1. Avatar Zachary L. says:

    Big Firm Software Functionality for a Reasonable Price

    After looking far and wide for practice management software, Zola was the answer we were looking for with its seamless integration with Gmail and Google Calendar. The task management and deadline tracking with email and SMS alerts is very intuitive and a lifesaver on a daily basis.

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  2. Avatar lorienne n. says:

    Helpful tool for any firm!

    Zola is very user friendly. Easy access to calendar and email right on the dashboard. I love it!

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  3. Avatar Jason R. says:

    No two factor authentication makes this a “no”

    From a software standpoint, Zola Suite is very good.

    But in 2018, lack of two factor authentication should be disqualifying.

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  4. Avatar Josh H. says:

    Zola does it all

    I’m very impressed by Zola, it seems to do anything and everything you could want from case management software. I like the email client and the app is fantastic. It looks like they’re about to raise their rates a bit, so watch out for that. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product to any law firm searching for a case management solution.

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  5. Avatar Crystal B. says:

    Nothing else compares...

    I love Zola. It’s the best way to keep up with our client load and add organization to our work environment. It provides the ability to keep up with all aspects of the company and what needs to happen with a clients case.

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  6. Avatar Channa B. says:

    Everything I was looking for

    ZolaSuite has every function I was looking for in a client management software – and more that I didn’t know I wanted! I love that it syncs with my outlook and saves emails to clients in their folders. I love that it offers email encryption without another program being required. I love that it tracks my referral sources. It’s even better than what I would have designed to fit my needs. Love it.

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  7. Avatar Eric K. says:

    *Updated Review*

    Updated April 2, 2019:

    When I initially wrote my review in January of this year, I had a lot of problems with Zola. It immediately got the attention of its CEO, who contacted me personally with assurances that Zola would correct as many of these issues as it could. (He didn’t offer me money for this re-post, unfortunately). But, nevertheless, I am very happy to report that Zola has added a lot of functionality and features that correct much of what I complained about. Zola’s customer service has always been stellar, and I see now that this is modeled by its CEO. I have been in repeated contact with him and have found him to be responsive, attentive, and never condescending.

    Since talking with Fred Cohen, Zola has corrected the sync issues with Google calendar, integrated with OneDrive for Business, introduced a bulk-email-assigning function, corrected the self-population feature in individual email assignments, improved its email interface to lessen freeze-ups and to keep drafts, corrected its accounting, introduced new accounting reports (billable hours recap is my favorite), fixed the organization of invoices to find them more easily in the direct payment window, and improved UI for bulk file sharing. I have also been told that partial payments on Caseway are coming soon. Zola will offer a mechanism to charge interest on unpaid invoices soon, I think. And I am sure that I am forgetting a few things.

    In all, the product is much improved. It’s not perfect, but I don’t think that its CEO would tell you that either. I would increase Zola’s rating to a rising 3.5 stars. Zola’s customer service is 5 stars (always has been), its price is 4 stars (still a healthy bill at the end of it all), and its functionality is 3.5 stars. I am very hopeful that the product will keep improving — its vision is to be an all-in-one system that serves small and mid-size firms. That niche is sorely needed and Zola does it pretty well.

    * * * * * *

    Original Review: January 2, 2019. (1/5 Stars)

    I was hopeful that Zola would provide me (starting as a solo) and, later, my small firm of me, my paralegal, and one associate, with more functionality, document storage, and basic accounting when I signed up in late 2016. I have been very disappointed on all of these fronts since that time. While the customer service staff is pleasant and very responsive, the programmers seem to lack the skill to properly put this system together. Problems seem to keep occurring with no solutions in sight.

    My problems include: Zola’s failure to properly integrate with Google calendars; its failure to integrate with OneDrive at all; a cumbersome, non-automated, and clunky document storage system; no “rules” option in its email interface to automatically assign an email to a matter (you have to assign the matter to each email, one-by-one); the email interface freezes often and does not keep drafts of emails when it freezes; matters do not self populate in generated emails as the videos indicate; Caseway (its client-interface to exchange invoices and other documents) is unusable and caused client complaints; Caseway will not allow clients to make partial payments on invoices (which is helpful if there is a large month, or if a client wants to utilize two accounts to pay an invoice); you cannot charge late fees or interest on overdue invoices; there are no “reminder” options for unpaid invoices; generated accounting graphs on various pages are not customizable and are frequently wrong; trust account reports are frequently incorrect; you cannot assign a retainer to a client (who may have a number of matters to which you could use that retainer); and the payment windows do not list unpaid invoices in a cognizable order (by date or by invoice number). Some of these errors or non-functionality are acceptable. All of them at once are not.

