Why your law firm needs a mobile app: top benefits, app examples, and essential features

You may agree that the legal sphere is one of the slowest in integrating new technologies. For this reason, some companies are keeping records about legal cases, recent client documents, and even accounting, in the form of paper records. Such an approach significantly complicates access to legal cases and communication with clients. At the same time,  law firm apps can make all these documents accessible in a matter of a click, improve legal client experience, build transparency, loyalty, and trust to your law firm. 

If you are considering developing a mobile app for your law firm, continue reading. Below, you will find the most popular types of apps for lawyers, with examples, and a list of essential features for your app MVP. 

But first, let's find out what benefits a mobile app might bring to your law firm. 

Why you need to develop an app for lawyers

If you are not sure whether your law firm needs a mobile app, check out the following benefits for both your employees and clients:

  • Improves time management. Most lawyers, lobbyists, and attorneys track the number of hours they spend with their clients. Thus, a mobile app with a time tracking feature will be handy for a better arrangement of appointments and a more accurate measure of billable hours. Also, it is more convenient to arrange meetings with clients by using Google Calendar, which can also be integrated into your mobile app. 
  • Increases productivity. Since lawyers regularly refer to previous cases, mobile apps for lawyers with a digital resource library of legislation, precedents, and keyword searches can appreciably increase their productivity. With such an app, lawyers no longer need to spend time to find a particular case, because all cases, laws, and resolution rules are at your fingertips. 
  • Digitalize paperwork. Mobile applications for lawyers with tags, digital folders, and highlight features could modernize all the internal notes, folders, and paperwork that are an integral part of any legal practice. Besides this, you can convert images into PDF documents for easier access to digital records. 
  • Ensures secure communication. Confidentiality is an essential element of building relationships with your clients. You can make them even more loyal by developing an app with a secure online chat, making communication even more streamlined. 

In a nutshell, a legal app is a win-win for both you and your client. With such attorney apps, you can improve both the internal working process, such as appointment scheduling and paperwork digitalization, and provide clients with more convenient, innovative, and secure law services. 

The best examples of apps for lawyers 

Before hiring a development team for a law firm app, you need to select the type of app you want to build. Below, we have gathered the most popular examples of legal apps and their features. In this way, you can get a clear idea of what your law firm's mobile app might be. 

Law practice management apps

Such applications allow law firms to manage contracts, documents, tasks, as well as track time. In this way, you can turn all the paperwork into digital data for a more transparent money turnover. One example of such an app is App4Legal software, created for managers, paralegal, and lawyers from both in-house legal departments and law firms. The app enables users to:

  • Build case lifecycles
  • Track notes history
  • Schedule reminders 
  • Organize files, emails, voice notes and template files
  • Communicate with clients
  • Delegate tasks within their team
  • Share their calendar and schedule events
  • Track the time spent on each case

And so on. 

Financial management and accounting app

As a rule, lawyers are working on several cases at once. For this reason, the  billing and invoicing process can become quite complicated. However, there is a solution. Financial management and accounting law firm apps are handy for keeping all your financial records. With such apps, you can upload invoices, create bills, and allow your customers to pay via their credit card using built-in payment gateway. One example of such an app is PracticePanther Legal Software that includes the following features:  

  • Billing 
  • Invoicing
  • Access to task and event workflows
  • Credit card processing 
  • Salesforce automation
  • Email alerts when a client views your invoice
  • Sales reports to track billable hours per user

For a more convenient building process, the app has several handy integrations, such as Dropbox, QuickBooks, PayPal, and others. 

Image converter applications for lawyers

As we said, mobile apps can help you to reduce paperwork. In particular, this statement refers to image converting apps that allow users to convert a picture of a printed document, or hand-written memos, into printed materials. Then, the user can save the documents to respective case folders. One example of such an application is CamScanner, which is famous, not only among lawyers, but also other specialists. App users receive the following features: 

  • Scanning any document text or graphics.
  • Scanning multi-page documents
  • Batching scan documents
  • Auto-cropping scanned photos
  • Saving scan results to system album
  • Sharing scans via email 
  • Printing files wirelessly with Google Cloud Print
  • Customizing PDF page size: 10-page size options (Letter, A4, B5, etc.)

Case Registry Search apps for law firms

Lawyers need instant access to past cases to estimate their changes with a similar legal case or search for a strategy that might suit a similar client's situation. The main issue here is finding a similar case, a thing which may take hours, days, or even weeks. A legal case database with smart search solves this issue and helps lawyers to find the right case in a matter of seconds. One successful example of such an app is FastCase, which contains the entire American law library, including:

  • Primary law (case law and statutes) 
  • Legal blogs
  • Law review articles 
  • Briefs
  • Pleadings
  • Expert witness databases
  • Analytics and secondary treatises

The app is also empowered with a smart algorithm that allows users to jump to the right case and section with one click. 

Professional networks 

As you know, two heads are better than one. Lawyers, like any other specialist, like to communicate with colleagues, share experiences, and find ways to deal with one case or other together. The perfect place for such communication is a professional social network, like Talks On Law. The project was developed to educate and entertain law professionals at the same time. Lawyers can reach the necessary podcast, brief or  blog post using such features, as:

  • Filter by topic 
  • Credit category and data 
  • Search by tag and speaker

[Image source: lawsitesblog]

Now that you are aware of the main types of law firm apps and their features, let's find out how to make a law firm mobile app MVP.

Features to include in legal app MVP

As you might know, MVP, or a minimum variable product, includes only basic features of an app, such as  information about your law agency, making notes, and document scanning. After the MVP app launch, you can gather feedback from your clients and add other features with time. 

Below we gathered a list of law app MVP together with an estimation in hours. 

Feature\Screen

Functions required

Android/iOS

Text us

The app user goes to messages with a predefined phone number

3 hours 

Email us

The app user can mail to the predefined email address

3 hours 

Call us

Call by predefined phone number

1 hour 

About Us screen

  • Text info 
  • Images 
  • Logo

6 hours 

Scan document 

  • Document type definition to define scanning flow
  • Scan document

12 hours 

Notes

  • Users can add notes to places
  • List of all notes

24 hours 

Connection to SDK

  • Get image
  • Get text
  • Define photo

8 hours 

Total

From 57 hours 


The cost to create a law firm mobile app MVP starts from $6,000

However, the costs of a fully-fledged lawyer mobile app development vary depending on the number of features you want to implement, the number of mobile platforms and the developer's hourly rate, which depends on the country: 

  • Developers from the U.S. and Australia charge $80-250 per hour 
  • Developers located in Western Europe are less expensive: $60-150 per hour 
  • The hourly rate of a mobile developer from Eastern Europe varies from $40-80 

To sum up, the cost of building mobile apps for law firms starts from $130,000 and could be as high as $350,000

Wrapping up

Even though most law firms prefer working in an old-fashioned way, a mobile app can bring numerous benefits to your legal practice. Thus, if you want to manage documents, bills, and appointments in a more effective way, as well as provide customers with secure communication via your messaging platform, a mobile application is a must.

Ready to develop a mobile app for a law firm?

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Daria Dubrova

Content Marketing Manager