Practice management software isn’t something we intended to invest in this early. But now that we have several clients at the same time, we decided it was time to switch from our Excel sheet to something a little more robust. I don’t trust my memory, so I want something that can remind me about things. So, although practice management software isn’t for everyone, it’s for us. We signed up for MyCase, Rocket Matter, and Clio. It’s time to pit them against each other and see which one we like best.

You can discuss The Shingle Life in the comments, in the LAB, or on Twitter using the hashtag #shinglelife.


MyCase is one of the newer entries in the ever growing field of cloud based practice management software. Getting set up with MyCase is extremely easy. You only need to type in your firm name and set up a username and password. Then you’re up and running.

MyCase is the most intuitive of the three options. There are two different places where users can easily add a new case, new contact, etc. There is a prominent timer at the bottom right that you can start at any time. When you stop the timer it prompts you for a matter to assign it to, and then a description. This time then funnels, as it should, into the billing section.

My initial thoughts of MyCase are very favorable. It’s the least expensive option at $39 per user per month. But it also has the fewest features. For example, you can only import cases/matters and contacts. This means if you have outstanding bills in Clio or Rocket Matter you won’t be able to bring them over. I e-mailed their support team about the issue and got an e-mail back within two hours stating:

We recommend entering a “balance forward” entry into MyCase for each case and then start fresh from there. I realize that this is not the most ideal situation, but time and billing gets quite complicated to import from other solutions.

I was pleasantly surprised with their prompt response, although somewhat disappointed by the content. The other two missing features in MyCase are Dropbox synchronization and full Google Calendar integration. I’m not sure the Dropbox synchronization is something we really need. We’ve only been using the software for a week, so I’m not entirely convinced there is an advantage to syncing the files with the software when they are already backed up to Dropbox and synchronized to each of our computers. MyCase allows you to synchronize with Google Calendar, but only with a new calendar. To see events you already have in your calendar you would have to import them to the MyCase calendar that the software creates in Google.

Rocket Matter

Rocket Matter is the only provider that we are trying which requires a credit card up front. They offer a full money back guarantee within thirty days, but I was still put off at being billed up front. I tried contacting their sales team three times in one afternoon, but each time I hit the extension to their sales team, the call cut off. So I sent them a tweet on Friday and someone immediately e-mailed me.

After a bit of phone tag yesterday, I was finally able to get on the phone with someone today. I explained my reluctance to pay up front, and they were very willing to do a 30 day trial. At first I had written them off, but Kim, the woman I spoke to, was so friendly and helpful on the phone that I can’t resist trying Rocket Matter. I was really wowed by the customer service. It reminded me of Sam’s fawning over Ruby. While I was on the phone with Kim, another customer support agent called on call waiting. Apparently they call every new client and talk with them to see if there are any questions.

Rocket Matter seems like a strong front runner for now. It has an intuitive layout similar to MyCase, and a more robust feature set like Clio. There is an easy to use timer that you can start at any time, and link to a case when you stop. According to Kim, their emphasis is on visibility. The more often you see something, the more likely you will be to remember it. As an example, in the top right corner of the Rocket Matter dashboard it tells you how much time you’ve billed so far in a day. If you are a servant to the almighty billable hour, you will either love or hate the feature.


Clio is the first platform we signed up for, and it was a completely painless experience. Like MyCase all you need is a name, e-mail address, and law firm name. But that is where the similarities end. Clio has a much more clunky feel to it. At first glance, it is also the only one that doesn’t have a prominent, easy to use timer that you can switch on and off for quick access billing.

But like Rocket Matter, the software is extremely robust. Dropbox and Google synchronization are easy to set up and they are flawless. My biggest gripe with Clio is its strict organization. It’s very easy to get lost, forget to fill in a field, etc. For example, the first two tasks I created and billed did not get linked to a matter. Apparently I forgot to fill in that box. But instead of alerting me that the time was unbillable, the hours just floated in the ether.

When I logged in later in the day and couldn’t find the billables I immediately called Clio support. Now, this is where Clio shines. I was on the phone with someone in less than thirty seconds, and they showed me how to fix the issue. They also agreed it should have told me the time wasn’t being billed to a client, and assured me the issue would be passed on to the developers.

