Running a legal business can be stressful and very expensive. Luckily, there are free online software applications that can help you run your office more efficiently. With these tools, communicate better within your company, offer more services to your clients and create a more professional appearance. While there are many software applications online, we decided to highlight our favorites.
1. Google Docs – Have you ever gone home for the night and needed a file that was on your computer at work? With Google Docs, that headache is eradicated. By storing all your data online, you can access your files in Google docs from any computer. Google Docs gives you the opportunity to create a regular word document, a spreadsheet, a presentation or a form. Think of it as the online equivalent to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The other useful thing about Google Docs? You can share your files with anyone. You can invite other people to simply look at your document, or you can allow them to also make changes. Share memos, update spreadsheets and stay in the loop wherever you may be.
2. Google Calendars – In this industry, deadlines and accuracy are everything. The easiest way to keep track of that is with a Google Calendar. Set up multiple calendars in one screen and select which calendars to view at any given time. Like Google Docs, Google allows you to share your calendars with other people. You can also invite people to certain events. How does this help you? Set up a calendar for just employees with business events, such as meetings. Set up a separate calendar for deadlines for your servers. Set email reminders when pressing deadlines are approaching and you’ll find that everyone is more organized and informed.
3. FreshBooks – Keeping track of your billing is made simple with this online application. A “freemium” service, FreshBooks allows you to try it out for free with a minimal number of clients. There is a monthly fee for any substantial volume, but by trying it free you know what to expect. With FreshBooks, clients can view and pay invoices online, set up automatic payments from their credit cards and receive automatic late payment reminders. FreshBooks also helps you track the time your employees work, stay on budget and be reminded of deadlines. In addition, FreshBooks helps you look like a professional – from being able to brand invoices with your company logo to offering services such as paying invoices online. Manage your company’s finances with ease.
4. AVG Free – Anyone with a computer knows how important it is to make sure it is protected from viruses. One wrong click can install harmful viruses and bugs to your hard drive. A simple way to prevent this (besides not opening attachments sent from people you don’t know) is having antivirus software on your computer. As hackers are getting more sneaky and savvy, virus protection is essential. While it is a good idea to invest the money in antivirus software for each work computer, in the meantime you can download a free antivirus software from AVG. This protects your computer from trojans, viruses, worms, spyware and adware. Protect your computer to prevent costly repairs later.
5. ServeManager- Managing your clients, servers and jobs has never been easier with ServeManager. This free online software application allows you to communicate with process servers, track and manage all aspects of a job, upload documents, download affidavits generated by your process servers and more. Keep up-to-date with the status of your jobs with automatic emails and real-time status updates for service attempts 24 hours a day from any Internet connection. This software not only helps you run your business smoothly, but it allows you to streamline the communication process with your process servers. Spend less time on the phone getting status updates and more time managing your legal business.
While none of these applications are going to change your business over night, they all provide useful and free solutions to common issues businesses may have. By taking advantage of these applications, you can run your business more efficiently without having to open your wallet. Even if you are not sure about some of these resources, at the very least take the time to visit the site and test them out – with no financial commitment to try them, you can’t afford not to.
Thank you Kathryn, these are all great ideas for free software. As a Paralegal who just started her own business this year, I can tell you from experience that finding good programs for free is extremely helpful. Adding to item 4, regarding AVG, I would like to recommend that you also add Malwarebytes and Spybot to your anti-virus defenses. These programs were recommended by Tech Republic and as reported in a recent article written by my good friend and colleague, Eric G. Young. You can find the complete article at Mr. Young’s blog, at
I would also like to thank Beth Davis, also with ServeNow.com for getting me Kathryn’s article. You can also learn more about ServeNow.com and their new software, ServeManager, at the following link to the official press release. ServeManager Official Release
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