Category Archives: Business

Where Do Lawyers Work?

If you enter a finely furnished office or go inside a courtroom, these are the typical places where lawyers work. However, aside from the actual places that lawyers perform their legal services, where do lawyers work?

Let’s explore a few of the places where lawyers can get hired after graduating law school.

Government

Lawyers can work at one of the following three levels of government:

  1. Local government
  2. State government
  3. Federal government

Depending on where the lawyer works, there will be varying roles and responsibilities. Government lawyers may be one of the following:

  • Prosecutors
  • District attorneys
  • State attorney generals
  • Public defenders

Lawyers working for the government can work for almost every government agency that exists. From Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency to the IRS, lawyers have plenty of career opportunities with the government.

In some situations, lawyers may be required to assist with legal research to pass laws or create government policies.

Average Salary for Federal Government Lawyers:  $110,720

Law Firm Attorneys

Many lawyers pursue careers with established law firms. They’ll start as an associate to develop their legal skills by working with expert attorneys that have been practicing for years. Law firms will choose their attorneys depending on the school candidates attend and the experiences they have.

After working at the firm for a number of years, an associate may be considered for partnership. Becoming a partner comes with considerable more responsibility while becoming a partial owner of the firm.

Average Salary for Lawyers:  $135,830

In-House Attorneys

In-house attorneys are those that are employed by a single client. The clients are typically large corporations requiring a go-to lawyer to be available for various in-house legal requirements. Many companies have their own legal department handling various legal situations the company faces. These in-house lawyers may be responsible for the following:

  • Addressing any of the company’s employment issues
  • Handling litigations with another law firm if the company is sued
  • Acting as a lobbyist to influence legislation in favor of the company

Working for a company or large corporation typically offers a higher salary and more flexibility with their time than other lawyers who work for themselves or at a firm. Find an in-house lawyer position may occur when a company continues to hire a lawyer from a firm and after building a relationship they offer a permanent position.

Average Salary for Legal Services in the Alcohol Industry: $179,950

Private Practice (Solo Practitioners)

Some lawyers may choose to start their own business after obtaining a few years of experience. Instead of becoming a partner at a firm, they start their own or become a solo practitioner.

Private practice is where many lawyers work and those who become solo practitioners tend to have significantly greater job responsibilities. In order for a solo lawyer to survive, they must perform their own marketing of their legal services. To find clients, some lawyers may get a website, start a blog, or use paid advertising methods.

Lawyers often bill their clients at an hourly rate or in increments of minutes (i.e. 10 minutes at a time). It is the lawyer’s responsibility to accurately track the time they provide to their clients in order to invoice them correctly.

Average Hourly Rate for Lawyers: $56.81

Public Interest Lawyers

Legal-aid groups, which tend to be private, nonprofit agencies, offer legal services to disadvantaged people. Lawyers found here aim to help poor people and other minorities with limited access to legal services.

The cases public interest lawyers (PBLs) focus on include:

  • Illegal discrimination
  • Environmental protection
  • Child welfare
  • Domestic violence

Occasionally, these lawyers may seek to change laws to improve society as a whole. While public interest lawyers are a vital resource to help people, the salary for these lawyers is minimal. Nonprofit organizations often struggle to maintain funding to assist people in need. This is why these organizations provide internships to students and those who recently graduated law school to offer hands-on legal experiences.

Median Entry-level Salaries for PBLs: less than $43,000

Academia

Not all lawyers licensed to practice law will pursue a career as a lawyer. You can find some lawyers who continue their studies and pursue higher education in various topics of law.

These lawyers (and also experienced lawyers seeking a break from their profession) can teach at law schools, colleges, and other educational institutions. Alternatively, lawyers who are practicing can pick up a side job as a teacher and publish their own personal research related to law.

Estimated Number of Lawyers (2016): 619,530

Judicial Clerkship

Here’s another common place you’ll find fresh graduates from law school. Judicial clerkships provide aspiring lawyers with a 1- or 2-year experience working with a judge. Each judge can have up to 4 clerks working with them. A clerk’s core responsibilities include:

  • Legal research
  • Document drafting
  • Developing opinions
  • Attend hearings and trials
  • Prepare trial memoranda
  • And many more legal tasks

Judicial clerkships provide law graduates with a chance to receive valuable experience which can help them find a position at a higher-paying firm. In some places, permanent positions may be available for clerks.

Reference for Lawyer’s Average Salaries: Bureau of Labor Statistics

3 Easy Ways To Gain Clients Using Your Phone Number

We already know that if your law practice isn’t present online, you’re depriving yourself and your potential clients from finding you. A good website is one of the best ways for a broad range of clients to find your services, learn about what you do, and most importantly, get in contact with you. This is essential when considering that even way back in 2013, 76 percent of consumers used online resources when looking for an attorney.

Once your site has convinced a visitor that you can handle their needs, they’ll want to contact you. The methods and devices people use to access the Internet have changed significantly according to iLawyerMarketing’s study. They asked participants what devices they’re most likely to use when searching the internet for law firms, and overwhelmingly, the most common answer was smartphones, followed by a combination of smartphones and a desktop or laptop computer—this means making sure that your website works just as well from a mobile device as it does from a personal computer.

The value of traffic from phone calls can’t be understated: A Google-commissioned survey performed by Ipsos asked which phase of decision-making is most likely to involve a phone call to a business. Findings here are critical to how your law firm designs an online experience: 65 percent of respondents said they’re most likely to call during the research phase, and 68 percent said they’re most likely to call once they’re ready to purchase. Lucky for you—we’ve compiled 3 easy ways to use the phone to your advantage.

