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July 25, 2023

Law firm software comparison: Select the right software

Law firms today have an enormous selection of law firm software at their disposal. But how do you find the right software among these different options that meets all the important requirements? In the following, we provide a few tips and aids for selecting law firm software and present a comparison of current law firm software solutions.

How can a software simplify day-to-day operations in a law firm?

The proper law firm software optimizes various processes in a law firm. For example, automated processes can take over recurring tasks such as document creation or invoicing. Sample forms can also be used accordingly. If, for example, there are several orders for one client, the data record can be entered once and used for the various files. This saves valuable time and ensures more efficient processes.

Another feature is centralized data management and record keeping: all important information and documents can be properly stored in a central location, making them accessible to employees. More efficient communication with clients and colleagues can also be done easily via email, chat or video conference. In addition, law firm software enables the monitoring of tasks. Special features help track the progress and status of tasks and projects and meet deadlines.

Data security also can be improved with the help of law firm software. There are often advanced security features that help protect and secure confidential information and data. Finally, law firm software can increase the efficiency of a law firm as well as reduce the need for manual paperwork or manual intervention.

What circumstances bring a law firm to digitization?

Some circumstances force digitization, others spur you to make old processes more modern. The mandatory use of the "special electronic lawyer's mailbox" (beA) is forcing lawyers to introduce digital structures in their firm. If clients use the latest technology, this can be another reason for expanding their own IT infrastructure. A voluntary reason, on the other hand, is the practice of new work models that enable mobile working or working from a home office. But the desire to increase efficiency in the law firm or to take advantage of new automation trends are also frequent reasons for purchasing or updating law firm software.

What should a good law firm software be able to do?

A good legal software should provide various practice-oriented features and applications. These include:

  • Communication: An integrated communication platform that allows users to communicate easily and efficiently with clients and colleagues should be available.
  • Automated processes: The law firm software supports the automation of recurring tasks, such as invoice creation and mailing, to minimize time as well as errors.
  • Data Access: The legal software features a user-friendly interface that allows users to quickly and easily access and utilize data.
  • Document Management: The software provides an efficient system for managing documents, including archiving, organizing, and tracking documents.
  • Time Management: An integrated time management system that enables users to track their work hours and tasks and meet deadlines is fundamental.
  • Financial Management and Accounting: Functionalities for managing invoices, fees, and payments are also among the basic requirements.
  • Client Management: The software should also offer an integrated system for managing client data, including contact information, documents, and financial data. This enhances visibility, prevents errors, and improves communication.
  • Control: An efficient workflow and automated processes allow you to focus on important tasks and personal client interactions. This saves costs, relieves staff, and strengthens client retention.

The modern features not only optimize operations and make your work easier but also make you as an employer more attractive for the future.

On-Premise or Cloud: Which option is suitable for which law firm?

While the On-Premise option is installed on-site hardware, the Cloud option involves outsourcing data to an external server. There are two main options for the Cloud: the Public Cloud, where the law firm uses a provider's server, and the Private Cloud, where the law firm operates its own server in a data center.

For law firms with limited staff resources, a Cloud software solution is often a good choice. On the other hand, On-Premise software is best suited for firms with a well-established IT infrastructure and trained personnel. As a result, the On-Premise option is often recommended for larger law firms. The choice of law firm software ultimately depends on priorities and individual requirements.

Comparing law firm software: Three examples of future-ready Software

advoware: For small to medium-sized law firms

The legal software, advoware, is provided by Advo-web GmbH. It is available as both a cloud-based or on-premise solution. The software utilizes a client-server architecture and a central database technology, which means tasks are distributed within a network, and every client or computer with this software can access the relevant data.

Advoware offers a particularly high level of user-friendliness through its task overview. Users can view new entries and tasks, track deadlines, and display templates, among other features. It is also useful for moving emails into the corresponding files without having to save them first. Standard workflows can be customized to save time. Advoware has an interface to the beA (German special electronic mailbox for lawyers) and supports electronic legal communication (EGVP).

Advoware can be used with both Windows and Linux operating systems. Support is available online as well as over the phone.

WinMacs: For medium to large law firms

This law firm software is a product of Rummel AG. WinMacs is a flexible and expandable software that includes special functions for criminal and family law, as well as traffic law. It is also available as cloud-based law firm software. Therefore, it is suitable for law firms of all sizes but is particularly beneficial for smaller and medium-sized firms. A clear and intuitively usable interface with a calendar and daily overviews supports the digital workflow and helps with law firm organization. Deadlines and tasks can be easily tracked. WinMacs uses data recorded in files and generates automated letters. Additionally, menus and input fields can be configured individually.

The software is suitable for data-intensive clients and allows for mobile work.

WinMacs functions on computers with all common Windows operating systems. It has an interface to beA, and synchronization with MS Outlook is possible. The provider offers various support functions, including telephone and on-site training as well as online support.

