Best Law Practice Management Software for 2022

Introduction to Law Practice Management Software

What was once a relatively short list of law practice management software is now a crowded space full of many different applications and vendors, all vying for your firm’s attention. In 2022, you have more options than ever when it comes to finding the right software to help you manage your law practice.

It can be overwhelming for many firms that are just beginning their search for case management software.Fortunately: we’ve got you covered.

We work closely with hundreds of law firms across North America, and in doing so have had hundreds of conversations about legal practice management software. What do firms like? What do they not like? What systems are they moving to?

From cloud-based, to server/desktop-based, from case management to billing and accounting: This list outlines the most used, best legal practice management software for law firms in 2022.

Types of Legal Software

First, a quick sidebar.

Law firm software comes with lots of labels, classifications, some of which can be broad, overlapping and outright vague. In general, law firm software comes in three distinct categories:

  • Practice Management – Time, Billing, Client/Contact Management, Calendaring, Docketing, Form Generation.
  • Document Management – Document Storage, Email Management, Version Management, Index/Search, Tagging.
  • Accounting – Business Accounting, Trust Accounting, GL / AR / AP, Financial Reporting.

Again: In general. There are certainly software products that focus primarily on one of these three classifications, but dabble in another. For instance, Time Matters is generally thought of as a Practice Management application, but it has many trappings of a Document Management platform. Similarly, PCLaw and CosmoLex are both Practice Management systems with full-fledged, integrated accounting.

Related:

Finding the Best Solution: How to Get Started

We’re often asked: “What is the best law practice management software?” That’s a bit like asking what the best kind of car is. The answer, of course, depends on what your needs are.

For instance, some law practice management solutions focus heavily on accounting; but if your firm already has accounting software its committed to, that focus is meaningless to you. Other case management solutions focus on document and form creation, a must-have for some law firms, but not all.

We recommend that ever law firm searching for law practice management software start by identifying what features and functions are most important to you. This will help you narrow down the (long) list of suitors, and will provide a framework you can hold each option against.

Here is a description of features found in certain law practice management applications.

Law Practice Management Software – A Guide to Features

Law Practice Management software is a platform that, to varying degrees, manages each aspect of your law firm. The scope, features and capabilities of any given Law Practice Management application varies from product to product; though broadly speaking, LPM software performs the following functions.

Client & Contact Management

A central database to store information for clients, courts, related parties and other contacts.

Matter Management

A central database of matters, cases and projects. Stores the most relevant information pertaining to each matter.

Calendaring

Individual calendars for each user, along with an aggregated, firm-wide view/calendar. Synchronization with Outlook calendar.

Task Management

Create tasks and to-do items pertaining to specific matters or projects. Assign tasks and set deadlines.

Time & Expense Tracking

Track billable hours and related expenses for a particular client or matter.

Billing

Invoicing, including for billable hours, contingency work, and fixed-fee matters.

Conflict Checking

Search the database for related names, document each conflict check.

Business Accounting

Standard business accounting, including a Chart of Accounts, Bank/Operating Accounts, standard accounting reports (P&L, Balance Sheet).

Trust Accounting

Trust/IOLTA accounting for management of trust funds, including trust account reporting.

Document Assembly/Automation

Automatic preparation and population of specific court documents and forms.

Document Storage

Built-in cloud storage for related documents and files.

Document Management

Advanced document management including full-text search, document tagging & profiling, and version management.

Email Management

The ability to save emails to specific matters, via Outlook integration.

Mobile App

An Android or iPhone application for time entry and some subset of software functionality.

Open API

An open API (Application Program Interface), allowing you or third-parties to develop integrations with the software.

Client Portal

A client-facing online portal to share documents and updates with clients and other third-parties.

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:

Sidebar:  Legal Document Management

Practice Management is a staple of any law firm’s technology toolbox.  However, nearly all Practice Management applications provide minimal document storage/management capabilities.

Your firm may need to supplement its Practice Management software with a dedicated Document Management System to securely manage firm documents and email.

You might consider LexWorkplace, document management software born in the cloud, built for law firms.

  • Securely Store & Manage Documents in the Cloud
  • Client/Matter-Centric Document Organization
  • Full-Text Search Across All Documents & Email
  • Outlook Add-In:  Save Emails to Matters
  • Work with Windows and Mac OS

Explore LexWorkplaceWatch the Demo

The Top Law Practice Management Software - Our List

The Top 15 Law Practice Management Applications

In our extensive experience working with hundreds of law firms, here is our list of the best law practice management software (in no particular order).

Considering the Cloud?

Private Cloud will host your desktop-based legal software, documents and data in the cloud. Get the reliability, security and mobility of the cloud without sacrificing your software. Get in touch with our team to learn more.

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Best Law Practice Management Software

We’ve organized the list of Law Practice Management software into two broad categories:

  • Private Cloud / On-Premise: Can be hosted in a private cloud or run on-premise.
  • Web-based: Natively web-based (SaaS) and runs in a web browser.

