Tag Archives: law practice management software
As a family law attorney, you are a product. You may not like to think of yourself as in the same category as a screwdriver or a pair of pants, but from a consumer point of view that’s what you are. Prospective clients need to believe your services have value, and divorce settlement software enhances your education and experience to maximize what you have to offer.
Do You Add Value To A Divorce?
Although it is possible for a divorcing couple to file all the papers in a divorce, that is rarely if ever a good idea even if the split is amicable. Spouses unaware of their rights may agree to a deal that seems fair on the surface but proves to be unrealistic down the road. Or they might hammer out an agreement but have it rejected by a judge because they filed the wrong forms.
Divorcing couples are often overwhelmed by the legal processes, but family law attorneys aren’t. You can spot problems in agreements, apprise your client of property and support rights, and act as mediator in what is often an emotional debate. Your value comes from years of experience and familiarity with the confusing maze of state and federal laws that govern divorce, property settlement and child support. But is that enough?
Be the Best Attorney You Can Be
So you’ve established you provide a valuable service to a divorcing spouse. Well, so does the law firm across the street. Law, like any business, is competitive and you need an edge. You need an advantage over that other firm, and that advantage can be the right divorce legal software.
Leveraging technology lets you make the most out of your personal and professional skills. Your strengths are in your knowledge of the law and your ability to negotiate a fair deal with opposing counsel, not paperwork and bookkeeping. Use law practice management software to take control over your firm, automate and accelerate case handling, and provide better service to your clients.
If you are still completing divorce paperwork by hand then it’s time you invested in a tool that will remove the tedium without removing your control over the outcome. If you are already using software, then you should be sure you are using the best solution on the market. Download a free family law software demo of Divorce Financials and try it for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Technology has helped streamline the modern law practice, but software tools can hurt your firm if used incorrectly. Legal billing and accounting software like Easy TimeBill gives you the option of emailing invoices to your clients, but should you?
Emailed invoices have a number of advantages for your practice:
- Low Cost - No cost for paper, envelopes, stamps or printer toner.
- Fast – Bulk billing allows you to send out all the month’s invoices generated by attorney time and billing software through email with a quick click. You can send late payment reminders just as easily.
- Environmentally Responsible – Save a few trees, not to mention sparing the environment all those nasty chemicals used in the paper manufacturing industry.
- Please Your Clients – Some clients simply don’t like old-fashioned paper invoices. With so many of us handling all our financial transactions on our computers, it’s easier to respond to an email invoice than a paper one.
With all those advantages it seems like email invoices are the way to go. Not necessarily. There are a few disadvantages to emailed bills.
- Easy To Ignore – There is something substantial about paper, something that demands our attention and makes a printed invoice harder to forget. In addition we are deluged with far more email each day than paper mail, so it’s easy for an invoice to end up in a spam folder or simply be overlooked.
- Insecure – Email is not a secure method of transmission and can be intercepted during delivery. Never include information such as a credit card number or Social Security number that could lead to theft of a client’s identity.
So which should you use? One option is to let your clients choose. Easy TimeBill time and billing software for lawyers can handle both formats so you can decide from client to client, or even matter to matter, whether you prefer emailed or printed invoices.
When clients get behind in their payments, we suggest sending paper bills even to your clients who prefer email due to the “easy to ignore” reason cited above. You could even send both an email invoice and a printed one to be sure you get the client’s attention.
Easy Soft’s law practice management software has been designed for the convenience of both attorneys and their clients. Download a demo of Easy TimeBill to try out our email billing and see if it is a service you want to add to your practice.
Trust account funds must be managed and maintained separately but it is neither practical nor cost effective to open separate accounts. One reason for this is the need to receive or remit monies on multiple matters in one check. Easy TimeBill attorney time and billing software with the optional Easy Trust module allows you to deposit or withdraw funds at the matter level while still minimizing the number of transactions between your practice and other entities.
As an example, let’s say you manage an escrow fund that is an interface between insurance brokers and an insurance company. Each matter needs to be administered separately and yet the insurance company isn’t going to want to deal with multiple checks. So if 100 brokers each make a premium payment, you deposit the premiums into the escrow and then write one check to the insurance company. In the process you need to be able to look at each individual broker account in the escrow software and see both the deposit and the withdrawal.
Separate Accounts Make More Problems
Some practices try to maintain a bank account for each escrow, believing that will prevent accidental payments of one matter’s expenses from another matter’s funds. While this might seem like a good idea, in practice it is an administrative nightmare. In the example above you would have to write 100 checks to the insurance company, one from each account. Although the record keeping would be easy, the cost in both time and materials to create, print and mail 100 checks would be unreasonable.
One Account, Multiple Matters
If all your trusts are in a single bank account then, after depositing the premium checks from the brokers, you can write one check to the insurance company. Would that make tracking each separate trust impossible? Not at all.
Managing multiple matters in a single bank account is easy with legal billing and accounting software. You can view the account as a whole but you can also view each matter’s transaction as though it were a distinct bank account. When you enter a withdrawal into Easy Trust, you select the matters that the monies should come from. You can either enter distinct amounts for each matter, or apply the same amount to all selected matters with one click. You can even select “All” to easily deduct funds from all trust accounts.
In reality, law practice management software actually makes it easier to administer a single escrow account with multiple matters than to manage separate accounts. Try a demo of Easy TimeBill and Easy Trust, or try the full products risk-free for 30 days so you can see how simple trust management is with the right tools.
The May/June 2013 edition of Law Practice magazine had an article entitled “Future-Proofing Your Law Firm” that gave some good advice for the modern law practice. We are going to take the key points the writer made and show how they apply to Easy Soft’s legal billing and accounting software.
