The legal industry is one of the oldest industries that still works on a lot of traditional methods, involves a considerable amount of paperwork, and most of its operations are still done manually. However, in the last few years, every other industry has witnessed its operations improving significantly by leveraging digital applications in their practices, such as healthcare, retail, education, real estate, etc. Thus, now lawyers, advocates, paralegals, etc., have realized that embracing technology is no longer a choice but a necessity.

Thus, developing legal software development seems a reliable solution to becoming highly competitive in your industry, managing operations effectively, and serving your clients better. Legal software for your law firm can handle increasing demands and complex legal activities. That’s why there is a high need for different types of legal software that can manage different problems. The high efficiency of this software can result in lower costs and, ultimately, more profits.

Whether automating the document review process, communicating with clients through chatbots, assisting in legal research, or even managing compliance, everything will get streamlined through legal software development. But how do you develop a custom legal software development that can meet your requirements? Well, in this article, we will go through every aspect of it. This article offers a detailed reference to the complexities of legal software development, covering everything from critical features to cost and development methods.

In the highly competitive legal industry, leaving your competitors behind and staying ahead of the curve requires something out of the box. Legal software could give you a competitive edge, help you deliver better services to your clientele, and help you confidently manage legal challenges.

Legal software is more than just another enterprise solution; it is a valuable tool for managing all of your legal responsibilities, from drafting to research, with precision and speed. It can process large amounts of legal information quickly and accurately, saving you time and resources.

An investment in legal software development wouldn’t be just a tech upgrade in your functions but a strategic decision to showcase your firm as a better entity that focuses on the future and delivers better services to the clients. Here are a few stats on the market scenario of the legal software market:

  • The global legal software market was $719.5 million in 2022 and is expected to surpass $7252.8 million by 2031.
  • The use of tech in the legal industry increased by 32% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • A survey found that 75% of law firms are using AI in some form or another· 
  • AI in the legal industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2023 to 2030.

These stats clearly show that legal software development is not merely a trend but is becoming necessary for running successful law firms soon. So, you must develop your digital legal software before your competitors leverage this technology. You can discuss the ideas and requirements of your custom legal software development with our experts, who provide the best software development services.

You must first understand what each software does to select the best legal software for your law company. This is due to the seemingly limitless options available when deciding which legal software to use for your specific needs. There are four major categories of legal software:

1. Billing and Time Tracking Software:

In any business, time is always an integral part, and in law firms, the ability to track time and bill clients accordingly and accurately is of great importance. Although plenty of software with similar functionality is available in the market, it is optional to meet what you want. You must first define what type of time and billing software you need. Do you provide consulting, or is there a lot of paperwork involved in your business whose billing can’t be just done on a per-time basis? There can be n number of services. Identifying the correct requirements will help you develop the right software from a software development company.

To make your cases or arguments stronger, you are always required to include legal references or sources in your legal documents. It becomes more critical when you are dealing with elements of legal publishing or during case or information presentation in court. To find these legal references, you will require legal citation generator software. A legal citation generator lets you copy and paste your text on a blank field and then extract links. It will then scan through a generated list to provide you with the relevant references.

3. Document Management Software:

The advocacy industry is all about document crunching, which involves the management of a lot of piles of documents. Also, there can be various confidential documents whose access should be kept from everyone. Keeping these documents secure is not a cakewalk with the traditional methods. Document management software could act as a boon for this problem. You can develop a cloud-based document management software that will help you manage all the required documents with secure access and permissions functionality.

4. Productivity Management Software:

The productivity management software will help you stay organized with tasks, documents, hearings, schedules, and much more. It will help you bill your clients, client management, accounting, calendaring, online payments, time & expense tracking, etc. Furthermore, the advocate office management system has various pricing options, allowing you to pick the best price point for your business without foregoing any critical services.

Read more: Law Firm Website Development Guide

Here are the primary benefits of using legal software in your law firm:

1. Automation:

There are plenty of repetitive tasks in the law industry that are not just time-consuming but also quite strenuous and that nobody in your staff team would want to do. For example, even a good-performing law student wishes to research cases or assist senior advocates but doesn’t want to spend his/her time on data entry. Bring automation through legal software that will exonerate your staff from all such manual, repetitive tasks.

2. Organization:

There are a plethora of facets involved in running a smooth and effective legal firm. A high commitment to administration and organization is always required, in which the other critical aspects may get overlooked. In short, small legal offices with limited resources and staff couldn’t sustain effective and quality organization levels. With legal software, you can make your firm organized. This decreases the amount of time your personnel must devote to arranging critical information while ensuring administrative systems work efficiently.

