Today marks the one year anniversary of my time on the advisory board of FirmManager. I have seen the program evolve from an idea, to a concept, to a private beta and to a public beta, to a public product. It has given me a real insight into how a complex product can be developed and marketed. It has forced me to think about the tradeoffs in design, function, and features required to produce a product that is both easy to use, flexible and full-featured.
At this point, I am reserving judgment. There are a lot of things about the product that I like. This is not an online billing and calendaring program that is marketed as a practice management system. It sports a number of real practice management features that mark it as a LexisNexis product. It has an interface that makes it function more like an application than like a webproduct and portal. That alone is very exciting. It make great use of the Silverlight functionality. It include popups and dynamic menus. It gathers the data on files into usable matter dashboards. It manages documents and tasks, notes and calls, calendaring. It is clear that some of the Time Matters DNA featured in the product, with some of the management team previously being part of the Time Matters team. And yet, it has none of the legacy source code or design limitations of Time Matters; it is meant for a different market. But many of the lessons of Time Matters and the expectations of the users of that product, are addressed in the product.
The development team of FirmManager is an experienced team which has researched, polled, and understood the legal workspace. This is evident in the way the program is written. The development team is committed to improving the product on a regular basis and has an exciting roadmap for the future (which I cannot reveal under my NDA), but I can comment on what they have released so far. And that has real potential and a real foundation. I hope to do a full review in the near future, with all the pictures and arrows. But for now, I just wanted to note my one year anniversary on the Advisory Board. Till then, why don’t you give the program a whirl, take it for a test drive.