Initial Thoughts

Right now Rocket Matter appears to be a strong middle of the road candidate, with some of the best aspects of MyCase and Clio. But we are going to put all three sites through the ringer over the next few weeks. Check back to see how they compare with each other after a few weeks of testing. To see what others have said about the various platforms, check out Herbert Wilson’s ongoing discussion in the LAB.

  • I’m curious as to why you didn’t check out Total Attorneys, as well. It’s only $1 per month (you have to put up with some upsell ads for its other services), and the iPad app is pretty slick.

    • Honestly the dollar price point is what turned me off. It seems gimmicky to me. It sounds silly, but that was my initial thought. I may end up trying it out if I’m not satisfied with one of these three.

  • I’ve been using Clio for over a year and it has worked great. You touched on this in your post, but one of the strongest advantages of Clio is that if you ask them to make a change, they will do it, sometimes within the month. You can’t beat that.

  • Hi Josh:

    Thanks for reviewing our software. I’m Larry Port from Rocket Matter. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying our experience so far. Our goal is to provide the best user experience, including product and support, of any new or old practice management option.

    Good news about the issue you had calling in with sales: we are upgrading to a new phone system within the month! Good luck with your assessment.


    Larry Port
    CEO & Chief Software Architect
    Rocket Matter

  • shg

    When I first started my practice, my management software was from BIC. It didn’t cost anything, as I tended to take it whenever someone left it lying around. It worked great on my yPad. I never missed an appearance or blew a deadline.

    • For most of my time as a litigator, I found it much easier to use a pen and paper, too, although I am a nerd so I made a fancy work planning template.

      However, when I had Randall and an assistant working with me, pen and paper quickly got unwieldy, and we switched to practice management software. It made it much easier to make sure we were on top of all our cases. It’s definitely not essential, even for an office with multiple lawyers, but it’s really nice to have.

      • shg

        Let’s see, $39 per month, 12 months, that comes out to $468 a year. Is it that nice to have? I don’t know about you rich Lawyerist owner-types, but I don’t know that I would pull $468 out of my wallet for something that I could do without.

        But that’s just me. I don’t buy coffee at Starbucks either.

        • I think we more than made up the cost of the software in time saved by using it. That won’t necessarily be true for every lawyer or law office, but I’m confident that practice management software is generally a good investment.

          That said, I don’t use any special practice management software. I’m too particular for it. For example, none of the cloud-based options let me set up recurring tasks (I have 83 in Remember the Milk, which I use for task management, for things like balancing my trust account every month to checking in with clients to ordering 1099 forms every year) and also have tasks without deadlines. That’s a non-starter. I also want to be able to publish a free/busy calendar on my firm website for various reasons. And none of them do email, anyway.

          In other words, there are better tools, and since I’m back to being solo, I don’t have any compelling reason to accept the compromises involved in using a single piece of software. So I use what I like, even if it means some duplication of effort.

          • Gyi

            While not law practice specific, have you checked out other task, time, etc, management options (i.e. Basecamp)?

            I like

            • I used TeamworkPM on a friend’s project. I didn’t care for it, mainly because I felt it was too busy and more complicated than necessary. Personal preference.

              I love Basecamp, but not everyone does, which makes it a difficult choice for collaborating with clients. When Randall and Erica were working with me, we used Basecamp for a while before switching to Clio. We just needed more than Basecamp offers, and I felt like we were doing a lot of duplication in Basecamp.

              • Gwynne

                I don’t like Basecamp. I’ve had to use it for various projects, for some reason it seems to be a favorite, and when it came to documents, it’s really annoying to have to download, make changes and then upload again. It’s even worse when no one changes the file name! Google Docs, or even ZoHo, is a better option. Pretty much anything is a better option than Basecamp.

                • If your goal is collaboratively editing documents, then I don’t think project management software (or case management software, for that matter) is the solution. If you want to share tasks, messages, deadlines, etc., with a group of people who are working towards the same goal, then project management software is awesome.

                • Gyi

                  I tried ZoHo, it was pretty close to what I was looking for. I still prefer TeamWork which now has Google Doc integration.

    • yPad. clever. when you “first started”, did you use the pen/pad by choice? Or out of necessity? what do you use now?

  • Hi Josh,

    We’d be more than happy to schedule a call or webinar with you to go more in-depth on the functionality Clio provides. We think you’ll be impressed with the breadth and depth of the featureset Clio offers.

