For sole proprietors and small paralegal firms, the challenges of running an independent practice can seem overwhelming.
How to juggle the day-to-day tasks, to manage clients, market services, comply with Law Society of Upper Canada record-keeping requirements, maintain an office, ensure banking needs are addressed, get paid, and advocate… these issues keep some independent paralegals awake at night, and can hinder practitioners from reaching their potential.
Dealing with the two biggest issues of small-practice — client management and accounting — actually provides an opportunity, one that an Ottawa-based firm has met head-on. Taking the uLaw service for a “test drive” recently, I learned that client management and accounting can be handled simultaneously, seamlessly and painlessly, with uLaw’s web-based practice management service.
Less Time Doing the Books = More Time for Clients
Tailored for the small practice, the Canadian cloud-based service ensures that maximum time is spent on client advocacy and revenue-generating activities, with the minimum time devoted to meeting back-end, non-revenue generating financial requirements. Both main task areas are leveraged in a way that frees time for the soft-skills, with less worry about meeting Law Society requirements.
From client intake to closing-out a file, the uLaw system is developed with sole-practitioner compliance in mind. uLaw incorporates the Law Society requirements and input from paralegals ourselves. Client identification and conflict-checking, retainer letter boiler-plates, trust account reconciliation, HST reports – all mirror the Law Society’s practice management requirements and bookkeeping guidelines.
A significant example of the give-and-take that produced the uLaw system is the ability to auto-fill forms, such as a 9-A Trust Transfer requisition, and the ever-popular Small Claims Court forms. Responding to feedback from paralegals, uLaw added these options to the basic service elements in the system. Beta-testing of Landlord & Tenant Board forms will begin soon.
What You Need, When You Want It
uLaw allows paralegals to handle their financial reporting obligations, with as much or as little pull as they want. Subscribers “do accounting” without having to know accounting. That aspect of the business goes on behind the scenes.
ulaw clients can generate as much or as little data as they desire, to extract reports based on data entered. These include client matter reports, general accounts, ledgering journals, reconciliation reports, trust transfer request forms, aging invoices, time sheets, accounts payable – information that is important for both compliance and business-planning purposes. Calendaring ensures that revenue-generating items are never lost or forgotten.
A user-friendly dashboard is at the heart of the uLaw system. Accessible anywhere, any time, the dashboard provides single-user, robust and transparent access to new client matters, events, and reminders. Data becomes part of the behind-the-scenes programming. Entries are retrievable as reports, time dockets, invoices, ledgers and even as completed forms. All data remains in the control of the paralegal, whether they take the service for one month or several years.
A uLaw account costs $39 per month. Choosing the yearly plan will save the practitioner $10 a month, for a yearly price of $348, with no cancellation charges or hidden costs. uLaw has a 30-day free trial, and a special rate for students. This Canadian company wants to hear about user experiences with their product; share your impressions of the product, in the form below.