139 reviews

HoudiniESQ

Cloud or on-premise legal practice management software

4,1 /5 (139 reviews) Write a Review!

Overall rating

4,1 /5
  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Features
79%
recommended this app
139 reviews
Nathan D.
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  • Industry: Law Practice
  • Used Daily for 2+ years
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  • Value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Customer Support
  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

It's my understanding this product built by architect of much larger yet more stagnate...

Reviewed on 2017/12/12

Peace of Mind. My information is secure and isn't going anywhere. It is always available to me. I have a very good rapport with my Houdini IT Department.

Pros

Versatility- This product intended for lean and mean firms. You don't need to have a Masters Degree in Computer Science, but it helps if you are somewhat computer savvy. There are features on this program that have been integrated in that even I haven't found time to master... yet (e.g., Quickbooks and Excel).
Comprehensive- Lower your IT overhead costs. These people know what they're doing. Your investment here means less investment in some IT guy sitting in a corner twiddling his or her thumbs. When they say 99.9% up-time, they mean it. This is an incredibly powerful time-keeping program, that has a very good overlap with document integration.
Customer Service- Usually only the occasional call, but they are ALWAYS there, and can walk you through any issues.

Cons

As with any newer product, there is going to be the inevitable growing pains. My favorite application integration was with the Outlook Add-in for e-mail. This is giving me hiccups at the moment. You are actually partnered with this vendor, so when rep can't figure this out, you have to evolve with the product limitations by creating a work-around (e.g., saving the e-mails manually to the file).

I'm also a creature of habit, so I struggle with major platform updates. They are kind enough to leave the old platform running, and aren't demanding their clients evolve overnight. So now I am learning two different platforms.

Bruce G.
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Review of HoudiniESQ

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

Pros: Platform independent and on-premise and cloud options.

Features and included plugins

Cloud services integration

Browser interface. Scalable licensing.

Multiple supported back-end database choices. Opportunity to architect legitimate HA and DR solutions.

Cons: Adobe Flash as a front end is somewhat of a non sequitur.

My experience with support has been measured in days. I've had to send follow up emails after no response for 3+ days to hopefully keep a support request alive. I'm currently on day 9 waiting for a response. I don't necessarily expect a solution, but I do expect a response; especially after multiple follow up emails.

I've done some testing with "short codes" but the product feels a bit reliant on the mouse to navigate the interface and input data.

The document storage architecture appears to only offer a single folder approach when storing files and templates. A nested physical folder structure is preferred and common in firms. Logical folders by matter, case type and doc type would be an advantage when dealing with many templates and files. This might also exclude the need to manually (re)assign and maintain the metadata assignments of all documents via the gui interface. Finally, the doc management approach requires full commitment to document access and management through the user interface and the provided plugins. Integration with a content management system or a scanning and imaging solution while possible via ECF, is a non-starter due to the required manual cloning of documents into IRIS

The API while advertised as simple and easy to use appears to not have much if any documentation or reference material to support very simple proof of concept integrations

Finally, the reputation of HoudiniESQ on the street is "it's one-man shop".

Overall Impression: My overall impression of the product is good. I like the platform and the enterprise approach. The coverage of specific and general needs of many different law firms is impressive. Integrations are there for targeted solutions like Google,Dropbox,Evernote but integrations outside of those select few seem dependent upon the development pipeline.

The full commitment required to IRIS with little to no opportunity to bring enterprise doc management/workflow automation to the solution is a little unnerving. Generally speaking the feel of the platform is constrained primarily by the UI and doc management.

Andrew H.
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Great Software with a Few Speed-Bumps

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

I have used Houdini Esq on the Mac for several months now as a solo practitioner. I use it primarily for case management and invoicing. The great thing about this software is that the interface just makes sense, and it is feature rich and comprehensive. I have case and event management, document templates, and trust management and invoicing all in one place. In other words, I don't have to switch between multiple programs to get the job done, which is something I love, and it isn't hard to pick up . . . once you get it going. That's the speed bump.

First, my set-up is probably not conventional. I have a single laptop, with a main user account, and a secondary user account that I use for my law practice. When I first installed Houdini, if I started my computer, logged into my law practice user account, and tried to open Houdini, in any web browser, I would get an error saying that the local host was not found. I finally discovered that I would first have to start up the file "HoudiniESQ_start" to fix this error. Additionally, I don't think that this install is doing the automatic backups as advertised, but I use Time Machine, so I'm not too worried.

