Modern lawyers are still inundated with a ton of paperwork, and the legal industry is one of the least automated. This leaves a wide window for the implementation of a business idea for this undeveloped niche. The legal sphere requires significant technological integration, which makes mobile app development for law firms a profitable idea. In this article, we will talk about the nuances of building a custom application and how it can benefit your business.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer Mobile App?
In 2017, Fliplet conducted a survey among US and UK-based law firms. The results showed that about 80% of them use respective mobile applications. In 2021, the statistics have not changed much, and the demand for quality custom applications is still high. Such data indicate that law firm apps turned out to be pretty useful tools that allow automating some of the internal and external processes.
Let's take a closer look at the benefits of building a mobile app for attorneys:
- Effective time management. Many lawyers use an hourly rate to pay for their services. So, they need to monitor and take into account the time they spend with each client. Apps for attorneys have specific time trackers that allow them to track all working hours accurately. Instead of lengthy calculations, you can focus more on professional activities.
- Performance improvement. An important activity of any lawyer is information search. They often have to review previous cases, similar court decisions, check legislation, and so on. A mobile app for lawyers can have access to an extensive legal practice database and even keyword searches. Finding the information you need becomes much easier and faster, which positively affects productivity.
- Easy document management. The mobile application allows you to create and manage various types of documents required in legal matters. Scan old cases, so they are always at hand, create notes or convert them into a convenient format. Your entire library will be in your pocket. It also makes it possible to easily share the necessary content with all employees of the firm.
- Maintain your privacy. When creating an app for lawyers, you can take care of building secure chats or video conferencing. Thus, your client’s personal data and conversations will always be protected.
- Schedule management. A lawyer's day can be busy. The mobile application takes care of creating and maintaining a schedule for the entire company and each employee individually. They will also receive notifications about any upcoming events or important material to prepare for meets.
- Real-time data. Mobile applications greatly simplify the company’s work, allowing it to receive and process information in real-time. Customer inquiries, schedule changes, information updates become more accessible. It is enough to open the application, and you will see all the new data on important issues.
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Types of Mobile Apps for Law Firms
Mobile app building for lawyers began to become more active in 2014. At this time, two main areas were identified: software for lawyers and software for clients. And despite the emergence of new applications, in 2021, many firms still need to develop convenient and reliable applications. At the same time, the American Bar Association claims that about 91% of lawyers use applications for their professional needs. Thus, the first type of application dominates the market.
Apps Providing Services to Attorneys
The purpose of such applications is to help lawyers in their daily work. It assists in building relationships and exchanging information with the team, effective recruiting, scheduling appointments, etc. A custom application can solve many additional tasks depending on the company’s needs, including organizing events, booking hotels or tickets, managing vacation time and compensation, etc.
Such applications even allow you to sign documents and immediately send them to the addressee without wasting time on printing and associated efforts. When all functions are configured correctly and correspond to the goals of the company, it can significantly increase productivity and even help gain a competitive advantage.
Apps Providing Services to Clients
The first mobile applications for customers were something of an information resource. Their functionality was minimized and simply provided some information about the firm's activities.
Now everything is completely different. Customer applications are designed to improve clients’ satisfaction and communication with the firm. Users can make appointments, negotiate, find out about the status of their case and even pay for services directly from the application. The goal of these products is to improve the interaction between users and lawyers while outperforming the competition.
Clients received 24/7 access to critical legal information and details of their case. They can also receive timely advice or assistance in crisis situations.
Main Functionality that a Law Firm App Should Have
The functionality of a mobile application can cover any possibilities, depending on the needs of the company. We will explain the basic features that every application should have.
Law Firm Panel
Main features for law firms include:
- Registration and Login. Law firms should be able to create their own profile and register all of their employees.
- Service list. There should be an ability to create, modify, and manage the list of services provided by the company in an app.
- Schedule and booking management. The system must display a calendar and free slots for recording clients. Likewise, the law firm must confirm, reschedule, or cancel bookings right in the app.
- Task management. An administrator should be able to create tasks, distribute them by team, and monitor their execution status.
- Personnel Management. The law firm should have the ability to track the activity of its staff and confirm vacations and absences due to illness.
- Document management. Administrators should be able to draw up and send contracts to clients.
- Notifications. All users of the application, including administrators, should receive reminders of upcoming events, changes, or new actions.
- Cost management. Another convenient functionality is the creation and monitoring of all company expenses right in the application.
- Address book. The application must have a database of all the clients of the firm and their contact information.
- Billing. Administrators should be able to generate invoices for customers and send them electronically.
- Date calculator. This functionality should help lawyers calculate the potential completion date of the case and mark the actual dates when the work is completed.
- Discount program. The application must have a referral program that allows firms to attract even more customers.
- Analytics. The application must have a function to generate various types of reports to evaluate the effectiveness of a firm.
Basic functionality for lawyers includes the following features:
- Registration and login. Lawyers should be able to register in the system securely and then log into their profiles.
- Schedule management. Lawyers should be able to create, view, and manage appointments in the app and make changes if needed. The system should send reminders to both lawyers and clients.
- Paperwork. The application should allow attorneys to create and edit documents, manage them at all stages, and sign them electronically.
