[Editor’s note: Subsequent to this post, Citrix abandoned its plan to launch a legal practice management platform. General information on ShareFile for legal can be found here.]
In case you think the market for practice management software isn’t already crowded enough, you will soon have another choice. Sometime this spring, Citrix will launch ShareFile Legal, a practice management platform that will be tightly integrated with the company’s file storage and sharing platform, Citrix ShareFile.
The launch version of ShareFile Legal will include the following functionality:
- Task management, allowing users to create tasks for their open matters, assign tasks to others and set due dates.
- Matter management, for managing a firm’s legal matters.
- Contact management, for managing contacts associated with matters.
- Document management, for managing the files and documents related to the firm’s matters.
Every subscriber to ShareFile Legal will also get a ShareFile account. All documents added to ShareFile legal will also be available in ShareFile, and all matter folders created in ShareFile Legal will be replicated in ShareFile.
The ShareFile account will include integration with Microsoft Outlook, for sending files and attachments securely from within Outlook. Integration with the e-signing service RightSignature will be available for an additional price.
For my recent review of ShareFile, see: Citrix ShareFile Shines for Secure Document Sharing.
The platform has a dashboard designed to give a quick view of a firm’s daily tasks and deadlines and quick access to matters.
The platform does not include timekeeping, billing or accounting. Citrix is considering partnering with a third-party vendor to provide those capabilities.
Citrix plans to continue to build out the platform and add additional features after the initial release.
Citrix has not yet set final pricing for this.
So, does the legal market need another practice management platform? The feature of ShareFile Legal that will distinguish it from other platforms is its integration with ShareFile. ShareFile is a highly secure, cloud-based file storage, file synchronization and file-sharing platform in the vein of Dropbox and Box, but that beats them both in its suitability for law practices because of its security and encryption capabilities and integration with Outlook.
At the same time, however, ShareFile Legal — at least when it initially launches — will lack some of the features lawyers want in a practice management platform, most notably calendaring and time and billing. As is always the case with these platforms, the choice will come down to the features you need and want in your office.
Full disclosure: Last August, I attended a two-day meeting at Citrix’s headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., where we were given an early preview of ShareFile Legal under embargo. Citrix paid my travel and hotel expenses to that event.