Personal injury case case management software is a comprehensive tool that enables you to upload, track, and securely store all the documents, calendars, tasks, expenses, and billing for each of your cases—and that’s just the start of it. The best law practice management programs also help you track your leads, simplify communications with clients, facilitate collaboration and networking, and integrate smoothly with other software and applications you use.
When pricing case management software, keep in mind that there are two basic models: on-premise applications, which need to be hosted on servers in your physical location, and cloud-based solutions, which do not require you to own a server and enable you to take advantage of SaaS (software-as-a-service) options. Also keep in mind that the costs go beyond the software itself to include hosting, training, and other necessities.
On-premise case management software solutions
Before the advent of cloud computing and SaaS, just about all businesses needed physical servers in their offices to host their software. Many organizations still prefer the control they believe on-premise servers provide; interruptions to internet access, for instance, do not affect the performance of an on-premise server. The flip side of that, however, is that a power outage or even excessive heat would cause the server to shut down.
And servers, of course, don’t just turn themselves back on—or back themselves up, install their own updates, and make any necessary repairs to themselves. Maintaining a self-hosted server requires employing IT staff or contracting to handle all these necessary operations, an expense you need to factor in. What’s more, on-premise hardware can be expensive to scale up. A law firm that enjoys an appreciable growth in business might need to invest in a more powerful server with greater capacity.
Along similar lines, most legal case management software programs for self-hosted servers are sold as perpetual licenses: The law firm buys the software for use in perpetuity, as opposed to “renting” it for a specified time period. If that law practice finds, after several years, the case management solution no longer fits its needs, it will need to purchase another software package.
Because of the up-front costs, on-premise solutions are favored primarily by larger law firms or firms that are tied to their legacy systems. Below is a rough breakdown of the costs of an on-premise or self-hosted law case management solution (note that the expense of hiring or contracting IT staff is not included, nor are the additional square footage, electricity, and cooling costs of hosting a physical server on your premises):
|Items – Legacy/self-hosted/on-premise system||Cost|
|Server and server software||$8000|
|Maintenance & security monitoring||$600/month|
|Spam filtering||Variable per month|
|Total year 1||$25,000-$35,000|
|Total year 2||$10,000-$20,000|
Cloud-based case management software solutions
If you don’t want the up-front and maintenance costs of hosting your own server, a cloud-based case management solution is for you. Good-bye, refrigerated room on your premises dedicated to keeping a server up and running; so long, contracting or employing IT specialists to maintain, back up, and update your hardware and software. Cloud-based legal matter management software is hosted on remote servers in a variety of locations. This redundancy means that if, say, a storm knocks out power to one server’s location, there’s a server in another location to take over operations. It also makes scaling up or down much quicker and more affordable.
Hardware and maintenance expenses are not the only costs that disappear with the adoption of cloud-based solutions. Data backups are typically included in the solution cost, as is training on the software. Cloud-based solution providers and server farms have their own cybersecurity staff monitoring operations at all times. And the solution provider usually handles updates, upgrades, and repairs as part of its fee.
- No on-location server and office costs, which in turn leads to the absence of maintenance contracts, in-house IT, and specialized server security personnel.
- Data backups, across many locations, equals more security from breaches, acts of God, environmental factors, etc.
- 24/7/365 proactive security monitoring performed by cybersecurity experts.
- Anytime, anywhere, immediate all-access across multiple devices and platforms, leading to greater efficiency in collaboration and tracking.
- The cost of training is often included in your yearly or monthly subscription. Still, it can differ based on the vendor’s pricing policy.
- Costs incurred on a per-user/per month or year basis, which leads to significantly lower prices.
- Substantially less time and costs associated with setup.
- Cost of repairs and feature upgrades are borne by the vendor and are usually included in your subscription cost.
Speaking of fees, with case management SaaS, a law practice does not have to spend significant money up front. Instead you license the solution on a per-month or per-year, per-user basis. Typical costs for a cloud-based legal case management solution are below:
|Items – Cloud-based system||Cost|
|Server and server software||N/A|
|User licenses||Start from $65/user/month|
|Maintenance & security monitoring||Included|
|Feature upgrades and updates||Included|
|Total year 1||$2,000-$3,000|
|Total year 2 onwards||$2,000-$3,000|
A cloud-based matter management system offers pay-as-you-go monthly subscriptions, which are cash-flow friendly and do not require an upfront payment. So the cost increases only as you add more users as your law firm grows bigger.
By managing the disparate aspects of your legal practice efficiently, case management software provides both tangible and intangible returns on investment. It allows you and your staff to spend less time chasing paper and more time winning—and winning cases for—clients. Because the software minimizes the chances of relevant data and tasks falling through the cracks, it improves effectiveness, responsiveness, and customer satisfaction, which can only lead to your law firm receiving higher client ratings and more recommendations. And the more smoothly your practice runs, the happier you’ll be—no more worrying about mislaid files, forgotten appointments, and billing snafus. And that, of course, is priceless.