Make Your Contact Information Impossible to Miss

According to the 2014 U.S Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 74 percent of those who begin a search for an attorney online end up contacting via phone, so making your phone number clearly accessible is everything. Therefore, it’s a good practice to add a phone number at the bottom of every page on your website, as well as at the end of certain passages of text. When a visitor is finished reading, they’re immediately faced with a phone number they can easily call. This Tallahassee law firm’s website does a good job:

The office’s address and phone number immediately follows the text, which itself includes a link to their contact form.

Images: pelhamlaw.com

They also feature their phone number at the bottom and top of every webpage, in addition to a separate “Contact Us” tab. With even a quick scroll through their site, you know the information you’d need to contact them is available with just about zero effort required to find it.

Enable Click-to-Call

The same Google survey referenced above found that 72 percent of those who search for local professional services are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to call a business if a phone number is accessible directly from search engine results. This means ensuring that your website works smoothly from a mobile device is paramount—especially since they’ll likely be contacting you from the same device they used to find your website.

These local firms, as well as a button that places a call to them, are available immediately from a search of “Tallahassee law firms”. This feature will also allow your site visitors to tap your number and automatically initiate a call. The ability to call a firm immediately after searching greatly increases the likelihood of an interested party giving you a call—if there’s one thing you make sure of when it comes to your firm’s Web presence, it’s this. (Your trusty website provider can help you with this)

Choose a Phone System to Back You Up

Now they’ve looked through your site, found your contact information, and they’re ready to call—there’s even a decent chance they’re ready to do business. Do you have a telephone system in place that can make sure every caller’s voice is heard? Any attorney knows they spend a lot of time fielding phone calls; they might even have a receptionist or someone else do it for them. But what about when you’re out of the office?

You can’t exactly answer a potential client’s call from a courtroom or an appointment, which is why the right phone system is so important in converting interested leads into trusted clients. Cloud-based phone solutions are affordable and integrate easily into an existing desk phone system. They allow you to route calls to the proper destination using an auto attendant. (Press 1 for Billing, Press 2 for Dave) They can also be easily configured to route calls from one phone number (say, your office phone) to any other device (a personal mobile phone, house phone, or even an answering service) through Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, software. This means business calls are accessible from any device, regardless of where you are.

Additionally, they often feature other useful tools like voicemail and call recordings sent straight to your email and the option of local or toll-free phone numbers to fit the size of the market you’re looking to reach.

As Sam Glover of Lawyerist put it, your website is your business card. Except, of course, that it can hold a great deal more information and is far less likely to end up in the trash can outside of a Starbucks. The fact is, the majority of incoming clients will find you online, and creating an informative and effortless experience on your website puts you in the best possible position to gain new clients. All that’s left is to make sure you answer.

Julian de Sevilla is a Marketing Specialist at Tresta, a cloud-based phone system for businesses. He manages the company’s social media accounts and writes about a range of topics regarding communication and technology on Tresta’s blog.

5 Tech Tools For Lawyers

Trending everywhere is an increase of technology being used at the workplace. These changes occur swiftly and are meant to make jobs easier or more efficient.

In the world of law, there’s no exception. Even lawyers are gaining access to more clever tech tools to make their lives better. However, you won’t have to worry about upgrading your phone or downloading hundreds of new features and struggle to try to figure things out.

If you’re like most lawyers, technology has a few standard features and that’s all you need. Well, wouldn’t you like to discover the true potential that technology can provide you and your legal services?

Let’s take a look at a few of the best tech tools for lawyers which will help your legal practice in the 21st century.

1. Research Tools

If you’re spending endless hours researching the old way (i.e. in a law library), you may want to try these advanced research tools. If you want to try powerful but affordable research, check out Ravel Law or Casetext:

  • Ravel Law is a resourceful legal search tool that allows lawyers to search legal data, analyze results, and create understandable visualizations. Ravel Law obtains all their data from Harvard Law Library. Use Ravel Law to put new information into practice.
  • Casetext is another provider of legal information and offers free services to law students and pro bono lawyers only, otherwise, it’s a subscription-based service. Casetext’s unique contextual legal research technology, CARA AI, automates key legal research, arming lawyers with the highest quality research possible, ultimately allowing firms to spend time on higher-value, billable work — and avoid missing key precedents or decisions. Consider CARA as you’re very own, digital assistant.  

Ravel Law is best for gathering information for a litigation while Casetext serves to find relevant data and information for legal briefs, memos, letters and other legal documents.

2. Live Chat for Websites

Lawyers with a website can really benefit by implementing a live chat system on their websites. This useful tech development is becoming increasingly popular as it allows owners of a website to engage directly with visitors.

If you’re thinking about putting together a powerful Facebook Ads campaign, having live chat ready to go can potentially boost client intake.

One thing to keep in mind with using this technology on a lawyer’s website is the American Bar Association’s Ethics and Regulations regarding online marketing.

3. Accounting Software

Accounting software is a great tech choice for lawyers. There is a wide range of service providers available and they’re focused on providing solutions for lawyers. Here are a few of the things your accounting software can do for you and your firm:

  • Legal calendaring
  • Time tracking
  • Invoicing and billing
  • Document management

Many solo, small and medium-sized law firms use accounting software to automate some of the work responsibilities at the office. Some of the top software provides include Clio, Abacus Law, Bill4Time, Legal Files, and PC Law.

This accounting software provider typically provides a free trial which allows you to test out their features. For a comprehensive review of these this lawyer tech tool, see best accounting software for lawyers.

4. Cloud Storage

Although some accounting software programs offer additional storage, you may want a dedicated cloud provider to store your data. Cloud storage allows for data to be stored on servers away from your computer.

This can provide you access to important files and information while you’re on the go and even on your cell phone. Dropbox and Google Drive are two common and easy to use save files and documents.