3. Task and Workflow Management:

Task and workflow management is a regular necessity in legal firms. With legal software, you can monitor the tasks assigned to each staff member or employee and check the updates of each task, remarks, etc. The solution updates completed tasks and notifies relevant parties of changes.

There will be no duplicate efforts in which multiple people are working on the same thing, wasting both time & money.

4. Accessibility:

Bureaucracy is probably the root cause of the slowness of the legal process – both internally and externally. Legal software provides immense benefits in this regard as it can ease delays caused by poor information access and exchange. With cloud-based legal software, any member of your team could get access to the information in real time. Most modern legal software solutions allow you to access information and work from anywhere. Mobile solutions enable your workforce to maximize their time by working from wherever. This can boost their responsiveness and productivity overall.

5. Collaboration:

The better access to information will ultimately result in better collaboration. As the clients, attorneys, and other parties would be on the same page, it would become much easier to work on a case more effectively. There will be much better communication, which will speed up bottlenecks and help overcome other obstacles.

6. Time Tracking:

Tracking time in a legal firm is directly linked to its revenue and overall profit. Your law firm has to track the time spent on a case and bill clients accordingly. It is also a great way to monitor the productivity and performance of the employees, which shows where your staff spends most of the time.

Another benefit is that the legal software could track time spent on each task. With a simple click, you can have all vital times available on your screen.

To help you understand what legal software is and how it can benefit your law firm, we have compiled a list of the top 5 legal software present in the market:

1. CLIO:

The CLIO legal management software is a cloud-based platform ideal for small to mid-size law firms. CLIO helps law firms manage legal files, cases, payments, invoices, deadline tracking, and much more. The dashboard is quite intuitive, whose glance will let you know about billable hours and track performance accordingly. The billing feature allows lawyers to manage fee structures, create custom bills, send bills through emails, manual timings entry, and other features.

2. My Case:

The USP of My Case legal software facilitates easy collaboration with clients, and users can access the required documents remotely. The communication is also carried out through a secure channel. Basically, it helps in communication, saves the time of meetings & phone calls, and allows employees to access documents. However, it offers limited API integrations, and importing contact information from other applications is also limited.

3. App4legal:

App4legal is an excellent software for both in-house legal departments and law firms. It has services for managing contacts, corporate law, managing documents, litigation cases, tracking hours, and managing tasks. Its customer portal enables attorneys to assign activities across their teams, facilitate client communication, plan events, and exchange calendars. With this platform, you can also manage invoices, record expenses, and track hours spent on each case.

4. PracticePanther:

PracticePanther brings automation to your manual legal tasks through any device. It highlights a client portal that facilitates the sharing of updates, documents, secure messaging, and task assignments, as well as an automated client onboarding procedure. The platform offers a CRM, hours tracking tool, billing, accounting, scheduling, managing emails, and task creation.

5. Filevine:

There are a lot of customization abilities in the Filevine legal software. You get features like case & matter management, lead management, document & contract management, e-signature services, and much more. The software manages tasks and deadlines automatically, freeing up time and streamlining legal companies’ operations. In order to enable real-time communication and updates among all members of the legal team, regardless of their location, it also features an activity feed tailored to individual clients and cases.

In every software, the features are divided into two categories: Admin Panel & Users, and legal software is no different. Let’s understand the essential features of each entity:

User Interface Features:

1. Dashboard:

Just a glance at the dashboard by the users will give information on all active cases, the status of each case, resource allocation, deadlines pending, upcoming deadlines, billing hours, appointments, etc.

2. Billing & Invoicing:

This feature will give full information on the finances of the firm, including the number of billable hours, view & download invoices, review expenses, and all other necessary information. There should be a secure payment system for settling outstanding invoices.

3. Calendar and Appointments:

This feature will showcase comprehensive information about your upcoming events on the calendar. It includes scheduled appointments, available slots for booking, and the ability to add, update, view, or remove appointments.

4. Task Management:

You can organize and track tasks related to your legal matters through this feature. It will inform you about the pending deadlines, assigned tasks, and progress of tasks.

5. Notification:

It will help you stay updated about important events and activities related to legal matters. You will get notifications for new messages or communications from the admin or staff members, ensuring timely responses and effective communication channels.

