Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with process automation tools that comes in two versions (see article below), a privacy tool for deleting your Google footprint, a note-taking app for Android and iOS, and a desktop scanner that offers more than double the speed of the ScanSnap iX500. Don't miss the next issue.
Process automation — streamlining routine tasks with the help of technology — has caught the attention of law firms. Who wouldn't want improved productivity, a better work product, more satisfied clients, and higher employee morale? The logical location for process automation is your practice management software.
Firm Manager … in One Sentence
Launched this week, LexisNexis' Firm Manager 2.0 is cloud practice management software with process automation technologies among other new features and key integrations.
The Killer Feature
Firm Manager's new customizable templates help get new cases off the ground and keep them on track. Matter Intake Templates contain practice-area specific fields for information you need to perform work. You can add custom fields and even create your own templates. Checklist Templates are designed to prevent errors and reduce time spent providing oversight. Each checklist template consists of a group of related tasks for one of your firm's workflows.
When you assign tasks, you can track their status in the Matter Status sidebar. The progress bar turns red when a task is overdue so you can quickly spot problems. If you assign a budget to a matter, a similar status bar displays how much of the budget remains as you and your team work on the matter.
Other Notable Features
The Home dashboard in Firm Manager keeps you apprised of your events and tasks, which you can sync with Google Calendar and Office 365. The dashboard can also list other information depending on your role such as recent activities from across your firm. With the new role-based permissions, you assign one of three roles to each user in your firm, two of which limit access. For example, you can prevent lawyers and staff from changing billing rates or viewing firm revenue.
Speaking of revenue, Firm Manager has beefed up its financial tools. Most notably, Firm Manager integrates with both the desktop version of QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. Creating an invoice in Firm Manager automatically creates the same invoice in QuickBooks.
Also new, batch invoicing enables you to create a workflow that comports with your firm's controls for processing and reviewing time entries. You can write off time, apply discounts to invoices, pay invoices from one or more trust accounts, and customize the design of invoices.
Firm Manager also offers financial reporting, including aging, billing and payment history, trust account summary, and productivity summary. The Money Finder feature lists all unbilled activities so that nothing falls through the cracks.
What Else Should You Know?
Firm Manager comes in two versions — Starter ($29 per user per month) and Essentials ($44 per user per month). The latter includes intake and checklist templates, role-based permissions, QuickBooks integration, and reporting. "Solo and small firm attorneys can now choose the Firm Manager software package that squarely fits their business needs based on their firm's size and complexity," Director of Product Management Wes Gillette told me. "Whether a solo is looking to get more control over the practice as a whole, or a larger firm wants to chart productivity and grow its business, these new package options provide a tailored range of features and benefits." Learn more about Firm Manager 2.0.
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