However, you may be concerned about the security of your client’s data. One thing to consider is that as a lawyer, putting all your sensitive information on cloud storage could lead to it getting hacked. It is a lawyer’s responsibility to safeguard their client’s personal and sensitive information.

If you do decide to use a cloud storage to save your legal documents off your computer, try setting up two-step authentication.

5. Virtual Office

While this may be not a dedicate tech tool for lawyers, it has become a go-to solution for many solo and small-sized law firms. Setting up a virtual office allows lawyers to save time and focus more on the success of their firm.

Virtual offices function by outsourcing phone calls to trained professionals who can schedule consultations and assist with intaking. The benefits of a virtual office include:

  • More time for clients
  • More time to market legal services
  • Reduced operations costs
  • Increase productivity
  • Flexible employment
  • Operate 24/7/365

Getting a virtual office for your law firm is an effective use of technology for your practice. Depending on the area you specialize, you can receive a team of dedicated receptionists who can understand and use appropriate legal language.

Learn more about setting up a virtual office at your law office.

The Biggest Mistakes Lawyers Make With Advertisements

Lawyers depend on advertisements to build an awareness of their legal services and attract new clients to their firm. While traditional methods are still in use, online marketing (via hiring the best Facebook Ads agency and the best Google Adwords marketing agency) are becoming the common trend for advertising.

If you’re considering to use advertisements for your law firm, here are some of the biggest mistakes lawyers make and what you can do to avoid them.

Unfocused Marketing Campaigns

You may have a large budget to spend on marketing your law firm, but if you don’t have a focal point you’ll be spending your money on nothing. You can create a generic “contact for a free consultation” marketing message and take anything that comes in the door.

Or, you can segment your marketing message and target the specific legal services you offer. Invest your time and money creating marketing messages related to the specific cases your law firm handles.

Once you concentrate your marketing efforts you can find the right prospects for your firm.

Poorly Written Content

The content you publish on your website is a representation of you and your law firm. The internet is filled with spammy websites and people know when they’re being sold to.

Your content should be informative, error-free, and relatable to the people you think will read it.

Also, to improve the effectiveness of your content, add logical and emotional reasons to hire you. People are searching for someone who can truly help them with their problems.

Use your content to tell people you understand what they are dealing with and that your legal services are here to help.

Asking For Too Much

Your advertising efforts may be effective and delivering high traffic to your website. However, you may find that no one is contacting you for more information or to start a consultation.

If you’re asking prospective clients too much information in your contact boxes, many prospects are likely to turn away. People are constantly concerned about their privacy and with the rise of identity theft, there is a hesitancy to sharing personal information online.

Nonetheless, lawyers require some information to begin evaluating their case and being able to respond to it. Only ask for as much as you need and after receiving their contact information you can begin to ask the questions needed to get their case started.

Complex Web Design

There’s nothing more frustrating for a visitor to a website than a complex and confusing web design. This is known as your bounce rate, which is the number of visitors that come to your website then leave right away.

When you’re putting your legal services online, consider your visitors. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the most useful information my visitors need?
  • Does my law firm web design have a clear call to action (i.e. call for a free consultation)?
  • Is my contact information easy to access or will a visitor have difficulty finding it?
  • Does my website invite visitors to join my social?
  • Would adding a pop-up lead capture improve my conversions from visitors to clients?

If you’re struggling to come up with an effective web design for your law firm, consider these best law firm websites from 2017.

Also, if you have analytics set up on your website (i.e. to monitor where visitors are coming from and where they are frequently visiting) find your best content and feature them in the sidebar of your content pages.

Spending Your Entire Marketing Budget

Whether you’re using Facebook Ads, Google Adwords or and Instagram advertising agency, you have complete control over the duration and style of your marketing campaign. If you spend your entire budget without testing different ideas, you may end up with a lower return than you hoped for.

Start by setting your budget low and creating a series of tests to see which messages make the most impact on your target audience. The analytics offered in Facebook Ads and your Google account can help you determine which campaign is effective and could use more of your marketing budget.

Incongruent Landing Pages

In the world of advertising, having a congruent message is crucial. You’re marketing message and your landing pages should live up to the promise you’re making.

Advertising something like, “Steps to take after getting in a car accident,” then sending them to a landing page with a promotion to your service may not deliver the best results.

The purpose of proving valuable content online is to establish yourself as an authority in law as well as trustworthy.

Use your landing pages to capture leads in exchange for content that people are looking for.

Not Focused On Converting Visitors

You can spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get traffic to your website. However, if your website is not developed to turn those visitors into clients, you’ll be wasting your marketing budget.

The purpose of any website, especially a lawyer’s website, is to convert visitors into clients. There are many ways to do this. You can send visitors clicking on your Facebook Ads to a landing page requesting their email in exchange for valuable content.

Or, perhaps the most effective method of converting traffic, is by adding live chat to your website. Having the ability to communicate with visitors while they are live on your site allows you to address any questions they may have and arrange a consultation immediately.

The alternative would be to hope they find your contact page and send you an inquiry.

Not Having A Unique Selling Point

Having a distinct call to action is an important feature for any lawyer’s website. In addition to that, your website should have a unique selling point which differentiates your legal services from others online.

What makes you different from other law firms? How can you help more than other law firms with the same legal services?

Having case studies and client referrals on your homepage are one way of showcasing your legal abilities to prospective clients. However, you should take a moment and ask yourself what can you offer that differentiates you from your competitors.

Now that you know some of the mistakes lawyers are making with their advertisements, you may want to review advertising regulations from the State Bar.

