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LEAP Offers Small Law Firms an Integrated Front and Back Office

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, January 29, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system that can also power your law firm's website (see article below), an iOS app for capturing and organizing your handwritten notes, and two apps for discovery document processing and review. Don't miss the next issue.

The fewer moving parts in a small law firm, the better. More complexity tends to increase administrative costs. In the technology realm, the more your practice management system can handle, the more you can dispense with single-function products.

LEAP … in One Sentence

LEAP is a legal accounting and practice management system that encompasses both front and back office tasks.

The Killer Feature

For your front office, LEAP offers document assembly and management of contacts, calendars, documents, and email. For your back office, LEAP offers billing and IOLTA-compliant trust accounting. It integrates with QuickBooks Online for your general ledger.

LEAP is a hybrid cloud solution — you access it from a Windows desktop app but the data is securely hosted on U.S.-based servers. The LEAP mobile app for iOS and Android take advantage of your smartphone's capabilities. For example, you can capture telephone calls with clients for time entries, and scan a document into LEAP using the camera.

"LEAP is for small law firms wishing to become more efficient, more flexible, and make more money," CEO of LEAP Chris Stock tells us. "LEAP's integrated system enables small law firms to do more work with the same number of people."

Other Notable Features

Because LEAP is a Windows app, it offers deep integration with Microsoft Outlook and Word. You can start new documents and email messages from LEAP, and automatically record the billable time you spend on them. LEAP can convert documents into PDF format when you email them. The Outlook integration also extends to your calendars.

LEAP can manage all of your firm's information. For example, it captures and automatically files inbound email, and integrates with scanners. You'll want to start new documents in LEAP because of its forms and templates. The company continually adds templates in many practice areas plus you can create your own.

Other document management features include audit trails, versioning, document viewer, document comparison, and combination of PDF files. Perhaps best of all, rather than email a document to colleagues, you can email them a link to the document so that the final version remains in LEAP.

LEAP's electronic timesheet with autocomplete enables timekeepers to enter their time. LEAP also handles cost recovery and expenses with the ability to group disbursements into a single line item. You can output bills in Word or PDF format, and email them from LEAP so that they get filed in the corresponding matter. Trust accounting enables you to manage retainers and apply payments.

What Else Should You Know?

LEAP includes LEAP Websites at no extra charge. This service includes mobile-friendly templates from which you can choose, a WordPress blog, email newsletters, and search engine optimization. Some LEAP customers that already have a website use LEAP Websites for a second website around a practice area. LEAP starts at $129 per user per month with a 12-month money-back guarantee. The company reinvests $6 million per year into new features for LEAP. Learn more about LEAP.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Solo on My Own Terms; Cloud Storage Concerns; Why Dragon Beats Typing and Transcriptionists; What Starts Digital Stays Digital

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Mark Werner, Solo On My Own Terms And Not Far From The Cutting Edge

Jerry Gonzalez, Cloud Storage Concerns Overblown; Review Of AxCrypt, AESCrypt

Philip Franckel, Why Dragon NaturallySpeaking Beats Typing And Transcriptionists

Steven Finell, What Starts Digital Stays Digital

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Backup/Media/Storage | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Law Office Management | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | Privacy/Security | TL Serendipity

Tabs3 Version 18 Streamlines Billing, Trust Accounting, and Payments

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers billing software designed to make billing your time and managing trust accounts easier (see article below), an email app for Android and iOS that integrates with Skype, a Dropbox alternative created specifically for law firms, and a security certification program for law firms. Don't miss the next issue.

Law firms face several conundrums. For example, your firm must bill time to generate revenue, but the administrative work involved in billing time consumes time. Also, retainers make it easier to get paid, but state bar compliance requirements make trust accounting an ethics minefield. Your legal billing software should minimize administrative overhead and risk.

Tabs3 Version 18 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, Tabs3 Version 18 is legal billing software that focuses on streamlining billing, trust accounting, and payments.

