There are a bunch of cloud-based practice management systems for small law firms. They’re all loved by some of their users. I hear good things about many of the products, including Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase. I hear not-so-good things about most of the rest, including those from the large legal publishing companies. Picking one is difficult.
Despite the challenges of comparing vendors, moving to the cloud is a worthwhile endeavor. Getting rid of servers shifts the responsibility for keeping your systems up and running into capable hands and away from the all-too-often inept local maintenance people. Moving data to the cloud usually offers more security and safety and frequently lowers your cost.
My Decision Calculus
Personally, I’ve moved to the cloud. I did it years ago, and I custom-built a solution on top of Salesforce. Salesforce is expensive and complicated, and it presents a host of challenges. It’s my second practice management system. I used the first one for nearly 20 years before I switched to Salesforce.
Why Salesforce? Because it has a huge user base and is a financially solid company. I need it to be around 20 years from now. I picked a market leader because I need stability and don’t want to have to mess around with migrating my data for a very long time. Once every 20 years is more than enough.
Does Your Firm Need a Custom System?
If your firm is generating millions of dollars in revenue per year, then it might make sense to custom-build your practice management system. Even then, however, it’s easier and less expensive to buy an off-the-rack system.
If, however, you’re a solo or smallish firm, then it definitely makes sense to buy an off-the-rack system. You don’t want to spend your resources customizing anything. These cloud-based solutions for lawyers make the most sense when money is an issue.
Your Decision Calculus
Which one would I pick? I’d pick the one with the most users. I made my decision to go with Salesforce because of its dominant position in the market. That’s how I’d make this decision if I were you. I’d pick the market leader because I think it has the best chance of surviving. I’d be very nervous about picking a company that might not be around years down the road. I want my data safe.
Who’s the dominant business in this space? I think it’s Clio. Bob Ambrogi of LawSites cites the 2013 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report and reports that 12.8% of lawyers using a cloud-related computing solution are using Clio. No other provider made it on the list.
Clio is winning so far. It’s attracting the customers if you believe in the reliability of the ABA survey. My bet is that Clio will be around a long time from now. The data it stores will be kept safe and sound, and the company will continue to do what it does. That’s why I’d put my data in Clio’s hands.
Is Clio the best software? Does it have the most features? Does it have great customer support? I have no idea. I hear good things, but I have no personal experience. I do know that Clio has customers. That means it has revenue, and that’s a good sign as far as I’m concerned.