Legal Trust Accounting Software Packages in Australia that are Compliant with the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (2015)

Undeniably, the legal practice has evolved that is why practitioners are leaving the traditional approach of working style in a law office. The majority of these people are vying for innovation in rendering legal services. An accurate accounting system is an example of a future-proof technology that is relevant for today’s business and client needs. 

It may come as a surprise to some, but there’s actually a plethora of legal trust accounting software available on the market nowadays. Finding a package that suits a firm’s need and budget may be easy. However, it is still deemed wise before purchasing a software to make sure that it is compliant with the law. 

Absolute compliance of laws concerning the receipt, holding and disbursement of trust money must be observed by law practices. Before choosing and purchasing a legal accounting system, the provider must be an expert in trust money accounting and should meet all requirements for Australian legal practices. Also, the software package should ideally have training and support for law firms to manage it. 

The Trust Accounts Department of the Law Society of NSW, upon receiving a request from a software supplier, proceed to carefully scrutinize the software to ensure that it is compliant with the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2015. The trust accounting software packages listed below have been examined and certified by the Law Society of NSW which apply to both NSW and Victoria, as well as the Law Society of South Australia, as complying systems under the Uniform Law. 

Nevertheless, please note and make certain to request a copy of the certificate prior to purchase. Since some of these software packages have only been examined in relation to their capacity to general trust accounts as defined in S128 of the Uniform Law. 

  1. Software Name: Cabenet Legal Accounting Version TRX-12  

Website:www.cabenet.co 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • A registration is required to get started. Signup and pay a one-time only registration fee of $375 Inc. GST. This fee covers the following: account setup, first month of use and introductory online training, advice on conversion from legal accounting system, assistance with first trust account reconciliation for correct conversion of professional compliance records. 
  • Pay monthly scheme with no minimum contract commitment. Subscription includes automatic upgrades, email help-desk support, and comprehensive online help library. 
  • Subscription packages are as follow:  
  1. Small Practice: 1-5 users and or level 1 storage, $77 per month, per practice 
  1. Medium Practice: 6-10 users and or level 2 storage, $154 per month, per practice 
  1. Large Practice: 11-25 users and or level 3 storage, $231 per month, per practice 

***If more than 25 Users are needed, please request a quote. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Cabenet Legal Accounting Version TRX-12 is widely used by law firms across Australia for certified professional compliance. 
  • It is easy to use and has flexible integrated legal accounting and practice management.  
  • No long term commitment required, no need to buy expensive hardware or required sign-up for ongoing support costs. 
  • The subscription includes matter file register, trust and controlled monies, time capture tools (includes mobile devices), three reconcilable accounts for office accounting, and safe custody register. Cabenet also have fees and cost billing — invoicing; email, Skype and SMS integration, and email user support and online help library. 
  • The only known downside of using cabenet (although it isn’t such a big deal), is that it doesn’t include precedents/court forms and CRM (Client Relationship Management). However, these can be integrated. 
  1. Software Name: FilePro version 2.1.6.7 

Website:www.filepro.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • A one-time payment of $2,990.00 and an ongoing costs are charged per new matters opened which are disbursable 
  • Pricing model is per matter with average number of 10-20 users. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Filepro has a cost effective program and is easy to use. 
  • The only minor disadvantage of using the program is that it doesn’t have a payroll system (HR management), and a client portal. Lawyer mobility is available only via 3rd party. 
  • The software has a document assembly which can create custom docs, forms, and contracts prefilled with client data. 
  • It enables a firm to store or manage precedents allowing it to build the firm’s intellectual property and knowledge base. 
  • Package also includes interactive practice management information, real-time interactive dashboard (which alerts for critical deadlines, cost escalations, staff KPIs and financial performance).  
  • The Document Management Capture feature allows the storing and managing of all data associated with matters (both text documents and audio files), and documents created within the software is automatically associated to the relevant matter. 
  • Filepro boasts of complete general and trust accounting without the need for external accounting software or specialised staff with an accounting degree. 
  • Other features includes: capture email correspondence; file sort and search, version control and bulk import/export functionality; customisable client information; automatic capture of practice costs for billing and automatic invoices. 
  1. Software Name: Open Practice version 8.2 

