- Developing a legal application is a necessity for any insurance company that wants to evolve and scale up their operations.
- Insurance software development involves various types of software applications, such as quoting, underwriting, claim management, CRM, policy creation and management, document management, and workflow automation.
- Insurance software development requires a high level of security, scalability, and compliance with regulatory standards.
- A legal application can leverage advanced technologies such as AI, NLP, Blockchain, and biometric authentication to enhance its functionality and security.
Present-day technologies afford law businesses a unique opportunity to dramatically improve their business processes through lawyer app development.
Going high-tech has become mainstream in most industries. Over recent years, the game-changing advances in technology have made it a necessity for businesses in these industries to dump their legacy business processes in favor of more efficient automated alternatives.
However, even among the major adopters of tech there is unlikely to be a vertical that can benefit from the rise of technology more than the $ 901.8 billion dollar-worth (2021, Grand View Research) Legal industry.
This happens because the new technologies create a synergy that is uniquely suited to disrupt the key legacy business processes of law firms. They offer legal businesses solutions that dwarf their legacy business processes in terms of both efficiency and cost-efficiency. Because of this, developing an advanced legal software application is often not only a way to simply automate a legal business, but also a way to fast-track years of growth.
Moreover, lawyer app development allows law firms to gain a tremendous competitive edge it is usually impossible for them to gain otherwise. In this regard, the size of the Legal tech market (that constituted $ 27.6 billion in 2021 according to Statista) shows that many law firms have taken stock of the new-fangled opportunities and are embarking on the trend. Simultaneously, there is still plenty of room to benefit from the relatively early adoption of Legaltech.
In this article, we will look at how one can create a law firm app. We’ll take a close look at the core functions to include as you develop a law firm app, the ways legal firms can harness the modern technologies more optimally, and the resources you need to develop a legal solution, including a law firm mobile app.
Lastly, we’ll share some interesting bits and pieces we’ve garnered as an R&D team, as we have developed an innovative, enterprise-oriented legal software solution for a North-American technology company. This major lawyer app development project included developing a law firm mobile app.
How developing a law firm app can improve the business processes of legal firms
Regardless of its type, size, or location, any law firm processes vast volumes of information. It needs to do this with utmost accuracy and precision. Many of the related tasks here are extremely effort-intensive, and the risks of a costly human error are very high. How can the development of a legal app help curb these risks? Can it relieve the workload on lawyers and junior legal staff? And can it facilitate law firms’ client interactions in any way?
A well-thought-out legal software application can:
- Facilitate document management and reduce the document turnaround time for a law firm severalfold.
- Facilitate the signature of legal documents by clients.
- Ensure a much higher level of document storage security and a much higher security of document exchange.
- Speed up lawyers’ search for documents – both locally and elsewhere on the Web.
- Help process a much larger volume of legal documents with much greater accuracy.
- Take document analysis to an entire new level by providing AI-enabled search for information.
- Reduce a law firm’s employment costs related to junior legal staff,
and dramatically improve a number of other business processes.
Don't have time to read?
Book a free meeting with our experts to discover how we can help you save time and money.Book a Meeting
Functionality of law firm apps and some of the more optimal ways of implementing this functionality
The functionality of a law firm app can vary to some extent depending on the precise purpose it serves. Overall, there are three types of legal software solutions:
- Legal apps for lawyers – these legal software applications mostly provide scheduling, chatting, networking, document sharing, and billing and invoice management functionality.
- Legal apps for attorneys – these legal software applications mostly provide contract management, expenditure and duty management, scheduling, and time-tracking functionality.
- Multi-tenant legal platforms – these legal software systems represent complex solutions for innovative legal services providers. They allow these providers to automate various companies’ legal business processes and provide legal assistance to them. Multi-tenant legal platforms include document storage and sharing, document-related collaboration, document e-signature, and other legal functionality.
|Legal Research and Analysis|
|Invoice and Payment Management/Billing|
Documents underlie the Legal industry. They are vast in number and diverse. They need to undergo frequent changes, be collaborated on by multiple stakeholders, exchanged, and submitted for approval. The frequently rampant paperwork and information excesses create high workloads and bottlenecks. The odds of missing a costly deadline or not attending to a document in time become extremely high.
To allow you to curb paperwork, mitigate the risks, and get rid of a hefty part of your costs, your legal software needs to include a document management module. This module must serve as the central location of, and a single point of access to all your documentation. The module must enable authorized users to organize documents into files.
