Updated November 2016
CosmoLex is cloud-based practice management software designed to help lawyers keep track of their cases and their accounting with its all-in-one platform approach to case and practice management.
Today we’re taking a deep dive into the software to help you get a sense of its strengths and weaknesses and figure out whether it’s worth giving a shot.
November 2016 CosmoLex Review Update: CosmoLex has been adding a lot of new features (like email integration) so we have a complete update of this review article.
CosmoLex is practice management software for law firms with one big advantage over its competitors. And that’s integrated accounting. But, that warrants an entire discussion itself, so we’ll come back to that.
CosmoLex has most of the features you’d expect from case management software – it keeps track of your clients, matters, calendars, emails, documents, timekeeping, and billing.
The interface for timekeeping and billing is very easy to use. Very intuitive. Without any sort of formal introduction I quickly figured out how to set billing rates, add time entries, and create invoices.
One thing I appreciate a lot about CosmoLex is that new screens and dashboards load very quickly. Not really a make-or-break feature, but, personally, I sometimes get antsy with some apps that take awhile to load because I just want to get a task completed and off my mind. And creating time entries isn’t usually a fun activity. So, even if it saved me a few seconds in total in a given session, it was nice to see.
The learning curve is quick for figuring out how to create a new matter, calendar item, or invoice.
None of the typical features are particularly groundbreaking in their approach. Everyone in practice management keeps track of matters, calendars, and contacts. There are only so many ways to display and track that data. But if you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, why do it?
That being said, let’s move on to CosmoLex’s game-changing advantage.
CosmoLex also has a very strong unique feature that no other practice management software has. And that’s built-in accounting software.
Generally with case and matter management apps, they rely on integrations with third-party accounting software.
Their billing data gets exported to Quickbooks and you do the rest there. The reason behind this is that accounting software is a beast in itself and takes a lot of time and resources to get right. For example, if you’re using something like MyCase, Clio, or Rocket Matter and you want to keep track of your bookkeeping, you can’t do it in their software. You can, however, integrate any billing you do on their platforms with Quickbooks (and Xero in Clio’s case).
One drawback of this reliance on third-party integration though is that none of the platforms seem to do it seamlessly. I have heard concerns from users of many other practice management software applications about their Quickbooks integrations.
If keeping track of your bookkeeping and matters simultaneously through two different pieces of software is a chore for your firm, CosmoLex might be the solution for you.
It took me awhile to realize the power of having your practice management and accounting software all-in-one because I have been used to syncing my data between practice management and accounting software. This old method hasn’t been perfect, and there are some headaches that come with it.
But, bookkeeping, overall, is terrible.
Now, getting accounting right isn’t easy. There’s a lot to Quickbooks and Xero.
There’s also a lot to cloud-based practice management software.
So, I was initially skeptical at how CosmoLex could tackle both practice management and accounting. After hearing about it (but before demoing it), I assumed they would have a half-decent attempt at both. But, after putting it through its paces, I’m happy to see that my initial assumption was wrong.
Using CosmoLex, it took awhile to get used to creating accounting entries on the platform. It took some time to learn how everything worked, in part because I was used to Xero, and Quickbooks before that. But, there is huge value in having your operating and trust accounting properly taken care of. Especially given that trust accounting errors are a huge ethical concern for lawyers.
As a licensed attorney, I recognize the ethical pitfalls of trust accounting. Issues with trust accounts are some of the top offenders for lawyer ethics violations.
So, if CosmoLex could help avoid these problems, it would reduce my anxiety a bit.