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    Essential Tools for Solo and Small Firm Success

    Essential Tools for Solo and Small Firm Success

      Whether you're just hanging a shingle for the first time or have managed a small or solo law firm for decades, you want to ensure you have the right software tools for the job. The right software solutions allow you to save time, improve client satisfaction, and boost your bottom line.

      But that doesn’t mean you have to shell out the big bucks for supercharged software that touts all the latest industry fads or does more than you need.  

      It also doesn’t mean you have to invest tons of time in learning a complicated new system when what you need is one that streamlines your work and lets you focus on the important thing: providing excellent client service. 

      So how do you support your small or solo law firm’s daily operations and foster growth? Let’s look at some basic tools you can take advantage of now (while leaving breathing room for you to scale and add features as you need them).  

      9 core tools to help your solo or small firm succeed 

      Want to know one of the best-kept secrets of running a successful law firm? Staying profitable requires staying on top of a seemingly constant onslaught of administrative work.

      Fortunately, there are legal-specific technologies to streamline the administrative processes so you can stay focused on practicing law.  

      #1 Simple time and billing 

      As a small or solo law firm, every dime—and minute—matters. You don’t have a surplus of either one. With this in mind, some solo and small law firms hesitate to invest in timekeeping and billing tools and processes. But these basic administrative tasks are important for compliance, billing accuracy, and business planning, no matter the size of your firm. 

      Instead of skipping them altogether, or worse, resorting to a pile of paper receipts and scribbled calendar entries, choose simple tools that allow you to track and bill for your time. Don’t waste it with overly complicated interfaces that aren’t designed for the way attorneys work.  

      Look for options that allow you to track time right from your email application or Word documents and bill for your tracked time easily, thanks to integrations with programs like QuickBooks. 

      #2 Customizable invoicing 

      For law firms of any size, a good reputation and steady stream of referrals is a powerful currency that can be used to attract new clients and improve cash flow. And providing your clients with accurate, easy-to-understand invoices is a great way to achieve both.  

      Customizable invoicing allows you to draft detailed invoices that reflect the services you provide and make their value clear to clients. When clients feel confident that they’re being charged fairly and transparently for legal work, they’re often willing to remit payment more quickly. They’re also much more likely to recommend your firm to others.

      #3 Edit in billing mode 

      “Billing department” who?  

      At solo and small law firms, a single person is typically responsible for entering time entries and generating invoices. This can make billing a time-consuming and error-prone process, especially when frequent changes are necessary.  

      Software that allows you to make edits to time entries and invoices directly in billing mode without having to re-enter the data saves you time and protects your bottom line by ensuring that invoices are accurate. 

      #4 Conflict checking 

      By their nature, small and solo firms tend to work with smaller pools of clients and a wider range of practice areas. Conflicts of interest often arise under these conditions, but as you’re well aware, smaller firms have less capacity to screen for them manually.  

      Simple conflict checking software can flag potential conflicts of interest from your first contact with a prospective client, helping you safeguard your current clients’ best interests—and your firm’s reputation—more effectively.    

      #5 Client and matter trust accounting 

      Client and matter trust accounting is as complex as it is crucial. The ABA and state bar associations require attorneys to take very specific steps to protect client funds from misappropriation. 

      Many firms with low case counts attempt to handle client and matter trust accounting manually to save money, but this approach could set your firm up for disaster. Not only does manual trust accounting take time you don’t have to spare, but it also increases the likelihood of human error. 

      And while even the largest legal practice is rarely well prepared for the consequences of an ethics violation, small and solo firms like yours have even less liquidity to cover resulting damages or fight malpractice suits.  

      Fortunately, affordable client and matter trust accounting software is available to automate the process and keep your clients’ money—and your firm’s compliance—protected.

      Streamline Cash Flows and Get Paid Faster with Rocket Matter Pay

      Law firms have plenty of good reasons to offer online credit card processing:

      • Faster, more reliable payments
      • Less administrative time spent processing checks and reconciling books
      • Offering clients the payment options they actually prefer
      • But why have so many firms chosen not to take advantage of all the benefits of credit card processing?

      #6 Advanced evergreen retainer 

      Running a solo or small law firm can feel like a bit of a catch-22. You need to complete legal work to get paid, but you need to get paid in order to take on more legal work. This can be a difficult cycle to break without the right resources.  

      Implementing evergreen retainers helps you ensure a healthy cash flow by collecting a predictable amount of money from clients on a regular, recurring basis. Less time and mental energy is required to keep up with billing, so you can focus more on caring for your clients. 

      #7 Document assembly 

      When there’s only one of you and dozens of documents in need of completion, productivity can come to a screeching halt. That is, if you don’t have document assembly tools.

      Document assembly tools streamline the document creation process and free up your time so you can focus on other important tasks. Modern legal technology allows you to put together contracts, litigation documents, wills, trusts, and more in a matter of minutes.  

      Drafting documents based on well-vetted templates also reduces typos and human errors that could send you back to the drawing board.  

      #8 Client Portal 

      Your clients need to stay informed. And you need to stay focused on billable work. A client portal makes this possible by allowing you to share documents and information with your clients securely online. 

      Uploading case files and other important documents to one central, secure location is both faster and more secure than sending them via email or snail mail. This increased efficiency and convenience can improve client relations and even make it easier for you to keep track of case information.  

      #9 Integration with Outlook, QuickBooks, and more 

      At a small or solo law firm, seamlessly sharing information between software applications is more than convenient—it’s essential. You simply don’t have the time to bounce between several screens to complete the dozens of daily tasks necessary to keep your firm running profitably.  

      Integrations allow your software programs to work together, eliminating the need to switch screens or manually transfer data into multiple applications, which preserves hours of your time each week for more critical thought work.  

      All of the basics and beyond 

      Rocket Matter’s essentials tier offers all of the basic tools you need to run your solo or small law firm efficiently, profitably, and ethically. It has more than a dozen time-saving features you can use right away to get started—all in one platform. 

      When you’re ready to scale up, Rocket Matter is ready to serve with professional-grade tools to take your legal practice to the next level. 

      Advanced customizations 

      Tailor your software to meet your firm’s specific needs.  

      Sophisticated reporting 

      Track your firm's performance and identify actionable opportunities for improvement with data that drives your firm forward. Matter dashboards give you a bird’s eye view of your projects. 

      Advanced automation and workflows 

      Save time and improve efficiency by automating redundant tasks. Matter templates, workflows and project management, and Kanban boards are just a few of the offerings. 

      Advanced billing with interest, discount, and taxes 

      Bill clients with even greater detail and flexibility.  

      File-sharing and eSignature 

      Share documents with clients securely and collect electronic signatures with ease. 

      See how Rocket Matter leads to higher profits and happier clients.  

      Rocket Matter is designed with law firms in mind and has three tiers to choose from so that you can choose exactly the services you need. For solo and small firms with limited resources, it’s like an incredibly capable assistant; it’s always there for you and ready to make your life a whole lot easier. Try us for free, or schedule a personalized demo today!

      Streamline Cash Flows and Get Paid Faster with Rocket Matter Pay

      Law firms have plenty of good reasons to offer online credit card processing:

      • Faster, more reliable payments
      • Less administrative time spent processing checks and reconciling books
      • Offering clients the payment options they actually prefer
      • But why have so many firms chosen not to take advantage of all the benefits of credit card processing?

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