Second, I wish that there was more control over invoices. I would like to be able to list the start and stop times for events, the option to include tasks that are not billed, and include my logo at top. However, the controls for these are limited-to-nonexistant.

Finally, there are some strange quirks with the interface. For example, sometimes I can't get menus to close unless I close the whole window containing the menu. Also, sometimes my events won't show up in the Dashboard unless I go to another tab and back. If they made a shift away from the browser-based interface, I would not complain at all.

These are my main complaints, and none of them are deal breakers for me, especially when otherwise you are getting a comprehensive, easy to use software that should be enough for any legal professional. If you are on a Mac, it is just about the only real locally-based client management software worth considering.

Arnold W.
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  • Industry: Law Practice
  • Company size: Self Employed
  • Used Daily for 2+ years
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  • Value for Money
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  • Likelihood to recommend 8.0 /10

I have watched grow , making really important improvements.

Reviewed on 2017/11/08

Complete office management, including file organization and billing.

Pros

Program is based upon the case, as it should be. Support is outstanding. It anticipates what you are looking for. I have not yet sent emails via HoudiniEsq. and am looking forward to using it.

Cons

I wish that phone calls were a separate category of input, instead of added to events. Would like to see preview of docs as I review them. I am still catching up with changes in billing.

Kristen R.
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  • Industry: Law Practice
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 1+ year
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  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

HoudiniEsq: Best Solution for Our Firm

Reviewed on 2017/04/12

HoudiniEsq is easy to learn and use, and because it costs so much less than what we were using before, every user in our organization can have a seat, rather than just 3 of us as we had before. It syncs with Outlook and QuickBooks, and customer support is always free!

Pros

The fact that everyone in our firm can use it and enter their own time and calendars.

Cons

There are occasional problems with the way it integrates with Outlook and Quickbooks.

Jennifer E.
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  • Used Daily for 1+ year
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Works well most of the time

Reviewed on 2017/11/08

Pros

The ability to customize some fields within the software to specific file types, because not every personal injury file requires the same customization.

Cons

The ability to track documents and due dates for things that come in, such as discovery deadlines seems to not be there as previous users have said this was something that you could do.

Joanne L.
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  • Industry: Law Practice
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 2+ years
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  • Likelihood to recommend 9.0 /10

Great Software

Reviewed on 2017/01/24

HoudiniEsq is a great for case management, document management and billing! Technical support is extremely helpful and greatly assists with making the software tailored for our firm.

Pros

Ease of use - very user friendly.

Adam S.
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Great product. Wonderful service

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

I started my law practice a little over a year ago, and have been using HoudiniESQ since the beginning. I learned my way around the program by watching the tutorial videos on the main website and reading the forums. Because I run a small practice, often times I will bill out to my clients based on their individual needs, and while other programs weren't able to customize client matters based on those needs, Houdini could.

The invoices and statements look professional, and billing and time keeping is a breeze. Especially if you bill in tenths like I do. One thing I would like to see is an iPad app that I could take to court with me.

I definitely battled with the idea of using a software that had been on the market longer than Houdini, but Im glad I stuck with my decision. There have been numerous times when Ive needed to call customer service, and believe it or not, a real live person picks up the phone, and they answer every question you might have (even if it's ridiculous).

I have to say, as someone who started a law practice right out of school, Houdiniesq definitely made certain aspects of running this type of business easier. I have recommended this product to my colleugues, and will continue doing so.

Abraham K.
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ABRAHAM KLEINMAN

Reviewed on 2010/11/08

HIGHLY RECCOMENDED

Pros

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT WITHOUT THE MANAGEMENT

Cons

DOES NOT YET HAVE ITS OWN WORD PROCESSOR BUT DOES LINK TO MICROSOFT WORD.

Response from LOGICBit

Although we provide several plugins for many popular products used in the legal profession, many of our clients love the fact that they don't ever have to leave HoudiniESQ to get their work accomplished.

When we architected the software we had one major requirement, you must be able to grab any computer or device with a Internet connection and have the tools you need to get the job done at your fingertips.

This is why we include integrated Document Management with full text search including email, and email attachments, a integrated email client, integrated Google Scholar, integrated billing and invoicing, integrated document and email templates, and so much more.