- Camera access. The application must have access to the camera to scan documents, which can later be saved in the personal database of the lawyer.
- Notifications. An attorney and clients should receive various notifications, including the progress of cases, receipt of new information, etc., for better communication with each other.
- Task management. A lawyer should be able to create and manage tasks, update their progress, or assign them to their assistants.
- Profile management. Another important aspect is managing your profile, including updating data.
- Chat with clients. An attorney must be able to communicate with clients directly in the application itself to maintain high-quality and transparent communication.
The client side includes the same basic functions as for attorneys or law firms apps, namely registration, login, creating a profile, and filling in the basic information. In addition, the client-side application should also have the following capabilities:
- Search for law firms. It is good if the application has a map, and clients can find consultations closest to their location. But even if an app simply displays a list of firms or lawyers in the region, it will still be convenient.
- Reservation. Clients should be able to make an appointment at a convenient time.
- Signing a contract. The application must provide the ability to sign papers electronically.
- Sending documents. It's good if clients can send all the necessary documents to a lawyer right in the application.
- Task tracker. The client should be able to see progress on their case.
- Notifications. The client must receive any notifications regarding the activities in their case in the application.
- Payment. The application should provide an opportunity to pay for services.
- Online support. In case of any questions, the client should be able to contact the support service.
How to Make an App for Lawyers
Developing mobile apps for law firms can be a lengthy process if you want to create a feature-rich product. Therefore, it is a good idea to start by creating a minimum viable product (MVP). This is a complete but simple application that contains only the basic set of functions required for stable operation.
You can find out more about what a minimum viable product is by reading the article «What Does MVP Mean in Software Development & Why Do You Need It?»
The MVP assumes the building of only the most basic functions. All other features can be added later after the application has received positive user reviews.
The creation of any application should start with market analysis. There are 3 main steps to take here:
1. Define your target audience. These are the people who will use your product. The purpose of any application is to solve customer pain points. The more information you collect about your target audience, the more useful your product will be.
2. Analysis of competitors. Here you have to determine what solutions exist on the market, analyze their weaknesses and strengths. Select up to 7 main competitors to participate in the analysis. Think about how you can turn the shortcomings of the competitors into your advantages.
3. Make a list of the required functionality. Focusing on your target audience, you have to decide which platform to create an application: iOS, Android, or both. Prepare an application specification that will form the basis of development.
After that, you have to choose a development team. A reliable contractor should introduce you to at least one designer, one developer, and one QA specialist. The size of the team and the development time will depend on the complexity of the application. But in general, it will take at least 3 months to prepare the design, write the code, and test the application before its launch.
Cost to Develop an App for Lawyers
The most pressing question that interests any startup or business is how much it costs to develop an application. In fact, there is no set development price for all products. The amount is very subjective and depends on many factors.
The more functionality you want to implement, the higher the price will be since the developers have to spend more time. The common practice is that software developers charge per hour for their services. You can sign a contract for a fixed price, but in this case, only those functions that are stipulated in the contract will be developed. This makes the process of building a mobile app for attorneys less flexible.
The location of the developers also affects the cost. The most expensive hourly rates are among US programmers, on average $90 per hour. In comparison, developers from Europe charge about $60 per hour. Also, pay attention that the services of iOS developers are slightly more expensive than Android.
For more details on pricing, see «How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mobile App Developer»
The size of the team also affects the development price. The more specialists that work on your project, the higher the cost will be. The price of developing a mobile app for law firms varies significantly depending on the needs of the business. So, the minimum sum can start from $10,000 and go up to $100,000.
Best Examples of Mobile Apps for Lawyers
We have prepared a list of the most popular applications that are used by both clients and lawyers. You can test these products to determine the most requested functionality and best user experience approaches. Try to get valuable information from this for developing a law firm mobile app.
#1 Off The Record: Ticket Lawyer
It is one of the best apps to give users legal advice on their cases. All you need to do is provide the necessary information (for example, upload a photo of your fine), and the application will give you a list of lawyers ready to take your case.
#2 KLW EZ-Litigation App
This application helps lawyers to make their workflow more efficient. Using the app, they can schedule deposits, view court transcripts, write court schedules, view or order court records, and even pay professional bills.
It is one of the most popular note-taking apps. Despite the fact that it does not have a legal theme, Evernote is actively used by lawyers, and even designers, copywriters, etc. The app allows you to compose and manage recordings quickly, edit them on the go, and easily send them.
It is a handy application that provides a wealth of legal insights for the oil and gas, energy, financial services, technology, and public finance industries worldwide. They also provide news on industry changes and new trends.
#5 Locke Lord
This application was released by the law firm of the same name. The app allows users to get a lot of useful legal information or call the lawyer they need in one click.
When it comes to creating an application for lawyers, this is a profitable business idea. Despite the abundance of corresponding products on the market, they cannot satisfy the needs of all users. You still have a chance to carve a profitable niche, and that's a good reason for building a custom app.
But to create a first-class product, you will need a team of professionals. At KeyUA, we have been creating solutions of any complexity for the legal industry for over 13 years. Our team easily performs various tasks in this matter, from market research to promoting a completed product.
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