    I’m sorry to hear you ran into some issues with tracking time entries, but once you have your matters, clients etc. set up properly we think you’ll really enjoy Clio.

    Drop me a line at, I’d love to chat.

    Best regards,

    Founder & CEO, Clio

    • Are personal calls and webinars like you are offering here standard for all users?

      • Sam – yep, absolutely. We offer unlimited webinars, training and 1:1 phone & e-mail support to all of our users:


        • Sam,

          Jack has personally responded to me before as well.

          • That’s great to hear, and it’s no less than I expected.

          • William Chuang

            I have always had great support from Clio, with one on one calls with their staff when I report a problem or suggest a feature. They’re very agile, to use a marketing term, with adding features and improving functionality.

            I wonder if anyone else uses QuickBooks Pro 2012.

  • I tried both Clio and MyCase, but was disappointed by how both of them handled files in the cloud. Rather than be able to upload your client files in a directory structure, they only allow you to upload individual files. The same with downloading. I asked the question: What if I get done with a matter and client wants a copy of their electronic files? The response was unfortunately that I would have to download each file, rather than the directory.

    I will say both Clio and MyCase were very prompt and thorough in responding to my questions. I have not doubt either would be good as a provider. At the end of the day, I ended up using Credenza.

    • Elkintonlaw

      Clio integrates with Dropbox, so you could use a folder in Dropbox for each matter. Just drag all your files into the matter’s folder in Dropbox, and they will appear in Clio. Then you can burn them to a CD once the case is closed.

      (I don’t work for Clio. I’m just a very satisfied user.)

  • I’ve used all three, and I agree they all have serious shortcomings. However, MyCase has the best combination of features at this point. I suggest you try each service from the client’s perspective, as well. That is where MyCase really shines!

    • I’ve been asked for more detail: I used Rocket Matter for about six months, but it was two years ago. I used Clio for a year, but stopped last December. I have been using MyCase now since then and enjoy the client portal functionality the most. At the time I used them, neither of the other two allowed clients to upload documents. That may have changed, not sure. But that was the “killer app” feature that I needed as I use it all of the time.

      Nice features of client portal:
      1. Calendar items indicate whether client’s attendance at event is required/not required. It even sends reminders and text message reminders.
      2. When client’s log in, they see my logo, “Powered by MyCase” (just make sure logo is white or light colored, which unfortunately means it doesn’t show up on invoices very well). They say they are going to fix that problem.
      3. New calendar entries, documents, and billing items show up at top of screen, hard to miss for client.
      4. Clients can comment on the event right there while viewing it, much easier than an email
      5. Event has link to map of location, Google maps, and can get driving directions. Saves calls to office for directions. Staff tells them to use that feature when they do call.
      6. Client can sync their events with Outlook, Google, iCal, etc.
      7. On document tab, clients can upload to me!!!
      8. Billing – online payments! Automatic payment plans and deposit into trust, fees out of operating! A nice feature.
      9. Messages and Comments – much more secure than regular email. In fact, I refuse to use regular email now. I insist that clients use MyCase.
      10. Settings, clients can update their own email address, mailing address, and phone numbers!
      11. Profile pic – some clients like it (and I like remembering what they look like).

      Bottom line, though, MyCase saves me money. I use for receptionist service. I was paying about $1200-$1500 a month for them. When I started using MyCase, it cut down on calls tremendously. To the point, that I am now thinking of getting a smaller Ruby plan, and paying $359 a month instead of $1200! I already save $400/month from the largest Ruby plan for the last three months as I am not going over my monthly minute allotment anymore. For that $400+ savings, MyCase only costs me $78 for the two attorneys my firm has.

  • Why not also look at Advologix? I don’t use it, but I have looked at it and my guess is that it may be the more robust than the three you are looking at.

    • Advologix is more of a marketing platform than straight practice management software. According to the sales reps I talkded to at TechShow, it is meant for larger firms, or small firms with very sophisticated client acquisition processes.

      In other words, not a great fit for two guys starting a criminal defense firm.

  • For firms looking at a “true” practice management system – one that offers the client portal option, custom data fields, links to a sophisticated report writer, one of the most powerful workflow features found in cloud-based or LAN-based practice management systems, as well as the ability to bill by the hour or flat-rate options, take a look at HoudiniESQ.