Best Live Chat For Lawyer Websites

Choosing the best live chat for your law firm’s website may come down to pricing, support, and functionality. Before reviewing a few live chats you can use for your website, let’s look at a few key features to help in your decision making.

The first thing to understand is what you can do with live:

  • Pre-chat Message: provide a pop-up to a visitor to prompt them toward clicking the button and starting the live chat session.
  • Pre-chat script: provide a series of questions the visitor must answer before the live chat session begins.
  • Proactive Live Chat: offering a live chat session to a visitor upon arrival.
  • Reactive Chat: waiting for a visitor to initiate the live chat button.
  • Unavailable Chat: when live agents are not available, an optional form is sent to the visitor to provide their email.

Next, in the marketing world, turning a website visitor into a paying customer (or client) is known as a conversion. Live chats are a great tool to increase conversions if you know how to use them.

Quick Tips for Live Chat

Take into consideration the following when choosing and setting up a live chat solution on your law firmès website:

  1. Who Will Be Responding to Chat Requests? Will you be handling the chat notifications or an assistant? There is also the option of hiring a virtual receptionist and outsourcing. Are you aware of the ethical implications to answer legal related questions?
  2. How Are Chats Being Answered? If you understand the ABA’s ethics rules for lawyers, you’ll know what kind of information you can or cannot collect during a live chat. If you have chosen a live chat with outsourced assistance, will they be given a script? Are they proficient in English? How should they handle sensitive information?
  3. What Are Your Costs? There are many live chat solutions available and prices range from completely free to high hourly rates for active chat agents. You may also find the option to pay per lead or to pay per chat.

Now that you have an idea what to look for in a live chat software for your website, let’s look at a few options.

Live Chat for Lawyer Websites

Client Chat Live

Overview: Client Chat Live offers live chat solutions for small business, medical practices, and legal practices.

Installation: Their installation team provides you with the HTML to include on your website and simple steps to get started.

Features:

  • Proactive Pop-ups: invites visitors to start using the chat messenger
  • Branded chat boxes
  • Monthly chat reports (include all chats, summary of visitor details, and analytics)
  • Custom scripts for their operators
  • Live phone transfer
  • CRM Integration
  • 24/7 operator availability

Languages: Available in English and Spanish  

Pricing: Contact the company for a free quote. 

Legal Chat 24/7

Overview: Legal 24/7 is a live chat provider dedicated exclusively to lawyers. They offer a team of trained operators capable of using legal language. They can also assist in designing custom chat scripts that suit your law firm’s style.

Installation:  N/A

Features:

  • Legal training operators with focus on conversion
  • Live phone call transfer
  • Live chat 24/7/365
  • Branded chat boxes
  • Analytics
  • CRM integration
  • Lead notification (email, phone call, etc.)

Languages: Available in English and Spanish

Pricing: Pay per lead. Contact the company for more details.

Apex Chat

Overview: Apex Chat offers both live chat software and professional agents 24/7/365. They have agents specialized in personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, family law, immigration, estate planning, and other legal areas. Apex Chat is a leading provider of live chat solutions for lawyers.

Installation: N/A

Features:

  • Multiple chat agents available 24/7
  • Live phone call transfer
  • Practice area trained operators
  • Pre-defined scripts
  • Customizable messenger (for branding)
  • CRM Integration
  • Geo-mapping and routing
  • Detailed reporting

Language: Available in English and Spanish

Pricing: Pay per lead, with the ability to cap billing. For more information, contact their sales team.

The following live chat providers are not specific for legal services.

Chat.io

Overview: Chat.io offers a highly functional live chat messenger for your website. You’ll see a simple chat messenger in the bottom right corner of your website with the option to add the chat agent’s image and personalized message. They also offer 14-day free trial.

Installation: After you sign up for your account, you’ll receive an HTML code to place on your attorney website. They offer easy-to-understand instructions for this task.

Features:

  • Create canned messages
  • Check chat status
  • Share files
  • Create smart or manual chat (for offline)
  • Use on multiple websites and integrate into Facebook
  • Receive chat ratings
  • Access to agent profiles and transparency
  • Only $10 per teammate/month

Please note, this chat service only offers access to their live chat software. If you need agents, you may have to outsource.

Other live chat software similar to Chat.io include:

These live chat services offer manual live chat solutions. If you don’t have the staff to manage your live chats, you can outsource and provide scripts or set up an autoresponder requesting contact information.

Overall, the benefits of using non-legal focused live chats would be their affordability. However, the inability to hire staff available 24/7 can lead to missed leads and prospective clients.

In contrast, the live chat services devoted to the legal industry include operators who can speak both Spanish and English. In addition, with pricing being pay-per-lead from talented operators focused on conversions, you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

Top 7 Law Firm Accounting Software For Lawyers

Accounting programs for lawyers make your legal services run more effectively and efficiently. There are many accounting programs available and most are designed to improve time management, billing, accounting, and case management.

To save you time, here is a review of the top 7 law firm accounting software designed specifically for lawyers. Hopefully, you will find the best software program that is the right fit for your legal services.

#1: Clio

Clio’s focus is to reduce the number of time lawyers spend on administrative tasks. The best part about Clio is that you only need to pay for the monthly subscription. After you subscribe, you won’t need a network administrator to maintain the software and you can run it on your PC or mobile device.

In regards to security, Clio’s cloud-based allows you to store sensitive information on your computer while being accessible to you anywhere.

Clio is one of the most simple accounting software programs for lawyers by handling all your basic administrative tasks while on the go.

Features:  

  • Matter Management
  • Time Tracking
  • Billing
  • Client Payments
  • Legal Accounting
  • Calendar
  • Lead Tracking
  • Document Management

Pricing starts at $39 per month and you can get started with a trial using just your email.

