Email is central to most law firm communication, and one of the first things lawyers want to know when choosing practice management platform is how well it integrates with email? That's precisely what I'm going to address in this post.
The following is an overview of how three popular cloud-based, practice management programs deal with the crucial but difficult process of email integration.
Rocket Matter Email Integration
Rocket Matter has two methods of email integration, one for Outlook on Windows and one for IMAP accounts (IMAP is a ubiquitous, standardized email protocol).
Rocket Matter has an Outlook plugin which communicates with your Rocket Matter account. When you have any email message in your Outlook account selected, you can click a link to upload it to Rocket Matter. A dialogue box pops up, and you then choose which case you want to associate it with. You then have the opportunity to link the email to a particular contact in Rocket Matter. One huge advantage of this method of integration is that you can add your billing time to the email before it's uploaded. No going back later and guessing what amount of time you spent on it.
If you're not using Outlook, chances are you're already using IMAP, but if you're not, you can most likely set it up to use IMAP. When you choose this set-up, you need to create an email folder that will correspond to each matter that you have in Rocket Matter, and then adjust your Rocket Matter settings to sync that folder to the matter.
When using the IMAP method, you don't have the opportunity to add your billing time while working on the email. You would need to view the email in Rocket Matter later and add the amount of time there. Of course, your sent emails don't appear in your matter email folder so you'd need to Cc or Bcc yourself on all sent email and then move them to the correct matter folder.
Clio Email Integration
In Clio, there are no built-in integrations; Clio sets up a "maildrop" email address for each client and for each matter you have. You can then Bcc that maildrop address when sending an email or forward any received emails to the maildrop. With this method, you must go into your Clio account to associate a billing time with the email.
Also, as a safety precaution, Clio will not accept emails from unrecognized email addresses. That means you cannot use the redirect function in your email client to direct emails into Clio, only the forward email function. The result is that forwarded emails appear in Clio as coming from you instead of the actual sender and the email doesn't get associated with the true sender. You can, however, make the corrections in your Clio account.
Note, emails appear with the date of forwarding, not the date of the email itself.
MyCase Email Integration
MyCase works similarly to Clio in that a mail dropbox with a particular email address is created and you can Bcc or forward your emails to the email address.
Unlike Clio, MyCase doesn't create specific dropboxes for each matter or client, only an address for the MyCase user. When you are in your MyCase account, you will see a section of unresolved emails where you need to go in and manually link each email to a particular matter and contact. You also have the opportunity to save any email attachments as a document linked to a matter or a general firm document.
There is no way to associate a particular email with a time expense as can be done with Clio and Rocket Matter.
If you're using Outlook on Windows, Rocket Matter has the tightest email integration. If not, there are still ways available to associate emails with matters and clients.
The non-Windows Outlook methods of associating emails vary and which method works best for you will depend on personal preference.
I hope I have provided enough of an overview for you to get a good idea of how email integration works with the above three platforms. Please feel free to contact me for more in-depth information or if you'd like me to add other practice management programs to this comparison.