Legal Project Management in the Cloud

Introduced as a beta at LegalTech in February, Onit is a Web-based project management tool described as being for “anyone and everyone who manage projects – big, small, business, legal.” It specifically includes a Legal Edition designed for legal matters and cases. During its beta period, the system is free for anyone to use. Even after its formal launch, slated for April, the basic legal edition will remain free.

Because Onit is Web based, there is no software to download or install and it can be deployed in just minutes. Sign up using an e-mail address and receive an activation code within seconds. Once you receive the code, it takes just a minute more to launch a project, requiring only that you give the project a name. From there, invite participants, create a project plan, establish a budget, and add documents, notes and updates.

The beauty of Onit is its simplicity. Use it to manage multiple projects and coordinate multiple participants. Each project gets a home page where participants can plan, collaborate, budget and share. Participants can provide status updates in the same way they would using Twitter or Facebook, or by sending an e-mail to a special e-mail address that Onit creates for each project.

The project home page provides an overview of the project’s current status, upcoming tasks and events, and spending against budget. It also contains the project plan, all notes, all documents and financials, and a list of all participants. If a participant is overdue for a status update, one click sends the person a “nudge.” The entire project is searchable.

Onit promises apps for iPhone and BlackBerry that will allow access to these same features. As of this writing, the apps had not been released.

The founders of Onit, Eric Elfman and Eric Smith, are no strangers to legal management technology. They were the co-founders of DataCert, a leading provider of matter management and legal and IP spend management software for corporate legal departments.

Given that Onit is free and simple to use, requires no special software, and can be used for any number of projects and with any number of participants, why wouldn’t you get Onit?