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When I started my law firm, I bought Time Matters, but quickly found better options. However, now I am trying to decide whether my law firm would be better off with Rocket Matter or Clio than with Google Apps, which we currently use. After getting input from both companies (Rocket Matter here; Clio here), both gave me a chance to do an in-depth test-drive.
I will not do a direct comparison of the two, mostly because the differences between them are not in their feature lists, but in the way they implement those features. In the end, the choice which to use will come down to personal preference. But if you are looking for case management software, Clio and Rocket Matter are the best options on the market.
Here are my thoughts on pricing and first impressions.
Although Clio and Rocket Matter are letting me use their software for free, the only reason I am looking at them seriously now is because I first re-thought my initial reaction to the pricing of Clio and Rocket Matter. We were trying out Infusionsoft CRM at $200/month, Basecamp at $24/month, Freshbooks at $19/month, and Google Apps and Remember the Milk at just under $200/year.
On the other hand, for my firm (2 lawyers, one assistant), Clio would be $123/month. Rocket Matter would be $159.97/month. (Rocket Matter gets cheaper as the firm gets larger; Clio doesn’t.) Compared to what we are spending on other software, Clio and Rocket Matter are not too expensive, and they would also take the place of some of that software.
Clio essentially took the classic case management software interface and put it online. Anyone who has ever used productivity software like Outlook or case management software like Time Matters will find Clio immediately familiar. There are tabs for matters, contacts, etc., and you can probably get started without so much as a glance at a help file or tutorial.
Rocket Matter, on the other hand, took a Web 2.0-ish approach. The interface is still easy to use, but generally shuns database-y forms in favor of big, friendly text inputs. More Google than traditional database front end. It was not as immediately familiar to me, but I did not need any coaching or help getting started, and it is easy to see why Rocket Matter’s user interface works so well.
Both get the job done effectively and efficiently in their own way. I can see benefits to both, and I am going to get comfortable with both before I draw any conclusions.
Working within the system
Playing with Clio and Rocket Matter makes me see my current software in a new light. We currently use Google Apps, Freshbooks, and either a work plan (Randall) or Remember the Milk (me) to do everything Rocket Matter and Clio do. The disadvantage to this approach, as I have said before, is that each app lives in a sort of island. They do not do much working together.
On the other hand, they are easily compatible with everyone else. When we work with co-counsel, we do not have to purchase a user license for our software and then teach them to use it. They can use what they want to use, and we can use what we want to use. Everything works together well enough.
If we switched to Clio or Rocket Matter, we would be entering a more-closed system. Not completely closed, but more closed. For example, neither allows easy calendar publishing and sharing like we enjoy with Google Calendar. Neither handles email. Neither syncs up contacts with my phone. Neither lets us add co-counsel without purchasing another license for them. There are benefits and problems with this, and I am still deciding which outweighs what.