Law Practice Management Software Market

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Law Practice Management
Software Market

by James G. Barr

Docid: 00021350

Publication Date: 1912

Report Type: MARKET


As the term implies, law practice management software provides lawyers and
other legal professionals with administrative tools for managing
law offices. Common elements include: case management – managing
information relevant to specific legal cases and clients; contact management
– managing phone calls, e-mails, and other electronic and non-electronic
communications and correspondence; document management – managing client
and court papers, including draft documents; calendaring and docketing
– managing tasks, appointments, meetings, and deadlines; and, of course, billing
and invoicing – managing the generation of client invoices based on employee
billable hours and other expenses.

Report Contents:

Executive Summary

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As the term implies, "law practice management" software provides lawyers and
other legal professionals with the administrative tools required to manage their
law offices. Common elements include:

  • Case Management – managing information relevant to specific legal
    cases and clients.
  • Contact Management – managing phone calls, e-mails, and other
    electronic – and non-electronic – communications and correspondence.
  • Document Management – managing client and court papers, including
    draft documents.
  • Calendaring and Docketing – managing tasks, appointments,
    meetings, and deadlines.
  • Billing and Invoicing – managing the generation of client
    invoices based on employee billable hours and other expenses.

According to Capterra’s "Law Practice Management Buyers Guide," law practice
management software:

  • "Reduces lawyer time and effort to search case history
    – Law practice management software records all case-related
    information along with critical deadlines and client communication.
  • "[Facilitates] coordination between lawyers and paralegals
    – The software helps practitioners to improve task
    collaboration and coordination amongst themselves and their
    paralegal team.
  • "[Tracks] work completed and
    [bills] clients accurately

    – The system keeps track of the work done by each staff
    member (attorneys, paralegals, assistants) on an individual basis."

With literally dozens of prominent products and solutions in place,
law practice management software is available as an installed (or on-premise)
product, or via the cloud as an SaaS (software-as-a-service) or cloud practice
management (CPM) application.

Market Dynamics

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The Law Practice Management Market Is Booming

According to a study conducted by Market Study Report, the global legal
practice management software market, valued at $1.05 billion in 2018, is expected to reach
$2.33 billion by the end of 2024,
growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3 percent between 2019 and 2024.

"Cloud-Based Software Is a Game-Changer"

Lawyer and market analyst Nicole Black declares that while law practice
management software has been around for decades, "today’s cloud-based software
is a game-changer, since it provides lawyers with 24/7 access to their law
firm’s data from any location using an internet-enabled device. It offers
lawyers the convenience of mobile, flexible access to case-related information
at an affordable, cost-effective price.

"As is the case with other types of legal software, cloud-based tools are your
best – and increasingly only – option if you’re in the market for law practice
management software. This is because many companies are phasing out their
premise-based solutions

Product Pricing Is Flexible to Accommodate Law Firms of All Sizes

Capterra reports that most law practice management software products are priced on a
per user, per month basis. adding that "[higher-priced] enterprise or premium
software may include some additional features such as custom security roles,
automated payment reminders, and advanced calendar rules."2

Despite Technological Advances (or Because of Them) Software Concerns Persist

Relative to law practice management software, the legal community is concerned about:

  • The proliferation of products, which
    complicates selection and procurement.
  • The perceived learning curve in which a firm might conclude,
    perversely, that there’s no time to invest in process improvement.
  • The SaaS versus on-premise conundrum in which a firm understands the
    usability benefit of pursuing a cloud-based law practice management solution,
    but fears the possible fallout from lost, stolen, or misappropriated client
    data residing on third-party servers and networks.

Market Leaders

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While the law practice management software market encompasses literally
dozens of highly-regarded products, certain solutions have captured the mind share of major
market analysts. Among the most commonly cited are:

  • PracticePanther
  • Clio
  • MyCase

Table 1 offers the perspective of several leading product evaluators.