The Killer Feature

Tabs3 now automates payment from trust accounts. You can set up this feature so that it complies with your state's ethics rules. For example, you can apply payments to current work and accounts receivable or just one.

While you can print checks, Tabs3 supports electronic funds transfer (EFT) for faster payment. You can combine multiple deposit, EFT, and check transactions into a single item for simplified reconciliation. However you combine them, Tabs3 tracks all transactions for reporting purposes. The bills you send clients show these automatic payments.

Other Notable Features

Tabs3 has also improved its reconciliation tools for bank accounts, trust accounts, and credit cards. The start screen enables you to enter interest and service fees for the month. You can then import transactions rather than enter them manually (most financial services companies offer transactions for download via your online account).

For trust accounts, Tabs3 offers a Three-Way Reconciliation report. Considered a best practice, this ensures that the bank balance, check register, and each client's trust account all match up. It's difficult to pull this off without software like Tabs3. Other new features include streamlined month-end procedures, greater flexibility in financial reporting, and improved fee and cost entry.

Tabs3 Connect, which offers secure access to Tabs3 from a smartphone and tablet, now supports macros. For example, if your firm sets up text macros in Tabs3, you can now use them in Tabs3 Connect. PracticeMaster, the company's practice management app, also sports new features. Chief among these, the new Fee Recap tool enables you to identify days with unbilled activities. PracticeMaster integrates with Tabs3.

What Else Should You Know?

Tabs3 offers a number of "strategic" integrations with third parties. With the new integration with ProPay, you can start accepting credit cards within minutes. ProPay offers low processing fees compared to other options for law firms, and a simpler payment process that obviates the need to ask your clients for credit card security codes (regulators frown on storing these). Other integrations include Chrometa, HotDocs, PenSoft, ScanSnap, Symphony OCR, and Worldox. Learn more about Tabs3 Version 18.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire

TL NewsWire Top 10 and 25 Products of 2015 Awards

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Below you'll find the TL NewsWire Top 10 and Top 25 Products of 2015 Awards — chosen by TL NewsWire subscribers.

When TL NewsWire subscribers read about a product of interest this year and clicked for more details, they passively casted a vote. Passive voting is the most meaningful type of voting for awards. The winners below genuinely attracted the most interest.

As you read about the winning products, you'll notice many that help lawyers create, annotate, and manage documents. Other hot product areas include email, law firm finances, litigation, and PDF. Finally, most of the products offer one or more key integrations, which enables law firms to combine previously siloed products into a cohesive system.

TL NewsWire is free — sign up now so you can choose next year's winners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Without further ado …

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 10 PRODUCTS OF 2015 AWARD

Congratulations to the 10 hottest products of 2015 ranked in order by most clicks!

1. Matter Center for Office 365

Microsoft first previewed Matter Center at the ILTA Conference in August 2014. When Matter Center launched in September 2015 and we reported on it, TL NewsWire subscribers went bananas, vaulting it to a first place finish. Matter Center underscores the enduring popularity of both Microsoft Office and document management in the legal industry.

2. American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3

Fittingly in the year that gave us Ex Machina, American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3 proofreads your Word documents for incorrect citations and other style problems. It's like having Bryan Garner in your computer. Indeed, Garner's "The Red Book" is among the references American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3 can check your documents against.

3. Synergy Tools 1.0

Perhaps no legal software entrepreneur understands the pain of small law firms like Legal Matters Software founder John Ryan. Pretty much a gift to small firms given its $59.95 price, Synergy Tools 1.0 addresses nine pain points encountered daily by legal professionals who live in Windows Explorer.

4. Spark

It takes courage to build an iPhone email app given Apple's not-too-shabby Mail app. However, Readdle's Spark addresses Mail's biggest shortcoming — attachment handling. Spark enables you to attach documents from Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and other cloud services the way your brain works — while writing your message.

