Solo Pilot: Testing PracticePanther
Let’s face it. As a solo attorney in 2016, good practice management software tailored to a solo/small firm practice is an essential tool of the trade. Without it, a lawyer can quickly flail and fall into a spiral of administrative work. Good practice management software should do the administrative work for you and allow you to focus on lawyering!
Over the last few years, I have tried several leading software packages. Most were either difficult to learn, didn’t offer the features or customization I needed, or were just not user-friendly. I signed up for a free trial of PracticePanther and quickly realized that it integrated seamlessly with my life and with virtually no learning curve at all because of how intuitive it is to use.
It takes less than a minute to create and email an invoice to a client with PracticePanther. The software then alerts me when a client views the invoice, and I receive an email when the client makes an online payment. For the on-the-go attorney who often works remotely, PracticePanther’s invoicing and billing features are among its many unique features.
PracticePanther also allows attorneys to automate documents, so redundant tasks like intake forms, retainer agreements, and even documents used in practice can be automated easily. I also found the short training videos to be extremely helpful for several of these functions and can be found conveniently within the software and also on YouTube.
In furthering its theme of making attorneys’ lives easier, PracticePanther also offers email and calendar integration in its own unique way. Attorneys can add events in their native calendar, like Outlook or Google, and it appears within PracticePanther’s dashboard. Attorneys can also copy each client’s unique code into the BCC line to ensure that emails are directly saved in the software, as opposed to having a paralegal add correspondence manually or entering a separate note for each email. It also saves attachments that you sent within the software.
Other features that PracticePanther offers are export in PDF format instead of Excel and the ability to recover items from the Recycling Bin if they are mistakenly deleted (as I have done many times in the past).
Before PracticePanther, it was a struggle every time I needed to learn a new feature. I’d have to schedule a demo with customer service and was unable to use the features when I needed them. Even after learning, it would often take weeks to actually get used to different features in the software, as is the case with several software packages that are commonly used by solo and small firm attorneys.
Transitioning to PracticePanther is much like using a smartphone; it‘s intuitive right off the bat. If it is not, then you can be rest assured that it will be soon. PracticePanther has a tab on its homepage that asks users to submit requests for new features. This is one of my favorite things about the software. When you think of something and suggest it, the development team actually takes it into account. Over the time that I’ve used PracticePanther, its development team has added several features I have requested, and that other attorneys have requested.
It is refreshing to have a tool in my pocket that feels like it is all mine, customized to my lifestyle and ease of use. Most of all, it’s refreshing to be supported by a team of people that is truly invested in your success. PracticePanther’s support team is second to none. Time and time again they have gone out of their way to provide support in ways that suited me—whether by phone, live chat, screen sharing, or email.
PracticePanther integrates seamlessly with my life; the days of DOS and manually entering billing systems are long gone. It is time to upgrade to a software with no learning curve and a team of real people that is there to support your practice.
Aastha Madaan is a solo practitioner in Long Beach, California, where she practices business law and estate planning. She is a young lawyer leader, a social media disciple, and is on the editorial board for the GPSolo Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.