Law Practice + Integration

Rocket Matter has just announced integration with Intuit’s Quickbooks financial software.  If you have installed Quickbooks on your computer, you can synchronize your information to your Rocket Matter account.  There’s a fee for the additional integration from Rocket Matter but it is the type of add-on that could probably make your case management more effective.

There are some legacy legal technology applications that are moving their all-in-one desktop software into the cloud as an all-in-one software-as-a-service.  Where case management companies like Rocket Matter and Clio have an edge is that they are focused on integration with other applications rather than building everything internally.  They have both identified ways to tie other services, for the most part also cloud-based, into their practice management software.  My favorite is Rocket Matter’s IMAP support, which means you can use just about any e-mail product.

It’s not quite the same as David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined but it’s what I always think of when watching cloud practice companies.  Case management has tried for decades to be all things to a law practice, from client intake to billing to closed file management.  The data in the ABA’s annual legal technology survey has never seen much uptake of this kind of software.

Practice management software has tended to be touted as “developed by lawyers for lawyers”.  But lawyers don’t all practice the same way, even though they do some of the same tasks.  I think that’s why the ABA’s annual legal technology survey tends to find low adoption of case management software and those who do use it tend to use Microsoft Outlook for the functions.  The all-in-one system tends to create a practice flow that may or may not work for any given lawyer.

The use of integration – of licensing or subscribing to small parts and joining them loosely so that you can link and delink as needed – makes much more sense than the legacy approach.  It also allows a practice management developer to be more nimble in the cloud.  Linking or integrating with a provider means leveraging the development and security that that company has already created.  It also means it can be delinked when a better option comes along.

Rocket Matter’s move makes a lot of sense to me, even though it’s a sync to a desktop tool.  I’m looking forward to the day when companies like Intuit, who already have a strong software-as-a-service version of Quickbooks, or Kashoo, a Canadian alternative (for lawyers needing to worry about HST and GST) provide integration with their cloud products as well.  Lawyers should be able to choose what they put into the cloud and what they keep local on their internal systems.  The more options they have to make these choices, the better.

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