PracticePanther Review 2018: Is It Worth Your Money?

Practice Panther Review

2018 Update: PracticePanther has updated its Accounting Features since this post was first published.  See the new Accounting section for more.

PracticePanther Legal Software is a web-based software program that caters to small and medium-sized law firms.  It’s one of the “Big Four” in legal software along with Clio, RocketMatter, and MyCase.  It is the newest of the four (est. 2012), but the program has quickly risen to prominence over older, more established practice management software.  It’s the new kid on the block, but I was surprised by how well it stacks up to its competitors.

Practice Panther, along with the others in the Big Four, offer very similar features: contact lists, deadline tracking, task management, automatic calendaring, and cloud-syncing.  It’s certainly in the top tier of practice management software, but how does it shape up to the competition?  This review will take a look at PracticePanther’s most distinguishing features, and we’ll see how it stacks up to the competition.

Appearance

dashboard

At first glance, you can tell that PracticePanther took its time with the aesthetics.  It looks as intuitive as Apple’s operating system.  The colors and icons are all adjustable; the Red/Ferrari design was created by the PracticePanther representative who showed me the full demo.

The program’s dashboard highlights your firm’s financial status of the past month (or whatever time period you prefer).  It shows you how much you were paid, and how much is due.  This is a great way to follow one of Small Firm Legal Marketing’s most essential tips: track the data.

The dashboard also shows your upcoming tasks and schedule for the week (or whatever time period you set).  You can also set up a daily reminder for your schedule for that day, or you can receive a text message that outlines your day.

The search function is conveniently available from any screen for you to quickly pull up a client or matter.

Integrations

One of PracticePanther’s perks is that it integrates with just about every other program (LawPay, Paypal, Quickbooks, Gmail, Outlook, etc.), and it’s always adding new integrations.

If you’re a techy kind of lawyer, and you’re always looking to use the latest apps and programs to maximize your practice’s efficiency, PracticePanther is very responsive to their clients’ demands for integration.  The program has it’s own Google Chrome Extension, and it even has an API that you can use with other apps to automate data transfers.

If you’re not that tech-savvy, PracticePanther has video tutorial for every one of their features, and even if you require some serious hand-holding, they have an on-call help center that will personally guide you through anything you’re trying to understand.

PracticePanther has grown significantly in integration since it’s entrance to the legal software market.  In previous years, consumers were pleased with PracticePanther’s ease of use and features, but were disappointed with the lack of integration into the other apps they use.  Since 2016, Practice panther has accelerated its development team and now supports nearly every other program a lawyer might use for his practice.  Their Help Center encourages customers to submit Feature Requests to help improve the service, and the company’s development team updates the program multiple times per month with improvements.

The only integration complaint I found is that it does not fully integrate with the accounting application Xero, but according to a PracticePanther representative in November 2016, Xero is “coming soon.”  However, both PracticePanther and Xero connect to Zapier (a web platform for integrating programs together), so you could still use the two together, albeit with an extra step.

Notable Features

There are some features that I thought were particularly useful, and I wanted to highlight them as I think they are a step up from the average legal management program.

Custom Client Intake Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every firm has to ask different questions in the client intake process depending on what kind of law they practice.  PracticePanther allows you to create as many custom intake fields as you want, but the best part about their Client Intake is that it can integrate with the contact form you put on your website.  As we recommended in a previous post, a law firm’s website should have a contact form readily available for prospective clients.  PracticePanther will automatically transfer that information to your contact list, eliminating an extra step for most firms.

Client Communication and the Secure Client Portal

billing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re a personal injury attorney like me, you know that clients are very eager to know how their case is going, and what you’re doing to work on it.  PracticePanther allows you to automatically forward any details about their case (you filed a motion, answered discovery, communicated with the opposing counsel, etc.) straight to the client.  Of course, you get to choose how much or how little you want to send to the client, but this feature keeps the client informed of their status, so they spend less time calling you to ask about their case.

Speaking of client communication, PracticePanther’s Secure Client Portal allows you to bill or pay clients easily, keeping an electronic record of the transaction for your firm.  You can also tell when the client has read your message, so the common excuse of “I didn’t see your invoice” will not suffice.  All transactions are secured under 256-bit encryption, so your financial information is kept secure.

Internal Chat
chat function

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t a major feature, but I liked that each firm has an internal chat box similar to Google’s Gchat.  Often times, I don’t want to send a full email if I have a quick question, so the chat function would come in handy.

Accounting

PracticePanther is taking a tip from Rocket Matter and focusing more on their accounting.  With its new integration with Quickbooks, you can check on, sync, or reconcile your operating and trust accounts from within the PracticePanther program.  You can also print checks directly.

