The Mac has come a long way in recent years. Jeffrey Allen’s Mac Notes column this month takes a look at how much better Mac-using attorneys have it today than their brethren of the not-so-distant past. It contrasts the methods that they had to use in the old days (1985-2000) with how great they have it today. It mentions some of the "old" software programs and some of the ones used today. It is quite an interesting read, and you can access it HERE.
The Connected Lawyer published an informative interview with Larry Port from Rocket Matter, which is a web-based practice management and time and billing solution. Since I am a big fan of Rocket Matter, I have published excerpts / highlights from that interview below for my readers. However, I urge you to click the link below to read the entire interview for yourself.
What is Rocket Matter?
Rocket Matter is an easy-to-use web-based legal practice management and time and billing solution. It’s designed from the ground up to facilitate the practice of law in small and solo firms. Rocket Matter allows law firms to manage calendars, to-do lists, contacts, matters, and time and billing in one integrated and simple solution.
We created a technology we call “Bill as you Work”, which traps billable time as lawyers and paralegals go about their day. The net result is a product that allows firms to operate more efficiently and reduces the amount of time that gets lost for invoicing. Since we host Rocket Matter on our servers and it’s accessed via the Internet, users have ubiquitous access to their information while never having to spend money or time on software installations or upgrades.
Tell me more about Bill as you Work. How does it work? What does it capture?
The whole idea behind “Bill as you Work” is to capture time as you go about your day to day activities, so that at the end of the month when it comes time to bill you don’t end up losing all of your precious hours. For example, when you schedule a deposition in your calendar, you can choose to bill for the time spent when you create the appointment. Likewise, your to-do items can be instantly converted from simple reminders into billable items that can end up on your invoice. The application also contains its own stopwatch, so you can time any activity you work on and funnel that directly into billing.
What size of firm is your product ideal for?
Our ideal firm is small, consisting of 1 to 25 total employees. We can scale our application to much larger firms, but we want to focus on the solo and small firm segment of the market, which has been under-served for too long.
What type of security do you use to make sure that the information remains secure?
The security measures we included in Rocket Matter are comprehensive. Every request is encrypted with 128-bit secure SSL, the same encryption used by many major banks and financial institutions. Passwords are hashed (stored in an encrypted format) and known only by you. Threat Modeling, which is the practice of identifying and countering attacks, is a fundamental part of our development process. There are a host of other security measures we have taken to lock down and isolate a firms data, and we’ll be conducting ongoing audits with independent security specialist firms.
What type of computer system do I need to access my data?
Rocket Matter runs in an Internet browser, freeing you from the constraints of any particular operating system. Macs, PC’s, and Linux systems can all be used, as long as they have a modern browser (Firefox, IE 6 or above, and Safari). Now that full-fledged mobile browsers have been introduced, iPhones and Pocket PC’s with SkyFire can be used to access Rocket Matter.
Can I access my data in any way if I cannot reach your servers, (e.g., I can’t get to the internet)?
Currently, access to Rocket Matter requires an Internet connection. Of course, if you need to access some piece of crucial information and you find yourself without access, you can always call our customer support line.
What happens to my data if I chose to stop using your service?
In the sad circumstance that we part ways, Rocket Matter will offer you a full copy of your data at no charge. Your contacts and calendar data will be exported to industry standard formats, such as vCard and iCalendar, which can be read by applications such as Outlook, iCal, and Address Book. Your matter and time and billing information will be exported to a navigable HTML format, so that you can view and make sense of your information.
Can I backup my data from your servers to a local hard drive?
Rocket Matter is developing an enhanced service plan, in which customers can obtain regular backups of their information. Users participating in this plan will have the option of downloading their data or having it sent to them on a DVD.
Do your offer training with your product? If so, what kind?
Rocket Matter users enjoy free training called CRE, or Continuing Rocket Education. These are live webinars hosted every week, open to all Rocket Matter customers at no additional cost. Furthermore, we offer Online CRE courses, which allow users at any time to watch guided instructional videos on the various features of the program.
What is the pricing for Rocket Matter?
During our Pilot Program, we are charging $50 USD per attorney per month and $15 USD per support staff per month. Customer support is included for Pilot Program participants. Phone support is available from 9am to 6pm EST. Phone support is handled in the United States and conducted by a native English speaker.
What makes Rocket Matter different from other similar programs?
Rocket Matter’s big differentiator is the simple yet comprehensive nature of its features. Simplicity, paired with great customer support and training, will enable our customers to actually use our product and enjoy doing so.
Compared to traditional legal practice management tools, Rocket Matter is a leap forward in ease-of-use. We eliminated the confusing “bloatware”, or features people don’t require. We’ve taken the elements that most firms need: calendaring, contact management, matter management, and invoicing, and rolled them into one integrated product.
