As remote and hybrid work continues to gain in popularity, small to midsize law firms are increasingly aware of their technological deficiencies. Compared to other industries, the sector has historically struggled to keep up with technology advancements. With few internal technical resources and limited budgets for the proper software, many of these firms have been using basic solutions like QuickBooks or Accounting Seed to manage their finances.
Often, law firms also use Lighthouse’s legal accounting software, which was designed specifically for the legal community, and Clio legal software for practice management. And while these industry-specific platforms may be able to perform their individual tasks, there is no integration between the systems, meaning data has to be manually shared via spreadsheets and email.
“The pandemic opened up a lot of eyes within the legal industry, and particularly when it came to understanding the value of cloud software.” Livio Sgrignuoli, VP of Business Development, 67 Solutions, Inc.
These and other error-prone processes can bog a firm down, throttle its growth and push talented associates to seek out other more tech-savvy practices. This was only exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies using these disparate systems were forced to quickly evolve to support remote work and other disruptions.
Robust Technology and Key Functionalities
There were 443,558 law firms in the US as of 2021, with a large concentration of organizations in California, Florida and Texas. With annual revenues steadily increasing over the last five years, the nation’s top 100 firms have a combined gross revenue of nearly $111 billion (for 2020). In Canada, more than 35,000 law firms generate combined annual revenues of about $16 billion, with industry revenues growing at an annualized rate of 2.8%.1
As their sector continues to expand, legal firms need robust technology platforms that provide key functionality to keep pace with the industry’s growth. NetSuite Alliance Partner 67 Solutions, Inc. brings industry experience including it’s knowledge of legal terminology and deep IT background to every implementation.
Once on board, 67 Solutions will:
- Add billing rules and seamlessly set up the lawyers’ codes.
- Leave practices unhampered by the complicated process that results from each attorney’s different rate.
- Integrate existing technology systems directly into NetSuite to create a more cohesive, end-to end business management solution.
- Bring its knowledge of trust accounting—the receipt of money on account by a law firm that then manages those funds on a retainer basis— and simplifies this activity.
- Configure NetSuite to allow firms to manage money that it receives on a retainer basis.
- Set up alerts against timeframes within specific matters. For instance, if a court date letter must be issued on January 15, the system will trigger an alert in advance to ensure that task is handled on time. These alerts can be set up across all active matters.
Managing Sophistical Commission Requirements
Using a Commissions Module that it built for NetSuite, 67 Solutions also helps firms set up different roles by attorney and by each lawyer’s actual rate (how much they bill) and percentage (how much they earn as a percentage of revenue generated).
For example, if a $2,000 line item for a copyright comes through—and if the engaged partner is at 50%—then he or she will get $1,000 and the firm will get the remaining $1,000. Since virtually every law firm uses this type of arrangement to pay its attorneys, 67 Solutions built out multiple override scenarios and then packaged those capabilities into NetSuite. Finally, 67 Solutions provides various customizations for law firms that want to streamline their client invoicing processes within NetSuite.
For example, a company with multiple active clients can use different invoice formats and connect those invoices to a payment portal or use an Excel spreadsheet that’s formatted for each customer. This goes beyond basic invoice creation and sending capabilities, so 67 Solutions can customize the system to meet each companies’ unique needs.
Supporting Your Growing Businesses
67 Solutions gives law firms an integrated ERP system that can run their growing businesses.
Rather than hiring new staff members to manage their increasingly complex operations, these firms save both money and time by deploying a cloud ERP that provides a “self-service” option for attorneys who once relied on a bevy of legal assistants to evaluate matters across multiple systems.
Companies also use NetSuite to address industry specific requirements like conflict checks, which state that lawyers can’t represent clients whose interests will be directly adverse to the firm itself or to that of another client represented by the firm. Most ERP systems require an entry in an outside customer relationship management (CRM) system to track this type of information, but NetSuite manages it natively.
“It’s similar to a search on a customer or prospect,” Livio Sgrignuoli, VP of Business Development, 67 Solutions, Inc., explained, “and it allows firms to easily track every single conversation they have with someone, thus complying with their state or local requirements regarding conflict searches.”
Using a unified cloud ERP customized to their firms’ specific needs, companies can better plan, collaborate and make decisions. NetSuite and 67 Solutions help to improve employee productivity, minimize mistakes and give partners full visibility over their operations.