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The 9 Best Free and Open Source Legal Software Tools

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Update 4/25/2017: We’ve updated this list to bring you the latest best free legal software available. Some previously listed software was discontinued. There are now six options on this list.

Lawyers are pretty famous for not doing anything for free. Turns out their software is similar. Beyond a couple standout options (detailed below), there’s not a ton of free and open source law practice management software. However, there are some free tools that, while not full-featured practice management systems, are nonetheless helpful in their own right.

Legal software can save attorneys tons of time on timekeeping and billing, creating documents and filling out forms, and managing contacts, correspondence, and calendaring. But whether you’re just starting up and trying to keep overhead low, or aren’t yet convinced software will be worth spending money on, you don’t want to shell out lots of dollars.

Keep in mind that “free” generally comes with costs. In the case of free legal software, one major cost is that none of the free versions are cloud-based. So keep in mind that you’ll need to download, host, setup, update and maintain your own installation.

And if you’re looking for additional free software, check out our lists for free contract management software and free and open source time tracking software.

Many, many software providers bill themselves as free when really only the trial is free. Undeterred, I found the two most popular open-source repositories, SourceForge and Debian.org, list many legal/law practice options. Be warned, before you check them out, that many products on those lists are discontinued. Below are the best ones which appear to still be available for download.

Freemium Legal Software Options

1. CaseBox

CaseBox is an open-source, self-hosted document management, records management, and collaboration software solution. It’s listed in our Legal Case Management Software category.

Its features are a little lacking.

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It’s got a cool backstory though. It was developed by HURIDOCS, a Geneva-based NGO that gives human rights defenders information technologies and documentation methods to organize and present data about violations.

To figure out if CaseBox is for you, email the team at info@casebox.org to set up a consultation. If it’s not a great fit, the CaseBox team can make recommendations to help. If CaseBox is right for you, the team will cover the steps to implement CaseBox in your organization and will outline the services that HURIDOCS can provide, and provide an estimate of costs for these services.

Used CaseBox? Leave a review!

2. Jarvis Legal

Jarvis Legal is another LPMS that offers an unlimited free version. The free version’s only caps are their case and data caps. You can have up to five simultaneous cases and use up to 5 GB of storage space. And 5 GB of data ain’t too shabby in terms of storage.

Capterra has Jarvis listed in our directory, and reviews for this software are a sparkling 4.5/5, and if you do choose to upgrade it’s only around $35 per user per month.

I’m also personally inclined to enjoy Jarvis Legal because of the name.

Used Jarvis Legal? Leave a review!

Best Free and Open Source Legal Software Options

3. Conflict Finder

Conflict Finder is a python script which searches XML Wikipedia archives for conflicts of interest. Because you can never be too careful. Updated in 2016.

4. Open Source Law

A wiki for lawyers and law students to share each other’s documents. It offers documentation revision control and a centralized repository. Last updated in 2016.

5. CiviCRM

A free, open source software designed for legal nonprofits. It’s a modern replacement to the (formerly listed) open source Legal Case Management System, which was more than ten years out of date and in need of a serious update.

6. Legal Suite

Looking for a full, comprehensive law practice management software on an open source platform? Legal Suite offers case management, document management, time tracking, and legal billing.

Conclusion

There are plenty of free, ancillary tools out there to help you with other aspects of running a law practice.

Are there any good, free legal tools I missed?  Add them in the comments below!

If you’re interested in more helpful tools for your law firm or want to keep abreast of the latest in legal tech and trends, subscribe to my mailing list.

Looking for Law Practice Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Law Practice Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

Comments

Conflict Finder has nothing to do with law. Searching Wikipedia for conflicts of interest is a futile endeavor.

You should mention Casebox. It looks really good and is a management document system and colaborative tool too. Open Source.

https://www.casebox.org/

Great article! I had never heard of HoudiniEsq. until this article. Have you had any experience with troubleshooting while running open source software? My fear is that something in the software might break, and I will be unable to find tech support to fix it.

Great article, just a heads up for those reading this a year later it looks like esquire is no longer free unfortunately.

[…] course, the marketplace offers dozens of other software tools for the legal field. Capterra has a nice short list of free legal software here, and this blog post from 2011 might be out of date, but it offers an extensive list of applications […]

Legal Suite does not appear to be free either. 30 day free trial, but I can’t even add in a client name that I can find. It’s greyed out and doesn’t take if I type a name in there and select save.

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