Gavel & Gown CEO Ron Collins presented an impressive set of new capabilities for the Gavel & Gown legal software product line at the Certified Consultant Conference on March 14-15 in Toronto. All of the Amicus Attorney case management offerings will now permit some form of access via smart phones, tablets, and web browsers. This is a response to demand from customers for better access to their data in mobile settings. These features are present in what will be a tripartite case management product line spanning a broad range of platforms, categorized as follows:
- Amicus SFE (Small Firm Edition) has been renamed to Amicus Classic and will remain the low-end choice for clients with small-scale operations and limited budgets. Amicus Classic has been enhanced to support TimeTracker, G&G’s mobile app that permits easy capture of attorney time and expenses. TimeTracker connects directly to the firm’s database via the cloud-based Microsoft Azure platform, enabling real-time updating and avoiding synchronization issues.
- Amicus PE (Premium Edition) adds TimeTracker and Amicus Anywhere to the 2013 release, in addition to what were described as significant performance enhancements. Amicus Anywhere allows access to most of the functionality of PE through a web browser, greatly extending the range of devices that firms can use to access their case management data.
- Amicus Cloud, a brand new, fully cloud-based case management platform, offers much of the feature richness of the older Amicus Attorney products, but relieves users of the burden of managing local application software.
These attractive new features come at the price of mandatory maintenance agreements for Amicus Classic and Amicus PE. Only customers who have paid-up maintenance contracts will have access to the TimeTracker and Amicus Anywhere capabilities. Amicus Cloud, is, of course, priced on a per-seat subscription basis. The shift from purchase to rental revenue models seems to be a growing trend throughout the software industry.
Although the product announcements were impressive, G&G has had problems with delivering reliable implementations of their newer products. It remains to be seen if they can manage a considerable extension of their product line while achieving the operational reliability demanded by legal firms.
The surprise hit of the conference was an impressive presentation of Amicus PE custom SQL reporting enhancements by a small consulting firm from Arizona, Inertia Software Solutions. They demonstrated a powerful set of interactive PE-based “Management Dashboard” reports that allow quick and flexible evaluation of firm profitability. This work is an encouraging sign that the potential of the SQL database underlying Amicus PE is being unlocked to deliver enhanced value for customers.
Haig Hovaness is an experienced IT consultant who works in the New York office of Crosspointe Consulting Group. Haig earned an MBA in information systems and lists over two decades of experience in corporate IT work. He has published numerous articles on information technology and its effects on organizations and society.