Website:globalx.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor. Request a custom quote or book a demo. 
  • Hint of high-value pricing per user with ongoing updates for free, renewable annually. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Best for mid-to-large firms with average number of users of 20-30. 
  • Open Practice software’ provides Legal Practice and Document Management Solutions that boasts of a reputation for long-term reliability, scalability and relevance to legal practice industry. 
  • A single package includes a solid trust accounting at its core, promising a mobile and new law models; traditional legal practice management features; and supporting sites up to hundreds of concurrent users — across multiple branches.  
  • Possess key features such as matter-centric workflow, customisable forms and precedents, integrated conveyancing and legal support services, role-based security, PEXA integration, Integrated Property Information Search, business and consumer information search, trust accounting and financials, Microsoft Office Integration, property settlement and information project management, document management system integration, correspondence tools, CRM and marketing, personalised dashboard, tasks and diary, and Verification of Identity (VOI) Services. 
  • Enables direct access to local team of industry and IT professionals to maximize business performance, services include: implementation, data conversion, project management, online and onsite training, upgrades, and customisation. 
  • Possible cons includes: no billing and invoicing capability, no email management, and no HR management. 
  1. Software Name: LEAP Office Accounting Version 10.2 

Website:www.leap.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor. Request a quote or book a free demo. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • LEAP Office Accounting Version 10.2 helps in performing complex client accounting transactions, promising to take the pain out of bookkeeping and saving more money for firms. 
  • It pride itself on as an effective billing software; it is able to track billable hours, manage trust accounts, manage client accounts, and capture all disbursements. 
  • Seamless integration with MYOB and Xero to make it easy following client accounting responsibilities; all billing activity from recoveries to disbursements will be recorded. 
  • Package includes billing tools such as automatic completion of background bookkeeping entries and customised billing templates. 
  • Feature a Pre-Billing Guide functionality that allows review and printing off a report before generating the bill and finalizing an Invoice. 
  • Better chance of getting paid faster since it’s easier to create invoices that directly correspond to the matter at hand; with a secure, online payments; and recorded against the correct matter in LEAP. 
  1. Software Name: LEAP Cloud Version 1.11 

Website:www.leap.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor. Request a quote or book a free demo. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • LEAP Cloud Version 1.11 is a cloud-based legal practice management software, the data are stored in a cloud allowing firms and legal practitioners to conveniently work anytime and anywhere. It is mobile thus allowing access using laptop, iPad, and even on smartphones. 
  • It boasts of a functionality of secure backups and upgrades, eliminating extra maintenance costs. 
  • Seamless integration for easy merging of matter details into any document, precedent, form or email with Microsoft Office, Xero and MYOB AccountRight. 
  • Automatic update of legal content for up-to-date information. 
  • The software can be used offline, but changes can only be saved and sync when connected to the internet. 
  1. Software Name: Actionstep 

Website:www.actionstep.com/au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Only one plan, all features included for $60 AUD* per user/month 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Cloud-based legal trust accounting software that features almost everything from matter management, document management, as well as time billing and accounting. 
  • No long-term contracts required, allows subscription cancellation anytime with the ability to full extraction of data and documents. 
  • Whole range of integration and add-ons, as well as predefined templates (some of which are free) for further customisation. 
  • Cloud-based trust accounting system allows a more transparent management of client funds, packed with complete tools, reports, and controls for the strict compliance of trust accounting rules and regulations. The system is also integrated with general ledger; ensures trust liability is covered by trust funds in the bank, tracks trust funds by single and multiple clients, provides plenty of audit trails and reports, and visibility of trust position across different matters. 
  • Easy generation of reports such as: trust account ledger, trust payments, receipt cash book, trust reconciliation summary, trust lookup, trust stale balances, trust matter balances, and trust transfer journal. 
  1. Software Name: Lexis Affinity Version 7.1 