5. LiquidText

LiquidText challenges you to use an iPad to annotate documents with interactions that don't exist on a PC but which hail from the world of pen and paper. Unlike Microsoft Word, Acrobat, etc., LiquidText gives your comments just as much of the spotlight as the document on which you're commenting. Apple named LiquidText the Most Innovative iPad App of 2015.

6. Capture.it Time Capture

Passive time capture apps like Capture.it capture the imagination of lawyers because let's face it — tracking your time stinks. Capture.it takes automatic time-tracking to new heights by periodically prompting you to assign captured time to matters, eliminating the need to open Capture.it for a dedicated billing session at the last minute each month.

7. Smokeball

Smokeball burst on the scene this year with a document-centric approach to practice management. Integrations with Word and Outlook and a document assembly engine keep all communications with clients and work product centrally organized. Smokeball also handles the yeoman's chores of practice management such as contacts and calendars.

8. LegalWorks

Uptime Legal merits a tip of our hat as the only company in 2015 that won two TL NewsWire Top Products awards. First up, LegalWorks is a cloud document management system. At many firms, Outlook is the hub through which documents usually arrive and leave. LegalWorks' Outlook integration enables you to save and retrieve documents from within Outlook.

9. iPad Pro

The long rumored iPad Pro arrived along with a first-party keyboard case and digital pencil. Like virtually all Apple products, the iPad Pro resulted in fierce online debates and vitriole among geeks. Meanwhile, lawyers and others who have long craved an iPad with a display the size of a sheet of paper are buying them like hotcakes.

10. LegalNature Pro

Launched in 2011 to offer complex legal documents to people whom LegalZoom doesn't serve, LegalNature found that it had many lawyers among its customers. Enter LegalNature Pro, which enables lawyers to automate their own documents while continuing to use LegalNature's forms.

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 25 PRODUCTS OF 2015 AWARD

Congratulations to the next 15 hottest products of 2015 ranked in order by most clicks!

11. Dragon Professional Individual 14

After fits and starts over the past few years, Nuance has integrated its iconic Dragon Professional desktop software with your iPhone via Dragon Anywhere. Start dictating in your office and continue in your car. Dragon Professional also offers a new help system driven by — what else? — voice commands.

12. Pathagoras On Cloud

Research and development is a way of life at ISPV, which ships a new version of its Microsoft Word add-in Pathagoras every year. In 2015, the company launched Pathagoras On Cloud, which brings the Pathagoras' document assembly tools to a web word processor. This enables you to create documents on any device as there's no need for Microsoft Word.

13. TrustBooks

Trust accounting can seem like more trouble than it's worth — until a client fails to pay a large bill. Unlike other products, TrustBooks focuses exclusively on trust accounts. It offers three-way reconciliation, warns you about low balances, and generates statements for your clients.

14. Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2

The only product to win two consecutive years, Lexis for Microsoft Office added proofreading tools in 2015. You can find undefined terms and inconsistent phrases. Also new, integration with Lexis Advance brings your research into Microsoft Word for instant access while you're writing.

15. Summation 6

Many litigators don't always have matters in the discovery phase. Summation 6 enables you to use the software as needed rather than commit to a traditional license. It also offers one-stop-shopping as it handles case analysis and transcript management in addition to document review and production.

16. EstateExec

No one likes to plan for their death. EstateExec makes estate planning an easier sell for lawyers as it enables your clients to manage and designate all their assets using their web browser. If you don't like serving as an executor or trustee, EstateExec may help persuade someone else to take on that role.

17. FactBox

Small law firms in particular have embraced web apps for billing, practice management, and more. It stands to reason that these law firms will continue this migration. FactBox brings case analysis to your web browser with all data stored in U.S.-based datacenters.

18. Xero

Hoping to capture QuickBooks users who want a cloud accounting system, Xero rolled out QuickBooks migration this year. The process takes about three hours after which you and others can manage your firm's accounting from anywhere.