Since many lawyers use Quickbooks already, it will be a relief to be able to stay within one program instead of jumping back and forth between two.  No more copy-pasting number from Quickbooks to PracticePanther to keep everything up to date.  Good accounting integration has become a main feature for many case management platforms, so this upgrade was very much needed.

Pricing

Pricing is one of the reasons many lawyers recommend PracticePanther.  Many legal software companies offer a tiered pricing system based on the amount of features you want; billing, accounting, email, and other third party integration will only be included in the premium version.  PracticePanther gives you access to every feature for $49 per user.  This is about half the price of Clio for the same features, but competitively priced compared to RocketMatter and MyCase.

(Update: PracticePanther has offered 10% off the first year for readers of Small Firm Legal Marketing.  Sign up through any of the links in this post to receive your discount)

Moving From Your Current Software

I’ve never moved from one legal software company to another, but it’s rather easy.  Nearly all the software have an export function that creates an .csv file containing your contacts/events/notes, etc.  You create a .csv file from your old software and import it onto your new software on a page like this:

Import Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And fortunately, PracticePanther has a team dedicated to moving you from your previous software to them.

Overall Impression

There are two Legal Software programs with the more features than the rest: Clio and PracticePanther.  Practice Panther is more affordable and has a slicker look to it.  Clio, however, is more established as the top-tier legal management software.

I have read more negative reviews about Clio than about PracticePanther, but then again, Clio has more overall users.

However, despite it’s youth, PracticePanther is the best investment for firms going forward.  They update their service so frequently that they are always on top of tech, and they are very responsive to customer feedback.  I wouldn’t recommend a product that I don’t trust or wouldn’t use myself, and after using the product, reading hundreds of reviews, and talking with representatives from the company, I can confidently say that this is a product worth buying for law firms.

For me, customer service cannot be overstated.  Most lawyers are not super tech-savvy, and the on-call help center, as well as the hundred of videos dedicated to showing you the tips and tricks of the program, is an indispensable resource that not all legal management programs have.

If you are in the market to buy a legal software provider for your firm, I don’t think you can go wrong by choosing PracticePanther.  (side note: their website’s homepage is slightly annoying because they are aggressive about getting your email address, but you don’t want to give it to them, you can click “tell me more” to get around it).  Get started here.

 

What’s your experience with PracticePanther, Clio, or any of their competitors?  What do you look for most in legal software for your firm?  Do you think PracticePanther is missing anything?  Please leave your feedback in the comment section below.

18 Replies to “PracticePanther Review 2018: Is It Worth Your Money?”

  1. WilliamMarch 17, 2017 at 5:56 amReply

    I have been seeing this software around on the internet here lately and was skeptical about it from the jump. I’m glad I read this review before I decided to go all out on Practice Panther. I found some very good insightful details here. A lot that wasn’t shown on the website. I now have reconsidered this software and will likely go with an alternative.

    1. adminMarch 17, 2017 at 9:08 amReply

      Thanks William! Which alternative are you considering? Maybe I’ll give it a full review as well.

  2. Castled Rook OfficialMarch 21, 2017 at 5:12 pmReply

    Great price and great review. I do have a question: How easy is this to use? I haven’t had a chance to use anything like this on a software level so I’m wondering if the transition would be smooth and easy. If it is, then it seems like an amazing option as the world is quickly moving towards electronic-based work.

    1. MaxwellMarch 21, 2017 at 5:28 pmReply

      Hi Castled Rook. I remember when I first got introduced to legal management software (it’s not in the Big Four), there was a little bit of a learning curve. I’d say it took my a couple weeks to really fly with it. Then again, I didn’t have a live customer support team at my disposal, and the software was much less intuitive than PracticePanther.

      I imagine there will be a learning curve with any software if you’re coming from the pen-and-paper legal management model. However, and I think this is the case with any legal management software, the hours you save will become very apparent in the first week. So while a lawyer might be set in his/her ways and have a difficult time embracing technology, the benefits of have a legal management program drastically outweigh the adjustment period. PracticePanther especially makes everything very intuitive, so they would rank among the best for people looking to make a smooth transition.

  3. DaveMarch 24, 2017 at 11:55 amReply

    I’m happy with the way Practice Panther has been evolving. The integration part got me turned off for a while but after they addressed the issue I couldn’t wait to use.

    And that is partly the reason that has made it become one of the big fish in the industry.

    But I also think it is the way they encourage feedback on their services and the willingness they got to use it to improve their services.