Website:www.lexisnexis.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor, please request demo and free consultation 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Legal software solution designed for mid-tier law practitioners that’s intuitive to use, easy to navigate, and easily syncs with other systems. 
  • Access internal research library in Affinity, also allows easy linking of content and articles to matters for reference. 
  • DataForms feature allows easy matter management by updating facts of the matter and key dates. Also keeps everything in one place from tracking of progress, documents, contacts, and financials. 
  • Centralised document management across matters, contacts and clients; also enables storing and finding of documents based on full-text searching, context, purpose, and title. 
  • Microsoft Office integration allows easy attachment, auto-save, drag-and-drop filing with Outlook; save to affinity from Excel, PDF, and Word; sharing and syncing of calendars and tasks with MS Exchange. 
  • Other promising inclusions: client portal, CRM and marketing; record-as-you-work timer, ‘traditional’ fee sheet, scale costs, flexible rates, budget tracking; flexible bill templates, eBilling and collections, consolidated bills, split bills, multi-currency, multi-party bills. 
  • Perhaps too expensive and comprehensive for smaller firms. 
  1. Software Name: Absolute Trust & Office Management (ATOM) 

Website:atom-legal.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • $75.90 (incl. GST) per month – access for the first 5 users; $15.20 per additional user. 
  • Package includes: all modules (excl. payroll), online/telephone training and support, updates and upgrades 
  • No lock-in contracts 

Pros and Cons:  

  • ATOM claims that the software is efficient and intuitive to use and that there is no need to integrate with other accounting applications. Suitable for smaller firms. 
  • A secure (SSL) cloud product on an Australian platform, it is available to use as long as there is an internet access. No hardware specifications, can be used with a PC or Mac. 
  • Features daily secure (encrypted) backups to keep data safe in case of a technical failure (data are stored in a secure designated server). 
  • Clients and matters are managed separately allowing more control; each matter contains time recording, sundries, disbursements, trust and office ledgers. 
  • A bank screen features the ability to produce bank deposit slips and perform bank reconciliations for both the trust and office account. 
  • Interim reports at selected date range functionality; preparation of monthly regulation trust reports; and management reports. 
  • Ability to password protect highly sensitive documents, upload and store matter related documents, and integration with Box to access both Microsoft and Google documents. 
  • Automation and capture of all matter related search fees and documentation with the integration of InfoTrack. 
  • Other features includes: unlimited number of securities packets and wills register to be integrated with a client, a general ledger, calendar, time recording, and ability to record all Controlled Money movements. 
  • Possible downside is that no HR management and CRM capability. 
  1. Software Name: B Series Version W5 

Website:bclegal.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor, please request a quote or schedule an appointment. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Main Accounting Module function as the central repository for client and matter data. Client and matter label functionalities allows the production of adhesive labels for the client/matter files. The software has the facility to incorporate multiple entities, multiple office bank accounts, and multiple trust bank accounts. 
  • The software provides extensive flexibility in the format of cheque/receipt production, especially if there’s already a pre-printed stationery being used. Cheque/receipt documents may be either produced by the computer or drawn by hand. 
  • Recording of third party payments, transit register, can be entered by a user as a notation against the appropriate matter without affecting the trust balance. 
  • Billing facility features some options like: option to direct the bill to a third party, option to itemised or summarised billing, full integration with the time recording process. 
  • Retrospective analysis feature allows the firm to produce management and financial reports when required. Fee analysis module assists the firm for the reporting and analysis of fees billed. 
  • Features the facility to customise and produce Client Statements such as Account Rendered statements and Trust statements within the Account Printing module. 
  • Chart of Account and Advanced General ledger options are provided as standard with the software. 
  • Provides full audit details of all transactions, and are designed to be printed either daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. 
  • The only possible cons: no CRM and HR management functionality. 
  1. Software Name: BHL Insight 

