracts with customers to help sales teams close deals faster and improve compliance.

Document Management Software

Document management software is a software that secuires files in a digital vault where they can be easily accessed, edited and stored.  

Benefits of document management software:  

  • Helps keep documents secure and minimize the risk of compromising cybersecurity.  
  • Allows teams to easily share documents and promote collaboration.  
  • Streamlines workflows and processes associated with managing internal and external documents.  

Use cases for document management software: 

  • Contract management: Stores and organizes critical legal documents in an accessible, secure location.  
  • Finance & bookkeeping: Manages accounting and financial records like financial statements, invoices and receipts.  

Billing & Time Tracking Software

Billing & Time tracking software helps legal professionals track their time and bill their worked hours accurately.  

Benefits of billing & tracking software:  

  • Saves money by eliminating errors in invoicing and time tracking.
  • Provides valuable financial insights, which can help with financial planning.
  • Improves client relationships with accurate invoicing and timely communication.  

Use cases of billing & time tracking software:  

  • Reporting: Analyze time and expense entries through built-in report generations
  • Budget tracking: Monitors time and expenses against budgets, enabling legal teams to maintain profitability through accurate billing

eDiscovery Software

eDiscovery software enables legal professionals to manage large volumes of electronic data, producing electronically stored information, or ESI, for legal cases or investigations.  

Benefits of eDiscovery software:  

  • Automates many of the manual processes involved with electronic data.  
  • Ensures that all relevant data is identified and collected, while irrelevant data is excluded, making data collection more accurate.  
  • Ensures that legal teams comply with legal and regulatory requirements.  

Use cases for eDiscovery software:  

  • Data collection: Identifies, collects and preserves relevant ESI from various sources.  
  • Data processing: Processes data to extract metadata, text and other relevant information to reduce redundancy.  
  • Document review: Reviews and analyzes data from documents to process data.

eSignature Software

eSignature software can create secure digital signature capture to allow signatories to sign off on documents electronically.

Benefits of eSignature:  

  • Reduces the time it takes to collect signatures by digitizing the signing process.  
  • Enhances visibility over the status of different documents and whether or not a document was signed.  

Use cases of eSignature:  

  • Contract signing: Makes it possible to sign contracts digitally, saving time but also reducing the risk of errors and potential fraud.  
  • Sales and purchase agreement signing: Closes deals faster by speeding up the signing process.  

Matter Management Software

Matter management software manages all legal matters in a team or organization, like contracting and case tracking.  

Benefits of matter management software:  

  • Helps with tracking deadlines to make sure that key dates are not missed.
  • Increases the efficiency of managing legal matters.  
  • Provides a centralized platform to manage legal matters.  

Use cases of matter management software:  

  • Contract management: Helps organizations keep track of contract terms, key dates and obligations, as well as provide alerts and reminders to ensure compliance.
  • Matter tracking and reporting: Provides a centralized repository for all matter-related data, making it easy to track and report on matters.
  • Regulatory compliance: Helps organizations ensure compliance with regulatory requirements by tracking relevant laws and regulations.

You can also read our full guide on matter management here.

Legal Intake Software

Legal intake software streamlines the process of gathering and managing initial user information, facilitating intake and workflow management through self-service.

Benefits of legal intake software:

  • Helps legal teams streamline their workflows by providing a centralized access point to intake information, facilitating task management.  
  • Generates insightful reports and analytics that track the type, volume and status of legal requests.  
  • Automates manual intake processes and reduces administrative tasks, saving time and operational costs for legal teams.  

Use cases of legal intake software:

  • Reporting: Tracks key metrics and provides insights into the efficiency and productivity of the legal team.  
  • Workflow automation: Automates routine tasks and workflows, such as generating intake forms and assigning tasks to team members

Legal Service Request Management Software

Legal service request management software provides a legal front door for the greater business with a centralized system that handles incoming legal service requests, facilitating their tracking, assignment and resolution.  

Benefits of legal service request management software:  

  • Automatically triages requests to the most appropriate lawyer or resource, giving lawyers more capacity to work on more strategic tasks.  
  • Measures the ongoing status of workflows through visibility and reporting on requests.  
  • Allows business users to self-serve and automate their matters without the need to consult legal.  

Use cases of legal service request management software:  

  • Legal Front Door: Provides business users with intuitive, self-service tools to access services, advice and FAQs from the legal department.  
  • The Service Catalogue: Automatically processes and routes requests to the specialized lawyer or self-serve legal tool depending on the specific matter or legal service requested.
  • Request Resolution: Enables users to self-resolve their request via self-service or connect with the best-fit lawyer to resolve the matter.
  • Reporting & Dashboards: Tracks the type, volume and status of legal requests to measure operational efficiency and enable data-driven decisions.  

What are the benefits of legal software?

Legal software can offer many benefits to both law firms and in-house legal departments, but the specific advantages may differ based on the needs and objectives of each type of organization. Here are some benefits that legal software can offer for both law firms and in-house legal departments:

Law Firms In-House Legal Departments
Enhanced client services by improving communication and collaboration with clients. Better control and oversight over legal matters.
Improved efficiency with streamlined workflows that save time, allowing lawyers to focus on higher-value work. Improved collaboration with other departments across an organization.
Increased profits through improved efficiency, client services and financial management. Enhanced risk management by providing greater visibility into legal matters.

What is the difference between legal software & legal business software?

Legal software and legal business software are two different types of software used in the legal industry. The main difference between legal software and legal business software is their focus. Legal software is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal tasks and processes, while legal business software is designed to improve the profitability and competitiveness of legal operations more broadly. While there may be some overlap between the two types of software, they serve different purposes and are used for different types of tasks.  

How can Checkbox help you find the right legal software solution?

Checkbox’s workflow automation platform elevates legal departments by providing teams with a centralized platform to manage and automate their legal workflows. With Checkbox, you can find the right legal software solution for your organization and build a platform that meets your unique needs and requirements, freeing up time for higher level strategic work. It is easy to create custom workflows, define business rules and automate tasks such as contract review, approvals, renewals and additional functionalities essential for daily use.  

Want to learn how Checkbox can be tailored to perfectly fit your legal software needs? Book a call with one of our expert legal software technology consultants to see how we can help you start your journey.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is legal software?

Legal software refers to computer programs and tools specifically designed for legal professionals, such as lawyers and law firms, to manage cases, documents and billing. It can help automate administrative tasks and streamline workflows, freeing up time for more strategic and meaningful legal work.

What are the benefits of legal software?

Legal software can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of legal operations by automating tasks, providing better visibility into legal matters, streamlining workflows and enabling better collaboration and communication. This can save time and resources, reduce errors and redundancies and improve client satisfaction.

Who uses legal software?

Legal software is used by a wide range of legal professionals, including lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants and legal operations staff. It is also used by law firms, legal departments and legal service providers. The specific software used by a legal professional or organization may depend on the nature of their practice, their size and their individual needs and preferences.

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