Unit4 solutions for legal firms

Managing a legal practice involves the simultaneous pursuit of several key ambitions, each of which presents unique challenges. To succeed, legal firms need to find ways to:

Grow revenue and profits

Connect your growth strategy with your business practices to win more profitable business

Guarantee project success

Deliver advice and support on complex issues within tight timescales, in scope, and within budget

Provide superior service

Exceed expectations with more focused, informed, agile and responsive teams

Gain business insight

Understand your finances, people, engagements and clients to manage change and risk


Running a successful legal business requires companies to pursue ambitious growth while delivering a high standard of service, with limited margin for error. Firms are constantly looking for ways to increase their revenues and profits and enhance the efficiency of their business processes, all while making sure their project management strategy remains flexible enough to account for the evolving complexity of the legal cases they are handling.
Naturally, this can be a challenging process. But, by taking full advantage of the latest technology advances in professional services automation/project services automation – such as the Unit4 PSA Suite and broader enterprise software such as Unit4 Business World – it is a goal that is firmly within the reach of a well-run legal business.

What challenges do legal businesses face?

For legal companies, the phrase "time is money" is particularly pertinent; it has always been vital for law firms to minimize the amount of time lost needlessly to administrative processes, in order to deliver more effectively on their core operations and responsibility.

And there are other things to consider:

  • Professionalism is king – trust is the foundation for building long-term client relationships, so attention to detail and clockwork efficiency are essential.
  • Data handling and security – rigorous processes and safeguards are needed for clients’ sensitive and confidential information.
  • Speed of change – the need to respond quickly, whether to developments in a case or the constantly evolving global regulatory landscape mean that legal firms need to build end-to-end flexibility into their operations.

With economic uncertainty and frequent major socio-political paradigm shifts seemingly the new normal, legal firms are seeking new ways to ensure their management strategy is responsive, transparent to clients and fit for purpose in a competitive environment. As a result, many are harnessing the latest technology to improve coordination, planning and efficiency, while also enabling better control and transparency.

Key legal industry trends

Unit4 offers a range of innovative solutions for legal firms, to help them rise to the challenges they face today, and respond proactively to many of the key trends that are reshaping the industry:

Trend 1: A globalized approach

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Businesses have been moving in the direction of greater globalization for several decades, and the legal industry is no exception to this. More and more law firms are taking on international clients, which means offering a more diverse range of services, designed to cater for the varying legislative approaches that exist in other territories; it also means considering global expansion from a strategic point of view, with consideration to be given to which markets would be most worthy of new investment.
Running a global law firm requires considerable clarity in terms of planning oversight, with multidisciplinary teams having to coordinate with counterparts across the world to allocate the right expertise to the right destinations.
Win more business
Unit4's project planning tools can help companies to manage international initiatives, generate forecasts and gain instant pipeline visibility, offering the tools and insights to plan the most profitable way forward for the business. They can also assist companies looking to expand successfully, without being held back by process or communication bottlenecks.

Trend 2: A fast-changing regulatory and technological landscape

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The legal industry has changed considerably in the years since the global economic downturn, with all manner of new legislation coming into effect to redirect the markets towards a more sustainable future. At the same time, seismic international developments such as Brexit promise to throw the entire current legal status quo into doubt, with hundreds of new laws, rules and regulations potentially in the pipeline.
At the same time, the worlds of law and business have become increasingly affected by and dependent on technology. The onus falls on legal firms to remain as close to the cutting edge of technological understanding as possible. Increasingly, legal work involves a huge amount of sifting through unstructured data, and developing a meaningful understanding of what this information means for their client's legal risks.
For legal firms to respond effectively, running a lean and agile business that is able to account for major changes while maintaining service quality is vital. Achieving this can be made much easier by giving legal workers access to advanced project management tools and structured training capabilities.
Execute profitable projects
By providing a user-friendly, holistic solution for managing their finances, people and projects, Unit4's software solutions give bosses a broad overview of their operations and allow them to make the adjustments needed to stay a step ahead of market trends. Applying cutting-edge technology to boost the efficiency of vital processes gives a valuable advantage over backward-looking rivals – helping to ensure that the right decisions and actions are reached and projects can be carried out both competitively and profitably.

