Practice Panther: Legal Software Review

For the next few weeks I am going to review legal software that I’ve had the opportunity to work in. I’m will to try to make this as a non-biased review as possible.  Remember this is only my opinion.  No one has paid me to do these reviews.  


First up is  Practice Panther.   Practice Panther is a legal software that is a practice management tool.  It not only tracks an attorney's time for billing but has a client portal, links to Box.com or Dropbox for document storage, has intake forms, workflows and much, much more in functionality.  It is cloud-based and connects with QuickBooks.  


It has multiple price levels so it is a fit for the small law practice to the medium to larger firms.  You can call from the app, access the program via your phone or other device. It is the all in one choice for law firms looking to have a one stop shop.  It has a great integration with LawPay.  It has excellent chat support. Practice Panther is your CRM and has a nice embedded calendar that can link to Google Calendar.  You can save time with intake forms and with the workflow features.

Pros

  • This system uses a multi-tiered matter system within itself, like most of the trust specialized software for the legal industry. When it pushes the QuickBooks it lumps it into only the one parent level trust account. Any searching for a matter must be done in Practice Panther. 
  • It does track the trust accounting.
  • You can bill hourly, flat rate and contingency
  • It is web-based so you can work from anywhere
  • There is a connection to bank feeds. 
  • It integrates with Box, dropbox, mail chimp, office 365
  • You can reconcile the trust account and the operating within Practice Panther....sort of....
  • Case management is a feature of Practice Panther.
  • You can connect to your document storage, i.e: Box and Dropbox
  • There is a phone app (so important today)
  • Chat support was very good.

Cons

  • I’m not a fan of the separate systems of trust accounting and QuickBooks. I like a view of everything inside of QuickBooks, including individual trust accounts. It makes tracking better and nothing better following the bank fees within the accounting platform of QuickBooks.
  • QuickBooks integration does not hold well.  The sync breaks a lot
  • Search feature doesn't work that well.  A  name can be in there search won't find it. 
  • Too many clicks when doing forensic client trust detangling. 
  • Reconciliation process is just ticking off and marking transactions as reconciled.  Not a full reconciliation process.
  • It is expensive $39/$59/$79 per user, depending on the features you desire

Conclusion

Sorting and looking for things is difficult. It’s not user-friendly or intuitive. For example you have to go to the main toolbar and then find "more", "reports" and then "bank reconciliation" to get to the listing of the bank account. As an accountant, most of our time with new clients spent on detangling the trust accounting. It’s quite cumbersome within Practice Panther and way too many clicks.

While I like that you can show 1000 items on one screen, sometimes if you’re looking up a matter and you type in the first or the last name, it doesn’t pull it up under the search mechanism. That can be a problem when you are trying to do that forensic trust accounting work. If you are searching for a matter and  it doesn't come up, make sure you search around the date range and if the name doesn’t pull up you search around that date range. You may actually search the pages of transactions.


As an Accountant, my thoughts:   Do I like the program?  No.  Would I recommend it as a solution for all-in-one needs for an attorney who uses QuickBooks?   No.  There are better products out there than Practice Panther for a cloud based solution.   I found there is too many clicks to do accountant tasks and  the integration with QuickBooks needs to be addressed for sure.  I do see a value in the product for attorneys, however.   The workflow feature, docketing, calling a client right from the app and other practice management features make it a great CRM tool. 

Overall Rating:

3 / 5

App Integrations

Easy to Use

Cost

If you are using Practice Panther and think it is great, reach out. I would love to hear from you.   If you have a law firm that is looking at legal software, I have experience in many of the platforms and can assist you with selecting the right one for your firm.  

And of course, if you need an accountant or bookkeeper that specializes in the legal profession, feel free to contact us.  We would be more than happy to assist.   We  ❤️attorneys!

Lynda Artesani

Lynda Artesani is the president of Artesani Bookkeeping where she uses her expertise and organizational skills to help her clients thrive and become profitable. Lynda is a member of the Intuit Trainer Writer Network. She is an alumni member of the Intuit Advisory Board. Additionally, she is the first Expert Columnist for the QB Community forum. She is also a co-founder in a Facebook group called QB Community Live!