Like most professionals today, attorneys and their legal staff are relying more and more on technology to streamline practices in the workplace. With the number of clients and amount of paperwork attorneys manage each day, even the most put together legal professional could use some help. That’s when law firms turn to practice management software for an extra boost in productivity.

These days, there are plenty of legal practice management systems for you to choose from. But before you purchase any old practice management tool, it’s important to know you’re investing in the right software for your small law firm. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself before choosing your practice management software solution:

What organizational challenges does my small law firm experience?

Do you sometimes realize your client files are missing important pieces of paperwork? Is an overflowing inbox giving you a headache? Attorneys and their legal staff deal with a lot of paper on a daily basis, making it easy to stumble down the path to disorganization. Some case and practice management software is designed to help solve the organization problems law firms face, but don’t consider organization features a given in every practice management tool you’re considering. Before you start the purchasing process, it’s important to think about the organizational challenges your small law firm deals with most often. If you’re struggling to implement a more streamlined filing system or manage your inbox and the practice management solution you’re considering doesn’t highlight this kind of functionality, it might be in the best interest of your firm to continue searching for a product that can better meet your needs.

What client service challenges does my small law firm experience?

Does your firm often place clients on hold while searching the office for their files and documents? Is it nearly impossible for other legal staff to answer your clients’ questions while you’re away from the office? In this day and age, clients expect fast and efficient service. If your firm is still working with paper files or is generally disorganized, providing the service your clients deserve is nearly impossible. With case management software like Smokeball, client files, notes and appointment dates are all stored online, making it easy to search and locate information in just seconds. The right software can turn previously frustrating conversations into opportunities to delight clients with fast and efficient service.

What matter management challenges does my small law firm experience?

Managing files the old fashioned way means your staff is either stuck at the office with a pile of paperwork or tied to the physical copies brought along to meetings. Nowadays, that just won’t work. What happens when you need reference case information in documents, emails, court forms and correspondence, but are away from your desk? Or when your paralegal needs to answer a client question while you’re away at court with important files in your briefcase? When looking for case management software, think about how often your staff needs access to these documents while out of the office. If you have multiple team members who have a regular need to access files on the go, then finding case management software that has cloud storage capabilities should be added to your list of requirements.

Whether your small law firm needs organizational help, better billing software or anything in between, it’s important to take a step back and assess all of your office’s needs before investing in a specific case management program. The right software can make a huge impact on the way your small law firm functions internally and externally, so don’t be afraid of investing time in the research process. In the end, your staff and clients will be happy you did.