    (Don’t get put off by the terms “powerful” and “sophisticated” – this program offers needed/wanted functionality but without a cumbersome interface and too many bells and whistles.)

    It will also offer a “100% touch” interface (the same swipes and gestures that users love on the iPhone and iPad) which is coming in June. It also offers the option of a SaaS or on-premise version (if you don’t want to store your data “in” the cloud, but just want to access if from anywhere.)

    Finally, if you are a solo – you can’t beat the price – $0 – yes, there is no charge for a solo to use the on-premise version of the product.

    Check it out at

    • (1) You are a HoudiniESQ consultant, which is a conflict you ought to disclose when recommending it.

      (2) HoudiniESQ was awful the last time I tried it, made more awful by the owner’s terrible attitude.

      • Sam,

        1) Yes, I am a HoudiniESQ consultant – and a Time Matters consultant and a Practice Master reseller (and formerly an Amicus Attorney consultant.) And I have, at the request of a client, within the last five months reviewed 30+ practice management products. I stand by the recommendation.
        2) I was so surprised that HoudiniESQ wasn’t a part of the list, I simply forgot to include my signature (which includes all three.) But that doesn’t change the recommendation. I’m sorry your experience was not what the clients I am working with are experiencing.

        • Evan Rosen

          Hi Jeff, where you located? I am in south Florida and am seriously considering switching from Clio to houdini

  • Adron Beene

    I too have been looking into a SaaS management and billing system. I handle software licensing and litigation matters. So I have to deal with transactions and cases. Frankly I am having trouble moving to clio because I can’t get it faster than my present system. I use an exchange server so everything on my desktop is on my ipad and iphone. Billing is chaos which cost me about $40 4 years ago. If money is an object look into The pricing is not monthly it is for a perpetual license. They have hosting for $99 per year. I do not know about support because I have not had a problem.

    • Thanks Adron, I will check it out. At the moment we are just invoicing out of Quickbooks. Once we choose a software option I’m guessing we will create the invoices there and log them in QB to keep track of our accounts receivable.

  • Erik

    Does anybody have an idea of how much less/extra you pay for malpractice insurance if you do/don’t have practice management software? What you use (software, nothing, or something in between) seems to be a common question on malpractice insurance applications.

  • I agree. I saw that question on each application I looked at. I will contact my malpractice provider next week and ask. Although I’m assuming he will say it’s just a part of a big equation that they use to calculate risk.

  • John Etheriedge

    After using Time Matters/Billing Matters for years, we were interested in many of the conveniences and features advertised by several of the Cloud-based alternatives. After taking a look at a few of the competitors, we signed-up with MyCase. Unfortunately, we have encountered a major shortcoming, in our opinion. We have a fair number of individual and corporate clients with substantial outstanding balances, and we charge interest on those outstanding balances. This is quite common among firms in our region and practice areas. We believe that any company advertising a law firm billing solution, whether stand-alone or as a component or module of a broader practice management platform, should include the ability to apply/accrue interest on unpaid and outstanding client balances. Up front, MyCase confirmed that its product included the ability to apply interest on invoice. Indeed, it does. When creating an invoice, MyCase allows for the application of interest to the following: (1) current “time entries”; (2) current “expense entries”; or (3) a “sub-total” of current time and expense entries. These options are presented on a dropdown menu for selection during Invoice creation. MyCase does not, however, provide any option for application or accrual of interest on unpaid or outstanding balances. I cannot imagine why any attorney/firm would wish to apply interest to any current time or expense entry. In fact, the only item to which I expect any attorney/firm ever would apply interest is a client’s outstanding balance. An easy fix to this oversight by MyCase would be the simple addition of a fourth option (“Outstanding Balance” or “Unpaid Balance Forward”) to the “Apply Interest To” dropdown menu in MyCase’s invoice creation section. In light of the desirable and intuitive nature of this feature (application of interest to outstanding balances), we had hoped for a prompt and positive response from the MyCase team. Sadly, what we received instead was a statement acknowledging the importance of such a feature, but indicating that MyCase has “no timeline” on when it might consider incorporating such an addition. For the moment, we are “straddling the fence,” using some of the features offered by MyCase, while forced to continue using Time Matters/Billing Matters for invoicing of all clients with outstanding balances. Not an ideal situation, to say the least. It is too bad MyCase has not more responsive on this glaring issue, as we have otherwise been very pleased with their offering.

