Run your immigration practice with this software
It’s not easy managing a law firm in 2021. Your firm may be entirely remote or some (or even all) of your firm’s lawyers and staff may have returned to the office. Regardless of where your firm’s workforce is located, new cases keep coming in, deadlines pile up, and there’s work to be done.
That’s where cloud-based law practice management software can make all the difference. With it you can manage tasks and to-dos, client intake and communication, document creation and collaboration, invoicing and payments, and much more. And when this software is cloud-based, it doesn’t matter where your firm’s workforce happens to be working on any given day. As long as internet access is available, your firm’s lawyers and staff are able to access law firm data and work from just about anywhere.
That’s the beauty of working in the cloud: No matter what the future may bring, your law firm will be able to continue to operate and you’ll be able to provide your clients with the best possible representation whether you’re working from home, the office, or any other location.
For many practices, general law practice management software is more than sufficient, but for law firms that handle certain types of practice areas, very specific feature-sets are required. That’s why I’ve been focusing my last few columns on practice-specific law practice management software. I’ve already covered software for bankruptcy and IP practices, and in today’s article I’ll focus on immigration law software.
But before I dive into the offerings, it’s important to note, as I always do, that the software programs discussed below include cloud-based options, which means all data will be housed on servers owned by a third party. For that reason, because you’ll be entrusting your law firm’s data to a third party you have an ethical duty to thoroughly vet the technology provider that will be hosting and storing your data. This 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.
Managing your immigration law practice
Immigration law practice management software is custom-built for practicing lawyers and firms. In addition to the more traditional case management features discussed above, it also often includes immigration forms, client intake forms, built-in immigration workflows, e-filing capabilities, and case tracking functionality. There are a number of different software tools available, and the ones discussed below are not intended to be all-inclusive but instead are a selection of the more well-known programs available.
First, there’s Docketwise. In addition to the features you’ll typically find in immigration law practice management software, Docketwise also includes CRM (customer relationship management) tools designed specifically for immigration practices. CRM features include website integration, lead reminders, lead tracking and management tools, and email templates. The software also includes an immigration form library, and forms can be combined into a single intake questionnaire, which can be translated into multiple languages including Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese and more.
Docketwise does not offer a free trial, and there are two pricing tiers, both of which offer monthly or annual subscription pricing. The Standard tier costs $59/month/user or $49/month/user when billed annually. This tier does not include: 1) CRM features, 2) bulk text messaging, 3) Quickbooks Integration, 4) a human resources portal, and 5) e-filing. In order to access these additional features, you’ll need to upgrade to the Suite tier which costs $79/month/user or $69/month/user if billed annually.
Another option to consider is LawLogix Edge. This software includes the features you’d expect from immigration law practice management software including a client communication portal, built-in immigration intake forms and questionnaires, and immigration workflows. It also offers Periodic Business Reviews to ensure business efficiency, an Acuity Appointment Scheduling Integration, and Visa Priority Tracking. A free trial is not offered and pricing is not available on the website.
Finally, there’s INSZoom, which provides cloud-based immigration practice management software for law firms worldwide. Aside from the expected case management features, other available features include compliance and project management tools, and an HR portal. One notable feature of INSZoom is the large number of integrations offered, which include: 1) a number human resource tools, 2) Quickbooks, 3) payment processing functionality, 4) shipment tracking, and 5) an Outlook integration.
INSZoom does not offer a free trial. There are three U.S. pricing tiers: Zoom Standard, Zoom Professional, and Zoom Enterprise. While the tiers and the features included in each are listed on the website, the prices for each tier are not. The Standard tier provides a very limited feature set, and the Professional tier includes nearly all available features other than single sign on and access to integrations, both of which are only available at the Enterprise level. Information about features sets for the pricing tiers for Canada and Worldwide software are also available on the website, but again, the actual pricing isn’t provided.
Now that you know about some of the available software programs, the next step is to choose the best one for your practice. I always suggest taking software for a test drive before settling on a program. In most cases I recommend taking advantage of free trials before committing to a software product, but since free trials aren’t offered for any of the software systems discussed above, you’ll have to settle for a demo—something offered by all three. Then, once you’ve seen a demo of the software and had all of your questions answered, hopefully that will provide you with enough information to make an educated choice that is the right one for your firm’s needs.
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].