Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud accounting, billing, and practice management application with a new technology for the fast pace and unpredictable nature of law firm work (see article below), a website that creates a printer version of web articles, a cloud application to ensure consistent use of your firm's templates, and an application that mirrors your iOS device onto your computer or Android device. Don't miss the next issue.
LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT THAT REFLECTS LAW FIRM REALITY
Lawyers have an unpredictable job. For example, clients — some of them from the distant past — will contact you out of the blue with questions. This makes it challenging to enter time and other information into the structured fields of practice management systems. You just don't have the time in the heat of the moment so instead you use a scrap of paper that you inevitably forget about or lose. A new technology promises to break this vicious cycle.
Actionstep 14.7 … in One Sentence
Launched today, Actionstep 14.7 is a cloud accounting, billing, and practice management application that automates tasks via workflows.
The Killer Feature
Like other practice management applications, Actionstep stores structured data. This is a necessity so that for example an email address resides in a designated place and acts the way it should when clicked.
However, the new version of Actionstep has a "Scratch Pad" for quickly entering unstructured information when you're in a rush. Later when your day calms down, you can convert these notes into structured data such as calendar events, contacts, tasks, time entries, etc.
Actionstep can remind you to revisit your notes so that you don't fall behind. Each user's Scratch Pad is private, enabling you to brain dump without worrying about anyone else reading your unpolished notes.
The company spent a lot of time testing Scratch Pad with volunteer lawyers to optimize the user experience. "Scratch Pad is a great example of how we are shaping the software to match the way lawyers instinctively think and work," Actionstep CEO Ted Jordan told us.
Other Notable Features
Also new, the Activity Log provides a Facebook-style news feed of what you and your colleagues have done recently — new matters, updates on existing matters, task assignments, etc.
The Activity Log complements Actionstep's signature Workflows technology, which guides users through each step of complex yet routine tasks such as client intake, court-specific litigation deadlines, checklists for specific types of documents, etc. Workflows essentially tell everyone "what's next" (and who should handle it) while the Activity Log tells everyone "what happened" (including new steps added to Workflows). Together, these two technologies aim to provide quality control throughout your firm.
A step in a Workflow may involve creating a document. Thanks to Actionstep's built-in document assembly engine and integration with Microsoft Office, you can store Word templates within Actionstep, fill in merge fields with data from a client's record, and store the final document in a specific matter. The document assembly technology also enables you to create web templates for clients to fill out, and send personalized bulk email messages such as for billing. Actionstep integrates with HotDocs for more advanced document assembly.
Other features include Outlook and Gmail plugins for saving email and attachments within a matter, and general ledger and trust accounting so that you need not pay for a separate accounting solution or deal with integration and duplicate data hassles.
What Else Should You Know?
Actionstep costs $60 per user per month. It works in all desktop and mobile web browsers. You can try it for free. The company offers a growing library of preconfigured and customizable Workflows in its online store such as its popular U.S. Litigation Pack. Learn more about Actionstep 14.7.
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