Last Updated: May 1, 2014
And next up in our 259-part series, “Get to know a Law Firm Case Management Software Company” it’s MerusCase. I’m really excited about MerusCase. You may not have heard of the company before, but hopefully you will remember their name.
A big complaint I’ve had about many case management software companies is that they all have a lot of the same features. Often, it’s hard to differentiate between these players. Now, sure every law firm practice management app should be able to work with your team calendars, keep time, and manage documents and correspondence, but not many of the players in this industry go beyond that. Here’s where MerusCase shines.
Related: Case Management Software Comparison
This glowing preamble aside, MerusCase is not for everybody. MerusCase is ideal law firm case management software for a California personal injury and workers compensation law firm. This is definitely the market they built a product for. You can tell though, as the company grows, they will bring their same precision and innovation to other markets.
A Brief Aside on Cloud-Based Practice Management Software
MerusCase is completely cloud-based, enabling you to access it from any Internet-connected device. If you’re a regular JurisPage reader (and if you are, I should comment on how smart and attractive you are), you know that I favor cloud-based practice management software over server-based software. As I’ve said at least two or three times in previous articles, cloud-based software is easier to access, it’s likely more secure than your server-based software, and it doesn’t break down when you’re in the middle of your case, forcing you to cry and scream uncontrollably while waiting for the IT guy to show up, who then bills you overtime or just doesn’t show up because, hey, it’s the weekend.
First, let’s go over what MerusCase has along the same lines of its competitors. MerusCase is cloud-based law firm case management (like competitors Clio, MyCase, and Rocket Matter), allowing law firms to easily organize their client contacts, matter files, billing and invoicing, and calendars.
Like some of its competitors, MerusCase offers to migrate data from your existing case management platform, whether it’s a MerusCase competitor or you’re using Outlook. Basic functionality is more or less the same, save for a client portal and integration with Dropbox and Google.
Update: MerusCase works with Apple contacts / iCal. It can also let you send and receive emails from your MerusCase software instead of having to use Outlook, if you so choose.
MerusCase absolutely has features you won’t find with other law firm case management software. I realize I can’t spend 2,000 words just listing every feature MerusCase has, so here are some of the highlights in succinct bullet-list form:
·Batch and split scanning (scan a pile of documents, split them up to their respective matters afterwards, operate a paperless office)
·Custom layout and workflow based on your particular matter type (i.e. different screens for workers comp vs. PI cases)
·Google Maps integration (not sure if you’ll use this one but it’s cool nonetheless)
·Library of over 10,000 California court filings templates, pattern jury instructions, statues, and more
·Auto-populated court forms and document templates, allowing you to click on a case, click on a document template, and insert your client’s information (sick of copy/pasting form agreements? Me too. Do it with 1 click in MerusCase)
·Integration with GenieDocs allowing California attorneys to order documents from the platform
·HIPAA-compliant email that integrates with your existing email server
·Save directly to MerusCase from Word
·California EAMS integration, enabling CA workers comp attorneys to file their DWC cases with MerusCase
There’s even a button to give you an inspirational quote. Dammit if they haven’t thought of everything.
One feature I’m particularly fond of is the document preview feature. You can see a screenshot of a document by hovering your mouse over the document name in your case file. No more having to click on each file to see if it’s relevant, go back, and try again with the next one.
Custom Workflows and California Personal Injury & Workers Compensation Law Firms
I mentioned earlier that MerusCase is definitely geared towards California PI law firms in particular. How, you may wonder? That seems oddly specific. Well, MerusCase’s best, most unique features are geared towards these practice areas. So, MerusCase gives users custom workflows and screens based on the case type. When you create a new case, you can label it by practice area. Then, the next screen you see is related to that practice area, as it should be. Workers comp cases have different requirements from divorce cases, and your case management software shouldn’t be generic to fit in a large box, but it should be able to accommodate your specific case types. MerusCase nails this one.
Here are some of the unique features of PI law / workers comp workflows:
·First, client matter tabs have uniquely personal injury-related tabs like “incident” (which includes a nifty Google Maps integration), “medicals” (which allows users to add medical expenses), “settlements”, and “subpoena records (which integrates with GenieDocs, software that procures records for California workers compensation cases)
·It integrates with EAMS – an electronic case management system run by California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, made to streamline California workers’ comp claims.
That’s not to say that MerusCase is not the right fit for non-California workers comp and injury attorneys. In fact, you get an array of case tabs and templates to choose from depending on what type of matter you’re dealing with. For example, if we create a Workers Comp case, there isn’t a Medicals, Incident, or Settlements tab, because you likely don’t need them. But, you will have Injuries and Subpoena Records tabs. You also get access to templates for that specific matter type. The philosophy is, if you have a specific type of case, you only need access to certain resources.
To my knowledge, MerusCase is the only platform that does this – they’re the only case management software company that gives you a custom layout and interface based on the type of case / client you’re dealing with. Here’s a screenshot of two different case types (PI on the top, workers comp on the bottom):
See that? For the dozen or so players in the space, no one else seems to be doing this. Absolutely a great feature for any firm practicing within multiple practice areas.
For all its great features, there are some drawbacks. MerusCase doesn’t currently integrate with Quickbooks, though their team is currently working on creating an Export to Quickbooks function. I know some attorneys need Quickbooks integration, so this may be a deal-breaker.
MerusCase is designed to be an all-in-one service so in that regard it doesn’t play well with some third-party services. MerusCase doesn’t integrate with Google Calendar, Google Drive (Google Docs) or Dropbox. This can be an issue if you are reliant on these services and not ready to move all your files / systems to MerusCase.
One reason MerusCase doesn’t do this though – “We’re concerned about privacy,” said Frank Basile at MerusCase. “We’re HIPAA compliant. There are a lot of technicalities around sharing our documents with third-parties. We don’t want to have our clients feel like there’s any liability with any other party being involved.”
The MerusCase client portal is somewhat limited. MerusCase has a HIPAA compliant extranet to allow lawyers to share documents with their clients. But, clients can’t log in to MerusCase to pay their bills.
MerusCase is $40 per user per month, but they offer a discount for long-term commitments. You can try them out today.
MerusCase is an innovative player in the law firm practice management space. Many of their features are extremely unique and helpful for specific practice areas. If any of you are practicing in California, especially in the areas of personal injury or workers compensation, I’d recommend checking MerusCase out. For those of you in other parts of the country / world, MerusCase has tons of great features that can help you run your practice.
You can try them out for free today.