Rocket Matter online practice management software is promising, but seriously expensive


Personal Productivity for Lawyers

This quick-start guide to Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero also includes two shortcuts for those who want the benefits of GTD without having to learn the system.

Rocket Matter is a fairly new online practice management solution. From the demo, it looks very smooth. If you are in the market for an alternative to the bloated, crashy practice management software offerings out there, Rocket Matter might be a good option.

A couple of caveats.

First, even at the “special introductory rate” of $50 per month per attorney, Rocket Matter will quickly become more expensive than the competition. That is $600 per year per attorney! Time Matters 9.0 is only $350, plus $200 for each additional license, and, of course, you do not have to buy the upgrades if you don’t want to. If you want to keep using Rocket Matter, you have to keep paying. And it does not seem to offer the ability to download your information in an open format to use in any other application, so once you start using Rocket Matter, you will be stuck.

Plus, what will it cost when the introductory rate expires?

Second, Rocket Matter does not (yet) offer any synchronization options. For me, a calendar, task list, and contacts database I cannot use from my phone are useless. Rocket Matter could solve some of these problems easily by syncing with a service like Plaxo that does offer syncing to mobile devices, but for the price, I would expect more. A lot more.

In the end, I am very curious, but I do not see much benefit, and the cost of using Rocket Matter is way too high, with the potential to become trapped using it forever, whether it improves or not.

Edit: Just spotted a post by Larry Port from Rocket Matter on the HomeOfficeEnvy blog. Apparently Rocket Matter has some features they don’t talk about on their site (why in the world not?), but they don’t resonate for me.

Larry tries to justify the cost by saying Rocket Matter will help you bill more. Billing more is not a function of software, it is a function of how a person bills. I have seen this again and again. No software will make an attorney track time better. It just doesn’t work that way. Plus, due to internet lag time, I think Rocket Matter would probably make me bill less, since I am very efficient right now.

He also says there is no need for syncing, since users can access Rocket Matter over the internet from any web-capable device. That is a cop out. Even assuming that I did have phone service in the courthouse (rare), I don’t want to wait for my calendar to load while I am standing in front of the bench, trying to set a hearing date with the clerk, while opposing counsel whips out his paper planner.

Being able to download my information and move on is also a major concern. A lot of people are trapped in their current software. I don’t want to be trapped; I want to be able to try something better when something better comes along. Or leave entirely. If I were to quit my solo law practice, for example, I would probably have to continue paying for Rocket Matter for seven years or so in order to preserve my professional obligations to my former clients. No thanks.

None of this is to say that I think Rocket Matter is a bad product. On the contrary, I think it is awesome. It just is not worth the cost, and it is missing some crucial features. But it is also still in beta. Hopefully the price is also in beta, and the folks at Rocket Matter will reconsider.

Edit 2: Larry says users can get their data from Rocket Matters. That is a step in the right direction, but I hope they will offer easier export in the future.


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  • Sheryl Sisk Schelin

    WELL said. We must keep in mind the bottom line — no, not that one — when evaluating new technology and new practice aids: does it really work for us, in every way — and how? And how well? It gets laughable at some point, watching ourselves twist ourselves into knots to make a technology workable because it’s “cool.”

    And no, that’s not about Rocket Matter, really — just new tech gizmos and sites in general. I haven’t used or tried RM yet. My take is much the same as yours: it looks interesting, but non-cost-effective.

  • Hi Sam:

    Thank you for your coverage and your thoughts about our product. Your argument is compelling for an attorney who wants to enjoy using Time Matters on a PC (virtual or otherwise), doesn’t need or desire to upgrade, does not need a network installation or can install and manage it him or herself. Your technology advice is well suited to someone who performs their own backups, does not purchase any training, monitors and defends against security risks, and does not purchase technical support or use an outside IT consultant.

    On the other hand, we are finding that there are plenty of attorneys who want ubiquitous access from Mac, PC, or Linux platforms. People also seem to be looking for an enjoyable user experience designed from the ground up for attorneys.

    Not having to manage or think about backups, security patches, or upgrades is of value to many people. A lot of folks don’t have the expertise, money, time, or desire to install and maintain a network. They like having training and support (with American, native English speaking representatives) included in their monthly fees.

    Some attorneys enjoy our customer experience, and how we solicit their feedback and listen to their ideas to incorporate new features into the product.

    Please note you will not being stuck in Rocket Matter should you chose to leave us. On the contrary, we are believers in inter-operability, open standards, and giving people the most flexibility.

    We offer export to open standards iCalendar for your Calendar information, and vCard for Contact information. Your matter and billing information we can export to a navigable HTML format or the open standard LEDES format. You can also obtain your billable items as a CSV which can be imported into Quickbooks.

    Thanks for the post and your interest in Rocket Matter!

    Larry Port

    P.S. We will be getting more information on that marketing site soon. Right now we are spending our time building more and more features! Stay tuned.

  • I took a test ride on the rocket. If found it to be useful for timekeeping and billing purposes and user friendly. Unfortunately, the monthly price exceeds my $20 rule. I want my 2 part-time virtual assistants and myself to be able to do data entry from remote locations. The cost for 3 people to use this program for less than a hour or so a day is a budget buster.

    Rocket Matters offered me a special trial price, but again, it was based per user. Sorry.

  • Virtual Law Office ( seems to be a competitor to Rocket Matter. Does anyone have experience with Virtual Law Office? How about any other “software as a service” law firm websites/services?

    Rocket Matter looks good, but their current price of $720/year for the first attorney and $600/year for each additional attorney seems expensive, especially when you can buy software for the computer and pay for an online backup subscription for a fraction of the price.

  • Long


    Caught your pingback. I wrote that article some time ago and enjoyed my exchange with Larry Port. Syncing is an interesting topic – so many lawyers are married to an exchange server today that I completely understand the need to have instant calendaring access. I think an “offline” capable web app (think google gears type technology) would be useful for lawyers who spend lots of time in court. That said, there is no perfect solution yet ( but in my opinion, stand alone software solutions such as TimeMatters, PCLaw and the like are going the way of the telephone book ad. Rocket Matter can justify their high monthly costs until its has more serious competition. So far, the only other player in this field worth a look is Clio ( Thanks for encouraging this discussion – hopefully there are developers out there who are listening. I wonder if Lexis is listening?