This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
The best law firm bookkeeping software must be able to handle client trust accounts (CTAs), including interest on lawyers’ trust accounts (IOLTAs), accurately track time and expenses spent on cases, and maintain detailed records to properly bill the client. A good legal-specific accounting system must also perform a three-way reconciliation of client ledgers, trust accounts, and bank statements.
We reviewed numerous accounting software options to identify the best all-in-one solutions as well as some law firm integrations for popular bookkeeping programs.
- PCLaw: Best overall all-in-one law firm accounting software
- CosmoLex: Best for law firms that want an all-in-one cloud-based accounting and practice management solution
- LeanLaw: Best legal accounting software for small firms when integrated with QuickBooks Online
- TimeSolv: Best integration for law firms that use Xero accounting software
- Zola Suite: Best for law firms that need CRM functions
Comparison of Best Law Firm Accounting Software
Monthly Pricing per User
Doesn’t Require Bookkeeping Integration
Integrates with QuickBooks Online
Integrates with Xero
Built-in Triple Reconciliation
Integrates with QuickBooks Online
Integrates with Xero
Client Intake Forms
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
PCLaw: Best Overall All-In-One Law Firm Accounting Software
PCLaw, by LexisNexis, earned the top spot in our list of the best law firm accounting software and is a popular desktop-based practice management and accounting software. It allows law firms to manage matters, track time and expenses, pay vendors, accept client payments, and manage trust accounts in one place.
Unlike other law firm software, PCLaw doesn’t need to integrate with third-party accounting software to boost its bookkeeping features. The program is ideal for both solo practitioners and law firms that track billable hours and calculate profit per hour.
As an all-in-one law practice management software, PCLaw offers a rich set of features both for managing legal operations and general bookkeeping tasks, including:
- Matter management: PCLaw provides a centralized platform where you can manage and store matter-related information and transactions, including documents, to-do lists, and communications.
- Trust accounting: You can execute trust accounting functions, such as writing checks, accepting client payments, and reconciling trust bank journal balances to your client listing.
- Time tracking: Track billable and non-billable time using PCLaw’s timesheets or timer plugins. If you want to track time on the go, you’ll benefit from the PCLaw Go mobile app.
- Bank reconciliation: PCLaw allows you to reconcile your bank statements to your bank journals to ensure your records are accurate.
Our Expert Opinion
You can find almost everything you need in PCLaw. You can use LEDES codes to streamline client billing, create multiple accounts for client trusts, firm funds, and IOLTA accounts, create tasks and assign to different lawyers, and track time on the go with its mobile timekeeping app, PCLaw Go.
Since PCLaw is part of the LexisNexis family of legal practice management products, there are plenty of ways you can connect it with other programs that you currently use. PCLaw is powerful but complicated legal accounting software, so you might want to enlist the help of a professional bookkeeper or accountant who is familiar with the program.
CosmoLex: Best All-in-One Cloud-based Legal Accounting Software
Just like PCLaw, CosmoLex is an all-in-one accounting and legal practice management solution but is cloud-based rather than being installed on your local computer or network. CosmoLex has a rich set of features, including time tracking, trust accounting, billing, and task and document management. It’s part of the Tabs3 family that provides specialized law firm software for solo and midsized law firms.
CosmoLex is a cloud-based program with plenty of features, such as:
- Built-in legal trust accounting: Just like PCLaw, CosmoLex has built-in trust accounting tools that enable you to print disbursement checks, import bank statements, and run trust accounting reports, like trust client balances and trust ledger transactions.
- Billing and invoicing: Charge your clients for services in different ways, including fixed fees, hourly, and contingency billing. You can create legal-specific invoices and send and print invoices in bulk.
- Matter management: Manage items and events related to matters, including invoices, time cards, expense cards, and trust transactions.
- Document management: Store and manage your files and documents in a secure place. Since it’s cloud-based, you can access your files wherever you’re as long you’re connected to the internet.