  • Matt Spiegel


    Thank you so much for the kind words! I thought that this was a good comment that warranted a direct response from me. The feature that you note, the accrual of interest, is something that is very high on our radar. Like any development, it is typically impossible to know exactly when something is going to be ready for release, as there are just far too many variable effecting completion. I can assure you that we feel this feature is as important as you feel it is and it will 100% be added into MyCase in the very near future.

    I hope this helps John. I am always here if you have any questions.


    • John Etheriedge


      While I appreciate your comment above, as of January 4, 2013, MyCase still has not addressed this glaring issue. As communicated to the MyCase team several months before my first comment above, a simple addition to the relevant invoicing dropdown menu is all that would be required to resolve the matter. I continue to be shocked at MyCase’s failure to exert the minimal effort necessary to fix such a clear and publicly acknowledged shortcoming.

  • I’m about to make the switch to cloud after my initial research efforts 2+ years ago. I find that I continue to be attracted to HoudiniEsq, not b/c of free for solo offer, but because of depth of bench and experience in law practice management tools and internet security issues. I’ve built up my TimeMatters database and want to have an “easy” import experience. Also, they seem to have offered a number of features that competitors are just implementing/adding in 2012.

    That said, I’m impressed by the MyCase emphasis on client experience and may give this a try before going for HoudiniEsq. The other leading competitors seem lackluster compared to these two. MyCase is clearly in tune with today’s clients and placing their needs front and center in their product design. I have grown my boutique estate planning practice b/c of my ability to provide a level of customer service that other firms running on “traditional” (ie old school) practice models just can’t give when the clock drives the attorney, not the client.

    I’m curious about comments re: these two: HoudiniEsq. and MyCase. Any one out there been playing with or using recent versions?…

    • All we know about HoudiniESQ is (a) it is Flash-based, like lots of other outdated stuff, (b) the owner/chief developer is a douche, and (c) it doesn’t work very well. If you like all-but-dead technology that doesn’t work very well and you enjoy doing business with douches, it’s probably a good choice. Here’s more information in the LAB.

      • Gwynne Guzzeau

        thanks for the link to the LAB…i’m off to try a trial of mycase and am curious about the amicus cloud offering. i appreciate the follow-up

    • P.S., HoudiniESQ has a free version. If you are curious, you can just try it out yourself.

  • I have been looking at the same three, with MyCase being my favorite, but I am concerned about the email “integration.” I’ve been using credenza, and I really like having emails associated with my matters and shared throughout the firm. MyCase seems incredibly cumbersome. For those using it, how do you handle email?

  • Priscila da Silva

    I was wondering if MyCase offers conflicts check.


  • Andrea

    Hi everyone! Check these helpful links. Not only way more recent than the plethora and often disjointed/multi-page threads I’ve been scouring for weeks now, but really concisely summarizes the differences AS WELL AS similarities between the vendors plus includes very detailed “tech stuff” (if you’re into that kinda thang and can understand!). And most important, a super detailed CHART!

    Article only 2 weeks ago…chart just 2 DAYS ago!

  • John Etheriedge

    I continue to use MyCase, but with continuing frustration over their failure to address what I believe is a singificant oversight in the MyCase billing feature. When will MyCase finally address it’s glaring failure to provide an option to have Interest “Applied To” a “Balance Forward”?????? It is simply absurd that this option is not available. In fact, as mentioned previously, an overdue balance or “balance forward” is really the ONLY thing a law firm or an attorney would ever want to apply interest to anyway. MyCase continues to have an option to apply interest to “current” time entries and expenses (when would anyone want to do that?), but no way to apply interest to a client’s outstanding balance. Anyone contemplating a switch to MyCase should be aware that you will have to continue using a different platform (TimeMatters, Time Slips, Quickbooks, etc.) for billing any late-paying clients if you wish to assess interest. While we would like to complete the full transition to MyCase, we have been forced to mantain our TimeMatters for this purpose.

