One database to rule them all – over the last 20 years I have been looking for that single software program that would meet the needs of a law firm in a single database. Starting with intake or CRM, Contact and Matter Management (of course), Calendaring, Time & Billing, Documents, Email, Accounting and the rest. Well it is here, and it is Awesome. Don’t get me wrong, there is great software out there that gets you some or most of the way there, but then you have to start looking at syncing and/or integrating different software to put the entire picture together. It can quickly get complicated and expensive. Expensive as in time and money – as training in several different systems can drive you and your staff crazy.
Here is a little role playing in how Zola Suite puts it all together. First of all, I login and access my software on the internet. Yes, this is cloud-based and available on all of my devices. My opening dashboard consists of my Email, Calendar and Tasks. I scroll through my inbox for anything that needs my immediate attention, look over at my calendar and review my week as well as any shared events with the rest of the staff in my office. I review my tasks and have things neatly organized by Upcoming, Overdue, Completed and even a special category for Phone Calls. This is a great overview, and I can even see Recent Matters and Leads that may need my attention.
Contacts are setup to include all of the companies and individuals for the firm and include new potential clients, all parties linked to matters, vendors, experts, you name it.
Matters lets me set my view for my specific workflow needs by client, status, attorney, and practice area with full search capabilities. This is a relationship databases, so my Matters show case related parties.
Yes, my Email is in a full inbox view with features to process email by saving to a matter, bill my time, convert to a task or event and more. My CRM “pipeline” keeps me up to date with capturing new business. And my leads are also contacts in my database with no double entry.
Calendar views include sharing and syncing and the ability to invite attendees pulled from my contact list. I have multiple views, colored categories and the rest of the features you would expect in a first class system.
Documents are filed by matter and include documents from Merge Templates, Secure Sharing and Digital Signatures. From Word, I can edit and save directly to my software.
Accounting is full Accounts Payable, with the ability to sync your accounts online. Reporting is built in with client, compensation, productivity, accounting and Trust information with Three Way Reconciliation.
Time and Billing is robust with rates and arrangements and easy navigation to create Time Entries. Yes, there are Timers. Review unbilled time by date, user, practice area and more.
And there is more with advanced features like multiple Locations and Departments, Activity Logs, Custom Fields and Intake Forms, Calendar Rules, Collaboration of documents and invoices with Online Payments. I should mention that Zola Suite is an established and progressive company that works constantly to improve their product. You can be excited about where the software is going. I know I am.
-Richard B. Marx