The main functional capabilities of the documentation management module of a law firm app include:
To create a document they need, the user must be able to choose a template from multiple readily available options. They must be able to easily modify any of the available templates. The user must also be able to create a custom template from scratch.
All the templates you make available to the user must be searchable by type of document. Additionally, it might be useful to automatically recommend several sample or real-life documents that are based on the template the user has chosen. Such documents must be made available to the user solely in accordance with their access privileges. In this case, your documentation management functionality should also enable easy document reuse. This means that the user must be able to copy from the recommended documents, or use them as the basis for the creation of a new document.
The documentation management functionality of your law firm app must include an advanced annotation capability. This capability must allow the authorized users with whom a document is shared to add comments, or to edit the text of the document. It must be possible for these autorized users to add comments to photos and write over both separate photos and ones that appear within documents.
Analysis, updating, and modification of legal documents
In theory, it is certainly possible to locate documents by using the conventional advanced search capability of a legal app and update or juxtapose them manually. In real life, the process is way too time-consuming and hugely effort-intensive. So much so, that at some point you realize the approach can no longer be viable.
The AI technology of Natural Language Processing (NLP) can help you locate and collate two similar documents, or locate all documents that contain a reference to a certain fact. You can then modify part of the wording in these documents – either manually, on a case-by-case basis, or in parallel, with one click.
Your law firm app must enable sharing legal documents with both external and internal actors. Besides, authorized users must have the ability to share entire sets of documents that are related to a specific case.
It should be possible to set the system to preclude the sharing of documents with those system users, who lack the access privileges to access these documents. Some of the additional limitations you could implement include sharing a document without the ability to download, email, print out, re-share, or modify it.
It is also possible to notify designated users when a document of a certain type is being shared outside the system.
The user must be able to share sets of documents linked by case or some other criterion. In this case, the system must automatically check whether all the documents within the set can be shared with the recipient in accordance with their access privileges.
Document review and approval
The document management module of your legal app must include a function that allows submitting a document for approval. This must include the possibility for the user to indicate the precise nature of such a request.
The ways to approve or finalize a document your law firm app supports must include adding an electronic signature – an encrypted hash of your message that can only be decrypted by a recipient in possession of your public encryption key. You can add this capability by integrating your application with a specialized certificate-based document security solution.
However, we believe that it a lot more preferable to further enhance the level of security this approach provides. How?
Some of the document security solutions allow using 2FA to secure access to the documents that have been e-signed or are about to be e-signed. This provides a much higher level of document security.
If for some reason you do not want to use 2FA during the signature of legal documents, you can employ some robust enough Identity Verification technology to verify the identity of your signors.
You can use Identity Verification either as an alternative, or as one of the components of a complex authentication combination. For example, this can be a combination that contains a log-in, a digit-based password, and some user biometric.
Please note, that due to the growing and diverse number of quite sophisticated ID-based scams, it is important that you choose a truly reliable Identity Verification solution, for example, one that uses Iris Scanning or Fingerprint Scanning. And yes, you can use these techniques in mobile legal applications too.
Document storage and anti-meddling functionality
Storing your legal documentation in a secure Cloud is probably the best storage option.
You can protect all your legal data at rest using strong encryption, like AES-256. Additionally, you can secure internal access to the more sensitive areas of your documentation storage by password-protecting them, or by employing two-factor (2FA) authentication already within the system.
Sometimes, it could make sense to implement real-time access notifications, indicating the username and the name and type of the document being accessed. Besides, it is possible to video-record some of the user sessions.
As we have already mentioned, certificate-based security and strong encryption can ensure the authenticity and integrity of your legal documents to a significant extent.
However, one can still achieve an even higher level of document security. One can do this by bringing Blockchain technology into play. The digital tags you can add to your legal documents with Blockchain make any counterfeiting attempts futile from the start and counterfeits easy to detect.
In addition, the Blockchain technology allows you to display the history of changes for all your digital assets. This ability of Blockchain makes contract lifecycle management a great deal more secure – once signed, a contract remains intact and cannot be altered in a clandestine manner.
Moreover, Blockchain eliminates yet another major risk. It allows you to make sure for absolute certain that it is really the authorized document senders and recipients you are exchanging documents with, and not some malicious actors. This often makes Blockchain essential in dealing with regulators and government bodies.
Legal research and analysis
The sheer number of documents law firms process while making legal research makes the process immensely labor-intensive. A law firm app with AI/NLP functionality can take the drudgery out of the legal research process. Besides, it make the result of this process a lot more comprehensive.
