Data Management

The Legal Tech-To-English Dictionary: Law Practice Management Software

Ed. note: This is the second installment of The Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary, part of our Non-Event for Tech-Perplexed Lawyers. Jared Correia is the host of the Non-Eventcast. 

There’s a term for when attorneys use Latin and other arcane languages to describe legal processes to consumers: “legalese.”

But there’s no similar term for when vendors use technical and other arcane languages to describe their legal software operations to lawyers.

True, this dynamic may seem unfair. But now we have The Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary to help us cope.

Read on for the second installment, where we translate legal practice management software-related topics to plain English.

And for more commentary on legal tech, check out the Non-Eventcast in the Law Practice Management SoftwareLegal Document Management Software, and Legal Operations Contract Lifecycle Management rooms at the Above the Law Non-Event.

Law Practice Management Software

1. A database for managing law firm clients that organizes primary case information under matter files.
2. A platform for systematizing client data collected from integrated systems via software integrations.
3. Client files organized by email subfolders … in 2002.

Lawyer 1: I just bought a new law practice management software, and I’m spending so much less time looking for everything because it’s all in one place now!

Lawyer 2: Yeah, you should see this Excel file I put together. It’s badass.

Lawyer 1: Just … stop.

Cf. Organization porn

Relational Database

1. A software that recognizes relationships between segments of data.
2. A system based on the relational model of data, created by Edgar F. Codd.

Cf. Law practice management software

Cf. The Oracle of (Kevin) Bacon.

Client Portal

1. A software system feature that allows law firms to share certain data with clients via an in-system, encrypted holding container, which clients can access using a unique password or PIN (personal identification number).
2. The means by which unwieldy assignments can seamlessly enter your workflow. 

Lawyer 1: The good news is that my clients can send me stuff via our portal. That’s also the bad news.

Lawyer 2: Ba-dum-cha.

Lawyer 1: Thanks. I’m here ‘til Thursday. Try the veal.

Cf. Online document drives, most of which are de facto customer portals, also allow users to share information with others in a secure format. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, et al. offer such features. These can also be connected to law practice management software via integrations.

Cf. Like how in action movies, there’s always a portal with all these aliens coming in to invade the planet. Honestly, I don’t know which portal is worse: that one, or the one that drops a 90-page contract in your lap for review.


1. Connecting two softwares via an API (application programming interface) that allows each software system to share data with the other.
2. Connecting two softwares via an intermediary program (like Zapier) so that the two programs can share data without the need of an API.
3. A primary reason modern practice management software can be life-changing, particularly for those currently using a combination of dictation machines, hard-copy markups, and the Logo turtle.  

Cf. Linking a law practice management software to a productivity software (email, calendar) allows users to sync emails, events and tasks with client files within the law practice management software, cementing that program as a holistic solution for law firm data management. Linking an accounting program to a law practice management software allows users to push expense and invoice data into the accounting program.

Business Intelligence

1. A method for collecting and aggregating data into a digestible format that allows software users to make data-driven business decisions.
2. Reports generated from software systems focused on specific business metrics, including key performance indicators.
3. You know, pretty much everything your law school neglected to tell you about. But, hey: You still know what the Rule Against Perpetuities is!

Lawyer 1: How’s your P&L statement looking for the last quarter?

Lawyer 2: Uh. Um. Res Ipsa Loquitur.

Lawyer 1: Say what?

Cf. NOT the Edsel.

This is the second installment of The Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary, part of our Non-Event for Tech-Perplexed Lawyers. Read the first installment here.

Jared Correia, a consultant and legal technology expert, is the host of the Non-Eventcast, the featured podcast of the Above the Law Non-Event for Tech-Perplexed Lawyers. 

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