Part IV in my series reviewing three of the top cloud-based case management software services available to attorneys.
Part I: Clio
Part II: Rocket Matter
Part III: MyCase
Part IV: Review and Comparison
Over the course of my last few posts, my cloud-based case management software review has discussed three top services individually: Clio, Rocket Matter, and MyCase. Evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in several key areas that I consider to be highly important for case management software, I attempted to provide an in-depth look at the services that could prove useful to small and mid-size law firms, looking for a more cost-effective alternative to the incredibly pricey practice management options currently available.
By focusing on the case management software that each service provides, I deliberately ignored the billing/timekeeping/accounting functions available. I did this partially because I really wanted to focus on how effectively these systems handle case management, and partially because to be all inclusive would preclude the in-depth analysis I wanted to do.
Now, the fun part: which of the services is best:
I’ll be honest, it was really difficult to decide between Clio and MyCase on this one, so it came down to a single factor: contact roles. Clio allows users to designate the role of case contacts on a case-by-case basis, whereas MyCase does not. The ability to designate a contact as an attorney in one case and an arbitrator in another, or a treating physician in one case and an expert witness in another, is crucial in litigation. Both Clio and MyCase put all the most important information about a case front-and-center, with easy tab-based access to the various parts of the case. Rocket Matter’s case/matter information display, although prominently displaying upcoming tasks and events, puts the actual case information in difficult-to-find locations and requires far too much navigation away from the matter’s page to get basic information about the case.
Rocket Matter’s approach to contacts is, in my opinion, the best available. By keeping document automation in mind, Rocket Matter allows users for the best available set of options for basic contact information, and is the only one of the three that has a section for related contacts that does not require custom fields. Although Clio offers more address field options, most users will find Rocket Matter’s two available address fields (home and office) sufficient for their purposes. Additionally, both Rocket Matter and Clio allow for a job title designation for each contact, but still allow you to designate each contact’s role in a particular case at the case level. MyCase, on the other hand, really falls down in this section. Only allowing one address field for a contact is, to me, a really bad idea bordering on a deal-breaker. Furthermore, MyCase groups contacts by role on a global level, meaning you are unable to designate roles for contacts on a case-by-case basis.
On the other hand, MyCase absolutely dominates the calendar and tasks portion. Implementation of MyCase’s Workflows within each case allows for calendar and task options that neither Clio or Rocket Matter can touch. Allowing sub-tasks to be included within tasks is another excellent feature that MyCase brings. Add in the useful “see location on map” function contained in your calendar entries, and MyCase dominates the competition. Both Clio and Rocket Matter provide calendar and task functions that are useful and effective, but lack the attention to detail that MyCase provides.
For me, the document management comparison is a little bit difficult. Both Rocket Matter and MyCase offer similar functionality with the ability to add Tags to documents, which serve as a sort of categorization system. Firms that are truly dedicated to universal organization, and willing to be quite OCD about organization, will likely find a lot of utility with the Tag system that Clio does not provide. However, Clio comes with a categorization system out of the box, which contains quite a few built-in options and is 100% customizable. Additionally, Clio’s document system allows for something that I have no idea why Rocket Matter and MyCase ignore: DATE. The ability to designate a simple category and date for all uploaded documents is quite important to me. In the battle for second place, Rocket Matter’s special integration with Evernote gives it a slight edge over MyCase.
As was the case with the calendar/tasks evaluation, MyCase is the clear winner in document automation as well. Offering the most useful merge field options, and boasting a system that allows you to integrate your case information with your templates puts MyCase’s system far ahead of the competition. Although Rocket Matter has slightly more options available for merge fields than Clio, both of them rely far too heavily on information entered into custom fields for my taste, as the significant work that must be done for each case makes document automation considerably less efficient. However, Clio offers automation for Word documents, PowerPoint, and Excel Spreadsheets, whereas Rocket Matter only supports Word.
As you may have noticed, I simply cannot get enough of MyCase’s Workflows. Given my litigation practice, there are just so many ways that I can think that Workflows would be beneficial to my practice. Being able to customize workflows for so many situations, and to be able to add both calendar entries and tasks to your cases is such a cool concept, and one I really hope MyCase continues to develop. (My next suggestion would be to figure out a way for it to adjust for ending on a weekend or holiday!) Clio’s iPhone app is a distant second, due mostly to how much I love Workflows. The app itself is awesome, and the fact that it functions so effectively as an independent system is wonderful. Rocket Matter’s Tag system, which is quite nice and very interesting, requires far too much uniformity in use and application for my tastes. However, a really well-organized firm might find the system to be far more useful than I do.
Overall, I found that Clio was probably the most intuitive system for my tastes. The clear preference for making information available without having to navigate to different screens is huge for me, and Clio’s efforts in this area have paid off. MyCase, possessing of a similar setup, is definitely an excellent user experience, but felt at times too… “cartoonish” for my tastes. Rocket Matter’s interface and design actually served to turn me off initially. The inaccessibility of a lot of important information, the need to navigate to different screens to get most information, and the strange load time between screens really began to grate on me as well.
Clio (Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5)
MyCase (Overall Rating: 4 out of 5)
Rocket Matter (Overall Rating: 4 out of 5)