Software to power your personal injury law firm
Each month since April, I’ve been focusing on practice-area-specific law practice management software. This type of software is becoming increasingly prevalent as the overall demand for law practice management software increases.
For most law firms, more generalized law practice management software is sufficient. But for some high-volume law firms with very specialized areas of focus, specific tools are a must-have. For these firms, software designed to meet their needs can make all the difference.
In my last three columns, I’ve covered legal practice management software for bankruptcy lawyers, immigration firms and IP practices. Now let’s take a look at case management software for plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers.
In recent years, there have been a number of different products released that cater to this practice area. This type of software is incredibly useful for law firms with a focus on personal injury law since their software needs are often quite specific due to the demands and characteristics of personal injury litigation. For instance, the vast majority of plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers bill on a contingency basis and therefore don’t require robust time-tracking or invoicing functionality. Instead, personal injury lawyers require tools to help them manage all stages of litigation, from client intake and discovery to the negotiation process and settlement or trial.
Because personal injury litigation is document-intensive, robust document management functionality is a particularly important feature, as are the abilities to track tasks and deadlines and run reports that provide an overview of the case as it progresses. Lead management and customer relationship management features are also key aspects of this type of software. Likewise, medical records management functionality and tools to track demands, offers and lien negotiations often are included.
But before we dive into the tools available, it’s important to note that the software programs discussed below are cloud-based and therefore all data will be housed on servers owned by a third party. As a result, because you’ll be entrusting your law firm’s data to a third party, your ethical obligations will require you to thoroughly vet the technology provider that will be hosting and storing your data. This duty includes ensuring you understand how the data will be handled by that company; where the servers on which the data will be stored are located; who will have access to the data; and how and when it will be backed up, among other things.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the cloud-based products available to lawyers that are primarily devoted to plaintiff’s personal injury case management. Note that this list is not all-inclusive; rather, it’s a selection of the more well-known software programs available.
Case management software options
First, there’s Filevine. This software is primarily for plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers but can also be customized for other areas of practice. This software includes intake and lead tracking, business analytics tools, marketing and document automation, and e-signature functionality. The reporting tools are popular but typically require some customization to be effective for a firm’s specific needs. Filevine offers a single core feature price, and you have the option of adding bundles (Doc+, Intake and Time and/or Billing) for an additional cost. Specific pricing, however, is not available on the website.
Next, there’s CASEpeer (note that I am affiliated with MyCase, which acquired CASEpeer in March). CASEpeer was designed specifically for plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers, which means there is no customization required. CASEpeer includes features that streamline your law firm’s processes from intake to settlement, including visual case timelines, built-in business reports and an accounting integration. Pricing is $85/user/month. There is a $225 activation fee for firms with 1-3 users, a $475 activation fee for firms with 4-9 users and an $875 fee for firms with 10+ users.
Another practice-area-specific option for personal injury lawyers to consider is Cloudlex. In addition to traditional case management features, Cloudlex includes a settlement calculator and offers the option to participate in a lawyer referral network. Business reporting is not yet available. Pricing starts at $75/user/month (when billed annually) for the “case management package,” which includes calendar, event, task, document, medical records, negotiation and settlement management features. To access additional features such as lead and intake management, SMS integration and the referral network, you’ll need to upgrade to the “all-in-one growth platform package.” Pricing for that package, which is based on configuration, is not available on the website.
So if you’re looking for law practice management software for your plaintiff’s personal injury law firm, one of the above software tools is sure to be a good fit.
As always, I encourage you to determine your law firm’s needs, carefully research your options and narrow down your choices to one or two programs. Next, take advantage of demos and any free trials offered, then make sure all stakeholders in your firm have a chance to weigh in before you commit to ensure a buy-in from your team. Once you’ve made your selection, invest some time into training and education to ensure a smooth rollout. And last but not least, reap the benefits of your investment!
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist and the legal technology evangelist at MyCase, legal practice management software for small firms. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers and is co-author of Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier, both published by the American Bar Association. She also is co-author of Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for ABAJournal.com, Above the Law and the Daily Record; has authored hundreds of articles for other publications; and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. Follow her on Twitter @nikiblack, or she can be reached at [email protected].