Online Legal Practice Management
I’ve done reviews on other CRMs and LPM tools (see my Tech Dictionary for Lawyers to see what these are). They are great tools as well, and it always depends on what you want to get out of them. As someone who hates using 20 tools to get one job done, MerusCase is the latest and greatest tool that may fit my needs. I want everything in one place: my documents, clients, billing and calendar, and I want to access it from anywhere. I’m a millennial what can i say? I want it all, and I want it now!
So why is MerusCase great for me? Well, they have it all:
- Accessible from any device
- Customizable Preferences (workflows, and to-do’s) and triggers
- Dependability & Support (backups, unlimited storage, cloud-based data)
- Custom Statutes
- Chronology of Case History/Activity from intake through settlement
- Full integration with Microsoft Word for generating correspondence (never retype an address again)
- Shared Rolodex, Calendar, Task Manager, and Documents
- Integrated Messaging with current infrastructure (IMAP, POP3) or fully secured extranet
- Calendar and Rolodex sync with iOS and Android
- Automatic translation of all documents into PDF format
- Batch Scanning/Upload/Document Management
- Full Accounts Receivable module, including time tracking, expenses, invoicing, payment tracking, and electronic billing
- HIPAA Compliance including the 2013 Omnibus Final Rule
See the full list of features here: http://meruscase.com/features
You know you have a great product when 2,000 firms and 26,000 people are using it.
The cost: $30/user/month with an annual commitment. $40/user/month with no annual commitment.
Merus, Inc. will be the premier provider of software and technology to the legal industry. Their founder likes to say “What QuickBooks is to accounting, MerusCase is to the legal industry.” They envision an ecosystem of Merus-branded products that help educate and inspire the legal industry throughout the entirety of their legal life cycle. From their first thought of “I want to be a lawyer when I grow up!” to “Which law school should I choose?” as well as “Which system should I use to manage my firm? and “How do I grow my practice?”, Merus aims to be a trusted partner every step of the way.
What sets them apart from their competitors?
Here’s the full comparison chart:
Who uses MerusCase?
Law firms of any size and any specialty: everything from 1 user solo firms to 200+ user firms. Merus is not a generic “one size fits most” case management system. They provide full support for Workers’ Comp, SSA/Disability, Bankruptcy, Family, Personal Injury, and more. Merus works for you and the specific needs of your firm and they’re always adding practice areas!
Personally, I think corporate / in-house should be next.
Who started it all?
Johnny Fuery is the founder. He is a technologist and entrepreneur with 20 years of professional experience supporting technology, developing software, managing networks, and designing applications. He’s held leadership roles within software projects for Fortune 500 organizations like AmerisourceBergen, Ford, Pfizer, Merck, and McKesson. His previous positions include serving as a Senior System Architect for Sybase and the Director of Worldwide Support for AvantGo. Johnny has also served as Chief Technical Officer for several startup companies.
Johnny routinely advises CEOs and brainstorms new products, business models, and operational strategies. An economist by training (St Mary’s College, University of Arizona) and a software architect by practice, Johnny has been known to literally forget to eat and sleep when solving an interesting problem. His dual training as both businessperson and technologist give him an extraordinary insight into the needs of clients across a wide variety of industries, allowing for near-prescience when dealing with client requirements.
Currently, Merus Inc. has 16 employees in their Oakland office and 1 in their New York satellite office.
How did Johnny come up with the idea?
Johnny saw confusion in the marketplace, frustration among users and procurers of legal software, and significant inefficiencies. He supported customers who were constantly required to build their own ad hoc solutions to satisfy the glaring absence of good tools in the marketplace. Merus, Inc. aims to bridge this gap with MerusCase, a software platform that streamlines case management for law firms.
Why did Johnny build MerusCase?
In his own words: I was running around to various offices doing low-end tech support in my late teens and early 20s. I had college, and day jobs, and all the normal stuff everyone at that age has, but lawyers are a close-knit bunch, so I ended up doing desktop and network support for over a dozen firms simply by way of referral. Being a Silicon Valley technologist as my day job made the contrast astounding — I remember hacking together all of these disparate products and walking attorneys through the exact order to hit various “sync” buttons in all of their products every morning. It was awful. When it came time to finally “grow up”, the “better mousetrap” that the world needed had been staring at me in the face for over a decade. It was an easy decision.
What are their biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge is finding a balance between innovative technology and the customers’ needs. It’s the “constant push-and-pull between reigning in the far-reaching ambitions, i.e., the pie-in-the-sky technology awesomeness, and getting too focused because of a relatively small customer sample size. The customer is always going to approach a problem based on what they know, not something truly innovative.” Johnny likes to use the analogy of communication — if we, as technologists, had depended on customers to tell us what was right in the 19th century, they would have ask for a giant carrier pigeon. Bigger wings, faster flight, right? Yeah! But, no, guys, here’s an iPhone. At some point the jump in tech is so challenging to the consumer that you’ve lost them (“intuitive” really just means “what I’m used to” quite often), but we still have to push that envelope.
MerusCase incorporates responsive design and is fully-functional across any kind of mobile device or tablet, but there is always more to do. A suite of strategic task-specific apps are on the horizon. For example, a time tracking app that is aware of phone calls and the native contacts application could prompt for a time tracking entry as soon as one ends a conversation with a client. That’s the level of user experience we aim for, not just “yes we have an app… [that no one uses because it doesn’t work very well]”.
What about security?
MerusCase utilizes bank-grade encryption and boasts 100% data integrity. They even had a HIPAA audit done by a third party, entailing a technical design review, a “white hat” security analysis, and an in-person visit at their office to review physical security precautions. This compliance audit found them in line with the 2014 final omnibus ruling. Some key elements of this exercise:
- They’ve locked down all computers/workstations
- Only authorized MerusCase employees are allowed to access client data and employees must be on a HIPAA-approved machine to access this data.
- They keep anything with PHI or client information locked away.
- They wipe clean all client data drives and either destroy or return them to the client during the migration process.
- They take bank-grade security encryption measures.
We know the security is great, but how did they do on my rating scale?
UX – Ease of Use
5 – So easy to use, a 5-year-old can use it
4 – Good with minor improvements needed
3 – Needs some work
2 – Needs a lot of work
1 – I can’t use it
UI – Appearance
5 – This looks amazing. Clean lines. Legible. Organized.
4 – Looks great. Minor corrections needed
3 – Needs some work, but functions well
2 – Needs a makeover
1 – Too messy. Makes it difficult to use and understand.
Frequency of Use by Intended Users
5 – I need this every day
4 – I use it most days
3 – I use it as I need it
2 – I’ll use it a few times this year
1 – I’ll never use it
5 – Love it, can’t put it down. Tons of features.
4 – Keeps me interested most of the time. Has some good features.
3 – Not a whole lot to explore or keep me interested.
2 – I don’t hate it
1 – Yup, I hate it
The fact that it has statutes, document integration, time keepers, and every imaginable need for a lawyer makes it the perfect tool for any lawyer.
5 – So disruptive, a lawsuit or angry publication is in your future
4 – You solved a problem and made someone angry
3 – Solves a problem, but not groundbreaking
2 – There may be something to it, but not quite sure
1 – Doesn’t really stand out or solve any problems
If they build the app that can track your phone calls, that will take it to a 5.
(highest score of any legal startup to date!)
Follow them @meruscase