CosmoLex helps law firms clear administration hurdles
By Tony Poland, AdvocateDaily.com Associate Editor
CosmoLex marketing director Joshua Goldberg says his company’s cloud-based legal practice management software can help overcome five common challenges law firms face.
The New Jersey-based technology company provides software that integrates business and trust accounting, time tracking, billing, calendars, and email and document management for small and mid-sized law firms to enable lawyers to manage and run an entire web-based practice.
“It was a natural progression when we made the move to the Canadian market because of the parallels between the unique challenges that Canadian law firms face and the features and capabilities that CosmoLex offers,” tells AdvocateDaily.com. “We’re a fully integrated solution. The business accounting is there, as well as the trust accounting, and for us, the main driver was to add Canadian-specific compliance along with some of the other reporting pieces needed to submit to the various law societies.
“We’ve had great success in Canada over the past 18 months,” he says.
CosmoLex serves more than 110,000 legal professionals globally, with “hundreds” of law firms in Canada already on board, he says.
“It’s going exceptionally well, and our clients tell us that we’re a great alternative in the cloud,” Goldberg says.
He says law firms have a choice of different legacy software, but ComsoLex offers the advantage of bringing together everything needed to run an office on one platform that can be used anywhere.
“Some of the main benefits of the cloud are pretty straightforward. Mobility is key — the idea of being on the go, working from home, in court or at a client meeting and being able to take notes directly in your software,” he says. “All of those things are huge advantages on top of things like eliminating the need for IT infrastructure and maintaining a server, which can be costly.”
Goldberg says that being a U.S. company serving Canadian law firms can sometimes raise questions about security.
“We’ve been able to reassure clients by telling them that first and foremost, CosmoLex hosts that data for Canadian firms in Canada,” he says, adding they “have implemented bank-grade security.”
All data in its system is encrypted at all times when it is not in use by the client, Goldberg says.
“On top of that, we do what’s called penetration testing on an annual basis,” he says. “We have a few sample reports on our side, and an independent company will attempt to penetrate our software using various techniques, trying to find loopholes or problems. We don’t just rest on our laurels.”
Goldberg says CosmoLex software addresses five challenges faced by law firms, which include remaining compliant when it comes to legal time and billing. He says, by keeping accurate balances, clients can address issues “before they snowball into something that can create bigger consequences for the firm.”
Timekeeping and improving billing and collections for law firms also increases their ability to stay solvent, he says.
“Accurate and timely billing leads to a more efficient collection process and reduces lost funds that are never recognized because meetings, tasks, and events are never properly billed for,” Goldberg says.
CosmoLex also handles the taxation variations Canadian firms face while facilitating revisions and adjustments as changes to the legal billing process occur, he says.
Another challenge firms have is remaining current, and Goldberg says many offices wait until their accountant periodically shows up to check their balances and reconcile their books.
“In Canada, law firms are required to manage their accounting on an accrual basis, and those that don’t remain up to date with their financials will face serious consequences in the event of an audit,” he says.
Staying current and compliant with trust account management is another priority, Goldberg says.
“Canadian law societies are known to keep a particularly close watch on compliance associated with firms’ trust account bookkeeping through routine audits,” he says, adding CosmoLex can help them be audit-ready by automating and monitoring tasks relating to the commingling of client funds, helping to avoid overdrafts at the client ledger level or bank account level and performing systematic bank reconciliations.
To remain compliant, Goldberg says it is crucial that all tasks and events can be linked to the specific legal matter they are associated with and have detailed and accurate information and notes that are easily accessible. Because CosmoLex is cloud-based, it allows firms to keep everything up to date in real-time, he says.
The final challenge for law offices is to ensure all documents and emails are factually accurate, completed and filed on time, retained for future reference, and easily retrievable, Goldberg says. The CosmoLex platform is “very intuitive,” allowing firms to organize these documents and communications “in a meaningful way,” he says.
“We’ve designed it to be very straightforward, using the nomenclature that makes sense to lawyers,” Goldberg says. “We fully support our customers at every step along the way. Our onboarding service, set up, training and support are all provided free of charge. There are also help videos and articles as well as a live phone support system.
“Even for users who are not technology-savvy, we’ve set up the mechanisms to make sure that you have all the support you could possibly need.”