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Breakdown of the Best Software For Lawyers [Examples]


Breakdown of the Best Software For Lawyers [Examples]

Table of Contents

If you’re a lawyer looking to stay ahead of the technology curve, review our breakdown of what kinds of software you should consider adopting in your work. Try out our recommended software within each bucket.

Software is an important part of any law firm, but especially important for solo or small firm owners looking to leanly manage both the administrative functions as well as the substantive legal work for their business. Below, we’ve shared various types of software to assist, whether it’s for running or managing the practice from a business perspective or for augmenting your legal capabilities. Within each bucket, you’ll find an overview of the software and its benefits, as well as a couple of specific products we’d recommend for your practice. 

Some of the software that’s been shared here is specific to the legal industry (such as case management software), while some of the other software shared is more industry-agnostic and can be helpful for and fitted to use in legal contexts (such as task management software). Each can provide tremendous value-add to your practice. 

For the Solo Practitioners and Small Law Firms

The software shared on this list for solo practitioners, individual lawyers, or small law firms has been included based on a variety of factors, including scope, price, and accessibility. There are many types of legal software and many examples of specific software that have not been included on this list given some of the above constraints. Instead, look out for a piece on the Best Software for Mid to Large-sized law firms for software relevant to those practitioners.  

If you’re a solo or small firm lawyer running your own practice and looking to stay ahead of the technology curve, review our breakdown of what kinds of software you should consider adopting in your work. 


Here’s all the software we recommend in more detail below.

For effectively managing and running your firm

Case management: Clio, Caret Legal

Billing: Timesolv, Bilr

Accounting: ZipBooks, LeanLaw

Time tracking: Buddy Punch, Time Analytics

Document management and legal intake: Gavel, Smokeball

Project management: HighQ, Smartsheet

CRM: Law Ruler, Lawmatics

For substantive work

Document automation: Gavel

Immigration: Imagility

Estate Planning: Estateably

Software for effectively managing and running your firm 

Managing the business side of a law firm is just as important (and can be just as time consuming) as the substantive legal work. That’s why it’s helpful to have tools in your tech stack to help streamline and optimize some of these processes, including case management, billing, and accounting. Such software can help automate key workflows, collect better data, create standard outputs, and prevent human error through automation. Though the list below provides software for key legal administrative needs, some may be legal specific, while others again may be more generic software that may be used in a law firm setting. 

Case management software for lawyers

Case management software is necessary for the smooth running of a law firm. It can help track case related details, documents, and deadlines. Software may include features for case management, time tracking (for billing), document assembly, contact and docket management, calendar and scheduling, conflict checks, and client communication, among other tasks.

With information easy to access and in one place, case management software can serve as the ‘single source of truth’ and greatly increase lawyer efficiency and productivity. It can also help attorneys provide better customer service to clients, as they can quickly share updates and answers to clients and be aware of any impending deadlines. A cloud based collaborative tool also allows for better communication and information sharing among internal teams, a need that continues to be pivotal for any organization, especially since COVID.

Examples of recommended software include: 

Clio: A feature rich management tool for small firms and solos, to manage cases, clients, data, documents, bills, time tracking, and accounting  

Caret Legal (previously known as Zola Suite): Case management system with accounting software and integrated email 

Billing software for lawyers

Billing software is designed to help law firms and individual attorneys manage their billing and invoicing processes. Billing software allows lawyers to more effectively and accurately collect and track hours and can also assist in accounting for different billing models, including retainers, discounts, and differing rates. It can save time in processing bills, as it automates the bill preparation and invoicing processes. 

Billing software is also oftentimes coupled with case management software, which allows for easy management of client data, case information, and billing all in one palace. Automated invoices ensure that clients receive accurate, standard, and well organized bills. Other features in billing software may include: expense tracking, retainer management, reporting and analytics, and other features. Many legal billing software solutions offer features to ensure compliance with ethical rules and regulations related to billing and client funds management.

Recommended billing software for solos and small firms includes: 

Timesolv: Cost-effective and highly ranked billing software for all size firms

Bilr: Billing software with AI capabilities 

Accounting and trust accounting software for lawyers

Accounting software is designed to help law firms and legal professionals manage their financial transactions, bookkeeping, and accounting processes. Legal specific accounting software can be tailored to the unique needs and requirements of legal practices, addressing the intricacies of client billing, trust accounting, expense tracking, and financial reporting.