#2: Xero

Xero has been rising in popularity in recent years and has been in competition with QuickBooks (#5 on this list).

Xero features an easy-to-use software service because it is entirely web hosted. There is no downloads or installations required. You can access your accounting information from any device and all browsers (Google, Firefox, Windows, etc.).

With a subscription to Xero, you can add unlimited users to manage your accounting. There is no additional fee for users which is common in other accounting software services on this list.

The highlighting feature of Xero is that is most useful for small law firms and includes comprehensive user guides as well as responsible customer support.

Features: 

  • Payroll Management
  • Unlimited Users
  • Expense Tracking
  • Invoicing and Billing
  • Customizable Reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s
  • Direct Deposit

Xero’s starter plan limits you to 5 bills and 20 bank transactions. However, you can try their software free for 30 days.

#3: Bill4Time

Bill4Time is a dedicated billing software solution for lawyers. They focus on providing law firms with the ability to create professional invoices quickly and easily.

Clients will have the option to pay online which will be tracked and recorded on the dashboard. Bill4Time accepts Paypal, Stripe, and all major credit cards. From a billing perspective, Bill4Time makes client billing seamless.

Features:

  • Client Billing
  • Time Tracking
  • Invoice Templates
  • Client and Account Management
  • Reporting
  • Online Payments
  • Expense Tracking
  • Mobile Apps

Bill4Time’s starting price is focused on solo law practitioners with more options for those running a law firm with multiple partners. You can also sign up to try Bill4Time for 30 days.

#4: Legal Files

Legal Files provides case management and matter management solutions to improve a law firm’s legal management needs.

Legal Files is commonly used by corporate legal departments, law firms, university legal departments, insurance companies, and various levels of government.

Its features allow lawyers to manage their cases, emails, documents and contracts, contact information, e-billing, and invoicing. Legal Files’ key feature is that it allows lawyers to automate their office workflow to free up time for lawyer’s to dedicate to their clients.

Features:  

  • Corporate Matter Management
  • Government Case Management
  • University Matter Management
  • Insurance Litigation Management
  • Contract Management
  • Law Firm Case Management
  • Investigation Management
  • Legal Aid Case Management

Legal Files offers pricing licensing packages with a one-time payment. You’ll have to contact the company for more information on a package that suits your firm.

#5: QuickBooks

QuickBooks made the list because it provides a powerful accounting software solution for every industry. It has detailed reporting metrics allowing you to capture the costs of all your firm’s activities. From gas mileage to expenses to payroll, QuickBooks does it all.

QuickBooks for its well-rounded accounting solutions and robust set of features. They have an as strong reputation and have been in operations since 1983.

While the capabilities of using QuickBooks and all its add-ons may seem overwhelming, their user interface and customer support make integration into your law firm’s accounting needs simple and straightforward.

Features:  

  • Cash Flow Control
  • Expense Organization
  • Spending Automation
  • Custom Invoicing
  • Easy Payment Solutions
  • One-click Reporting
  • Multiple-user Access
  • Payroll Solutions
  • Taxing

QuickBooks has some of the most affordable pricing plans for their accounting software. You can save 50% by purchasing right away or start with a trial for 30 days. There are also additional add-ons such as Enhanced Payroll ($19/month) and Full-Service Payroll ($49/month) available for the Simple Start, Essentials and Plus plans.

#6: PCLaw by LexisNexis

PCLaw by LexisNexis is a trusted software management solution used by over 15 000 law firms. It offers complete control over your billing and lets you charge for the time effectively.

PCLaw is a robust accounting software for lawyers and is streamlined toward accurate billing through their Time Entry Advisor.

Installing PCLaw just takes minutes and all upgrades are managed within your maintenance plan. For a worry-free, lawyerfocused accounting software, PCLaw would be a great choice.

Features:  

  • Accurate Time Tracking
  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Billable Hours Tracking
  • Accounts Payable, Receivable, and Banking
  • Financial Reporting
  • Trust Accounting
  • Advanced Security Settings
  • Visual Analytics

#7: ProLaw by Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is a dedicated and trusted intelligence technology company that has developed ProLaw specifically for lawyer’s accounting needs.

This accounting software is suitable for mid- to large sized law firms. Their suite of accounting solutions provides expense management along with mobile tracking for lawyers who spend time working on cases remotely.

Like other law firm accounting software on this list, ProLaw offers custom invoicing, accurate tracking, and document management. The program is more sophisticated than others here but their training modules and both online and email support provide you with the help you need to get set up.

Features:  

  • Case and Matter Management
  • Secured Data Storage
  • Financial Reporting (1099s, Budget, Billing, etc.)
  • Cost Recovery
  • Expense Tracking
  • Calendaring & Docking
  • General Ledger
  • Online Bill Payments
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Accounts Billable and Receivable

To start using ProLaw, you’ll have to contact their sales team for a quote.

10 Tips To Avoid Legal Malpractice For Lawyers

Although lawyers fight to protect their client’s interests,  it is equally important to protect themselves from legal malpractice. Lawyer-client communication is one of the biggest factors that lead to situations where clients turn on their lawyers. Others include time management and not meeting deadlines.

Regardless of the reasons behind the claim, there are a few things lawyers can do to avoid legal malpractice.