Admin Panel Features:

1. Search & Filters:

This will allow users to conduct quick searches to find the information in a few seconds. There will be intelligent suggestions on the basis of entered keywords and give faster and more relevant search results.

2. Client Management:

This module will let you create, view, and edit client information, ensuring accuracy and timeliness. It will also let you view client-submitted details through links, so you don’t have to spend time getting critical information.

3. Staff Management:

You can check staff details and can restrict their access to specific features or data. It simplifies staff communication for credentials and maintains account security. You can also assign tasks for each staff member.

4. Time Tracking:

Time tracking is a significant feature that lets you manage hours spent on each case, dates, and deadlines such as the open date and close, and much more. This feature ensures the timely completion of the tasks.

5. Tasks and Activities:

It helps in advanced task management and activity tracking. It gives you flexibility for managing tasks by adding, updating, and deleting tasks. It also includes a comprehensive list of case-related functions for clarity and organization.

6. Payment Management:

There should be comprehensive tools for payment tracking and management. You should be able to check payment statuses like received, pending, and due, which are readily available.

7. Calendar and Task Management:

It gives you a comprehensive solution for organizing appointments, court dates, deadlines, and tasks within the legal management software.

8. Notifications:

It will give you real-time updates on crucial events and activities across the practices. Users receive timely warnings for everything from case management duties and financial modifications to contacts between staff and clients. This ensures transparency, punctuality, and efficient job management.

The tech stack for legal software development depends upon your requirements and the type of legal software development you go for. Here is a general idea of the technologies and framework you require for legal software development:

Purpose
Tech Stack
Frontend DevelopmentAngularJS, VueJS, ReactJS, HTML5, CSS3

Backend Development
Java, Python, NodeJS, PHP
DatabaseMySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB

AI/ML

PyTorch, TensorFlow, Keras, Sckit-learn

NLP

Natural Language Toolkit, spaCy, Gensim

DevOps

Jenkins, GitLab CI, Docker, Kubernetes

Cloud

AWS, Microsoft Azure

Security

SSL/TSL protocols, OAuth 2.0, JWT

The legal software development is a meticulous process which involves multiple stages. Here is the step-by-step approach to legal software development:

1. Identify Your Business Requirements:

In the first step, you must have complete knowledge of your business, including processes to follow, what you want from legal software in your firm, how you will evaluate the ROI of the legal software and other aspects. Answering these questions will help you understand what exactly your business requirements are.

2. Selection of an experienced software development company:

This is the most critical step of your legal software development journey. The majority of your project success depends on the chosen company that provides the software development services. An experienced company will have the resources and vast experience, skill set, and professionalism. They will know the latest trends and will also understand your requirements to give you the best solution.

3. Focus on Features:

There are ample features that you can install in your legal software, but which are necessary ones, and which can be added later? You have to find which features you should begin with and what should be add-ons for a better experience. It will reduce not only the software development time but also the cost.

4. Follow the Agile Methodology:

The agile methodology has gained significant importance in software development as it offers a flexible and iterative approach to delivering high-quality software products quickly and efficiently.

Software testing is an essential phase of every software development in which the QAs find the existing bugs, performance issues, and other problems. They inform the responsible resources about these issues, and the designated person resolves them. The cycle repeats until there are no issues left in the legal software.

6. Maintenance and Updates:

After the legal software development, maintenance is required on a monthly or weekly basis to ensure the software is running accurately and performing at a high level. Also, if there are new features available to make the user experience better, these are installed as updates.

Read more: Top Software Testing Companies for QA Outsource

The legal software development cost depends on a plethora of factors, such as the complexity, features and functionalities, and location of the development team. Here, the location of the development team matters most as the other two factors are generally not changeable, but you have two options for the development team.

Suppose you hire a development team from North America or the European region, where the hourly rates of developers can lie between $90-$150 per hour. On the other side, if you choose development in Southeast Asian countries like India, you can get a development team at rates of $25-$50 per hour without compromising the quality of your legal software. That’s the reason why many companies across the world are choosing Indian software companies for their requirements.

Wrapping Up:

Custom legal software development will help your law firm in several ways. At Octal IT Solutions, the best software development company in India, we have a team of experts who have vast experience in software development. Please go through our software development services and let us know your requirements.

THE AUTHOR
Managing Director
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Arun Goyal is a tech enthusiast and experienced writer. He's known for his insightful blog posts, where he shares his expertise gained from years in the tech industry. Arun shares his knowledge and insights through engaging blog posts, making him a respected figure in the field.

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