This is the next post in my series on why attorneys should be using Google’s G Suite to replace Microsoft Office and other applications.
My last post looked at why law firms should use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office. Making that switch will provide you with word processing and spreadsheet applications that are easier to use (an important consideration given that many lawyers are technologically challenged) and eliminate the need for an IT guy because the apps will “just work.”
In this post, I’ll be discussing using G-Suite as a law practice management system. I’m going to go beyond applications such as word processing and explain why you should ditch your bloated, efficiency-killing, and under-utilized case management software.
Let’s begin with why law firms should simplify their case management by switching to G-Suite.
Why should attorneys ditch their case management software?
The reason is simple:
The fewer applications you can use to accomplish your goals, the better. A consolidated technology structure means less time switching between applications, which, in turn, increases efficiency. Such management programs are an example of something I see attorneys doing all the time – purchasing too much software.
This is how it usually will go:
Law firms will buy software that can perform tasks A, B, and C. Lawyers will use that software to perform task A. Then, they’ll purchase a second piece of software to perform task B and a third to perform task C.
Most attorneys tend to take the approach of “why use one app when I can use three at triple the hassle?” This creates inefficiencies along with the costs associated with paying for extra software. As a result, the partners in a law firm wind up looking like this:
While the person using fewer apps, to accomplish the same number of tasks, winds up looking like this:
See where I’m going here?
Let’s get to how you can stop paying for case management software and simultaneously make your firm more efficient. I’ll begin by covering possible integrations you can use to make G-Suite, your do-it-all software.
ATTORNEYS SHOULD HANDLE TASK MANAGEMENT BY INTEGRATING TODOIST WITH G SUITE
One of the core functions of your case management software is task management. The truth is that there are a ton of task management software out there that’ll work perfectly for your firm and G-Suite.
Todoist is a fantastic task manager that works perfectly for law firms, and it integrates tightly with G Suite and Gmail. You can quickly and easily manage tasks.
The cost of Todoist: $36 per year for a team member. A much better deal than what you’re paying for case management software.
Todoist is centered around “projects.” When Joe Client comes in and retains you, simply create a project in Todoist called “Joe Client.” You can then easily create tasks under the projects, assign tasks to others, and set due dates. Your team members will be able to comment on tasks and set reminders for themselves as necessary.
The beauty of this is that you’ll never leave your email interface to manage everything.
How to Manage Tasks from Your Gmail
Simply install the Todoist extension for the Chrome browser, and you can manage and assign tasks without leaving Gmail. The less time you spend switching screens, then the more work you can get done.
Next, install the “Todoist for Gmail” extension. This will give you some kick-ass functionality, which you won’t receive from your typical attorney case management app. You can turn an email into a task or reminder and link the email to the task. In other words, Joe emails you a request for “XYZ.” You can create a task to have XYZ done by Friday and archive the email (this way, you don’t have to see it in your inbox). When you open the task, in Todoist, you’ll have a link to the email on Friday. Click it, and the email will open back up.
As you play with Todoist or similar task management software, you’ll find it’s an invaluable tool for practicing attorneys.
LAW FIRMS CAN HANDLE BILLING THROUGH G SUITE WITH HARVEST
There’s an excellent time-keeping application that integrates tightly with G Suite. Harvest can eliminate the need for your case management software’s billing functions.
If you’re a solo, then this app will only cost you $12 per month.
This is a lightweight and incredibly easy to use billing app. It also integrates with Quickbooks (the desktop version) and saves invoices straight to Google Drive.
Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android. The real beauty of Harvest is that if you install its Chrome extension, you can again handle your billing without ever leaving your email interface. This can be another improvement to your efficiency.
G SUITE ALLOWS ATTORNEYS TO CREATE A CLIENT PORTAL to SHARE DOCUMENTS AND GO PAPERLESS EASILY
I speak with quite a few law firms who love the “client portal” in case management apps. Again, this is another example of an attorney signing up a second app at twice the hassle.
Creating a client portal in G Suite is stupid-simple and doesn’t cost you a darn thing.
How to Create a Client Portal with G Suite
Let’s say you want a place for Joe Client to be able to retrieve documents.
Go to Joe’s folder inside of your Google Drive. Now create a folder called “Joe’s Portal.”
Share that folder with Joe through Google Drive’s sharing feature.
Now anything you put inside of that folder is viewable and downloadable by Joe; no one can see it except for Joe, and Joe can’t see anything besides what’s in that folder.
You can also control whether you want Joe actually to be able to edit a document or if you want him to be able to view and download it simply. Using the Google Drive app, which I discussed in my last post, makes this is easy as saving documents onto your computer.
Want to learn how to leverage social media for your law firm? Read our Social Media for Lawyers Guide.
GOOGLE’S G SUITE IS MORE EFFICIENT AND CHEAPER THAN CASE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
The above setup will cost you a total of $27 per month per user ($12 for G suite, $3 per month for Todoist, and $12 per month for Harvest). You also get all of the functionality which I’ve described in my previous articles.
Also, consider that excellent integration between Evernote and G Suite will allow attorneys to create a paperless law office. The sum of all this is that, for very little money, Google’s services will give you something that is more efficient and helps you to increase profits, in my humble opinion.
Want to make your law firm more efficient? Try the setup described above. If you don’t, then don’t.
If you require assistance with deploying G Suite in your law firm, contact us.
What are some ways you’ve simplified your case management? Please let us know in the comments below.
(disclaimer: We will receive a referral fee from Google when you sign up for G Suite through links on our website)