The marriage of marketing and case management systems has been happening in the background for the past few years. Zola is unique in that it was created for attorneys, by a media agency. Zola, who began as a website and advertising agency, watched the habits and patterns of the law firms they worked for a long while before they even entertained the idea of building software.

One of the first things you notice about Zola is the user interface. A clean, colorful and happy screen presents you with options mainly contained in the master left-side action bar. Here you’ll find the standard case management features you’d expect, matter management, time and billing, calendar and surprise… accounting too!

The Zola team clearly didn’t enter the growing practice management software market to be a basic solution. It’s clear they spent time really understanding what a law firm handling a good amount of volume is going to need, and built a really solid and rapidly growing first version before entering the space.

Cool features:

Encrypt Email with Zola’s RPost, RMail Integration. Finally, a built in email encryption tool that doesn’t make you want to throw your computer out the window! Email encryption will soon become a rule for some practice areas, such as real estate law. For the first time, you and the other party don’t have to install all kinds of email client add-on’s. You select whether you’d like to encrypt, or send a document out for e-signature that’s verified and admissible in court by providing proof of delivery records.

Document Automation applied as an easy form builder. Only a handful of platforms have made document automation accessible. The learning curve and need to pretty much hand code forms makes this powerful technology a bear to implement. Zola however, has managed to provide you with the same powerful document automation tools, using Word, and your browser. You can even create custom fields on the fly, giving you the ability to transition your law firm’s repetitive forms, letters and standard documents into a time-saving automated library.

Accounting tools, cut checks directly from Zola then run a three-way reconciliation report to ensure you and your client’s money is always in the right place. For the managing partners serious about growing their business, run full-fledged P & L’s, AR Aging reports and much more.

Branded client portal, that functions as seamlessly as an app. While this add-on tool does come with an additional fee, the impression it gives clients especially those with a high case value or net worth justifies the investment. Not to mention the ethical peace of mind and security using a client portal gives attorneys who regularly transmit sensitive personal identification information or financial statements via email. (Which certain practice areas are already being required to encrypt… but more on that in another post.) Involved in an accident? Start uploading pictures right away. Working on an Estate Plan together? Add financial documents, power of attorney and health care surrogate forms to a confidential and secure space.

Built in Email. We don’t need more email; we just need a better way to manage it. On that front Zola delivers, and makes it dead simple to create groups to cut down on the occasional missed team member, never ending cc chain and helps seamlessly file emails into their respective matter folder.

Wow moment: The ability to take a picture of a business card and transition it into a Zola Contact. You can also take a picture of a document, convert it to a PDF and add it to a case file. That’s right, the same functionality found in business productivity tools has finally come to the case management party.

My suggested additions:

Text message appointment reminders. As client become more and more reliant on their mobile devices, the need for built in text message reminders would increase show rates, while offering a stellar level of personal service.

Best suited for:

Attorneys who like to put technology to work for them, that seek out shortcuts, and advanced features. Zola has so many not-so-hidden options that as you use it, the small nuances can make data entry, and case management faster and faster the longer you use it. For the “I just want it to work” readers in the audience you will appreciate the well crafted native tools that make up Zola Suite. No fuss, just pick the tools you want to use and they sing to each other like a beautiful duet.

Learn more about Zola Suite, and sign up for a free trial here.