We think you should never be without your tools that is why we have totally revamped our inline editor and will continue to improve upon it with every new release.

Mark R.
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Fantastic Product and Great Customer Service

Reviewed on 2016/01/28

I am a solo attorney who just began using Houdini. I have experience with Abacus and other case management software. I have found that Houdini is quite intuitive, flexible and practical for my law firm.

On top of that, the customer service far surpasses all the other support for the programs I have used in the past. Kevin answered all of my questions and was able to walk me through issues that I assumed would be incredibly difficult. He was great! I highly recommend setting up a conference call for an initial training before you get too far along with setting up your practice so that you can take full advantage of the program.

Pamela P.
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It's not an illusion, Houdini really is great

Reviewed on 2015/01/15

Practice management software for solos often means compromising on features for the sake of affordability, but not with Houdini. As a solo, I don't use every feature, but I'm able to set my practice up so that growth can be accommodated without having to migrate to a new system. Houdini has made my workflow better and I can easily review every case and its status in minutes. There are tons of tutorial videos available that make it easy to learn new features in small time blocks, and it is so very worth the time to learn. You'll not only feel more in control with Houdini, you'll BE more in control of your practice.

Amanda B.
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Great for Bugdet, Not for Time

Reviewed on 2015/01/16

I downloaded HoudiniESQ after opening my own firm six months ago. I appreciated the ability to download it immediately without having to go through a service rep, the fact that it was free to a solo like me, and that there were plenty of instructional videos to accompany the download. However, the system just did not work for me. No matter how many instructional videos I watched and how much time I invested into figuring it out, it didn't make sense. Nothing was intuitive. I have been a practicing attorney for seven years, so I have worked with case management systems before - it's not that I don't understand the concept, I just don't understand Houdini. After a few weeks of trying to figure it out, I gave up and went with a paid version.

Response from LOGICBit

Amanda, we have free support, free training, webinars, a 1,000 page knowledge base, 100 videos and on the spot video conferences available to all our users. The concepts in HoudiniEsq follow best practices but we do agree that there is a learning curve.

Nicole M.
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Law Practice Management Software

Reviewed on 2015/01/15

HoudiniESQ is a great software as is addresses all the issues that would face a law firm or a solo practitioner. I especially like the work automation function, the ability to integrate other software like Quickbooks. However I wish we were able to access the software with a mobile as a single user since it would make it easier to update files on the go. Overall I think that it is great. Customer service is awesome, they are extremely patient and are usually quite knowledgeable about the in and outs of the software.

Sharleen T.
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Houdini Review

Reviewed on 2015/01/18

Overall I really liked Houdiniesq. The knowledge base answered most of my questions and the video tutorials were very helpful.

My biggest and only real issue with the software was that a lot of features were not Mac or iOS compatible. While I have access to both PCs and Macs I do have a strong preference for the Apple operating system and I only own apple mobile devices so my use was limited.

Luke H.
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Luke Harmon Business Manager; Law Office of Benjamin S. Harmon

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

Like all programs new to our staff, there is a learning curve to this software. I feel it has well served our purpose within our small three attorney office, and allows the ability to grow. Staff members are all able to use the software for there individual job purposes and I am able to better track and evaluate our production and limit the number of stale matters.

Susan T.
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Great bones but not ready for primetime with my firm

Reviewed on 2015/01/15

Pros: it is clear you guys are serious about creating a good product and doing right; flexibility for those of us who are willing to take the time to customize; guys were great when I got them on the phone

Cons: integrations with Microsoft and Quickbooks tended to lose their "links", so we were redoing the mapping fairly regularly; configuration was difficult in that it required many steps and alterations of many tabs; sometimes difficult to get someone on the phone and the fix often required a remote programmer/dba who never ultimately fixed the problem.

Overall, I think the software is well on its way to be a great solution for law firms. It wasn't quite there for us.

Jay J.
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Initial Thoughts on HoudiniESQ

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

On the whole, HoudiniESQ seems to be a full featured practice management platform that covers the bulk of the daily requirements for my solo law office. It handles calendaring, billing, contact management, and other aspects necessary for my practice.

Raymond P.
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Excellent Interface

Reviewed on 2016/12/27

It just amazing to use. easy to Navigate, It have Very good User Interface. The navigation is Too user-friendly.

Darcy D.
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Good overall product

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

I would have used it more but the mobile phone set up was too time consuming so I just never looked any further into it.