Table 1. Analysis of Prominent Law Practice Management Software Products
LPMS Product Evaluator
Lawyerist3 Uptime Systems4 Megan Burgess5
PracticePanther "PracticePanther is
a good fit for firms that like a clean and easy-to-use dashboard to
manage their practice, including at-a-glance finances and calendar."
"Practice Panther … is a popular and
quickly-growing product designed to help law firms manage their
clients, cases, billing and their practice in a web-based
application. Practice panther includes intake/CRM, a client portal,
client and matter management, calendaring and more."
"PracticePanther is a general management
and billing legal software solution that is powerful but
easy-to-use. Among the lengthy list of features, this software
offers a one-click billing, time tracking, task management, legal
calendaring, matter management, client management, and expense
Clio "Clio Manage is a
powerful and innovative law practice platform that offers an array
of options to add functionality through its App Directory and open
"Clio is among the most popular
cloud-based legal practice management solutions today. Clio is best
suited for solo practices and small firms; it includes client and
case management, document assembly, calendaring and task management,
time and billing.

Clio integrates with many other
cloud-based apps such as LawPay, Zapier, and JurisPage law firm
websites. Clio is well known for its streamlined interface, simple
navigation and overall ease of use."

"Clio is a cloud-based law practice
management software solution that provides several general practice
management features, such as time and billing and client management
for all areas of legal practice.

[Clio] integrates with over 125 popular
apps like Google Calendar, Outlook, Quickbooks, and Allocate Legal."


MyCase "MyCase is a
full-featured and affordably priced cloud-based law practice
management software for firms looking for an all-in-one law-firm
productivity tool that doesn’t require a lot of integrations to make
it work."
"MyCase is a popular cloud-based legal
practice management solution. MyCase is known for one of the easiest
learning curves for new users. MyCase is also well known for its
comprehensive client portal: a place where you can share documents,
case updates or notes and other resources with you clients."
"MyCase is a web-based legal software
that allows you to keep your case files in one place. While case
file management and client communication are its strong suits, it
also provides a complete billing solution and even has legal
marketing tools to help you grow your practice even further."

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Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming Legal Research and Law Practice
Management Software

As Capterra reminds us, "Junior lawyers and paralegals are often
burdened with copious amounts of audit and case research. They have
a high probability of making mistakes or missing out on critical
information while sifting through large volumes of paper contracts,
case reports, investigation files, etc., any of which can disrupt or
slow down case proceedings. To assist in avoiding such situations,
vendors have started adding AI and machine learning capabilities to
their law practice management software. AI-enabled tools look
through a large group of unstructured reports and contracts to
extract relevant and specific case-related information, thus saving
paralegals a large amount of time and effort."6

Law Firms Must Exercise Due Diligence In the Acquisition of Cloud-Based Law
Practice Management Software

The use of SaaS products
presents a dilemma for lawyers who, as the North Carolina State Bar has
observed, "have duties to safeguard confidential client information, including
protecting that information from unauthorized disclosure, and to protect client
property from destruction, degradation, or loss (whether from system failure,
natural disaster, or dissolution of a vendor’s business). Lawyers also
have a continuing need to retrieve client data in a form that is usable outside
of a vendor’s product."

Given these obligations, the
North Carolina State Bar has expressed their opinion relative to two pressing

Question 1: May a law firm use SaaS?

Answer: "Yes, provided steps are taken to minimize the risk of inadvertent
or unauthorized disclosure of confidential client information, and to protect
client property, including the information in a client’s file, from risk of

Question 2: Are there measures
that a lawyer or law firm should consider when assessing an SaaS vendor, or
seeking to minimize the security risks of SaaS?

Answer: "Some recommended security measures are:

  • "Inclusion in the SaaS
    vendor’s Terms of Service or Service Level Agreement, or in a separate
    agreement between the SaaS vendor and the lawyer or law firm, … an
    agreement on how the vendor will handle confidential client information in
    keeping with the lawyer’s professional responsibilities.
  • "If the lawyer terminates
    use of the SaaS product, the SaaS vendor goes out of business, or the
    service otherwise has a break in continuity, the law firm will have a method
    for retrieving the data, the data will be available in a non-proprietary
    format that the law firm can access, or the firm will have access to the
    vendor’s software or source code. The SaaS vendor is contractually required
    to return or destroy the hosted data promptly at the request of the law
  • "Careful review of the terms
    of the law firm’s user or license agreement with the SaaS vendor including
    the security policy.
  • "Evaluation of the SaaS
    vendor’s (or any third party data hosting company’s) measures for
    safeguarding the security and confidentiality of stored data including, but
    not limited to, firewalls, encryption techniques, socket security features,
    and intrusion-detection systems.
  • "Evaluation of the extent to
    which the SaaS vendor backs up hosted data."

