Practice Management Software Explosion at #ABATechShow

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Predictably, as soon as someone (read: Rocket Matter & Clio) started making any money from cloud-based practice management software, lots of others jumped into the pool. This year, Clio has a display almost as large as WestLaw’s, and Rocket Matter added as much polish to its display booth as it did to its software. Both recently announced document assembly features and APIs that allow their software to “plug in” to other services like Chrometa.

Not-quite-newcomers include MyCase, AdvologixPM, and Total Attorneys. MyCase, in particular, is coming along at an astonishing pace, and I’m especially impressed by its friendly and helpful user interface. Total Attorneys has a different approach, and a sweet new iPad app for its software.

This morning, MyCase formally announced its document assembly features (we broke news of it last week), which include an impressive online document editor that allows you to collaboratively edit documents in a web browser with clients, opposing counsel, or anyone else.

I also finally got a look at AdvologixPM. AdvologixPM integrates with Salesforce.com to provide a complete solution for tracking clients from the moment they become a potential client through every matter you handle for them. It is probably best for larger firms, or smaller firms that focus heavily on marketing processes, but it has passable case management features, as well, including Salesforce’s Chatter service.

Total Attorneys, on the other hand, is only $1 per user per month, which means Total Attorneys must view its practice management software as a front end (and gateway) to its lead generation services. Total Attorneys wants to create a “turnkey law practice” including marketing, receptionist, and practice management software. And it’s pretty much there. Also, the iPad app appears to be the first of its kind among the practice management software vendors, and it’s a very polished way to interact with the Total Attorneys software.

Not wanting to be left out, LexisNexis showed up with last millenium’s law practice software, which it copied and pasted into a web browser with the word cloud displayed prominently. It’s as good as it sounds like it would be.

Update: I just got a demo of the new Amicus Cloud, and it’s pretty good. I don’t love the interface, but its got a great feature set, including email and 2-way QuickBooks sync.

(Lots of the above-mentioned companies advertise with Lawyerist, or have in the past.)

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  • David White

    Houdiniesq.com is really nice. Why isn’t this practice management service given more press. Their SAAS is MUCH more functional than the other services mentioned.

      • Michael Walker

        Sam, Thank you for all of your articles. I have been reading them for years, and I appreciate your take on things. That being said, shouldn’t we ‘ignore the troll’ and objectively analyze his product? Agreed, he is being petulant, but it’s not like he is torturing kittens. After all, people have been known hire certain lawyers based solely on their reputation as ‘you-know-whats.’ Frank’s demeanor [and our egos] aside, I would be curious to hear what an objective third party expert had to say about his product houdiniesq.

        • Aside from the fact that the founder is a troll, the software isn’t very good. Also, if you need help with anything (customer support), you have to deal with the troll.

  • Kevin

    And the user interface of Houdiniesq.com is not very inviting.

    • Kathy

      I happened to see their new user interface on iPad during the show, it is pretty nice.

  • Julie Kiernan

    I found your comments about LexisNexis humorous. Try uploading a document in its browser interface compared to Clio. Clio uploads a hundred page PDF in a few seconds. I can open a new case in minutes. Many desktop and cloud based program management programs don’t even have program specific (truly in the program not a link to 3rd party) document management like Clio. I think that the current desktop leaders will be constrained by trying to keep their browser based programs similar and compatible with their bloated desktop software from the 80 and 90’s. And unless they fully support Mac OS X computers and iOS devices, like Clio and RocketMatters, our firm cannot use their products.

    As an extremely satisfied Clio user, I prefer a program designed for the web with a clean interface and speed. After using Clio for almost 2 years, what really sets Clio apart for us is their excellent support, frequent free updates and the pace with which they add new features. I can email or call Clio support and have help in minutes. Support is included in the monthly fee. No additional IT support is necessary as there are no programs to install, nor waiting after OS updates until desktop software is compatible and updated.

    Clio looked perfect on the iPad from day 1 on my 1st generation iPad. The full interface even works on my iPhone, although they have a mobile app for the iPhone that often works better on the smaller screen.

    Clio also fully supports Mac OS X, not just as a browser based program, but with iCal and Google Apps integration. As an Apple only firm that is very important. Dropbox and Box.net, along with lots of 3rd party programs, are supported as well.

    And say good-bye to syncing, it is all in the browser 24/7. I don’t miss TimeMatters at all since switching to Clio.

    • Josh

      I also use Clio and also love it. I also use Dropbox for document management, and was initially excited when Clio came out with Dropbox integration. As a solo with no other users on my Clio account, however, I haven’t figured out how to utilize Dropbox integration, or Clio’s document management features generally, for that matter.

      Thoughts?

      • I was successful in getting them integrated; I now load documents into Clio almost exclusively by throwing them into the matter files on my Dropbox desktop portal, into Dropbox and therefore into Clio. I don’t call the precise how but there’s an article on how to do it on Clio’s blog. Took maybe 10 minutes.

        • Thanks for your response. To clarify, my question isn’t about how to integrate; my question is: what is the value of integrating Clio with Dropbox? How does integration make my practice run more smoothly and efficiently?

          • Julie Kiernan

            Josh, It may not be of added value in your case. Some people like their files with the matter on Clio. We still have files on an internal server, but can share via Clio with others via Clio’s built in document management function. i.e. we don’t need Dropbox or Box for it.

  • Sam,
    Most of the apps above cater to the solos and smaller law firms (under 5) and most of them do fulfill their needs quite adequately. We have also recently launched our case management software built on the Microsoft Dynamics platform (midsize to large firms). If you are interested to learn more please let me know and we would be happy to give you more information about what we are offering to the legal community.

    Regards,
    Syd

    • You don’t have any pictures of your software on your website? You just have the same feature list that everybody else has. How do I know whether I want to check it out if I can’t see it?

  • Hi Sam,

    You’re right.
    We have a new site coming up in the next couple of weeks. I will be contacting you first with the full preview.