Our Expert Opinion
With CosmoLex, you don’t have to subscribe to QuickBooks or any other accounting software to use general bookkeeping features—which is often the case in some programs, like LeanLaw and TimeSolv. It might be slightly expensive, but it spares you the additional costs of paying for third-party accounting software. Since it’s cloud-based, you can access and manage your data anywhere, making it a great choice for busy lawyers and timekeepers who are often out of the office to meet clients and prospects.
LeanLaw: Best for Small Law Firms When Integrated With QuickBooks Online
If you’re a QuickBooks Online user but need a legal accounting system that complies with trust accounting rules and will perform a three-way reconciliation, LeanLaw is the right solution for you. QuickBooks Online is already our best overall small business accounting software, but LeanLaw takes it one step further and converts it from general bookkeeping to a very capable legal billing and accounting system.
QuickBooks Online Plans & Pricing
You can integrate LeanLaw with any QuickBooks Online plan. To determine which QuickBooks Online version is right for you, explore our QuickBooks Online comparison guide.
Below is a summary of QuickBooks Online pricing:
- Simple Start: $25 per month for one user
- Essentials: $50 per month for up to three users
- Plus: $80 per month for up to five users
- Advanced: $180 per month for up to 25 users
You can choose between 50% off for three months or a 30-day free trial. Check out our review of QuickBooks Online to see if it’s worth the additional price.
LeanLaw converts your QuickBooks Online account into powerful legal bookkeeping software. Some of its key features include:
- QuickBooks Online Integration: LeanLaw integrates with QuickBooks Online to boost its legal billing and invoicing workflows. It enables trust accounting reports, client reports, origination/contingency reporting, accounts receivable (A/R) aging, and more.
- Timekeeping: Track time spent on a project using a calendar view with timers, a web app pop-up, and a mobile tracking app.
- Billing and invoicing: LeanLaw complies with LEDES and American Bar Association (ABA) standards for billing and invoicing clients. Invoices are submitted to LEDES billing systems, including eCounsel, Lawtrac, Legal Tracker, and CounselLink.
QuickBooks Online Features
For an additional fee, you can boost LeanLaw’s functionality by integrating it with QuickBooks Online, which provides you access to the following features:
- LeanLaw QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors: LeanLaw has a special program that matches law firms with QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors who are also proficient in LeanLaw.
- Invoicing: You can’t create and send invoices without QuickBooks Online. Once a time entry is made in LeanLaw, it’ll be pushed to your QuickBooks Online account for invoicing.
- Improved reporting: QuickBooks Online provides more options for reporting, including A/R aging, trust accounting, attorney compensation/revenue reports, and more.
Our Expert Opinion
LeanLaw is mostly a legal billing software, but one of its biggest strengths is that it reconciles trust accounts automatically. If your IOLTA funds keep going out of balance, LeanLaw will help you fix it. Its powerful IOLTA accounting built into the invoicing workflow allows you to make legal trust deposits and pay invoices directly from your trust accounts.
On top of its deep QuickBooks Online integration, LeanLaw comes with a comprehensive time tracking tool that allows you to capture time using any device. Time entries are converted into invoices automatically through QuickBooks, and electronic payments can be processed through the Intuit Payment Network. LeanLaw also supports standard LEDES codes for easy invoicing.
TimeSolv: Best Law Firm Bookkeeping Integration for Firms Using Xero
TimeSolv is a cloud-based timekeeping and billing solution with integrated project management capabilities. It doesn’t have built-in bookkeeping features, but it integrates with Xero to manage accounting functions, such as cash flow management and automatic bank reconciliation. Some of its biggest strengths are its time tracking and built-in project management tool which helps lawyers manage complicated legal matters like commercial disputes and litigations.
TimeSolv integrates with Xero, regardless of the plan you choose. Below is Xero’s detailed pricing information.
- Early: $22 per month up to 20 invoices and five bills
- Growing: $35 per month for unlimited invoices and bills
- Established: $47 per month for unlimited invoices and bills plus project accounting
You can try Xero for free for 30 days.
Read our review of Xero to see if it’s a good fit for your TimeSolv account.
TimeSolv is a comprehensive program with many built-in legal features, such as:
- Xero integration: TimeSolv itself has no general accounting features, such as banking and cash management. To handle bookkeeping tasks, you should consider integrating TimeSolv with Xero.
