Small law firms never have enough people, time, or money. It’s hard to decide which technology investments will really pay off, and it’s often very tempting to just keep doing things the same old way. But one of our best decisions was adding Firm Central practice management software. Here are 10 ways it’s made my life easier.
1. It saves (nonbillable) time
Before Firm Central, we’d spend a lot of time getting a new client in the system, filing documents with the courthouse, and preparing paperwork for the attorney. Firm Central has cut the process to about five minutes. And because we can sort all of our information by client, court, and even prosecutor, it’s helping our attorney use time wisely too. For example, the attorney can now discuss several of our cases at once with a prosecutor.
2. We don’t miss anything
In criminal law, you can’t miss an important date or forget to file a document, or your client could face a warrant or go to jail. Firm Central Deadline Assistant helps us keep all of our court dates and meetings organized so we don’t miss anything.
3. Access from anywhere
Attorneys need to be able to look at information from places other than the office. If they’re in court they can’t go back to their desk or ask an assistant to tell them about a document or piece of evidence over the phone. With Firm Central, we have a mobile office where everything is in one place and we can access it from any desktop, laptop, or smartphone – even from court.
4. Better record keeping and tracking
I can easily save PDF documents to Firm Central; then when I e-file, I can go to the matter, choose the document, and send it on its way. Attorneys can also note the progress of a case in the matter file, which helps me track it.
5. A simpler work process
Firm Central makes it so much easier to integrate all of your tasks into one smooth system that really saves time and hassle. For example, you can save Westlaw research and emails about a matter directly to the file for it. The note box within each matter is so easy to use; I can just click it and type while I talk with the client by phone. You can also send documents and messages – securely – using the Client Portal directly from Firm Central.
6. Easy to find and analyze information
Even if a matter has been closed, you can easily find it if something else crops up with the same client, then add the new information to the file. I can also filter information to see only what I need to see: open matters, closed matters, contact information, or cases involving a certain prosecutor.
7. Easy to learn
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to make Firm Central work. It’s intuitive; you don’t need a training manual to figure out how to get to a document, or where to list your notes or tasks. The main page makes it so easy.
8. Terrific support
The training and onboarding was fabulous. Thomson Reuters even hooked me up with one person to call anytime I had a question. One of our attorneys really liked the old way of doing things, so we worked as a team to provide ways of doing things he would be okay with.
9. Confidence and security
Our senior partner had some concerns about the security of being on the cloud. But Thomson Reuters helped increase our comfort level. Firm Central is a very secure legal practice management solution and it comes from a well-respected company with a great track record.
10. Helps us compete
A small firm must look every bit as professional as the big law firm around the corner. When a client sees sticky notes, messy desks, and paper piles, it implies a certain lack of professionalism. With Firm Central, everything’s there and our office and matters are organized so we can answer questions quickly.