Lexolution: For large law firms or legal departments 

Lexolution is a law firm software developed by STP. It is designed for consulting and large law firms and is offered as both an on-premise version and as a managed service. A cloud-based front end is possible for document management. The legal software offers a variety of modules for efficient law firm management, such as client acceptance with conflict checks or a dashboard for performance tracking. The advantages of mobile use, such as mobile time tracking or mobile document management, make this software attractive. This ensures that more billable hours are recorded. Roles can be distributed within the system, taking into account Chinese Walls. Agreed types of services are automatically validated. Best practice processes are available and can be adapted individually.

Lexolution works on all common Windows operating systems, as well as tablets and mobile phones. It has a beA interface and an Outlook interface. As the software was developed with the input of lawyers, it includes features like 24/7 client service on the web. Additionally, the provider regularly offers training and online sessions.

Law firm Software comparison: Independent Vendor Matrix

Research in Action regularly surveys over 10,000 IT and business executives to gain insights into strategies, investments, and challenges related to technology innovation in IT and marketing automation. This survey forms the basis for the so-called Vendor Selection Matrix™. For the current report on the top Legal Tech solutions, the analysts surveyed 750 lawyers and partners in the DACH region. In the detailed investigation, law firm software providers with the best customer reviews were considered.

The assessment includes evaluations of strategic alignment with vision and marketing, innovation and differentiation, stability and revenue strength, along with the recommendation index. Additionally, the breadth and depth of the solution portfolio, market share, growth potential, and price-performance ratio are evaluated and presented.

stp-vendor-selection-matrix-image-480 (1)

In this Vendor Matrix, the provider STP, with its law firm management solutions Lexolution, WinMacs and Advoware  has performed the best: 'STP, due to a series of acquisitions (e.g., Winmacs and Advoware), offers several law firm software solutions in the market. The current portfolio coverage and future portfolio direction are very strong. Law firms particularly appreciate STP's customer-oriented approach. In our survey, customers gave STP the highest scores for both customer satisfaction and value for money.' From this, the analysts infer a fundamental claim to leadership: 'STP excels in expertise in digitizing law firm processes and has a deep understanding of current and future customer requirements. As a result, the company achieves high customer satisfaction and is positioned to establish itself as a long-term leader in the law firm software market.'

Other major providers such as HAUFE, WOLTERS KLUWER, DATEV, LEGALVISIO, RA-MICRO, or ACTAPORT scored lower in terms of customer satisfaction, innovation, and vision in this Legal Tech analysis compared to STP.

Download complete Research-In-Action Vendor-Matrix comparison


These key questions help in selecting the right law firm Software

A list of helpful questions can assist in choosing the appropriate software. You should definitely consider these questions:

  • Do I want a cloud or on-premise solution for my law firm?
  • What data protection measures does the software provide?
  • Can existing data be transferred securely? What interfaces does it have? Can it be integrated with accounting software, for example?
  • What support services are offered by the provider (error reporting, updates, new features)?
  • How flexible is the legal software? Can it be used on mobile devices?
  • What options for communication exist within the program in terms of teamwork, email communication, etc.?
  • In what ways does the new software differ from the one currently in use?
  • What problems should the new law firm software address?

When it comes to selecting and purchasing software, it's important to avoid these critical mistakes

Finding the right software can be a cumbersome process. Additionally, software that is used and recommended by colleagues may not be suitable for your law firm. Therefore, it's crucial not to make hasty decisions and instead think long-term. Ensure that the chosen law firm software not only meets your current needs but is also expandable to accommodate future requirements.

Unclear requirements should be avoided. It's essential to clearly define your software needs and verify whether the law firm software meets them.

Consider integration capabilities and interfaces. A good software can be integrated with other programs to make workflows more efficient and save time. For example, does the law firm software have an interface to beA (German special electronic mailbox for lawyers)?

Furthermore, assess the law firm software for relevant data privacy and security requirements. When dealing with sensitive data, data security must be guaranteed. Pay special attention to §43e of the BRAO (processing of personal data by a service provider) and GDPR Article 28 (processing of personal data by third parties). Additionally, consider involving a data protection officer when your law firm reaches a size of 20 employees or more.

Involve your employees in the selection process. This promotes the acceptance of the chosen law firm software and conveys appreciation to your staff. This approach can help prevent making a poor purchase decision.

Finally, it's important to closely examine the support and training options provided by the vendor. Comprehensive training offerings and reliable support are essential requirements for good law firm software, both during the initial phase and when dealing with potential problems at a later stage.

Law Firm Software Comparison: How Much Does Software Cost?

The price of law firm software depends on various factors, such as the number of features. Law firm software is typically available in the form of a subscription. In general, on-premise solutions are more expensive overall because they require hardware and the support of IT consultants. Support and training options may vary in cost depending on the provider.

Conclusion: Law Firm Software Comparison

There is no mandatory requirement to use law firm software. However, its use offers several advantages, including streamlined collaboration, assistance with routine tasks, and helpful support in adapting the workplace to new working hour models.

Does your software meet all the requirements you have for it? If not, consider switching to a different law firm software. A transition can be a complex process, but avoiding or delaying the change will cost you more in the long run in terms of stress and money. When choosing law firm software, rely on a partner who offers various training and regular sessions – no software is self-explanatory! With the right software and support from your provider, you can launch your law firm into the digital age successfully.