Zachary P.
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Affordable solution

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

I've enjoyed Houdini. My only complaint is that it feels outdated at times.

Nik F.
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Great product

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

Really great & easy to use product whis has done us proud

Daryl C.
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Great software..

Reviewed on 2015/01/15

Have been using Houdini for awhile now and love it.

Christopher M.
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  • Used Daily for 1-5 months
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  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Far better than the other management software out there!

Reviewed on 2017/11/13

The ease of having everything in one place that does everything a firm needs. I haven't found anything that our firm needs that Houdini does not already do!

Pros

I love the functionality of Houdini. While some of the features are not the EASIEST to use, the customer support to walk you through it is amazing, and done on the spot. Every issue I've ever had with Houdini has been lack of knowing exactly how it was done. But the program itself is amazing, works exceptionally, and their support is the best I've ever seen!

Cons

Some of the features can be a little confusing at first, but the support staff will immediately demonstrate how to use it. I have not done the free training program, which I'm certain is exceptional -- based on my experience with their staff -- so, a lot of my lack of know-how for certain features is my fault. But, even without the training the software is very easy to use and has amazing features.

Taras K.
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HoudiniESQ: A promising case management program

Reviewed on 2015/01/14

Overall, I am very satisfied with HoudiniESQ. I have used the one-account free version to manage the cases for my budding law firm for several months now. The program is relatively straight-forward. Many of the program's parameters can be readily customized, which I appreciate. Also, it can upgraded to accommodate my growing legal practice. Customer service is generally pretty on-point when it comes resolving occasional issues. Plus, the price can't be beat! For a sole-proprietor like me, the fact that the program is offered free of charge for a one-seat account, was a big selling point when I was opening up my law firm.

However, as with any case management program, there are a few drawbacks to HoudiniESQ that I would like to see corrected. For instance, some minor cleanup may be necessary when it comes to invoices. Presently, I have to limit the length of each task that I enter into HoudiniESQ for any given client because, if the task description is on the longer side, it will be cut off on my invoice, with a "..." appearing at the end. I wish that the program could simply carry over the rest of the task description to the line below.

Also, there is another invoicing issue. More specifically, if a decide to not charge a client for a task, but still want to have the task appear on the invoice as a "no charge," I have to remember not to open up the task again after I put "0" for the charge about b/c, if I do, HoudiniESQ will automatically refill the charge amount per the going rate for the task, effectively overriding my override. Left unnoticed, this issue can cause MAJOR issues b/c the error tends to spill over to future invoices. Another issue that needs to be addressed has to do with calendaring. I regularly use Google Calendar for organization. But, almost immediately after syncing my HoudiniESQ with my Google Calendar, I had to turn off syncing. The problem was that syncing made all of my case tasks appear on my Google Calendar, regardless of whether the task was an upcoming hearing reminder or a notation that I received and read a letter from an opposing attorney. In effect, my Google Calendar became heavily cluttered, showing tasks that have no reason to be on my calendar. In short, I would like more control over the calendar syncing option and invoicing. I trust that these issues can be fixed in future updates. But, all-in-all, I am very happy with this program and I think that it shows great promise. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Alexander G.
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  • Industry: Legal Services
  • Company size: 2-10 Employees
  • Used Daily for 2+ years
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  • Likelihood to recommend 10.0 /10

Houdini Esq is smooth, powerful, flexible, logical and secure. I couldn't ask for anything...

Reviewed on 2017/11/06

Houdini makes my life easier and my practice more productive and profitable.

Pros

I have been practicing law for almost a quarter century. I started with Houdini many, many years ago, when the project was still teething (I switched from Abacus). I can confidently say that even in infancy Houdini and its combination of logic, power and flexibility were head and shoulders above any other package on the market, many costing three times more. Since then, the management and development teams had nurtured and evolved this software into an awesome powerhouse with intuitive, user-friendly features, and absolutely unique capabilities, which other packages sorely lack.

Magic has universal appeal, and Houdini is equally well suited for solo practitioners, who appreciate its instinctive simplicity, and multinational law firms, who take advantage of its infinite customization and industrial-strength features. I can wholeheartedly recommend Houdini to any law firm regardless of its size or practice areas.

Cons

I really had to scratch my head to identify any faults or weaknesses in Houdini. Still scratching .....