1) Behave as if it were all about the clients, because it is. This is easy to forget when using the latest computer tools. Technology should give you more time with a client because you can do things more quickly, not put up an impersonal barrier between you and the rest of the world.
2) Ignore technology advances at your peril. Business technology is not about cool gadgets. It’s about productivity. Time and billing software for lawyers simplifies the administrative details and allows you to use your time more efficiently. To quote the article, “…you cannot take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that other lawyers can do in a minute, whether you bill that time or not.”
3) Have a better answer for “What will the total cost be?” You might prefer the billable hour pricing model but clients don’t. They want to know the cost up front. Your office can use time and billing software to analyze expenses and set flat fees that reflect the time you are likely to spend. You can set up both flat fee and billable hour models so you have the flexibility to match your billing to the complexity of a matter.
4) Know your word processor. This doesn’t apply to Easy TimeBill but some of our other law practice management software products include document generation tools.
5) Pay attention! Technology changes quickly and our products change as well. For example our latest generation of attorney time and billing software embraces the cloud computing model that went from an interesting theory to an essential IT model over just a few years.
6) Be both efficient and effective. Our software tools don’t just help you work faster; they help you work better. Use your time more effectively and provide better service to your clients.
7) Growth cannot be infinite. You can’t depend on finding new clients to meet your revenue needs. Instead you can use technology to lower your costs and improve profits without needing to expand.
8) Image isn’t everything, but it is something. Happy clients are free advertising. Use billing software for lawyers to produce high-quality invoices, minimize embarrassing billing errors and present a professional image.
Use technology such as lawyer billing software as part of an overall, future-proofed business model to remain successful today and tomorrow.
In 1975 the desktop computer was still two years off, nobody but university researchers knew what the internet was, and the concept of document imaging was something out of science fiction. This was the year that an article in Business Week Magazine coined an innovative term: the paperless office. It’s taken nearly 40 years for technology to catch up to this idea but the latest generation of HUD settlement statement software like Easy HUD has made it the paperless office not just a reality but a smart business decision. Here are just a few reasons to go paperless.
1) Going Green – This is always the first argument. Save the trees. Don’t dump nasty paper-processing chemicals into the air. Don’t generate greenhouse gases from transporting all that heavy paper. We know that’s important but let’s be honest: once you get past that “rah rah save the planet” stuff, how does it affect your bottom line?
2) Improve Your Image – Don’t just save the planet; tell people you are saving the planet! Let your customers know how committed you are to the environment, implying that those other companies that still use paper must hate all the poor baby seals or spotted owls or whatever the poster animal for the environment is lately.
3) Cut Your Costs – Fill out a HUD 1 statement on the computer and you aren’t paying for paper, ink or toner, printer maintenance, file cabinets and all the other expenses associated with keeping large quantities of paper.
4) Easy Access – If you need a particular document, would you rather spend hours pawing through a dusty file room or seconds calling it up on your computer? Not only is file access faster but it’s more versatile. Use the cloud version of Easy HUD and you’ll have access to all your customer documentation even when you are out of the office.
5) Reliable Backup – How do you protect paper documents from disaster? Fireproof safes and water-tight basements might help until something you didn’t plan for comes along. You can make copies of all your HUD 1 settlement sheets and store them elsewhere, using more paper and running up more expenses. On the other hand if you have electronic documents you can easily back them up offsite, even having the job run automatically every night.
6) Instant Delivery – Today when someone wants a HUD closing statement now, that means now and not tomorrow. Sure you can fax a paper document but how many people still have fax lines? On the other hand, how many people have email? It’s easy and quick to fire off a PDF document from right inside Easy HUD.
It’s not 1975 so stop using 1975 technology. Upgrade to the latest law practice management software to keep your real estate practice on the cutting edge of technology.
You want to focus on your real estate business and not on paperwork. That’s why you bought HUD settlement statement software, to simplify your practice and allow you to close deals faster. We’ve made every effort to make Easy HUD as intuitive and easy to use as possible, but you may need a little extra help to learn every aspect of the software. That’s why we offer our customers free additional training resources such as videos and webinars.
You will find over 20 Easy HUD product training videos on the Easy Soft website. These simple and straightforward instructional seminars range from a simple overview of the title closing software to detailed lessons on key features.
- Learn key steps in HUD-1 settlement statement preparation including tax proration, smart itemization and tracking lender netted items.
- Explore advanced digital features such as sending HUD statements through email or filing 1099-S form electronically.
- Discover the additional capabilities available in the optional Ledger, Real Estate Documents and 1099-S modules.
- Export the ledger from Easy HUD to Easy Trust or QuickBooks to create a comprehensive real estate transaction software suite.
Our training videos are a great help when learning the Easy HUD RESPA software but we’ll admit that a pre-packaged lesson can’t do everything. Perhaps your real estate firm has specific needs and you need to know how Easy HUD can accommodate them, or you may wonder how recent changes in the law affect your business and your use of Easy HUD.
This is why we offer live webinars on Easy HUD every two weeks. It’s a great opportunity for you to hear about recent changes to the software or the real estate industry and to get answers to your questions from an experienced Easy HUD specialist.
If you are using Easy HUD there is a good chance you are also using Easy Trust to handle your practice’s trust accounting needs. You might be interested to know that on the weeks we don’t talk about on Easy HUD, we offer webinars on Easy Trust and Easy TimeBill.
Best of all these webinars are absolutely free!
There is no reason to fumble around in the dark. If you have questions about any of our real estate or law practice management software titles then we have the resources you need to get answers. Watch one of our training videos or attend one of our free webinars to learn how to use every feature of our software.