One of the most expensive categories of law office software is known as “case management software,” which may or may not include client management, marketing or billing components. Regardless, the two “established” companies that provide these services to law firms are AbacusLaw and Amicus Attorney.
If you are just starting out, and are looking at these two companies’ products, then you have already figured out that you will be expected to dole out thousands of dollars in the first year to get them. You may also be worried that, if you do not purchase one or the other, you will suffer a costly malpractice claim. This is, in fact, a message that companies like these often use in their marketing to attorneys, using fear of malpractice claims to justify this significant capital outlay.
At this point, I should disclose that I have nothing against either Abacus or Amicus, in particular. I also am not suggesting that one practice without case management software. However, I do want my readers here to be aware that, with the advent concepts like “software as a service” (SaaS) and “cloud computing,” you now have choices in the case management software marketplace that were unheard of 5 or 10 years ago.
Order Through ‘Chaos‘
Recently, I discussed one such company here, Chaos Software, which offers a case management suite that includes calendaring and contacts management, legal billing, and more. Chaos is affordable and very user-friendly.
Chaos’ one major drawback – right now – is that it operates on the old download model. In other words, you must download it to your system rather than accessing it virtually or “in the cloud.” I believe the company is working on this limitation, and if there are new developments along those lines, I invite a Chaos spokesperson to comment here so that we have an accurate picture of what the company can provide.
Cloud Control With Clio
Another provider that has me very excited is Clio Software. Unlike Chaos, Clio is entirely an online product – in other words, it is “cloud-based case management.”
The company’s website notes that they are specifically targeting solos and small firms with their services, and their services are great. I personally tested Clio on a temporary trial basis very recently. It is definitely worth considering.
Another fear that is often cited in support of sticking with Abacus or Amicus is that they are established and “aren’t going anywhere.” Whenever I discuss cloud services, particularly legal services, I hear this argument (and not just with case management software). Certainly, the stability of your case management software provider is something to consider. However, based on its press over the past several months, Clio appears to be growing quite steadily, so I have little concern that the company is going to vanish and leave you in a virtual lurch.
Can It Be? Did You Say Free?
Just this morning, I came across another company that I had not yet heard of. I found them via YouTube while doing some research on the subject of legal technology videos. The company is called HoudiniEsq. Like Clio, this company operates completely as a cloud-based system. So far, so good. However, what caught my eye is HoudiniEsq provides its product free to solos. In case you missed that, I said free to solos.
At the time of writing this article, I have not tested HoudiniEsq. I reviewed their video and did a cursory review of their website, and their product appears very promising, full-featured, and very affordable. I am not yet recommending HoudiniEsq. I will be taking a closer look at its product over the next several days, and will report back on my conclusions. Because of its very agreeable price tag, however, I felt compelled to include it in this morning’s article in the event any of you want to look into on your own.
Have any readers used Abacus or Amicus? Both? What did you like or not like about either? Have you stopped using them in the past year or so? Was cost a factor in that decision? Please let me know, as this is important information we could all benefit from, including the providers.
Have any of you already used Chaos or Clio? What do you think of these providers? Are you aware of others you think are worthwhile? If so, please list any providers in your comments.
- Clio Rings in Second Anniversary with Exponential Growth, More Features (eon.businesswire.com)
- Cloud-Based Practice Management Software Clio Announces 30 New Clio Certified Consultants (eon.businesswire.com)
- LexisNexis Announces Launch of Lexis Advance for Solos – The First Release on the New Lexis 1.0 Platform (eon.businesswire.com)