Trend 3: Diversified workforce management

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The relationships between law firms and clients are becoming increasingly involved and complex, with clients seeking out long-term partners to deliver a broad suite of legal services, rather than hiring them on a case-by-case basis. This is leading to a growing focus on cultivating multidisciplinary teams, which necessitates the hiring of flexible talent, who will be receptive to taking on additional skills and responsibilities over time.
This can help legal businesses to enhance their agility and expertise, while keeping costs down. However, this can only be achieved if firms make sure staff are comprehensively trained, and that their various skills are put to maximum use, without organizational roadblocks getting in the way.
As such, it has never been more important for legal firms to ensure that staff are being utilized effectively, leading to an increased need for tools that offer 360-degree visibility of worker availability for every project.
Staff more effectively
Unit4's user-friendly, intuitive and automated software applications are an ideal example of this, allowing billable hours, costs and resources to be logged and planned according to changing requirements, staff availability and intended timelines. They can also be used to keep track of skills, appraisals, work experience, compensations and benefits, helping legal workers to develop and grow within an organization, and allowing the employer to reap the benefit of their talents for years to come.

Trend 4: New approaches to finance management

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Against a challenging economic backdrop, legal firms have been under pressure to do more with less and deliver greater value from their investment in staff and services.
To achieve the necessary balance between lean operating models and strong service quality, many legal businesses are looking to identify innovative new approaches to corporate finance management.
In many cases, this will involve the elimination of unnecessary processes and bureaucracy, and the maximization of staff utilization; in other instances, law firms are looking to alternative funding structures, such as raising external capital or transitioning towards a greater reliance on external funding or profit retention to fund investment.
Making a success of such initiatives requires tools that deliver clear oversight over corporate billing and finances.
Bill with precision
Unit4 solutions offer a range of support in this regard, with tools to help companies generate financial statements, produce detailed budget reports, manage invoicing and retain a direct overview of their bank balances at all times. Billable hours, costs and resources can all be easily logged and planned around, according to changing requirements, without the need to spend hours doing admin. This can provide legal businesses with the flexibility they need to thrive in a changing market reality, while also gaining back valuable time that could be better spent on generating profit.

Helping legal staff at every level

Addressing all of the challenges that legal firms face at the same time can be a complex process, which is where Unit4's holistic professional services automation solutions come into their own, delivering value across every level of the organization:

  • Executives and Managers

    Unit4 solutions make it easier to oversee the company's strategic direction.
    Leaders and decision makers will gain access to new tools that will help them enhance profitability while identifying new business opportunities.

  • Finance Departments

    Unit4 solutions make it easier to budget, report and forecast more accurately, enabling the finance team to actively monitor and improve their organization’s cash flow and profit margins, while investigating new financing models.

  • Project Leaders

    Unit4 solutions deliver better visibility over the end-to-end management of complex processes, making sure the relevant staff and stakeholders have access to the right information as it is needed, and monitoring progress towards key goals and deadlines.

  • HR Bosses

    Unit4 solutions help companies to maintain and match the right skills to current and future projects. As well as ensuring the most suitable staff can be allocated for their skill set, HR teams can monitor each person's overall development and training needs to keep them engaged and up to date with the latest legal developments.

  • Legal Staff

    Unit4 solutions help reduce the time taken up by complex bureaucracy and manual form-filling, enabling Legal staff to apply themselves fully to their core roles and responsibilities, without manual admin processes hindering their productivity.

What are legal companies saying about Unit4 solutions?

The value that Unit4 can provide for accounting firms is not just theoretical! Many legal businesses have already seen significant benefits after using Unit4's software solutions to gain improved control of their operational management.

For additional insights into the benefits our solutions can provide, explore our case studies and video testimonials

Unit4 PSA Suite
Unit4 Business World

Want to know more?

If you'd like to learn more about how Unit4's PSA Suite could help to transform your business, you can download a guide to our solutions for legal firms here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us directly to answer any questions you might have, or to request a personalized demo today.