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Recommended Family Law Software to Grow Your Practice

Life without family law software. *A real life story!

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You have been at a mediation all day long and you have finally reached an agreement.

Then and only then does the mediator decide to start writing up the minutes of settlement.

The lawyers, the clients, and the support staff are all tired and probably HANGRY after a long day.  (Tired and Hungry!)

Then the following steps occur...

Once the minutes are written out and provided to the support staff person, the support staff person types out the Minutes of Settlement. Everyone is still sitting around waiting.

Then the support staff person prints out what they have typed and then distributes them in hard copy to the lawyers.

Then the lawyers review the Minutes of Settlement and ask for changes. The support person then types out the changes, but does not get them all correct.

Then another hard copy is printed out and distributed. The lawyers ask for more changes.

And so on and so on.

So, from the time you have “settled” the matter to the time you walk out the door to go home, at least an extra two hours go by. That is an extra two hours that nobody, not the legal professionals or clients got to spend with family, relaxing, or feeding themselves.

I find this process so clunky and unnecessarily wasteful in terms of time and energy. 

And the alternative...

Now, compare the above scenario to the situation where the mediator (or lawyer) is word processing a document as agreements are made throughout the day.

They type right onto a screen and that screen is displayed for all to see, so corrections are made and the agreement is being produced right in front of everyone's eyes. People can see the progress being made. Your clients are hopeful because they can see the agreements being made on the screen. 

At the end, when the final settlement is reached, very little time is needed to generate the final document.

The lawyers and mediator have spent almost two hours less time getting the document finalized. The clients pay for two less hours of their lawyer and share of the mediator’s time.

Simple right?!

Sure, it takes a bit to get things set up and optimized, but it is well worth the trouble.

Real life family law software experienced

The right family law software programs and hardware will change your life and make it a whole lot better.

So, first of all, what you have to do is invest in the best law practice management software. Once you have finished doing that, you are not done though. Your next step is to make sure you are utilizing your software to its maximum potential. If you are like me, and not the type to sit down watching hours upon hours of instructional and "how to" videos, invest in a consultant that will help you get set up and optimized.

When we took the steps to invest in and then utilize the family law software we had invested in, my law firm went from being disorganized to well-organized. The point is to invest in the best law practice management software and then learn to use it well. 

You don't want to end up being that lawyer who has invested in the best law practice management software and other programs only to underutilize them. For example, you don't want to be Catalin. Catalin is a young-ish lawyer. We were discussing a file matter in which we are both involved. Catalin and I were on a Zoom call and it was Catalin's Zoom link we were using. We were in the middle of a discussion and then all of a sudden the Zoom meeting abruptly disappeared from our screens. Seeing that our meeting had just ended without warning, I assumed it had something to do with Zoom or the internet. I reached right back out to Catalin via phone. She said "my Zoom always does that after fourty minutes." This was because she was using the free version of Zoom which automatically cuts you off after 40-minutes! When I asked why she didn't make the minimal investment of having a Zoom subscription that did not abruptly end her meetings, she stated that she did not know how to do the upgrade! The crazy thing is that this has been an ongoing issue for Catalin for many months. When meetings end abruptly no warning, it is not only irritating, but can be stressful, not only for Catalin, opposing lawyers, but her clients. This is such an easy fix and is something that Catalin has been struggling with on a daily basis for many months. This is a problem that can be easily avoided, and I mean very easily. Catalin's goal is to become a successful lawyer. If she does not learn to utilize her software properly (or get help with it), she will not reach her goal of being a successful lawyer. I cannot help but wonder where else in Catalin's law practice she is under-utilizing the software she has access to. 

Below are some programs I use.


    Clio - Your Best Family Law Software 

    If you are a lawyer wanting to build a successful law practice, you have probably heard about Clio Law Office Management Software. Running a law firm can be a lot. Clio has tons of automations that reduces you and your staff's repetitive work. In my law firm we use Clio for keeping track of intake (our new client leads and where they come from), onboarding clients for initial consultations, onboarding clients once we are retained, keeping track of our time, keeping track of, creating, and storing our clients' sensitive documents, file review, billings, and well, everything pretty much to do with looking after our clients. 

    But when we started using Clio it was not all smooth sailing. Even when you have the best law office management software, you have to make sure you are using it properly. When we took a hard look at all of our software, we realized we were not using it to its capacity and had other programs of software that was unnecessary. For example, we were using Sharepoint, as part of Office 365, to save and store client information. Yet, Clio did the very same thing. Sharepoint is not built for lawyers or law firms, but Clio is. So, why use and pay for Sharepoint when we already had Clio and Clio would do the job better?

    Intake software - we use Clio for that too

    Do you know where you are getting your leads? Do you know how many times you get hired after a lead reaches out to you?

    Well, if you don’t, you could be in trouble. Understanding your lead sources and rate of being hired is important for your success. For example, because we keep track of our leads and rate of being hired, I discovered that a lawyer in my office was almost never getting hired after consultations. When I asked her what was going on, I found out that she had a significant misunderstanding about how to do consultations. Once we fixed that problem she gets hired almost every time.

    This could have been a large financial issue for our firm, but was rectified relatively quickly because of the software we use for new client intake.

    Payment processing software
    Online payment processing solutions such as LawPay will help streamline invoicing processes and ensure you receive the money you’re owed. Clio integrates with LawPay and it is LIFE-CHANGING for the better.

    Password management software
    Because we retain highly sensitive data, we must be careful about who we are handing our passwords out. It is highly worth downloading and using a password manager such as Dashlane or LastPass to prevent data breaches. Again, make sure you are utilizing your password management software to its fullest potential. I got sloppy about handing out my passwords, and sure enough, our emails were hacked. My bookkeeper was instructed by "me" (it was not me at all) to send funds to an unknown email address. She sent the funds before we figured out that the person instructing her was not me at all. Ultimately we caught on prior to us costing us too many thousands of dollars, but it did cost us about $4,000 in funds that were transferred because of our email communications being hacked. If I had been using Dashlane to its fullest potential, this never would have happened. Don't make the same mistake I did!

    We also use other software like Adobe, Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Quickbooks Online. Things did not start getting really smooth for us until we started using a consultant to help us integrate and streamline our software and its capabilities. 

Ready to start your family law business? Choose the right journey for you!

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Thumbnail: Personal mentoring for divorce lawyers who want to grow their family law business with divorce lawyer, Val Hemminger.

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