Such legal software can locate and encompass a much larger volume of relevant documents. It can process them with much higher accuracy. It becomes easy to locate and analyze documents related to similar past cases, or find similar patterns in past cases. One can easily find information that is related to a specific entity, situation, or place, for instance, a specific judge, location, court decision, or circumstances.
A truly colossal task a law firm app with AI/NLP can automate is searching for patents. Here, it can also produce a much more reliable result. In fact, you can search not only for patents – locating and checking registered trademarks and registered products becomes a breeze too, as compared to the traditional search.
Need help with developing a law firm mobile app?
Book a free meeting with our experts to find out how we can help you to build your project according to your business vision.Book a Meeting
Law firm apps take the hassle out of legal firms’ dealings with their clients. They often significantly cut the turnaround time for many tasks and procedures. For each client, the application must provide a client profile that contains their basic personal data, case history, client activity, and contact info. Sometimes, it makes sense to expand this functionality with invoice management, so that you can easily display the client’s paid and unpaid invoices.
The bulk of a law firm app’s Client Management functionality consists of scheduling and contact management functions.
The scheduling functionality includes an integration with the application’s calendaring capability to make client and other appointments. This function must also include a reminder feature. This feature must allow you to display reminders about the forthcoming appointments and other events and send reminders to clients through a channel of their preference.
The contract management functionality of your legal app must enable your clients to access their contracts, collaborate on them with you, and then e-sign them. Again, as we have mentioned before, it could make sense to implement 2FA-based e-signature functionality or Blockchain here to better ensure the security and integrity of your client contracts.
Similar to Document Management, you can employ AI in the design of your legal app’s Client Management functionality. For example, you can do so to gain insights into your clients’ legal spending patterns and to adjust your budgeting in accordance with them.
The Task Management functionality of a law firm app must allow one to create various tasks and assign them to the law firm’s employees. The task-related information must appear on the calendar and the central dashboard. The user must be able to create assignable to-do lists with detailed instructions for both themselves and other users. They must also be able to prioritize tasks on these assignable to-do lists.
All the tasks must be searchable by status, date started, deadline, progress, priority, assignee, and any other appropriate multiple criteria.
Sometimes, it makes sense to implement Task Management and Calendaring capability as a single functional module.
To facilitate payment management, it makes sense to implement a separate module for the management of expenses. For example, in the case of app development for lawyers, such expenses could include stamp duty and court fees.
Billing, Invoice Management, and Payment Collection
Your law firm app must generate editable invoices automatically. It must be easy to search both paid and issued invoices by using multiple criteria, including the date of issue, the invoice due date, and the client.
It is also essential to provide ways for the client to easily make payments for legal services against issued invoices.
It may be difficult for a lawyer to keep tabs on all the events taking place during the day. To facilitate this, it is advisable to implement a dynamic dashboard that would display all the different current and forthcoming events.
For example, these events could include:
- Forthcoming client appointments
- Court deadlines
- Recent, current, and forthcoming tasks and their execution dates/deadlines.
- Status (for example, completed, overdue, the date that the task must be started).
- Any outstanding bills and their status (for example, overdue, the date that the bill must be paid).
- The central dashboard of your law firm app must also allow a quick overview of all event-related cases.
In some cases, for example, in the case of attorney legal apps, it is an absolute must to implement the ability to quickly and easily check in work hours. This must include the client case, date, rate, and other relevant information.
It should be said that nowadays a full-blown legal solution is barely thinkable without a full-fledged and user-friendly mobile app. It is essential to enable lawyers, attorneys, and their clients to use your legal functionality on the fly.
Some features, like the ability to communicate with clients, view and manage the calendar and appointments, and check in work hours are imperative to mobile apps for law firms.
The Client-side functionality of law firm apps
The functionality of the Provider and Client parts of most law firm apps largely overlaps. However, there are several functions that must necessarily add to the Client side.
More specifically, your clients must be able to use their version of your law firm app to choose a specific lawyer. Thay must also be able to request and schedule an online or in-person appointment with this lawyer.
Besides, the client side of of your mobile app must allow your clients to monitor the progress made on their case and receive various case-related notifications.
Multi-tenant legal solutions enable legal service providers to offer legal services to other businesses.
The bulk of such solutions consists of legal document management, document signature, and document exchange functionality. Нowever, they can include virtually any other set of functions other law firm apps provide, depending on the kind and extent of the legal services offered by the provider.
Simply put, a client company can use a multi-tenant legal solution to:
- Store their legal documentation.
- Exchange legal documents with their counterparts.
- E-sign legal documents.
