Setting Up LawPracticeZA for your firm

Migrating from one system to another is often a traumatic event that can bring a practice to a standstill. Even starting afresh can seem daunting. The good news is that with moving to LawPracticeZA we’ve separated the migration process into achievable pieces that needn’t all be done at once. You can get going with work-in-progress and billing immediately and incrementally work through the rest of the take-on steps when each one is most convenient for you and your colleagues.

Some of the steps may depend on another being done first: for example you’ll probably want to set up your fee earners and departments before importing matters. But the order in which you do them is pretty much up to you.

Note

Most of the links that follow will only work once you are successfully signed in to LawPracticeZA (and are opening the links with the same browser you signed in with)

This is a comprehensive manual for LawPracticeZA, which should provide answers to any questions that you may have, but if you have a query or problem you are welcome to submit a support issue (link at the bottom of every page) or email support@lawpracticeza.com.

Delete Sample Data

Once you’ve played around with the system and have a feel for how things work, delete the pre-loaded sample data that your instance came with from the widget on the dashboard. This won’t delete any matters, clients or suppliers which you created, only the pre-loaded fictitious data. See: Dashboard -> Delete Sample Data widget

https://lawpracticeza.com/

Update firm details

Upload your logo and set-up your firm name and contact details as you would like them to appear on your invoices and statements. To view the invoice layout: select a Matter with at least one unbilled fee or disbursement and click Proforma.

You might want to try logos in a different formats, aspect ratio or background colour - or perhaps play around with line breaks in your firm’s postal & street addresses before you’re happy with how they look. Menu Option: Admin -> Firm Details

https://lawpracticeza.com/company/update/only

Set Sequence Numbers and Prefixes

This is where you can set up your preferred voucher prefixes and next number in their sequence. Default for invoices is to start at INV1001 but you can change this to whatever the next after the last invoice issued by your previous system was, or perhaps start afresh with a new prefix. Menu Option: Admin -> Set Sequences

https://lawpracticeza.com/company/setsequences

Add Departments

Do you have different departments or branches such as Conveyancing, Litigation or Commercial? You may, if you like, set up different logos, email addresses and even trading names for these different departments. Where special department-specific settings are not entered then the system falls back to using the firm’s details. Menu Option: Admin -> Departments -> Add button

https://lawpracticeza.com/department/list

Create More User(s)

Create fee earners and bookkeeper logins for your colleagues. We encourage especially smaller firms to make everyone a bookkeeper. Get into the habit, instead of dumping bits of paper on your bookkeeper’s desk for them to capture at month-end in a panic, rather to capture things like expenses directly into the system as they occur, especially if they are electronic receipts. Remember, you only pay for fee earners, so you may as well give the bookkeeper functionality to anyone who’ll be able to chip in with the work of keeping your records as current as possible. LawPracticeZA can help you make your month-end a breeze. Note that the “System” user is a special user which you cannot delete and is used for maintenance and scheduled tasks. Menu Option: Admin -> Logins -> Add button

https://lawpracticeza.com/login/list

Import Tariff Bundles

LawPracticeZA comes with a set of standard fees which we keep up to date - for instance High Court or Magistrate rates, or LegalWise standard fees. Make sure you have correctly set your VAT flag under Firm Details to ensure the fees are imported with the correct VAT settings. You can import just the ones that apply to your firm. Menu Option: Menu Option: Fee Earner-> Tariff Bundles

https://lawpracticeza.com/product/importbundles

Import Matters

Legacy systems nearly always have some way of exporting their matter information into a spreadsheet which you can then import into LawPracticeZA. You can optionally include take-on balances for business, trust and investment for each matter. We are also exploring ways to import data more directly. For example, from AJS we can import from a file dump, which takes only a few seconds. Menu Option: Admin -> Import Data -> Import Matters

https://lawpracticeza.com/matter/importfile

Import Suppliers

Import your business creditors, optionally with take-on balances. Business Creditors include Advocates, Sheriffs and Expert Witnesses (for disbursements) as well as your business suppliers, such as the stationery store. Menu Option: Admin -> Import Data -> Import Suppliers

https://lawpracticeza.com/supplier/importfile

Import Draft Invoice Items (WIP)

If you have unbilled items that you want to bulk load, you can use this tool to import them. Also useful anytime on an ongoing basis if in your firm you generate lots of similar fees for many matters. Menu Option: Admin -> Import Data -> Import WIP

https://lawpracticeza.com/matterdraftlineitem/importwip

Import General Ledger

Once you are ready to import all your General Ledger accounts then use this facility. Once you have imported all your matters (debtors), suppliers (business creditors) and general ledger accounts then you can create any necessary journal entries to bring the suspense accounts to zero. Menu Option: Admin -> Import Data -> Import General Ledger

https://lawpracticeza.com/account/importfile

Create your Business & Trust Bank(s) and Receipt Methods

Create your Trust bank accounts so you can start capturing trust receipts and performing trust transfers. If you took on trust balances from a previous system then you will probably want to create a journal entry to bring the trust balance in your take on suspense account to zero. You need to set up at least one receipt method (e.g. EFT or Cheque) for each bank account in order to start capturing receipts. Menu Options: Masterfile Maintenance -> Business & Trust Banks and Masterfile Maintenance -> Receipt Methods

Investment / Section 86(4) [78(2A)] institutions

By default LawPracticeZA assumes that you use only one institution for all your investments - ie all your Section 86(4) investment accounts are at one banking institution. If you use more than one, our system supports this with a quick adjustment which we’ll need to make for you - just contact us.