    They made a really smart move!

    1. MaxwellMarch 24, 2017 at 12:03 pmReply

      I agree, Dave. Like I mentioned in my review, their attention to customer demands and innovation is what really sets them apart from the competition. This is why I predict that they will be the clear number 1 in a couple years.

      It’s good to hear of another satisfied customer. Thanks for the comment, and good luck to you!

  4. natalieMarch 25, 2017 at 7:22 amReply

    My friend is a lawyer and I remember her mentioning some problems they were having with their admin-type functions. This is something that I will mention to her, just maybe it is exactly what is needed!

    Is PracticePanther available all over the world, or just in selected countries? We live in South Africa, so it will be good to know if there will be support here. I’m happy to see that there are also video tutorials though!

    1. MaxwellMarch 27, 2017 at 9:27 amReply

      You can use PracticePanther in any country, but the program only supports a few languages. The Spanish translation is perfect because it was done by live translators, while German, Dutch, French, Italian, and Russian are machine-translated. According to their FAQs, they can live translate any language upon request.

      But as for the function of the software, any firm around the world with an internet connection would be able to use it.

  5. Geek HibridMarch 29, 2017 at 3:09 amReply

    Wow this program looks to be an extremely important tool for attorneys. I like the way you broke this down

    1. MaxwellMarch 29, 2017 at 4:23 pmReply

      Thank you for reading!

  6. AlyceMarch 31, 2017 at 9:43 amReply

    Hi Maxwell, This is an interesting comparison of these legal software platforms. How did you choose / find these specific ones for comparison (wondering if some are for “large firms” and were not included here)? At what point do you think a “small firm” would outgrow these options?

    Also, do any of these programs offer custom form output (contracts for clients, notices to courts / insurers, etc.)? This would save a lot of administrative time as well.

    Thank you!
    Alyce

    1. MaxwellMarch 31, 2017 at 10:17 amReply

      Thanks for your comment Alyce. I found the Big Four by researching the legal software companies in general, and these four were the ones that people mentioned the most. There are others of course, and hopefully I’ll get to review them in time, but these four seem to dominate the market.

      These legal management programs are completely scalable for any sized law firm. You pay per user, so it doesn’t matter how big your firm is. A big firm (100+ attorneys) might opt for a software that you pay once for unlimited users, but all of the big four follow the per-user model.

      The custom form output (or legal template) is included with PracticePanther and Clio, and I’m pretty sure they are in the others as well. Even the lesser-known legal software that I’ve used have this option (although not always the best). The templates are a huge convenience for attorneys, and I’m glad that they are a standard feature with all legal software companies.

  7. PatriciaApril 7, 2017 at 11:42 amReply

    Thank you for your in-depth review. You make a good case for why PracticePanther is the best choice right now. I have a good friend who is a partner in a small law firm. I will share your page with her for their consideration. Do you review other types of software – like a Legal Zoom type of product for small LLCs that need legal forms?

    1. MaxwellApril 7, 2017 at 4:29 pmReply

      Hi Patricia, my website is more focused toward attorneys as opposed to non-lawyers who are looking for legal help. So unfortunately, I will not be reviewing those services, but thanks for your comment!

  8. KippsApril 8, 2017 at 2:06 pmReply

    Even though I am not an attorney I do have friends who I rely on as my legal advisers on legal issues I faced. For this reason, I have read your article with great interest. What I find amazing is the Practice Panther’s competitive price tag and it’s responsive services. I couldn’t agree more with your remark that “their attention to customer demands and innovation is what really sets them apart from the competition”. Be assured, I will recommend this to my friends.

    1. MaxwellApril 10, 2017 at 9:00 amReply

      Thanks Kipps. Customer service is a huge thing for me when it comes to legal management software, and it’s surprising that not every company has a good system in place. Joining PracticePanther feels more like joining a subscription service like Uber or Amazon Prime, where the services continue to improve over time.

      Thanks for you comment and feel free to recommend PracticePanther (or my review of it) to your friends.

  9. KellyMay 16, 2018 at 1:50 amReply

    I am looking to leave Amicus Attorney. Any thoughts on how easy it will be to transfer ALL of the data over?

    1. MaxwellMay 24, 2018 at 7:56 pmReply

      Thanks for the comment Kelly!

      Data transfer has become surprisingly easy, and most case management software companies pride themselves on how easy they make it for customers to switch to their service. They want your business after all, and people wouldn’t switch to them if it wasn’t easy.

      I would bet that if you felt like it was too technical for you, a PracticePanther agent would walk you through the transfer step by step.

      Feel free to let me know how it goes!

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