- Securely make legal documents available for signature by their counterparts.
Besides, when required, the legal service provider’s B2B clients can use their professional legal services.
It is also possible for them to search for documents based on multiple criteria, share both single documents and entire document folders, and invite other users to collaborate (review and sign) on their documents.
Usually, multi-tenant legal solutions are based on a complex user hierarchy. For instance, the multi-tenant legal solution we have developed for one of our North-American clients included such user roles, as:
- Super Admin – the legal provider’s expert, who has full access to all companies and their document libraries in the solution’s database.
- Full-Access User – a user who has the same user rights, as those of the Super Admin role, but only for a specific company.
- Client User – a user, who has access to some of their company’s document folders and single documents, stored in the solution’s database.
- Client Admin – a user, who has the privileges to grant access rights to their company’s Client Users and Guests.
- Document Manager – the legal service provider ‘s legal expert, who helps Client Users manage their documents and supports the process of documents’ signature.
- Guest – a user role that allows a user to participate in reviewing a legal document on a temporary basis via an invite. Guests have view-only access to some specific folders and documents. They can sign such documents if they are granted the corresponding permissions.
Multi-tenant legal solutions allows businesses in various verticals to cost-effectively and conveniently manage their legal business processes. Such solutions can also provide a much higher level of security and document integrity, especially if they use Blockchain technologies.
It should be noted that developing a full-blown, multi-tenant legal platform takes not only a fair amount of Legaltech expertise, but also the skills and abilities that are normally required in enterprise software development.
Your lawyer app development provider must be able to create a viable and scalable solution architecture. They must be able to ensure a sufficient processing power and robustness of your solution. For instance, the multi-tenant legal solution we’ve developed allows managing some 800 million legal documents for around 50 companies.
Besides, if your multi-tenant legal solution must include a law firm mobile app, your custom software provider’s experience in creating mobile GUIs for enterprise-grade applications can become an asset too.
Mobile tech stack you can use to create a mobile law firm app
You can basically use either of the two mobile development platforms – either iOS or Android, to develop a mobile app for law firms. Basically, neither of the two can give you any pronounced advantages in lawyer app development.
However, you should still be aware of how one can leverage some of the important development means these mobile development platforms provide. This will help you discuss with your mobile developers the level of implementation that you would prefer to have for some of your mobile app’s features and characteristics.
For example, if you want to achieve a much higher level of legal data storage security, you should go for the Keychain in iOS and Android Keystore in Android.
To ensure the best performance of your mobile app across the different operational systems and mobile devices GUI-wise, you should opt for Alternative Layouts as opposed to Responsive Design, regardless of whether you’ve chosen iOs or Android. You can learn a lot more about some of the important mobile app development-related nuances in our article How to Leverage Mobile App Development Outsourcing to Benefit You the Most?
How much does it cost to develop an app for lawyers, and a law firm mobile app, in particular?
Certainly, the price of a law firm app can vary depending on the set of features it provides. Two more factors that influence this price are the level of your legal app development provider and their location.
It should be said upfront that it makes all the sense to go with a custom software development company that has sufficient experience in the development of law firm apps and is based in a favorable software development location. The latter, as you will have probably known, can sometimes cut your development costs by a factor of 2. So, given you opt for this kind of a lawyer app development arrangement, you should be able to implement a legal software solution for $ 50000 -200000.
If you’re a technology-driven provider of legal services that wants to develop a multi-tenant legal solution for corporate clients, this kind of a solution can cost you $ 200000-1000000.
In the event that you want to develop a law firm mobile app, the investment you will need to make will be within the range of $ 50000-200000.
Developing a legal application, and, in particular, a mobile lawyer app can allow most legal businesses to get rid a rid of a number of problems, achieve much better KPIs, and open a host of opportunities for business growth.
Regardless of whether you are considering lawyer app development or app development for attorneys, developing a legal app can help you raise productivity and gain more flexibility and mobility.
As far as multi-tenant legal solutions are concerned, lawyer app development can become a golden opportunity for someone who wants to establish a business presence in a new and immensely promising business niche.
If application development for lawyers or app development for attorneys is something you are planning or looking into, and some of the aspects of the process still seem a little obscure, our Legaltech experts would be eager to lend a hand.
We’ll gladly discuss your lawyer app development needs with you and the ways that they can best be fulfilled. Just contact us, and we’ll be sure to be in touch with you shortly.
Have more questions about law firm software development? Ask our experts!
Explore the solutions we offer to see how we can assist you!Schedule a Call