19. Worldox GX4

This release of the popular document management system focuses on saving you time through automation. For example, Follow Me Favorites shortens the process of creating a document profile to just naming the document — the same amount of effort as Windows Explorer.

20. SWING Porter for Outlook

Many lawyers view Outlook as a silo as it keeps a matter's email apart from all the other documents. SWING Porter for Outlook exports email in PDF format using your firm's naming convention. You can manually export email or use a timed schedule to automate the process.

21. Uptime Practice

The second winner from Uptime Legal, Uptime Practice enables law firms to move to the cloud without giving up their robust desktop apps such as Amicus Attorney, Needles, PCLaw, PracticeMaster, ProLaw, Tabs3, Time Matters, and WorldDox.

22. Inbox by Gmail

Google reinvented email with Gmail so who better to reinvent it again? Inbox by Gmail surfaces information from email messages so you don't need to open them. A built-in task manager and integrations with Google Keep and Google Now seek to provide missing links for email productivity.

23. Adobe Acrobat DC

After years of not getting the Internet, Adobe leapt ahead with Acrobat DC. The PDF documents you open on your desktop become available on your smartphone and tablet (and vice versa) instantly without the need to move the documents anywhere. The recent integration with Dropbox added more icing to this tempting cake.

24. Soda PDF 7

Soda PDF poses a greater threat to Nitro Pro than to Acrobat as both products compete for price-sensitive law firms that find Acrobat too expensive (especially with Adobe now pushing subscriptions). On this front, Soda PDF costs less than Nitro Pro while providing the features lawyers need such as Bates stamping, PDF-to-Word conversion, integration with scanners, built-in OCR, and more.

25. Amicus Premium 2015

You can set your clock by the annual releases of popular practice management system Amicus Premium. This year brought the Amicus Client Portal for secure communications and file sharing with clients. Unlike standalone portals, the Amicus Client Portal prompts you to bill the time you spend communicating with your clients.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Legal Research | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TechnoLawyer | TL NewsWire | Utilities

Converting PDF to Word; Reviews of Chrometa, Credenza; Tips for Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Legal Edition

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, December 10, 2015

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Paul Pinkerton, Products and Techniques for Converting PDF Documents Into Word Documents

Mike Polk, Review: Chrometa and Credenza

Dave Migliaccio, Tips for Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking Legal Edition

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Answers
Do you believe in the wisdom of crowds? In TL Answers, TechnoLawyer members answer legal technology and practice management questions submitted by their peers. This newsletter's popularity stems from the relevance of the questions and answers to virtually everyone in the legal profession. The TL Answers newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | TL Answers

Partnerships Versus Going It Alone Plus 47 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coming today to SmallLaw: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 48 articles from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our SmallLaw Pick of the Week.

Our Distributed Team and Workspace

Bills That Show Progress Get Paid

Six Essentials for Lead Conversion Part 1

Six Essentials for Lead Conversion Part 2

Congratulations to Lee Rosen of Divorce Discourse on winning our SmallLaw Pick of the Week award: Partnerships Versus Going It Alone

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small law firm, big dreams. Written by successful small-firm founders, managing partners, administrators, and legal technology and practice management experts, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in solo practices and small law firms. Additionally, SmallLaw features comprehensive reviews of legal products with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. SmallLaw also ensures that you won't miss anything published elsewhere by linking to helpful articles, podcasts, and videos about solo practices and small law firms. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Law Office Management | SmallLaw

The Best Cloud Storage Options Plus 54 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, November 9, 2015

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 55 articles from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

Review: Clio

Complete Guide to Surface Book

Review: BlackBerry Priv

Support Group for Lawyers Who Write EULAs

Congratulations to Paul Thurrott of Thurrott on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: The Best Cloud Storage Options for Windows Users

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession (e.g., monitors, smartphones, scanners, the iPad, and more). But not the only coverage. BlawgWorld enables you to stay on top of all the noteworthy legal and mainstream technology articles (and podcasts and videos) published elsewhere without having to hire a research assistant. Even when you're busy, you won't want to miss each issue's Pick of the Week. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Backup/Media/Storage | BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars

The Inside Story of the Surface Book Plus 66 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, October 26, 2015

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 67 articles from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

Automating Legal Bills on My Mac

A Lawyer Reviews Her Apple Watch

Review: Microsoft Surface Book (Wired)

TechnoLawyer and Other Contest Winners

Congratulations to David Pierce of Wired on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: The Inside Story of the Surface Book

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession (e.g., monitors, smartphones, scanners, the iPad, and more). But not the only coverage. BlawgWorld enables you to stay on top of all the noteworthy legal and mainstream technology articles (and podcasts and videos) published elsewhere without having to hire a research assistant. Even when you're busy, you won't want to miss each issue's Pick of the Week. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | TechnoLawyer | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

TrustBooks: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud application for trust accounting designed to prevent career-ending ethics mistakes (see article below), Microsoft's spiffy new hybrid laptops, and an iOS time-tracking and billing app. Don't miss the next issue.

TRUST ACCOUNTING YOU CAN BANK ON

Trust accounting is a misnomer because many lawyers don't necessarily trust their trust accounting and hope they don't get audited. Commonly used tools such as Excel and QuickBooks don't have lawyers top of mind. Some practice management systems offer trust accounting, but what if you want a standalone app?

TrustBooks … in One Sentence

Launched recently, TrustBooks is a cloud application that exclusively focuses on managing trust accounts.

The Killer Feature

TrustBooks contains various controls to save you from making a career-ending mistake. For example, many law firms create one bank account for all their trust accounts. For this reason, many states require three-way reconciliation of trust accounts. This involves reconciling each bank statement against each matter's trust ledger while ensuring that nothing leaks into ledgers for other matters. TrustBooks makes this process feel like traditional two-way reconciliation.

When plenty of cash resides in the bank but not in a trust account your bank can't warn you about an overdraft. However, TrustBooks prevents you from paying yourself or a vendor from a matter's trust account with insufficient funds even if the associated bank account has enough funds. When a trust account is sufficiently solvent to cover a bill, TrustBooks includes information on checks that some states require.

"We created TrustBooks as easy-to-use software focused on helping attorneys manage their trust accounts and stay in compliance with their state bar," TrustBooks CEO Tom Boyle tells us. "Our goal has been to take the complexity out of the trust accounting process. We want small law firms and solo practitioners to gain greater confidence around managing their trust accounts by using TrustBooks."

Other Notable Features

TrustBooks presents you with a dashboard when you login. This page lists the balance of all trust accounts, recent deposits and payments, and one-click access to key tools. From this page, you can create a trust account for a new matter, add payees, enter deposits and payments, print checks, start a reconciliation, and generate reports.

From the dashboard, you can drill down to a Matter Info page for an overview of each trust account and then further drill down to the View Trust Account page for a granular look at that trust account's ledger. TrustBooks offers several reports, including statements for clients that you can export in PDF format.

Printing a check to yourself seems silly nowadays. TrustBooks enables you to record an ACH or other permitted electronic funds transfer from a trust account to your firm's account.

What Else Should You Know?

TrustBooks works in all major desktop and mobile web browsers. It costs $25 per user per month or $199 per user per year. Learn more about TrustBooks.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire

How to Archive Client Email and Find It Later; Omit the Small Stuff From Your Bills; Best PCLaw Resource

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, October 1, 2015

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Bill Onwusah, How to Archive Client Email and Find It Later

Roger Boyell, Omit the Small Stuff When Billing Clients

Joe Bahgat, The "Best" PCLaw Resource

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Answers
Do you believe in the wisdom of crowds? In TL Answers, TechnoLawyer members answer legal technology and practice management questions submitted by their peers. This newsletter's popularity stems from the relevance of the questions and answers to virtually everyone in the legal profession. The TL Answers newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Consultants/Services/Training | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers
 
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