- Time and expense tracking: Time and expenses can be logged and tracked easily using the intuitive Time Entry and Expense Entry forms.
- Invoicing: TimeSolv lets you send batch invoices and set up recurring invoices, as well as split bills or choose fixed fees when charging your clients for your services.
- TimeSync: This free desktop app lets you log time even when offline. You can sync your data later when you get back online.
Integrating TimeSolv with Xero provides you with additional features and benefits, including the ability to:
- Create and send invoices with multiple levels of details
- Track account cash flow in real-time
- Run invoicing and billing reports that aid in financial management
- Manage trust accounting and expense claims
Our Expert Opinion
TimeSolv converts your Xero bookkeeping software into powerful law firm software. The program also integrates with QuickBooks Online, but if you have many users―Xero supports unlimited users in all plans―and you find QuickBooks expensive, we recommend integrating it with Xero.
TimeSolv is cloud-based, making it easy to track time and expenses from anywhere. It provides both the required trust accounting with three-way reconciliation as well as tools to help better manage your client matters. If you bill on a detailed hourly basis or need to track associate performance, you’ll most likely benefit from this program.
TimeSolv also has a great list of legal management features like trust accounting, budgeting, document management, and project management. You can use its mobile application to track a matter or project on the go.
Zola Suite: Best for Law Firms that Need CRM Functions
Among all the law firm accounting software on our list, Zola Suite is the only program that has CRM features. It provides law firms with client intake forms that help them manage and track leads as well as a built-in email management system for communicating with prospects.
Zola Suite has a comprehensive list of features that help you manage the different aspects of your legal business. Some of its key features are:
- CRM: TimeSolv’s built-in CRM system enables you to create and manage tasks, events, emails, and notes relevant to your prospects.
- Client intake forms: Create client intake forms that you can email to your prospects. Once the forms are completed, you can convert the new lead information into a matter easily.
- Billing: You can bill your clients directly from time entries or create a new invoice from scratch. Zola Suite uses the LEDES billing method to make it easy for law firms to issue and track invoices.
- Smart Account Reconciliation module: This feature enables you to reconcile your accounts manually to ensure that your trust transactions are recorded accurately.
Our Expert Opinion
Zola Suite is right for legal professionals who have a repeatable process and those who need a little help with their marketing efforts. The built-in CRM and client intake tools help law firms and lawyers make sure that no important communication, client, or leads fall through the cracks. On top of its CRM features, you’ll get additional benefits from the higher pricing tiers, like vendor bill management and split billing.
How We Evaluated Law Firm Accounting Software
We evaluated our best law firm accounting software based on pricing, ease of use, customer support, and the availability of essential legal-specific features including:
- Matter management: The best law firm accounting software should have a streamlined way of managing legal matters, including contracts and transactions, trust accounting, billing of case-related events, and compliance.
- Time tracking: As a lawyer, you need good software to track the time you spend on different clients and cases accurately.
- Trust accounting: The software must provide a way to track both aggregate client funds in your client trust account and the amount of those funds owed to each client. The software also must provide a list of trust transactions separated by the client. Finally, you should be able to perform a triple reconciliation between the client trust account, client ledgers, and bank statement easily.
- Billing system: The billing system must track time and expenses by client job and service code. Billing rates should be allowed to vary by service code and employee. Employees should be able to track and report time and expenses while away from the office. Finally, the billing system should generate professional-looking invoices that can be printed or emailed.
- Practice management: You also might like practice management features integrated with your accounting and billing systems. Common features include client portals, secure communications, document management, calendars with integrated time tracking, and matter dashboards with links to all relevant parties, documents, time, expenses, and invoices.
While PCLaw is our overall best legal accounting software, it doesn’t mean that it’s good for every law firm. If you don’t want to use separate programs for managing your bank accounts, cases, clients, and legal matters, PCLaw is right for you. If you’re currently using QuickBooks Online and want to transform it into a capable legal accounting solution, then choose LeanLaw. If you need a software program that can help you automate your CRM workflows and can help you manage leads, then Zola Suite is a great option.