  1. Require a retainer. To avoid losing funds request money in advance for your services (you can set up an automated accounting system to remind you when your trust fund is running low). Whenever a client fails to replenish the retainer, stop working. Your services are based on the hours you put in for the client which they have to pay for. By establishing this strict guideline, it holds you accountable for your services and reduces problems with collecting payments later on.
  2. Have a written contract. When you’re consulting a new client, be sure to provide them with your core services in writing. Include in this document information about your retainer, terms of service, and clearly define what you are obligated to do under the retainment.
  3. Document diligently. While it will be impossible to document every detail regarding your matter, putting a consistent effort toward documenting your interactions with clients can reduce legal consequences should your client sue. Letters may be effective, however having emails, notes, and documents with time-entries can be most effective. If you’re providing advice regarding serious issues due to drastic situations, you may want to consider recording this information. If for any reasons a client confuses your words and questions what you said, you can look back on your documentation to provide clarity and avoid malpractice.
  4. Get to know your client. This point should be number 1: know who your clients are. If you’ve established your law firm as a limited liability company (LLC) you’ll have to clearly distinguish between your responsibilities, your interactions with your client, and the relationship with the firm. You may have to state in clear terms that you are only a representative of the firm and what that means between you and your client.
  5. Never miss a deadline. For new lawyers, they can be most challenging if you underestimate your workflow and time management. Setting realistic deadlines and completing tasks ahead of schedule can avoid conflicts with your clients. Remember, when you deliver earlier than the client expects, the results tend to lead to a satisfied client.
  6. Avoid suing your clients for fees. Although you may have the documentation and support to provide a claim against your client, pushing a lawsuit on a client to collect fees can backfire. If you sure your client, they’ll likely review their own documentation and experience then find a way to countersue for malpractice (i.e. implying that was the reason they stopped paying in the first place). Even if you are insured, some insurance policies are exempted from protecting you from malpractice claims if you are suing your clients for missed fees.
  7. Refer clients to others. It can be tempting to take on clients in an area you are not familiar with if you are experiencing financial pressures. The best thing to do is to build your network and refer such clients to close connections to avoid misrepresenting a case that may be too much to handle. In the long run, building relations with other lawyers and firms can lead to referred clients coming back to you.
  8. Understand the ethical rules. This applies especially to conducting online marketing and other web related tasks. The ABA has ethical rules that all lawyers are expected to follow. While the rules themselves may not be black and white, understanding what you can and cannot do online can help you avoid problems should sensitive information be leaked or clients have a bad experience with some of your outsourced legal staff.
  9. Connect with your client. It is important to know your client, especially when detailing the contract for your services, but it is just as important to build rapport. Are you operating a profession or running a business? While it can be enticing to provide legal services to earn a salary, there comes a line between working for money and working for people. If your clients are just a means of making money to enjoy your lavish, rich lifestyle, it shouldn’t be a surprise that malpractice lawsuits continue to come in.
  10. Get malpractice insurance. In the worst case scenario, having malpractice insurance can protect you. Malpractice insurance policies vary from provider to provide so you should review carefully the terms and protective benefits before choosing the right policy. Here’s more information about malpractice insurance for lawyers.

These are just 10 points to avoid malpractice at your law firm. If your focus is providing exceptional legal services, build connected relationships with your clients, while providing fair fees, getting sued should be the least of your worries.

Legal Document Software for Lawyers

Imagine having a solution to writing out the same forms, again and again. For lawyers manually inputting information, legal document software may be a new way forward.

Legal document software provides lawyers with the ability to accurately and quickly create legal paperwork. Automation in the legal world may seem like a frightening future. However, when you can save time on redundant tasks, greater opportunities for the firm can be found.

What is Legal Document Software

Legal document software is a modern approach to improving efficiency and workflow at the office. By reducing the workload, lawyers can focus on reducing costs, saving time, and keeping their clients happy. Don’t be confused with legal management software, as this focused primarily on creating important legal materials.

Legal document software provides lawyers with a variety of templates that can be branded, designed, and customized for every client’s need. Templates allow lawyer’s and their assistants to complete tasks in much less time.

Functions of Legal Document Software

Aside from the obvious time-saving benefits of having ready-to-use documents, legal document software provides the following functions:

  1. Document Scanner Tools. If you have to scan your documents, you can easily upload into the program and convert them into PDFs and images to send to clients. 
  2. PDF Tools. Since PDFs are a common document format lawyers send to clients, the PDF Tools allow editing, modifying, and adding signatures to legal documents.
  3. Automation Tools. There are certain parts of documents that must be added to every document. By creating a template in advance, these elements can be added to a legal document to save time.
  4. Data Control. Saving and organizing files are easily managed. You can also ensure that newer versions and updates never override previous versions to reuse them again if needed.
  5. Integration Tools. If you have a CRM service or want to send documents directly to your client’s emails, the integration tools allow you to connect your accounts.
  6. Legal Signature Integration. Some legal document software can be used with digital signature tools to create legally binding documents for computers or mobile devices.

Legal Document Software Precautions

Just as you secure your legal documents in locked cabinets and safe locations, you must consider the safety and security of your digital documents. Failing to keep your legal documents safe can lead to some serious legal consequences. Protecting your digital documents from hackers and theft must be a top priority.

To combat comprised data, legal document software offers a range of solutions to ensure you legal documents remain safe. Some may use a two-step authentication (i.e. providing a password and a pin code on your phone) or require a direct portal through a secure channel.

Storage Options

When deciding on which legal document software to purchase, you’ll want to consider whether to have a cloud-based storage or on-premise storage.

Cloud-based storage offers a secure server from the service provider to save and access data. Going back to the previous point, you should check with the service provider to ensure that your data is encrypted, has back-ups, and high-grade security.

These cloud-based products are offered via subscription license. You will be expected to pay a recurring monthly fee, or if available, a reduced annual rate. This may seem like an appealing choice as the fees are much less in the beginning.

On-premise storage allows you to manage and store documents directly on your devices. You own the software, instead of subscribing month-to-month, and you may require your own IT support. Keeping your data on private servers and away from your own laptop can prevent a situation where your computer malfunction and all data is lost.

