Rocket Matter is a cloud based practice management tool that allows attorneys to access case information, record time and generate invoices from various platforms (desktop, tablet and phone). I have used Rocket Matter to run my appellate and complex civil litigation practice since February 2010. In the ensuing four and a half years Rocket Matter has rolled out more and more new features, such as: a client portal, Dropbox integration, trust account management and Evernote integration.
One long-neglected feature is the iPad experience. Accessing Rocket Matter through the iPad (using Safari) was very cumbersome and stripped Rocket Matter of its speed and utility. To put it bluntly, I only used the iPad for Rocket Matter if I was out of the office for extended times with no ability to access my computer.
Last month, Rocket Matter released its first native iPad app and it is a dramatic improvement over the prior iPad experience. In some instances, the iPad experience is now better than the desktop experience.
Fast and Accurate Conflict Checks
One of Rocket Matter’s best features is conflict checking. You can type in a partial or full name of any person or company and Rocket Matter will quickly reveal any prior cases involving the contact. On the desktop, this process is lightning fast. The iPad matches the speed of the desktop. You type in the name and instantly all related matches are pulled up. All contacts, legal matters and billing references that include the typed term instantly appear on your iPad in realtime. Imagine being in a deposition when a witness suddenly testifies about a name that sounds familiar. With Rocket Matter’s iPad app, you can quickly confirm whether that name has any connection to your firm. If you are out of the office and need to run a conflict check, the app allows for quick and accurate conflict checking and can avoid costly conflicts of interest problems later on.
Bill as You Work
If you like using timers to track your daily projects, the Rocket Matter iPad app will be a great fit for your practice. You can set multiple timers at once to track your various projects. Each timer can be minimized to the upper right corner and independently be paused and started as your day proceeds.
The multiple timers is one area where the app actually exceeds the performance of the desktop. I can easily see running my iPad side by side with my computer and having the iPad timers running all day long tracking my time. Also, if you need to input parking fees, mileage or other out of pocket client costs while out of the office, the iPad app has an easy interface to enter these costs before they are forgotten or lost.
Another great feature of Rocket Matter is its task management system. A lawyer can create a new task, assign it to a colleague and assign a deadline to that task. The old iPad-Safari interface had serious time lag and interface issues. The new iPad app pulls up your task list quickly, sorted by deadline. New tasks can be created and assigned on the fly and without delay. If you like to manually sort your tasks in the order you prefer on the desktop, the iPad will mirror that order.
Other iPad Features Mirror the Desktop Experience
The home screen shows your calendar for the day and your tasks. The billing screen allows you to see on a single screen your current day, week or month’s billing entries. You can also create a new matter on the iPad app so that back in the office, other attorneys can being working and recording their time. The app has a notes section that allows you to view, edit and create all notes assigned to any case. The app also has a contacts screen that allows you to add or edit any contact information.
Areas for Improvement
In my short time with the app, I have identified two areas where further work is needed by Rocket Matter. First, the iPad app pulls from the law firm’s entire list of cases, including long closed cases. This is essential for conflict checking but can be cumbersome for time entry and task management. I am never going to want to bill time or assign a task to a closed matter. Modifying the app to omit closed cases for certain screens (billing, calendaring, tasks and notes) is essential. Second, every text entry screen starts off with an uncapitalized letter. This means that when I am writing a billing entry, I need to hit the shift key once before typing. Every time. It would be great if Rocket Matter’s default was set to an initial capital letter to avoid this repetitive task
If you like Rocket Matter you are going to love the freedom that this iPad app gives you. It is fast and in some ways, superior to the desktop experience. It allows you to record your time quickly and easily so that you can focus on your clients and not on billing. This is a great step forward and I cannot wait to see the features that Rocket Matter will continue to add to this app.
Feature image courtesy of Rocket Matter.