Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Nutmeg Lawyer Reviews Practice Master Software

Choosing the right type of legal management software can help level the playing field against larger competitors. Just as having the right paralegal or the right office manager, such software can help you get more accomplished in less time. Of course choosing the right software will depend on your specific needs. How many timekeepers do you need? What features are necessary for your practice? Can you customize the program.? Can it be networked through your office? Is the program too complicated? Is it cost prohibitive. Our discussion will probably be of more interest to the small private practice. Many of these programs offer trial periods to test out their wares. I recommend doing so before you buy. Most of these programs integrate with Word or WordPerfect. If you do require on site support, however, check for additional costs. Are you going to pay for a technician to fly out to your small firm or is local support available. It's not a bad idea to call the company support line to see the response. I also encourage you to check the web for lawyer reviews. Our private practice is currently trying out Practice Master and the companion Tabs3. So far we have been pleased with the results. A particular favorite feature of the program for our staff is the ability to include photos of the client. We usually scan the client's license for the photo. Another great feature is the cross over sync of billing and client information. Starting at around $295, the program can even integrate with your Blackberry through Outlook. It will indentify conflicts of interest and can provide a firm wide calendar with entries available for everything from pretrial conferences to court dates. The program includes a document tab that can link each client to letters, etc written on their behalf and can file emails you receive in Outlook. Another excellent feature is how the program automatically generates time sheets for appointments, phone calls and online research. Once you get used to the program, it gets easy to use. If you add the CompuLaw Court Rules, it will even uses up to date court rules to schedule your appointments. As a private law firm that practices in a variety of legal areas, I particularly liked the ability to customize including setting billing codes to particular practice areas. Another helpful feature is the report writer. You can print out a summary of a particular client's expenses, print out a master client list or even print out a list of client's birthdays. Have a program that works for you? Let us know.


Brian Griffith said...

DO NO BUY PRACTICE MASTER OR TABS 3 UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO HAVE A DEDICATED PERSON TO OPERTATE, MANAGE AND MAINTAIN THIS SOFTWARE. I bought Practice Master and Tabs 3 for my law office. I have had the software for a year and have had so many problems operating, managing and maintaining this software that I am giving up on it. Some of the many problems I have encountered are that the software sync paramaters to not hold. This has resulted in calendar entries getting canceled out, and I have missed 3 Court appearances since using this software because the calendar entries were lost. I regularly have to re-index my Tabs 3 to get that function to work. Although I am the only user of the software it ofter reports multiple users and I have to sort that problem out. I figure myself and my assistant have spent upto 10 hours eachmonth with support to sort out the problems. Finally I gave up on the software, it is too problematic. I spoke with the manufacturer about the problems I had and wanted instruction to return the software. The response was too bad. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT AT ALL. I am now presently using an old fashioned paper calendar which testing other software options. For further discussion of the problems I have encountered, call my office 702-385-2929.

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with this poster. Tabs3 is a low-cost product but the yearly maintenance can run into the TEN-THOUSANDS - seriously! It uses a data format which is fast but I could not find any web host to support it. Definitely take a look at other vendors. Up front cost is high but you will save long term.