    The most pressing difficulty with Zola was its lack of reliable accounting (which is one of the main reasons I chose Zola, rather than a system that didn’t have accounting reports). As a small firm — one partner, an associate, and a paralegal, accounting reports don’t need to be particularly robust, but they must be right. I could not count on Zola to do that, frequently finding errors in simple accounting reports. I also could not get it to sync cleanly with LawPay (credit card processor) and it frequently would not register a payment. Clients were complaining. Staff was complaining. I was complaining so much that my wife is tired of hearing about Zola’s errors and told me that I should get a new platform.

    Zola finally got bad enough that I had to subscribe to Quickbooks (extra expense) and sync it to Zola. But, Zola’s integration with Quickbooks was not intuitive and lacked features that caused my accountant to wonder how it should be set up. The last straw? When Zola refused to recognize my integration with Quickbooks altogether while I was getting out year-end invoices.

    I really hate to complain. And I really, really hate to change practice management software. But, I have come to the realization that I should do both. Zola could be a great platform. But, it has far too many bugs that prohibit its effective use.

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  8. Avatar Mallory M. says:

    Zola is perfect for our small firm

    I recently started with a small firm, and this was my first introduction to legal software. Zola has been so amazing. The customer service is my favorite feature. Whenever I have a question (and I have a lot of questions), I send them an email and usually have something back from them within the hour. I was able to schedule a tutorial via telephone with a member of Zola support staff, where we walked through every functionality that Zola had. The staff member took the time to answer all of my questions while on the phone, and anything that she was unsure about, she emailed me by the end of the day with answers to. I really like Zola, and I am happy that my firm uses Zola (especially after reading the reviews of some other software).

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  9. Avatar Jacob A. says:

    Great so far

    I recently started my own solo firm and Zola has been great. I love the functionality, ease of use, and the email integration. I haven’t used a practice management software before that I liked and so far I’m very pleasantly surprised.

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  10. Avatar Patrick P. says:

    Great software that helps with emails, documents, and time keeping

    Our office has been using Zola now for about a month and so far the feedback has been all positive. Cons are that, since it is cloud base, depending on your browser it can be ‘slow’ at times as it takes a few extra seconds to refresh emails and tasks; but the pros far out way it. Email and phone call billing that used to be lost is now captured, retrieving documents and uploading them is easy, and the app has been great for keeping track of billable hours while mobile. Great upgrade from our last system.

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  11. Avatar Fletcher D. says:

    Bugs Bugs Bugs - A good way to throw away $700.

    When I left my first job as an attorney, I was excited about adopting straightforward, flexible practices that would permit me to operate without being chained to the floor by bad legal technology. Everybody knows you have to have practice management software. Everybody knows that because everybody is told that by some bar association technologist, legal technology pitch person, or condescending junior associate at a big firm who has no choice in the matter anyway. I wasn’t convinced, since most of my best practices at my last job consisted of workarounds I figured out that allowed me to work efficiently without using my practice management software.

    I reviewed a couple of practice management software platforms, figuring none could be as bad as the last one I’d used. Zola caught my eye because it was promoted as having integrated time-keeping, billing and accounting, along with automated features for ease of use. Or something like that. The promises tend to fade from your mind when you come to the horrifying realization that you’re once again chained to the floor.