Examples of Legal Document Software

MyCase offers cloud-based document solutions to improve communications with clients and minimize daily legal tasks. It features an intuitive form filling tool with task automation. They also provide solutions for organizing case documents, sending encrypted messages to clients, the one-click firm generated reports, billing solutions (i.e. invoicing and payment collection), and calendaring.

Pricing is just $39 per month for their cloud-based subscription. You can also try MyCase free for 30 days.

Abacus Law provides case management and document automation software. This is a cloud-based service with AES 256-bit encryption. With applications for androids and iOs, you can even access documents from your smartphone. In addition to their automation services, Abacus Law offers a full suite of useful tools such as email management, analytics software, and accounting software.

You’ll have to contact their sales department for a quote or schedule a time to see a demo.

TimeSolv has not only document management solutions and automation but also other tools to manage many aspects of your firm. Their document automation software allows you to create custom files unique to each customer while reducing the workload with custom templates.

They have a sliding pricing scale, depending on the size of your firm, with the starting price being $34.95 per month/timekeeper. You can also try it free for 30 days.

PracticePanther offer legal document solutions for small sized law firms. Their focus is to cut costs and save time for lawyers. They also offer a suite of services such as 1-click invoicing, email integrations, CRM, chat applications, and trust accounting. They offer a secure cloud service following HIPAA compliance.

Their monthly plan starts at $59 per month with a 7-day free trial.

Important Note

Legal document software is not an alternative to creating and managing all documents. The vast number of documents required for lawyers to perform their duties can be too much to convert into digital documents. Digital software should be used primarily to reduce redundant tasks and improve workflow in critical areas of your practice.

Facebook Ads For Lawyers

Facebook has considerable potential for marketing and finding client referrals. With Facebook, you can build strong relationships between users and your legal services.

For your law firm, Facebook Ads allows you to put your law firm in front of people who may be in need of legal aid.

This article will take you through the steps of starting your first Facebook Ad campaign as well as a few strategies you can try.

Facebook Pages for Lawyers

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider creating a Facebook page for your law firm.

This is not a requirement to use Facebook Ads, however your Facebook Page can be used strategically to market your law firm.

Facebook pages allow you to create a community surrounding your legal services. Here you can showcase your latest law related blog posts and other promotional information to everyone who likes your page.

As well, you can use Facebook Ads to drive traffic and engagement to your page to boost your online presence and, reputation.

When you’re just getting started with Facebook pages, the best thing to do is grow your page organically to increase credibility and engagement before using Facebook Ads to achieve your goals.

For the remainder of this article, let’s focus on creating a Facebook Ad and how you can use it effectively for your law firm.

What Can Lawyers Do With Facebook Ads?

 Facebook Ads is divided into 3 objectives:

  1. Awareness. Use this objective to create interest in your law firm (i.e. online branding).
  2. Consideration. Use this objective to get people thinking about your law firm and gain access to more information (i.e. articles, contact info, etc.).
  3. Conversion. Use this objective to encourage people to contact your law firm to arrange a consultation or use your legal services.

The goal of your advertising campaign will be different depending on what you are trying to achieve.

If you’re looking to grow your online presence, creating awareness and consideration ads will be your best choices.

If you’re looking to get people to call your office and set up a consultation, creating conversion ads will help you achieve that.

Once you have determined the goal of your advertisement, it’s time to create your first Facebook ad. 

Setting Up A  Facebook Ad

To use Facebook Ads, you’ll need a Facebook Business Account.

Once you have set up your account, you’ll have access to the Ads Manager Dashboard. Here you can use Facebook’s Guided Creation to create your ad.

In this example, let’s look at how to set up a Facebook Ad to drive more traffic to your law firm’s website.

After selecting Traffic under the CONVERSION objective, scroll down to continue. You’ll notice an option to create a Split Test.

If you’re unfamiliar, a split test allows you to create two ads and test them to see which ad performs better.

With Split Testing, you can create different ads that target the same people, use the same ad to target different people, or experiment with different ad delivery methods.

Facebook provides all the analytic tools to measure the results. Depending on how you setup your budget, you can choose to split your budget to run both ads equally or let Facebook decide which is the better ad and use more of your budget.

WHERE TO SEND TRAFFIC

You’re in complete control of your Facebook Ads. When you’re setting up your ad, you can choose to send people who click on your ad to your website, a Facebook Page, or even Facebook Messenger to start a conversation right away.

Not sure where to send people who click on your Facebook Ad?

Try a landing page. Landing pages are single pages online that can be designed like your Facebook Ad with more details about your law firm, how to get in touch, or other information you want to provide.

DO YOU HAVE AN OFFER?

Sometimes, it can be an effective strategy to provide an special offer in your Facebook Ads.

This can be a free 30 minute consultation, reduced rates for a specific legal service, or something else related to your law firm.

Offers can be limited in time (i.e. offer ends November 15th) or amount (i.e. available only to the first 15 people).

The benefit of setting up a Facebook Ad with an offer is that people who see this ad can save it and receive notifications about it.

VARIABLES FOR YOUR FACEBOOK AD SPLIT TESTING

As mentioned before, split testing lets you control different variables relating to how your Facebook Ads will be viewed online.

There are 4 options:

  1. Creative. Allows you to use all variables, 2 to 4.
  2. Delivery Optimization. Allows you to choose how your ads are delivered. You can focus on getting Link Clicks, Landing Page Views, Impressions, or Daily Unique Reach.
  3. Audience. Allows you to define two set of audiences to serve your ads to. You can choose Location, Age, Gender, Languages. As well, you can select some detailed targeting depending on people’s demographics, interests, or behaviors. As an example, divorce lawyers may want to target people between 25 to 35 as this is a common age when couples experience divorce.
  4. Placement. Allows you to choose where your Facebook ads will be placed. Facebook has a range of advertising access. You can feature your ads on Facebook, Instagram, and their partner network. As well, you can choose to have your ads featured in people’s newsfeeds, side column and more.