Private Cloud / On-Premise

PCLaw

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

PCLaw is a popular, 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 (including robust financial reporting). PCLaw is one of the few all-in-one solutions that doesn’t require separate software for bookkeeping and accounting.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Rapid Setup: Easy to Implement Without a Consultant
  • Fully-integrated Accounting (Business & Trust)
  • Simple, Straight-forward Case Management
  • Tight Integration with Time Matters

PRICING

  • Subscription-based Pricing Per-User Available
  • Contact Vendor for Details

Tabs3 / PracticeMaster

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

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

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Modular Suite of Front-Office/Back-Office
  • Best-in-Class Customer Support
  • Strong Network of Capable Authorized Consultants

PRICING

ProLaw

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

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.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • End-to-End Solution: LPM, DMS and Accounting
  • Rich Integration with Microsoft Office
  • Streamlined, Modern User Interface

PRICING

  • Pricing varies by firm
  • Starts at 10-User Package

Time Matters

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

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.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Deep Customization (Reports, Workflows, Dashboards)
  • Rich Network of Certified Consultants
  • Tight Integration with PCLaw for Accounting

PRICING

  • Subscription-based Pricing Per-User Available
  • Contact Vendor for Details

Needles

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

Needles is a mature law practice management solution for law firms. Needles is especially popular among Personal Injury firms, though not at the exclusion of law firms that practice in other areas.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Deep Focus and Functionality in Personal Injury
  • Customizable Checklist / Workflow System

PRICING

  • Not provided by software publisher
  • Contact vendor for more information

Aderant

Private Cloud / Server-Based

OVERVIEW

Aderant provides a suite of time, billing and law practice management software for law firms. Aderant Total Office and Aderant Expert are premise-based time, billing and accounting platforms for law firms that can be hosted in a private cloud.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Robust, enterprise-grade billing and accounting
  • Legal Project Management capabilities

PRICING

  • Not provided by software publisher
  • Contact vendor for more information

Web-Based

LEAP

Web-based

OVERVIEW

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).

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Sophisticated Form/Document Assembly
  • State-Specific Form Automation
  • Client Web Portal
  • Desktop, Web and Mobile Apps

PRICING

  • Not provided by software publisher
  • Contact vendor for more information

Clio

Web-based

OVERVIEW

Clio Manage is among the most popular cloud-based legal practice management solutions. Clio is best suited for solo and small law firms, and law firms that are looking for a more lightweight law practice management solution. Clio is well known for its streamlined interface, simple navigation and overall ease of use.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

PRICING

  • Clio Manage Starter: $39 / User / Month
  • Clio Manage Boutique: $59 / User / Month
  • Clio Manage Elite: $99 / User / Month
  • Clio Manage Suite: $125 / User / Month (includes Clio Grow)

(Annual pricing)

CosmoLex

Web-based

OVERVIEW

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.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Integrated, full-fledged Business and Trust Accounting
  • Financial Reports by Client and Matter

PRICING

  • $79 / User / Month (billed annually)

Rocket Matter

Web-based

OVERVIEW

Rocket Matter was among the first, and is a popular cloud-based law practice management solution. Rocket Matter allows your firm to manage cases, time, billing and calendars. Rocket Matter takes a project management-esque approach to matter management.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Project-Management-Style Matter Management
  • Customizable Matter Templates and Workflows
  • Optional Insurance Defense Module

PRICING

  • Essentials: $25 / User / Month
  • Pro: $59 / User / Month

(Annual pricing)

MyCase

Web-based

OVERVIEW

MyCase was among the first web-based law practice management applications. It’s know for it’s ease-of-use, as well as for arguably having the best client portal among all case management systems.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Fast and Easy to Get Up and Running
  • Sophisticated Client Portal
  • Built-In Lead Management

PRICING

  • $49 / User / Month (billed annually)

Practice Panther

Web-based

OVERVIEW

Practice Panther is a popular case management system for law firms. It provides client and contact management, matter management, time and billing, and includes a lightweight CRM for lead management.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Clean, Intuitive User Interface
  • Built-In Payment Processing

PRICING

  • Solo: $30 / User / Month
  • Essential: $59 / User / Month
  • Business: $79 / User / Month

(Annual pricing)

Bill4Time

Web-based

OVERVIEW

What started as a stand-alone time and billing application, Bill4Time is now a full-fledged law practice management solution. It provides robust time and billing, matter management, ABA and LEDES billing codes and trust/IOLTA accounting.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Robust, Flexible Time Tracking and Billing
  • Trust Accounting with IOLTA Reconciliation

PRICING

  • Time & Billing: $27 / User Month
  • Legal Pro: $45 / User / Month
  • Legal Enterprise: $80 / User / Month

(Annual pricing)

Centerbase

Web-based

OVERVIEW

Centerbase is a cloud-based Law Practice Management system. It boasts time and billing, case and client management, and full-fledged accounting. Centerbase is arguably one of the most customizable LPM applications, though that customization may require an outside consultant.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • End-to-End Case Management
  • Full-Fledged Accounting
  • Highly Customizable Workflows

PRICING

  • Staff: $59 / User / Month
  • Timekeeper: $79 / User / Month
  • Billing + Accounting: $99 / User / Month

(Annual pricing)

Firm Central

Web-based

OVERVIEW

Firm Central is a law practice management application made by Thomson Reuters, the makers of WestLaw legal research. The application has been around for some time, and naturally integrates with the WestLaw web site.

STAND-OUT FEATURES

  • Deep integration with WestLaw legal research.
  • Full-Fledged Accounting
  • Trust/IOLTA Accounting

PRICING

  • Core: $40 / User / Month
  • Essential: $65 / User / Month
  • Premier: $105 / User / Month

(Annual pricing)

More Useful Software for Law Firms

In this article, we’ve covered the best law practice management software. In addition, your firm may also need specialized Document Management or Legal Accounting software. If so, you’re encouraged to review our other lists of the best software for law firms.

Looking for other legal software? Read our other top software lists:

Learn More:

Is your firm evaluating practice management software? Are you looking for the best legal practice management software for your firm? Take a look at the legal software comparison charts.

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