You want to get untethered so you can escape the confines of your office chair. There’s whole world out there for you – isn’t it time you actually took part in it?
I beta tested both Rocket Matter and Clio. To be honest, at the time I didn’t think Rocket Matter was up to snuff. The user interface felt nice, but overall the experience was like moving into a new home before all the wallboard was in place. I signed up primarily to take advantage of some early-adopter pricing and let the system gather dust. I figured I could either start using it or discontinue my subscription once I knew for sure if this thing was going to fly or go the way of the Apple Newton.
When I joined forces with my partner earlier this year I was shocked at his case management systems. They were antiquated, limping along from day to day. I decided right off the bat that we’d need to do some serious work immediately. I had a few challenges:
- My partner has never used a full-featured case management system in the past;
- We needed to get up and running immediately;
- I didn’t have too much time to train the staff on a new system; and
- This system needed to do everything we needed, without customization or fancy-pants consultants.
What did we do? We went with Rocket Matter.
Transitioning To Rocket Matter
Like I said, we didn’t have a prior system. That having been said, we had spreadsheets with client data and multiple address books on our machines. We had offers from some other companies to bring us on board, but they all came with headaches. Did I seriously want to spend all that money on upgrades every year? Did I want to hire a ridiculously expensive consultant who would show me which buttons to press when I wanted to get something done?
Yeah, I don’t think so.
We sent a few spreadsheets to the folks at Rocket Matter, told them what to do with it, and took one of their Rocket 101 webinars (they offer webinars more often than most people shower, it seems). Within a day or so, the staff was limping along and getting work done. You gotta walk before you can run, right? Over time, things became more fluid.
Dear Client, Please Pay Your Bill
Rocket Matter didn’t originally have a stellar invoicing system and, to be honest, I’m still not in love with the functionality it provides for a flat-fee practice that bills up front and takes payment plans for the balance due. But with only a minor amount of thought we got things to where we want them. Now a client comes in, pays part of their fee and the money gets credited. They’ve also got trust accounting and all that hoopla for those who use those things.
Every month we press a button, run a report and the system spits out all of our invoices. Stuff ‘em in the mail (or send them by email) and money comes in from clients.
There’s also a live timer that lets me bill hourly should I see fit to do so. I use it to track how long it takes me to handle a particular matter, which helps me price my services more accurately.
Call Mr. Jones Back
My receptionist used to insist that I bought those stupid little message pads. You know, the ones with fourteen carbon copies that come in little binders? Very cute, but I’d end up with a stack of the damn things and a mess on my desk. It was like the message fairy was sprinkling dust on my desk.
Screw that. Now when a call comes in my receptionist clicks a little button that looks like an old-fashioned telephone and just types in the message. It goes into the client’s file on Rocket Matter, I pick it up and respond. No more annoying little slips of paper to piss me off!
Where’s That Letter I Sent?
Once again, Rocket Matter had sucky functionality when it came to document management. Not because it didn’t work, but because I didn’t want to store my documents on their system. It’s reliable and all, but downloading and uploading takes time. I’m an impatient man, my friends. So I used Dropbox.
Apparently, so does everyone else (rightfully so). So Rocket Matter wised up and now integrates with Dropbox. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Save a file on my computer, Rocket Matter recognizes it as belonging to a particular matter, and I can access it as I please.
Court at 2pm, Intake at 3pm
The calendar was fine, but I’ve been using Google Calendar for two years. So I didn’t use the calendar, either. But not it syncs with the GCal for each of our staff members, eliminating the old double-entry problem. I won’t go intro greater detail because you don’t care about that. Suffice to say, it works with GCal nicely.
My Final Answer
Rocket Matter is awesome. It’s no more expensive than sitting on the phone waiting for some “support person” to help with another needless upgrade (Rocket Matter does upgrades automatically, most often when normal people as asleep), so if you’re of the “wow, I can’t believe I’m spending money every month instead of just buying it outright,” crowd then you need to seriously review your long-term financial strategy. Really.
I have my calendars, my to-do list, my tasks, messages, documents management and billing. It doesn’t draft my bankruptcy petitions or let clients gain access to their files, but that’s fine by me. It’s easy to use, they provide awesome support and training, and I don’t have to worry about maintenance anymore.
What Other People Say
Rocket Matter: It Is Finally Time For The FutureLawyer To Get In The Spaceship (FutureLawyer, February 2010)
Rocket Matter legal practice management software: still promising, still pricey (Lawyerist, July 2009)
A Quick Look at Rocket Matter (Criminal Defense Law With An Apple, March 2008)
Author’s Note: This article was originally written on March 16, 2008. The original article pointed out a number of flaws that Rocket Matter had at the time, but we’ve come a long way in the interim. So I changed the post, which is now entirely new as of December 7, 2010.