By creating a web-based solution, we have created another differentiator with existing legal products: there is no need to purchase additional hardware, and no IT consultant required for an install or upgrade. We handle backups, security, and all of the other technical issues so that attorneys and their staffs can focus on the practice of law.
Lawyers USA recently published an article addressing Web 2.0 services of interest to attorneys. The Mac Lawyer was interviewed for this article and cited as a reference with regard to online case management software. An excerpt containing my quotes is listed below:
Ben Stevens, who practices in a two-lawyer firm in Spartanburg, S.C., touted Rocket Matter‘s low price and accessibility from anywhere with an Internet connection.
"I think it’s a revolutionary product for attorneys," said Stevens, who also blogs as The Mac Lawyer. "It’s easy to maintain, easy to access and easy to use."
Stevens said there are other online services that provide billing and other functions, but none that pull together as many features as Rocket Matter.
A few weeks ago, I posted about Rocket Matter, the recently released web-based case management and time & billing program. Aaron Pelley has published a more in-depth review of Rocket Matter, and it is well worth a look. You can read Mr. Pelley’s thoughts on this exciting new program by clicking HERE.
Sheryl Sisk Schelin has published a comprehensive list of resources for lawyers who use Macs or those considering doing so. The list is certainly worth checking out, and it is broken down into the following categories:
- Law Specific Mac Blogs
- Apple News and Briefs
- Mac Advice and Tips Generally
- Forums and Listservs
Source: "Macs Practice Law Week: Web Resources for Mac-Using Lawyers and Those Who Want to Be" by Sheryl Sisk Schelin, published at The Inspired Solo blog.
Yesterday, an exciting new product was formally announced, and it could change the way you practice law. Rocket Matter has now been launched and is available for you to come aboard. This product is a Web 2.0 case management and time/billing program, and it looks fantastic.
Because it is web-based, there is no software to install or load, and it is accessible from anywhere — including your iPhone. In my discussions with the developers over the past several months, it is clear to me that (a) they intend to cater to the legal community, (b) they aim to offer the premier legal software possible, and (c) they love the Mac.
I urge you to visit their website at RocketMatter.com, where you can see a preview of their product, or their new blog, where you can monitor the updates to it. You can also click HERE
to view their press release, which contains more details and specifics. I welcome your feedback about Rocket Matter after you’ve had a chance to view it.
Award-winning legal blogger Jim Calloway published an article last week discussing sites for Mac-using lawyers. He had several nice things to say about this blog, saying it is "not to be missed." I sincerely appreciate Jim’s comments, as I have read his blog for a long time. I urge you to check out his post for all of his comments about The Mac Lawyer and some other great blogs too.
Erik Schmidt of the Mac Law Students blog published an article about a month ago about legal Mac blogs. I thought that Erik did a great job of listing the major blogs in this area, and I wanted to feature his list here in case any of my readers are not familiar with these other excellent blogs:
Home Office Lawyer
:: Grant Griffiths
The Mac Lawyer :: Ben Stevens
MacSparky :: David Sparks
Criminal Defense Law with an Apple :: Aaron Pelley
- a mac lawyer’s notebook :: Kevin Morton
Apple Briefs :: Jeffrey Kabbe
If you are aware of any other blogs devoted to using Macs in the practice of law, please let me know so that this list can be updated. Also, thanks to Erik for including my blog in his list and for referring to me as an early pioneer of Mac lawyer blogging.
If you have never checked out Netvibes, you should do so right now! What is it? Well, it’s honestly a little difficult to describe, but I’ll try. Netvibes is a fully customizable homepage, on which you can add numerous "modules" to view all sorts of information in one convenient location.
For instance, you can add to do lists, weather forecasts, RSS feeds to read blogs, and hundreds of other types of modules. Netvibes also integrates with numerous email providers, Google products (Calendar, Notebook, GMail, etc.), and it is super convenient to have everything that you need from the web right in one place on your homepage.
For you mobile warriors, Netvibes now has a "mobile" version that allows you to access your netvibes page on your mobile phone or your iPhone too. What’s the cost for all this convenience? It’s free. I have been using it for well over a year, and it is a fantastic product that you should look into for yourself.
If you are an attorney or other professional who is interested in learning more about how to use Macs in your office, you should check out the Macs In Law Offices (MILO) discussion group. Recent topics discussed on MILO include hardware and software options and ways to most effectively implement them into our practices. Grant Griffiths and I began MILO six months ago to provide a forum where open discussions were encouraged, which unfortunately does not happen in all groups. If you are interested in visiting MILO, there is a button on the right side of this blog that will take you there.