    Customize your dashboard? Nope!
    Set a default font for email? Wh-why would you want that?
    Search for keywords and names across email? Absolutely – but it doesn’t work most of the time!
    “We’ve got our people working on that. Thanks for letting us know about the problem.”
    You can’t reliably search for a person’s name or a keyword in your emails! Not even in the subject or sender lines! Forget about searching the text in the body of your emails or other documents. This is a basic function of every email client I’ve ever used.
    Auto-save email drafts? Every email client I’ve used in the past ten years could do that. Not Zola.
    Scroll side to side in a window? Only in full screen mode – because that’s where you don’t need it.
    Scroll down to the ‘save’ button in a pop-up window? Once again, only in full screen.
    Can I use Zola in a split screen with another window to work-around the no-scrolling problem? No.

    It’s as if someone said, “Let’s make a sh*tty version of Outlook” – but then they gave up.
    Oh, and there’s no integration with OneDrive. But you can pay extra for Z Drive!

    Marketing people are great with Zola, full of promises and ever-ready to refer you to the tech support folks for your daily let down. My pitch person talked about how awesome it is to use encrypted emails. When I pressed for details, she elaborated. Turns out that’s only for users of a third party add-on that costs something loony like $100+/yr. I can encrypt an email with my protonmail account that costs $6/mo.

    The tech support folks are usually able to respond within a few hours. The response is almost always – “no, you can’t do that. we thought you could, but they told us you can’t”.

    Syncing my bank accounts was easy. Except they didn’t sync. Apparently a problem with a third party processor called Plaid. Since I’m not an accountant I was pleased as punch at the extremely specific and tempermental accounting and finance reporting section. Zola is so advanced that I get to manually enter every transaction into Zola Suite and pray to god it goes somewhere useful. That’s assuming it goes anywhere at all. Zola has lots of rules – lots of rules – but not a lot of explanations of the rules. Oh, and just because you enter it into one report doesn’t mean it enters into another. No, you’ll need to enter it twice under two different designations to get that result, but Zola won’t provide instructions on that sort of distinction unless you manage to track down one of their accounting specialists. They’ll offer to walk you through the accounting aspects of it, but it’s just another canned speech/demo. And if you have a question during this demo, you will have to loudly and repeatedly interrupt them – because they’ll just keep talking over you if you don’t. After the first accounting demo I had major problems with basic reconciliation (which I had specifically gone over with the person helping me), so I asked them what was wrong. They told me to schedule another accounting walkthrough – because that’s going to help a ton and waste more time. I’m glad I haven’t had to invoice a client on it yet. Frankly I don’t think I’d feel comfortable using it for client matters. Also, the Zola Knowledge Base is just a FAQ like any other tech support site: problems you don’t have, language you don’t understand, answers you don’t need to questions no one needs to ask.

    The real kicker was when I inquired about a pro-rated reimbursement if I cancelled. They were finally able to tell me something for certain without any delays or caveats: We don’t offer refunds. But we accept feedback! To be fair, they did say they would escalate the matter to billing management, but then the sales VP claimed it was a mistake on their part to make it sound like a refund was possible because they warranty all of their buggy tech, which totally excuses the underwhelming functionality and constant glitching.

    They divide their promotional team from their support team, so when you send complaints to the sales people who sold you their garbage product, you get back a canned answer like: “Gee, _____, I’m so sorry to hear that you aren’t loving Zola! I don’t normally hear this feedback, because [that’s for support to deal with, and I work in the smiles department].”

    I’ve been setting up my solo practice for the past few months. An unacceptable amount of that time was spent battling with Zola to function. Now I’m stuck paying for it for a year, but I don’t think it’s reliable enough to use. All I can think about is developing a workaround like I did at my last job. I made a few basic excel spreadsheets for tracking timekeeping, billing, profit/loss statements, quarterly expenditures, etc., but I’m not well versed in accounting. I threw a couple hundred dollars at Quickbooks just to have some basic accounting tools, and that’s helped a lot. Mind you I’m not planning to try to integrate Quickbooks with Zola, as that would be counterproductive at this point. I have to access my emails through Office/Outlook because I can reliably search for information across the entire platform (unlike on Zola), and I can save everything in OneDrive. It’s not a great system, but at least it will keep me going while I sort out something sustainable. I just wish I hadn’t wasted so much time trying to figure out Zola. I also wish they would refund my money. But I guess $700 is the cost of believing that ‘this time it’ll be different.’

    No solo or small firm should ever use this software. If you’re a large firm and you hate your employees – go to town.

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