Mar 13, 2013

Another Cloud-Based Practice Management System Launches

2 Comments · Posted by Robert Ambrogi in General

gI_132390_velawsity logoIn what is getting to be an increasingly crowded field, another cloud-based practice management platform launched this week. The latest entrant, Velawsity, joins the ranks of Clio, Rocket MatterMyCaseLexisNexis Firm Manager, Thomson Reuters Firm Central, and others.

So why does a crowded field need to get any more crowded? The press release announcing Velawsity’s launch describes it as “unique” and goes on to explain:

Velawsity has its sights on a rather specific inefficiency in the practice of law encountered by a growing number of sole practitioners. The technology is focused on the intelligent manipulation of critical data to render the amount of time an attorney must spend on routine, non-billable — albeit necessary — tasks almost negligible.

Designed by a team of lawyers, the cloud-based software is engineered to boost lawyer efficiency, encourage compliance and simplify attorney-client communication. The flagship version of the product features digital engagement, cloud-based conflict checking and seamless attorney-client communication modules.

I have not tried Velawsity, which is still in beta, but as best as I can determine from its website, that last sentence of the above excerpt is where it is most trying to distinguish itself from other platforms — with its digital engagement, conflict-checking and communication features.

When a new client comes in, Velawsity runs a conflicts check against all your existing clients, relationships and matters. If the new client clears the conflicts check, then Velawsity automatically sends out an engagement letter by email. It also automatically opens a new matter for that client and enables a private attorney-client communications gateway. The gateway, the website says, makes client communications “as simple as text messaging.”

According to its website, Velawsity also includes the ability to create letter templates and automatically populate them with client information.

No one of these features is unique. Several platforms have document assembly or even word processing built in. LexisNexis Firm Manager has conflict checking. MyCase has a client portal and direct messaging with clients.

Velawsity appears not to have a time and billing component, which, again, most of the other platforms have, in one form or another.

The cost of Velawsity is $30 a month.

So do we need another entrant in an already crowded field? Having not tried it, and with it still in beta, I’ll reserve judgment. But I will say this: Not only are there already a number of cloud practice-management platforms, but several of those that are already available are mature, well-developed and feature-rich. Anyone hoping to break into this market has to truly distinguish itself in some unique way.

2 comments

  • Alexander Joseph · March 16, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for sharing. Seems rather bare-bone at the moment, with conflict checking and unified messaging being their key features. While in beta, I, too, will reserve judgement.

    Don’t forget to add Apt Docs (http://www.AptDocs.com) by Apt Innovations, LLC to your list of practice management, document automation and virtual office solutions. It would be great to see a write-up on that service, which specializes in document automation — particularly for estate planning.

    While it’s a crowded market that is quickly growing by the day, firms are embracing these new technologies in great numbers. These web enabled solutions offer tremendous value to law firms, and it’s very clear that the price points are more competitive than ever.

    Please keep us updated!

    Reply

  • Ron Dessy · March 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for your insights on this new offering. What small firms really need, that big firms already have access to, is practice management software as a service that includes the back office accounting function built into a single database. That way, there is one less program for staff to learn, and one less bidirectional link that always complicates matters.

    Our firm is looking at a product called Action Step, which appears to addresss that objective, as well as the automated workflow function on the product you mentioned. Any thoughts you may have on how Action Step compares to the other big players in this field would be appreciated.

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