Accounting software can help lawyers keep accurate records and make better business decisions with an up to date and comprehensive picture of their financial transactions. The software can also help prevent any errors in data entry and calculations.  

Accounting software may also include trust accounting functionalities. Trust accounting software (or accounting software with trust accounting functionalities) helps attorneys track and manage funds held in trust for clients, separately from law firm operational funds and in compliance with ethical requirements. 

Examples of billing software include: 

ZipBooks: Affordable accounting software, with free plan option

LeanLaw: Accounting software built on QuickBooks; also has ability to separately manage trust accounts

Time tracking software for lawyers

Lawyers are largely beholden to the hourly model and thus need software to help track and classify time spent on each task for each specific client. That time is then appropriately shared with and billed to clients. Time tracking software assists attorneys in tracking, recoding, and managing time spent on these various tasks and client matters. It’s essential for ensuring that lawyers are appropriately compensated and clients are fairly and accurately billed. 

If you’re managing others in your firm, billing software can also be a helpful tool for resource management and allocation, as others track and share their own hours. It also allows for greater efficiency, as it gives a clear picture of how time is spent to make better decisions on which processes may be streamlined, augmented, or completely removed. Time tracking software may also integrate with or be included in billing software to create a seamless experience between time tracking and billing. 

Examples of software include:

Buddy Punch: Easy to use time tracking software, especially for firms without a dedicated IT team

Time Analytics: Software for small and medium sized firms, especially to track and improve productivity 

Document management software for lawyers

Document management software allows attorneys to organize, store, manage, and collaborate on documents and files related to their legal work. The firm’s DMS may also include: version and access control, email integration, and automated workflows. 

Document management software ensures that documents and emails are properly organized into the relevant client matter folders, for easy retrieval and access later or sharing with team members. With version control, changes can be easily tracked and older versions may be retrieved for other uses. Key to lawyers is the security of the documents. Since client documents include some of the most sensitive data at the firm, The DMS ensures secure storage, compliance with any regulatory requirements or client preferences, and that conflicts of interest are adhered to. It can also provide audit trails and proper archival of documents. 

For smaller firms, a couple of options stand out, including:

Gavel: Gavel’s platform allows you to store and share documents with other team members and clients within a robust document automation platform

Smokeball: Document management system that also has time tracking and practice management capabilities

Project management software for lawyers

As a lawyer, you’re likely managing multiple cases, matters, or transactions all at once. To better track your workload and manage the day to day tasks for those matters, cases, and transactions, it may be helpful to consider project management software. 

Project management software generally offers the ability to create and share task lists, see project details at a high level, assign responsibilities, share documents, and even automate workflows (like sending for review, reminders prior to deadlines, etc.). Software ranges in capability and functionalities, but largely should be helpful in helping coordinating and managing tasks for individual or group use. 

Two helpful examples include: 

HighQ: Legal business and operations management software for document sharing and task management 

SmartSheet: Excel-like web based tool to track projects, automate workflows, and collaborate 

CRM software for lawyers

CRM (client relationship management) software allows users to manage and build client relationships with existing and new clients. It essentially creates a database of clients and their contact information, allowing for easier tracking and managing of all client communications. With a CRM system, you have a clear view of not just who you work with, but what they need, who their competitors are, where they’re located, and much more - information that can help you best understand and meet client needs. With the ability to follow up on leads, a CRM system is also helpful in bringing in new business, 

Key functionalities of a CRM system include database of client contacts, referral trackers, business development and marketing materials, conflict checks, and more. Two popular options for solos or small firm owners include: 

Law Ruler: CRM software with AI capabilities for automating client intake, marketing, and practice management

Lawmatics: CRM and marketing platform built specifically for law firms 

Software for helping with substantive work 

The second part of this article touches on software that may be helpful in augmenting the legal work done by solo or small firm owners. Included below are tools that may be useful both in specific practice areas or across groups. 

Document automation software 

Document automation is the process of using software to streamline and standardize the document creation, modification, and replication process. 

Gavel: Our recommendation is Gavel, a highly ranked, easy to use and feature rich document automation software. With Gavel, you’re able to build complex legal documents, automate workflows and documents, and share documents through client specific portals. It’s client-facing functionality sets it apart, with a clean intake process that delights law firm clients. If you’d like to outsource the building of forms or documents, you can have one of Gavel’s specialists do the heavy lifting. 