  • Andrea

    WOW – RIP awesome $1 Total Attorney Fee!!!!!
    So I have been on the fence for many many months now about which of the “big 4 or 5” PMS to go with, reviewing blog after blog, including ones like this one – all helpful but always inconclusive because there’s obviously pros and cons to each and an overall widespread variety of user preferences. I had decided to finally just break down and try Total Attorneys. While it always sounded too good to be true, last, or “gimmicky” as one so cleverly put it in one of the plethora of blogs I read, I figured what did I have to lose since after all it’s only $1/month? And especially if I will be strong-willed enough to NOT be upselled (upsold?!) into the other features which is how they supposedly survive on the $1 cost…
    Well, I had been talking with a rep as recently as only a month ago, asking tons of questions and verifying things since their website tells you NOTHING! But got good confirmations like yes it’s really only $1 and no you are not required to use their Leads Program (which is how I had initially even heard of them prior to these blogs) and other TOC and feature stuff. He even sent me some pretty convincing videos with tutorials for the management program, which again they really should have on their site or otherwise flesh out more like ALL the other companies do.
    So I get back up with them today to ask some final clarifications about their virtual law office stuff since that is what I will be doing. Instead of the guy I have been working with for months, Support emails me back with answers to my questions and a quick one liner that says the PMS is not $1, it’s $20 for 2 users!!?? I immediately responded, Hey I only need 1 user not too, but what about that Buck? Don’t tell me it went up within only 1 month of emailing with a rep?? RESPONSE: Yes, it is a very recent thing that it has now gone up. And 1 user is same price as 2 users-$20. Also, it’s $40 for 3-10 users .
    So yeah. WOW……

    • Hi Andrea,

      We have received such positive response from many firms sharing their desire for us to keep investing in building out the system with additional functionality. We decided it best to charge a what we believe to be a fair price to fund the development of the features our users are requesting. The price we are rolling out will be $20 per month for up to 2 user and $40 for up to 10 users for the Practice Management functionality, (client and matter management, secure client portal, document management, collaboration, time & billing, iPhone / iPad app, task management, etc.).

      While I hope you find this to a be a very fair price for the value provided, I’d be happy to provide you with a free account through the end of the year if our price change caused you inconvenience after spending months evaluating what to select. Just email me,

      I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience in selecting the right software for your practice.

      If there is anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to ask.


      Ed Scanlan, Founder
      Total Attorneys

  • Hi Andrea / Ed
    Thank you Andrea for your post above and commenting on my YouTube video to alert me of Total Attorney’s price increase of the practice management software. I share her surprise and “WOW”!
    The YouTube video that Andrea saw is a video tutorial I produced and posted to teach my future clients how to register for the Total Attorneys’ Client Portal on my website and about its features, in anticipation of my firm launch in June. You may search “WinnieJLukPC” on YouTube to view both my videos (I’m not allowed to add a direct link in this post).
    Like Andrea, I had been working very hard to set-up my virtual law office since December 2012 and researched various practice management softwares and even twice read Stephanie Kimbro’s (the creator of the Total Attorney software along with her husband) book ‘Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online’ before teaching myself how to develop a website in order to sign up and use the reputable practice management software on May 7, 2013 (only 8 days ago).
    Another reason I signed up was that in various blogs I read, it was noted that Total Attorneys “freemium” was offered to encourage more virtual law offices to form – an objective shared by ABA eLawyering Task Force due to the various green, economic, access to justice, lifestyle, practice management and many more benefits it facilitates.
    It’s noticeable from my website and my other home-produced YouTube video that I am bootstrapping to start my virtual law practice. Therefore, I share Andrea’s shock and believe that there may be other lawyers in our boat who are inconvenienced by the price increase.
    Ed, I do agree the Total Attorney practice management software is an excellent one and the price increase enables your team to even further enhance it. How will the price increase effect existing users/ recent registrants? May you consider rolling out the price increase gradually in Jan 2014 for us? Many of us existing users/recent registrants have managed our virtual law firm business plan around the $1/month pricing and need time to adjust our affairs.
    Thank you for your consideration. Thank you too for the other videos on your company’s website that inspire!
    Best wishes,

  • Ally

    Hello everyone, I know the thread is a bit outdated. I was wondering what program you would recommend…with so many options out there I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’m looking to make the switch to cloud based program and I want something that’s secure and has integrated CRM. Any suggestions?