Website:www.bhl.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor, please request a quote or book a demo. 
  • Free trial provided. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Boasts as an all-in-one accounting package, facilitates to seamlessly manage trust and office accounting. It has the capacity to effectively capture fees, disbursements and sundries that arise from each matter. It supports the creation and implementation of bills, as well as receipts and ledgers. It can track GST and BAS across all earnings and expenditures. 
  • Flexible and powerful document precedent generation system, it can create an array of document templates. 
  • Facilitates effective document management system which helps to easily track, file, and search documents. It has the capability to attach documents directly to clients and/or matters, and are organised into categories and classifications.  
  • Dashboard provides up-to-date data on overall performance of staffs and the firm, generates reports on all level from team to departments, to individuals. 
  • Provides a comprehensive time billing solution, from recording time and fees to billing and productivity monitoring. Also supported by the system are other functionalities such us task analysis, matter analysis and budgets, and general ledger budgeting. 
  • It can help automate and centralise marketing data and functions. There’s also an event management system functionality that allows active management of card lists, newsletters, and seminars making it an effective CRM system. 
  • Sophisticated legal workflow system designed for conveyancing, litigation, and quality assurance processes of law firms. Workflow modules available are: task definition module, task reporting module, data definition and screen drawing, link to document management, and link to fee capture. 
  • Possible downsides: no 24/7 live support, MAC is not supported. 
  1. Software Name: SILQ Solicitor 8 for Mac & PC 

Website:www.silq.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • 14 days free trial, no lock-in contracts 
  • Package 1: First Year Offer – No Lock-in Contracts[Text Wrapping Break]SILQ Solicitor First Year Offer * 45/mo /user+GST[Text Wrapping Break]Includes free Australian support, cloud access, matter management, mobile version, trust accounting (single or multi-user set up), time recording & invoicing, Email integration, document generation, court forms, support, and online training. 
  • Package 2: SILQ Solicitor Premium First Year Offer * AUD67/mo/user+GST 

SILQ Solicitor Premium supports multiple fee earners, allows multiple users to access the same data, as well as access to a range of precedents. 

Everything in SILQ Solicitor PLUS Precedents 

  • Package 3: SILQ Solicitor – AUD90/mo /user+GST 

Includes free Australian support, cloud access, matter management, mobile version, trust accounting (single or multi-user set up), time recording & invoicing, Email integration, document generation, court forms, support, and online training. 

  • Package 4: SILQ Solicitor Premium – AUD135/mo /user+GST 

SILQ Solicitor Premium supports multiple fee earners, allows multiple users to access the same data, as well as access to a range of precedents. 

Everything in SILQ Solicitor PLUS Precedents 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Designed for Solicitors, month to month package with no lock-in contracts that includes free phone/chat/email Australian support. 
  • Efficient performance of complex accounting transactions, organises transactions with tools and support to complete reconciliations. 
  • Fully-functioning accounting system provides double entry accounting capable of generating P&L reports, BAS reconciliations, Balance sheets, etcetera. 
  • Authorities tool helps manage legal document citations. Once details for a new matter is entered, it will be automatically populated to letter, receipt, report.  
  • Cloud access lessens duplication, staff members can access the most up-to-date information, and latest communication. All data are automatically saved, it can be accessed and edited from any device, at any time. Track time anywhere using timer on the go to accurately record time spent working on cases. 
  • Capable to handle both Trust & controlled monies, reconcile accounts, and track individual trust balances by matter. Generate and print ledgers and individual or multiple trust and controlled money statements. 
  • Legal chronology tool helps ensure complete discovery and accuracy. It also make it easier for the trial team to share case knowledge; from which facts are disputed, to which need sources to be acceptable in court. Other features includes: ability to organize series of events, put date ranges/specific/exact times, search and filter, printing of easy to read chronologies. 
  • One-click conflict check tool helps avoid conflicts of interest and maintain confidentiality by running an intelligent searching. Results can be generated and printed with the information which parameters were selected. 
  • Over 300 state based forms as well as over 100 federal forms are included with the subscription of each licence. Capable of being accessed and filled-out directly from electronic matter, with auto-populate feature. Merges data and integrates with MS Outlook, MS Word, MS Excel, and Adobe PDF. 
  • Capable of recording time spent on all email correspondence. Simultaneously creates billable hours directly by recording time while working on emails and automatically update client’s invoice. 
  • Supports unlimited number of foreign currencies at one time, can assign different rates to different customers in the same currency. Automatic conversion of foreign currency in AUD at the same time showing local currency on relevant reports. 
  • Integration with Infotrack allows ordering of search directly from within the matter. It is automatically pre-populate, it is capable of capturing all cost recoveries and automatically available to be invoice to clients. Allows to be e-conveyancing ready for when PEXA becomes available. 
  • Best for solo practitioner to small firms. Possible downsides: no CRM, task management, and client portal. 
  1. Software Name: Wise Owl Legal Practice Management Software 

