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After doing an introductory post on Clio, RocketMatter, and MyCase as practice management software, I changed my mind and decided to review the Total Attorneys software as well. Originally I hadn’t intended to review Total Attorneys. In my last post, I explained “Honestly the dollar price point is what turned me off. It seems gimmicky to me.” But out of an abundance of caution to make sure we were making the most informed decision for the firm, I decided to try it out and see if it could compete with Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase.
Total Attorneys’ mobile option is its strongest feature. Unlike the other contenders, Total Attorneys has a dedicated app for the iPad and iPhone. And the app is pretty cool. It’s much easier to navigate than a mobile site, and in the limited time I used it I didn’t have any big complaints. I did notice that the timer doesn’t seem to work in the background, but I think that is universal amongst non-Apple apps.
The other nice feature I found in Total Attorneys that the other providers don’t have is an automatic conflicts check. As soon as you create a matter, it will display a little warning sign for possible conflicts. When you click the warning it will show you where else that contact is involved which may create a conflict.
The rest of the site, unfortunately, was disappointing. From a big picture standpoint, the organization is similar to Clio. Like Clio, it has a very database-like feel, as opposed to Rocket Matter and MyCase’s smoother interface. But if you enjoy Clio’s layout and organization, then you will also like Total Attorneys’. Where the site really fell apart for me was the constraints that the software puts on how you want to organize your data.
At the moment we are doing a lot of contract work and appointment work. That means the people paying us are law firms and county governments. That’s who has to get the bill. But with Total Attorneys you can’t enter just a company for a contact. There has to be a first name and last name as well. As Herbert Wilson points out in the LAB, they’ve only recently let you enter contacts without an e-mail address, so it seems Total Attorneys is big on mandatory data.
Even when creating a matter there are mandatory fields. The one I found totally unnecessary was zip code. I can’t imagine why they would require the zip code of where the case is being handled. Also, as Herbert mentions, you can’t create a contact during matter creation. You have to create the contact first and then the matter. A small annoyance, but just another example of the software forcing you into a workflow you may not like.
Finally, there are no custom fields in the software. I like collecting certain data for cases, such as the court case number, and it just doesn’t work with Total Attorneys. This was also the only service I tried that doesn’t offer any kind of sync capabilities with Google Apps. Under the “apps” section of the site it says there is Google Apps synchronization, but when you click on it you find out it’s “coming soon.”
I’m still hesitant about the one dollar a month price point. This seems like something too good to be true. Maybe I’m too suspicious, but I’m concerned that in six months they will turn around and change their pricing structure. It would make sense to offer some kind of bundled arrangement with their other services, almost like a cable company.