As Much As Law Firms, Enterprise Legal Departments Need Law Practice
Management Software

While law practice management software aids private attorneys in the conduct of
their business, it may be even more essential to large enterprise legal
departments. According to consulting firm Gartner, today’s more complex
regulatory compliance risks require a new level of sophistication in managing
operations. "As more legal work shifts from law firms to in-house counsel,
leveraging spreadsheets or homegrown solutions is no longer a viable solution as
they cannot meet the needs of enterprise legal management for compliance and
risk obligations."7

Law Practice Management Software Will Increasingly Feature Analytics

For law practice management and other legal applications, analyst Dean Leung
predicts the continuing rise of analytics. "There is a staggering amount of data
and metadata within a law firm or corporate law department. The amount of
relevant data for a client or matter only grows the longer a case or client
relationship continues. Add to that the enormous amount of data in court
records, research services, and eDiscovery platforms and the ability to manually
search or govern these data sets becomes impossible. The advent of analytic
search engines help bring order to the data from an Information Governance and
search relevance perspective."8

Strategic Planning Implications

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Communication & Collaboration

Lawyer and market analyst Nicole Black asserts that "all practice management software should include secure communication
and collaboration features. These features are all the more important in light
of Formal Opinion 477, an ethics opinion issued by the ABA Standing Committee
on Ethics and Professional Responsibility in 2017, wherein the committee
concluded that unencrypted e-mail may not always be sufficient for client
communication and advised lawyers to assess the sensitivity of information on a
case-by-case basis and then choose the most appropriate and sufficiently secure
method of communicating and collaborating with clients. One such alternative to
e-mail that is inherently more secure is using the communication portals built
into law practice management software."9

Compatibility & Availability

According to the ABA, in implementing a law practice management system, firm officials should ensure
the selected software is compatible with the firm’s existing IT infrastructure. Relevant questions include:

  • How does the practice management software
    interface with the firm’s other office productivity tools (e.g., Microsoft
    Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)?
  • How will the practice management software be accessed? Security and mobility considerations
    are the driving factors in the design of enterprise software environments. In the case of mobility,
    if the practice management software is Web-based (i.e., an SaaS application),
    then anyone with a Web browser – operating from home, the office, a client
    site, or a courtroom – can gain practice management software access – from a desktop, laptop, tablet,
    or smartphone. If the practice management software is installed on-premise, firm officials must
    determine how the system will be accessed, and what technologies, such as
    virtual private network (VPN), will be needed to affect the desired

User Training

Lawyers earn the proverbial "big bucks" by
practicing law, not by mastering the complexities of a law practice management
system. Law practice management software should be easy to use, and the vendor should offer a
range of "user" training options, from purpose-driven online tutorials to
classroom training. Importantly, even the best law practice management
software will not be used if
lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, and other firm personnel find its operation

Try Before You Buy

Before commencing any large-scale law practice
management software
implementation, firm officials should conduct a small-scale pilot, in which firm
volunteers sample a prospective product (or products) and determine whether such
offerings conform to the firm’s legal and business requirements, and, just as
importantly, the firm’s

The Ultimate Checklist

According to legal analyst Susan L. Traylor,
ultimately, the best law practice management software is the one that:

  • Gets used
  • Is used effectively by everyone in the firm
  • Accomplishes the requisite tasks
  • Works nicely with the firm’s other software and devices
  • Stays competitive with technological developments
  • Gives the firm a return on their investment
  • Is there when the firm needs it12


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About the Author

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James G. Barr is a leading business continuity analyst
and business writer with more than 30 years’ IT experience. A member of
"Who’s Who in Finance and Industry," Mr. Barr has designed,
developed, and deployed business continuity plans for a number of Fortune 500
firms. He is the author of several books, including How to Succeed in
Business BY Really Trying
, a member of Faulkner’s Advisory Panel, and a
senior editor for Faulkner’s Security Management Practices. Mr.
Barr can be reached via e-mail at

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