Practice Panther came roaring into the market only three years ago, much like the jungle cat that shares its name. At the time, I was VP of Marketing for Smokeball and remembered saying to myself… who are these guys? I’d see their blue shirts appear at almost every conference in what seemed like an overnight push to capture market share in one of legal technology’s fastest growing segments.
Since then the Miami, Florida based team has done just that. The demo I had a year ago, was dramatically different from the demo I participated in now. They have added what seems like hundreds of new features, improved the overall layout of the software and thought through the different tools law firms need based on the size of their teams. No longer playing to solos as one of the lower price point offerings available.
To serve law firms beyond the solo community, they have added a few features that make this platform unique, I’ll begin here.
There is nothing more frustrating to me than emailing my colleagues and having to wait for a response. Many professionals have turned to text-messaging for instant-gratification answers. Practice Panther keeps you focused on the work at hand, with client information at the ready as you chat with a teammate. Get answers when you need them without even leaving the application. Huge win here!
Bi-Directional Calendar Integration, and Client Text Message Meeting Reminders
(Can I get a Hallelujah?!)
One of the hardest areas in Case Management to develop and deliver is the calendar. I know because I’ve been with two providers during this very stage in product development. I am pleased to share that Practice Panther has gone the extra mile, offering bi-directional Calendar Sync for both Outlook and Google Calendar. An integration with CalendarRules.com adds even more functionality to traditional calendar appointments. Create a to-do list from events you are responsible for in a specific court.
And, drum roll please… built in text message reminders for your clients! Let’s be real, text messaging is becoming the new email. Retailers, online marketers, hair salons, doctor’s offices, even my cell phone provider knows that’s the best way to remind me to do something. By leveraging this feature law firms can undoubtedly decrease no-show rates, improve client service and look like all around rock stars.
Advanced Contact Tagging
Categorize contacts with Tags, such as referral source. Then run a report to show source, and filter the data to see which cases have been paid. Quickly identifying not only who your top referral sources are, but who brings you clients that pay you. Use this information to pay out referral fees, or take your marketing to the next level, by exporting those contacts and sending them a targeted email. Remind them of your services, or just say hi to stay in touch and at top of mind.
A pretty standard offering here, share messages, documents and more in a secure space. While Client Portals have become a checkbox for most providers, having one that is as friendly to use as Practice Panther’s pays off. The colorful interface makes it a joy to work within.
Extend the power of the client portal with branded intake forms. Which you can embed on your website, in an email or send as a simple link. The team has done a great job making this feature incredibly easy to use, which saves you or your staff time entering data.
The Dashboard and Matter Specific Screens
The application is designed to show or hide the information that is most relevant to you. Move, and filter columns of time entries, recent activity or a firm wide list of case specific details. Layouts are clear, and easy to read, adjusting to suit your preferences the more you use it.
Time, Billing and Payments
Everyone’s favorite part of completing a case… getting paid! Use the timer to begin a client session, then stop from the Practice Panther App when you reach your destination to bill for a call or court appearance. Record expenses, upload receipts from the app or your computer and bill time recorded with built in invoicing tools. Cut and print checks for case expenses, or IOLTA transfers. Lastly, set up Evergreen retainers that keep a client’s trust account funded, with Panther Payments powered by Law Pay. Reconcile trust and operating accounts, then sent that information to QuickBooks online to keep your accountant happy.
Invoices can be sent individually or as a batch. There’s an option to also transfer IOLTA account funds at the same time to pay invoices, saving you a ton of time each month. For invoices due, you are notified when clients view invoices, and pays. An advanced option to set up a series of reminders until the invoice is paid, takes collection follow up off your plate too.
Custom Fields, Workflow Rules and Document Templates
Create a unique set of fields, to do items, and document templates unique to your law firm. Then apply them to a contact, or matter as you start to build out a client’s case file. Automate the process with a setting to apply task lists to every new case of a specific type. When you are ready to draft a document, letter or agreement, use document templates you build to jumpstart the process leveraging all the custom fields you previously created.
Practice Panther marries your document library with your Box.com account. Which isn’t a run of the mill document sharing feature. By creating a folder structure for you, based off the names of your clients and cases the headache of naming conventions goes away. Start a new Word or Excel document right inside the application, adding it directly to the corresponding client or matter folder.
If you’re afraid you’ll lose something, rest assured, there is no delete! The Recycle Bin is back, so you don’t have to worry about a folder being accidentally deleted.
The team invests a tremendous amount of time on support videos, which are more casual in nature and highly personal. You’ll start to notice a very friendly demeanor in all their communications, headshots in email signatures, familiar faces in videos that get emailed to you and access to live chat with a name you may recognize. Everyone is genuinely invested in helping you learn and will make time to help you do so. Support and training are included, scheduled a one on one session for a particular staff member or a refresh for the whole team.
Overall, Practice Panther has really grown up since the last time I saw it as a newborn case management cub. The team is cheerfully making a name for themselves in the increasingly competitive marketplace, with a great client experience and truly thoughtful tools.
Book a demo with Senior Account Manager Eytan, who delivered mine by clicking here, and use code s8sn2da for 10% off your first year when you mention Lex Tech Review.