Website:www.wiseowllegal.com.au 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor, please request a quote or book a demo. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Legal billing software that incorporate features including: compliant trust reversal functions, customisable computer generated receipts and cheques, search transactions by matter or by data, bank reconciliation, accounts for controlled money and power money, transit register for transit money, trust funds protection. 
  • Invoicing capability allows draft to be edited before invoicing client, passed to accounting software to track payments, then updated to Wise Owl once payment is made. 
  • The documents tool, use data stored in matters and merge it into a word document for editing/proofreading purposes. Current modules include: generic documents such as letters, file notes, faxes, etc; Family Law package; UCPR (Uniform Civil Procedure Rules) forms (QLD, NSW, VIC); wills and estates, QLD conveyancing (Lexon). 
  • Productivity and time billing tool provides graphs and reports as a visual indicator of the staffs and the firm’s productivity, billable time. The software provides outlay capabilities, payment tracking, and law specific invoices. 
  • Downsides of using it is that it has several specific requirements to function correctly, otherwise it may not function at all. Not really mobile to use, desktop is preferred. 
  1. Software Name: Thomson Reuters Infinitylaw 9.18.20 

Website:www.thomsonreuters.co.nz 

Costs and Differences between packages: 

  • Not provided by vendor, please request a demo. 

Pros and Cons:  

  • Promises end-to-end practice management solution, capable of connecting automated precedents, matters, documents, billing, workflow and client relationships in one platform. 
  • Direct access to intelligent legal solutions — Westlaw, a legal research tool and resource for precedents and leading forms. Fast document creation due to legal templates and up-to-date precedents. 
  • Ensure accurate billable hours by capturing time with multiple running clocks which can be restarted or paused in one click. 
  • Inbuilt marketing tools and CRM, which includes email templates, capability to plan client events, map client and contact networks, and generate reports to measure marketing campaign results. 
  • Simplified matter management functionality allows linking of full electronic correspondence and legal documents to specific matter and/or client. 
  • Workflow tools help keep track of work progress which includes automatic reminders when tasks are due. EIS (Executive Information Summary), business intelligence, and key performance data are all included in a dashboard. 
  • AML/CFT support includes: Client Trust module to streamline due diligence process, PTR (Prescribed Transaction Reports) for capturing domestic and international financial transactions that meet the regimes threshold, SAR (Suspicious Transaction Reports (SAR) for unusual activity escalation, recording and identification of staff that have been trained and vetted to complete client due diligence, Compliance Officer Reports for auditing purposes.  
  • Thomson Reuters partnered with Gary Hughes, an AML/CFT expert, to offer Countering Financing Terrorism Workflow and Guidance on Westlaw NZ as well as Anti-Money Laundering. 
  • Provides training and support which covers: comprehensive project planning, ongoing project management, support does possible tasks prior to the go-live date, provides pre go-live training, staff training with an implementation plan and roadmap, due to ongoing development — will provide new releases of the software.

2 Responses to Legal Trust Accounting Software Packages in Australia that are Compliant with the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (2015)

  1. Hai Glaude January 14, 2019 at 6:21 am #

    I was just searching for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this type of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top sites are full of garbage.

  2. Kayleigh Vay February 6, 2019 at 9:49 am #

    some genuinely interesting info , well written and generally user friendly.

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