Consider placing an eye catching ad in a new feed to drive traffic to your legal services.

 Notice: Most Facebook Ads are charged based on Impression. This means, each time Facebook serves your ad, you’ll be charged. If you’re looking for a different advertising method, try Google Adwords for Lawyers. With Google, you can set up a pay-per-click ad campaign.

BUDGET & SCHEDULE

Once you have determined how your ads will be delivered, who your target audience will be, and where your ads will show up, you can set your budget.

With split testing, you can start with an even split then select to end the test early if one of your ads performs better than the other. This way, you can gain the most results from your Facebook Ad.

DESIGNING YOUR LAWYER AD

It’s time to design the ad for your legal services.

Start by naming your ad. Then, decide whether you will be connecting your Facebook Page to the ad or not. If you don’t have a Facebook page, be sure to click “Don’t Connect a Facebook Page.”

Next, choose the ad format you want to use.

The next step allows you to add photos to your ad. Facebook offers some Free Stock Images or you can upload your own.

Design Smart Lawyer Ads

Figuring out Facebook Ads can itself be difficult. However, creating an effective ad can be equally challenging.

There is no one design that will send people to their phones and to contact your law firm. This is where Facebook’s split testing allows you to create variations in your ad designs to see what works, and what doesn’t.

Here’s some sample ads to give you ideas for creating your own Facebook Ads:

See more Lawyer Ads on Adspresso

When you’re satisfied with your ad design and have set up a billing account, you can create your ad and test the results.

Should You Use Facebook Ads?

Marketing your law firm using Facebook Ads provides you an opportunity to find client referrals and expand your legal services.

Although Facebook is used predominantly for entertainment and staying connected with friends and family, it can be used to reach new people, build your online presence, and give access to legal services.

Facebook ads are just one way of marketing your law firm. You may also want to give Google Adwords a try.

Office Supplies Every Lawyer Should Have

For lawyers who are starting their own law firm having the right office supplies with help with staying organized and improving productivity. An additional purpose that office supplies should provide lawyers is to set a strong first impression whenever clients enter the office.

Whether you’re changing directions in your career or just getting started practicing law, having the right supplies and best website design will be determined by your budget and personal preference. However, one thing to consider is that purchasing the supplies for your lawyer’s office is one of your first business decisions. Purchasing a beautiful mahogany wood desk then experiencing budget cuts, later on, could result in an office environment that’s less than ideal.

Furniture Set First Impressions

Although legal services aim to help people in various situations, lawyer’s must consider their practice with business in mind. Setting a good first impression begins the moment prospective clients steps foot in your office, takes a look at your suit, and scans the conditions of your office.

  • Desks: This will be your workstation. Having a spacious and large desk can help with productivity and reducing the feeling of working in a cramped space. You should consider the height of your desk in relation to your body size. If you have a computer, will you place it on your desk or have an additional side table to use it?
  • Chairs: While your desk is vital for your workflow, having the right chair requires careful consideration. Consider this the throne of your working world. You’ll want to invest in something that is comfortable for the days you’ll spend hours working on your cases. Depending on whether you purchase a chair with wheels or four wooden legs, you may want to purchase a plastic floor covering to improve mobility and reduce damage to the office floor.
  • Bookshelves: these are a necessity for a lawyer’s office. Bookshelves allow you to organize all your law books, keep them in place, and show them off to those browsing around the room. It’s best to choose a bookshelf that matches your office furniture to avoid clashing.
  • Writing Supplies: this one may seem obvious, but it is important to have a bulk supply of writing instruments to work with your clients. In addition, your clients may be required to fill out forms and provide their signature so it is important to have extras at hand. As your practice grows, you can invest in branding your law firm, you can get pens with your logo, law firm name, and contact number.
  • Envelopes: here’s an office supply lawyer’s don’t want to run out. Law offices send out letters to clients and other attorneys on a daily basis. Buying envelopes in bulk is a simple and affordable solution which allows you to have envelopes available whenever you need them.
  • Lighting: most offices are built with good lights to keep the office bright and functional. However, you may find that some parts of the office may feel darker than others, especially if you’re stuck working after hours. Investing in a lamp to provide additional light in the office can help make it more inviting.

A few more fundamental supplies lawyers should have in their office include trash cans, recycling cans, magazine and coat racks.

Lawyer Office Supplies: Quick Checklist

In addition to the items above, you probably need the following items below. You can cut costs if you buy in bulk and keep extras in a storage space. Also, creating a partnership with a supplier can provide you with additional benefits and discounts.

As you prepare your office it can be easy to forget all things you need for your office. Here’s a checklist to ensure you have everything you need:

  • Stationary supplies
  • Legal pads
  • Paper (legal-size and standard)
  • Envelopes
  • Protective desk covers
  • Coffee Machine (a must)
  • Sticky notes
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • File folders
  • Staplers
  • Staple remover
  • 2 and 3 hole punch
  • Tape
  • Sticky tabs
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper clips
  • Corkboard and pins
  • Three-ring binders

This list should serve as a starting point to getting the supplies you need at your office. You will be able to find most of these supplies at your local stores or you can shop online to find more variety and style. While it may be tempting to cut corners to save some money in the start, remember that the environment of your lawyer’s office can shape the overall impression of your legal practice. If you’re not too concerned about your office space because you often meet clients somewhere in the community, here are some things you’ll find in a lawyer’s briefcase.