While document automation is practice agnostic, a number of practice-specific platforms have emerged to allow for management of practice-specific clients, matters, and relevant documents, as well as the creation and population of documents all in one place. A couple of practices that lend themselves well to such platforms are immigration and estate planning. Both are form-heavy (often court or government forms) practices which benefit from such optimization and efficiency. 

Again, while Gavel is a great option for document creation, generation, and management for these practice areas, we’ve provided practice-specific recommendations as well. 

Immigration software for lawyers

Imagility: An end-to-end cloud based software for immigration attorneys, that allows for case and practice management, as well as the ability to build and analyze petitions, forms, and RFEs, among other features 

Estate planning software for lawyers

Estateably: All in one task management, document automation, and collaboration, platform that allows for automation of probate and trust administration, accounting, and much more 

Document review / E-discovery software

If you run a litigation heavy practice, it’s likely that a considerable amount of time is spent on document review during the discovery phase of a potential or impending legal proceeding. If you’re juggling multiple matters or practice areas, it can be difficult to make time for time-consuming tasks like document review. Document review software can help expedite the process by helping to manage, search, identify, review, and analyze electronic documents shared in the context of a litigation. 

e-Discovery software not only reduces the time spent on document review, but can also make the process more accurate, consistent, and scalable, allowing for greater review in less time and removing areas of human error. Teams can also collaborate remotely through the software. Certain software can also help visualize data and find key trends to build a stronger strategy.

Software we recommend for smaller firms and solos includes:  

Logikull: Easy to use e-discovery software for varying levels of technical expertise 

Everlaw: Feature rich eDiscovery software for more complex litigation

Transaction management software

If your practice is focused on transactional law, you (or a more junior associate) is likely spending a considerable amount of time managing the transaction, through checklists, status updates, sharing and reviewing documents, etc. In addition, much time is spent on administrative tasks such as preparing and sending out signature page packets and then collating fully executed documents and closing binders. 

Transaction management software can help better manage the process by helping create spaces for standardized checklists, status sharing, and collaborating. By automating tasks such as the creation of signature page packets or closing binders, it can also help make the process more efficient, allowing attorneys to spend time on more substantive tasks or free up time to bring in more clients. Automation of such tasks can also help create standard deliverables across the firm. 

Examples of transaction management software include:  

SimplyAgree: Legal transaction management software which offers assistance in generating and creating signature pages, as well as closing binders

Legatics: Legal transaction management software with heavy focus on banking and finance and capital markets transactions 

Software to source freelance talent for your firm 

As a solo or small firm owner, you may have periods where you need extra manpower to pick up additional case loads or may need to find individuals with specific expertise for new matter types. There may also be periods where you might be interested in picking up extra work, given a smaller caseload. Using freelance or part time talent allows you to call on or be part of a pool of talented lawyers to meet fluctuating needs. Talent can often be hired on a project or hourly basis, depending on the platform, as well as the consistency of your needs. 

A number of platforms now exist to source talent or additional work - some focused specifically on legal and others more broad (such as Upwork). Examples include: 

Lawclerk: Platform to hire talent on an hourly, subscription, or project basis. 

Lawtrades: Source talent on a project by project basis for both transactional and litigation needs. 

Which software should you select?

We hope the list shared above is helpful in providing an overview of the types of software that may help solos and small firms more effectively run law firms. While we’ve provided a couple of recommendations for each category, there’s no one-size-fits-all “best” option. To select a software for your firm or organization, it’s best to evaluate each tool with your specific needs in mind. Consider: 

  • Practice areas of focus at your firm
  • Size of your organization 
  • Size of your client base
  • Your specific use cases and relevant functionalities in each software 
  • Cost and budgets 
  • Resources and customer support features
  • User-friendliness of the tool

We can help you figure this out - just sign up for a demo of Gavel and learn if it suits your needs.

Accelerate document management and automation with Gavel!

We’re biased, but Gavel is our winning option for many of the use cases listed above, but specifically for document automation and management. Built by and for lawyers, at Gavel, we understand your specific needs and use cases, and our aim is to make it easy to get as much of your process automated as possible. If there is logic you want embedded into your documents, we can likely do it. 

User-friendly platform and features, robust functionality, and a marketplace of pre-built applications makes Gavel a great option for many organizations. 

As our clients say, “This is the best software ever. I think every law firm in America should use it.“

If you’re ready to start building, get started with a free trial of Gavel today.

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