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Review of Centerbase (Next-Generation Practice Management)

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Coming today to SmallLaw: We have witnessed The Innovator’s Dilemma over the past 10 years as startups wooed tens of thousands of lawyers to cloud practice management software without much of a fight from the companies behind legacy products. Now, the disrupters face disruption themselves as a new wave of startups seek to offer “next-generation” cloud practice management software with the extensive customization and deep feature set of the legacy products. One such product is Centerbase. Does it deliver? Find out in this review by lawyer and legal technology consultant Seth Rowland. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week to learn why Google has become more important than your own website.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Written by practicing lawyers who manage successful small firms and legal technology and practice management experts who have achieved rock star status, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in small law firms, as well as comprehensive legal product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. SmallLaw also ensures that you won't miss anything published elsewhere by linking to helpful articles (and podcasts and videos) about solo practices and small law firms. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

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

Review of PhraseExpander; Pros and Cons of Software Subscriptions; Reviews of Office 365, Asana, Acrobat DC

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, September 15, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

John Creahan, Review of PhraseExpander

Michael Kelly, Software Subscriptions Are Fine If the Price Is Right: Reviews of Office 365, Asana, Acrobat DC

Connie Brooks, Software Subscriptions Come in Two Varieties, One Good, One Not

Tom Trottier, Four Questions to Consider About Software Subscriptions

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 | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

TechnoLawyer's iPhone X Precise Cutouts; Review of 3CX Cloud PBX Phone System; Review of ASUS Zenbook UX330UA; iPad Fail for Brief Writing

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, September 14, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, TechnoLawyer's iPhone X Precise Cutouts

Mike Keller, Review of 3CX Cloud PBX Phone System

Harold Dye, Review of ASUS Zenbook UX330UA-AH54; iPad Fail for Brief Writing

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 | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | TL Serendipity

Focus on Your Work, Not the Clock, With Smokeball's TimeScribe

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system with a large forms library that automatically captures the billable time you spend on document drafting and email (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud practice management and accounting system that now includes free credit card processing via LawPay, a cloud practice management system with a new document management component that works locally on PCs and Macs like a network drive, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Accurate time tracking empowers law firms. Those that bill by the hour can maximize earnings while those that charge fixed fees can evaluate their profitability and staff efficiency. But how can you prevent lost billable time given human nature?

Smokeball … in One Sentence

Smokeball is a practice management and document assembly system that recently gained a new automatic time capture feature called TimeScribe.

The Killer Feature

Product Marketing Manager Eunbin Rii walks me through a typical stretch of time in a law firm, drafting documents, sending and receiving email, etc. He then clicks on the TimeScribe button in Smokeball's toolbar.

Not only does TimeScribe capture the time spent on this work, but it creates nearly final time entries. TimeScribe itemizes each task, connects it to the corresponding matter and creates a description of the work (e.g., Letter to Law Office of Arthur Kirkland). You review these entries, make any necessary edits, and post them if you bill by the hour. Every night, TimeScribe emails you a report listing all your captured time for the previous day broken down by matter.

Rii tells me that early adopters of TimeScribe have captured 34% more time on average. TimeScribe's Performance report enables you to measure its impact at your firm, and prove time worked in the event a client transfers his case to another firm. The report breaks out time spent and cost for each employee.

"We have not only been able to take on more clients, but have also seen profits skyrocket after just a few months of using Smokeball," said Michael Rapp, co-founder of Stecklein & Rapp in Kansas City.

Other Notable Features

Smokeball is a hybrid product, combining the capabilities of a native Windows client with the convenience of cloud data storage. The Window client allows for tight integration with Microsoft Office. When you open a potential matter, choose from more than 250 Matter Types with all the information fields you're likely to need. Smokeball also runs a conflict check.

Smokeball's Workflows enable you to capture your firm's processes. A Workflow consists of a set of tasks, each of which is assigned to an attorney or staff member. You can create task dependencies, and generate due dates based on triggers.

Many law firm tasks involve document creation. Smokeball offers more than 12,000 legal forms, and can help add your own during the onboarding process. Smokeball automatically enters information from the extensive set of matter fields. You can email completed documents directly from Smokeball. A clever feature lists the contacts associated with the matter, which saves time and prevents misaddressed messages. Alternatively, you can attach documents in Smokeball from Outlook. Either way, Smokeball saves all email in the matter, including replies.

"Smokeball helps small law firms increase the profitability of their matters," said Jane Oxley, Smokeball's President. "By providing our clients with features like full visibility into matter profitability and the most robust Microsoft Outlook and Word integrations in the industry, we help attorneys spend less time on administrative tasks, and get back to practicing law."

What Else Should You Know?

Smokeball's mobile app for Android and iOS gives you access to your practice on the go. For billing, you can use Smokeball's Boost Billing or any third-party billing software. Smokeball costs $139 per user per month plus a one-time onboarding fee of $300 per user, which includes contact migration and training. Learn more about Smokeball.

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 | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

CosmoLex Aims to Automate Client Credit Card Payments With CosmoPay

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud practice management and accounting system that now includes free credit card processing via LawPay (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud practice management system with a new document management component that works locally on PCs and Macs like a network drive, a new payment processor with a flat fee per transaction that deposits funds overnight, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

No shortage of advice exists on how law firms can get their bills paid faster. Descriptive time entries, sharp graphic design, etc. can help, but nothing moves the needle like accepting credit cards. Ideally, accepting credit cards should make your life easier too.

CosmoLex … in One Sentence

CosmoLex, a popular cloud legal accounting and practice management system, recently launched CosmoPay, its new payments processing platform.

The Killer Feature

CosmoPay is a private-label version of LawPay, a payment processor designed to comply with state ethics rules. This offers several advantages. You can sign up for CosmoPay from within CosmoLex or move your existing LawPay account if you already have one. CosmoLex includes CosmoPay at no extra charge, a savings of $20 per month. "In a nutshell, you get the combined benefits of LawPay and CosmoLex, except for a lower fee," says CosmoLex CEO Rick Kabra.

After setup, you can embed a CosmoPay button on the PDF bills you generate in CosmoLex. Send these bills via email from CosmoLex or upload them to the CosmoLex client portal. Either way, clients who click this button pay the invoice on a secure web page. Additionally, you can process credit cards in person using CosmoPay's virtual terminal.

After payment, CosmoLex flexes its automation muscle thanks to its built-in accounting (no need for QuickBooks). It marks the bill paid, deducts the amount due from accounts receivable, and adds the amount paid to the applicable bank account ledger. CosmoLex can automatically adjust trust accounts if used and allocate payments if a bill contains fees and expenses (you can create a rule for allocating underpayments).

Unlike most credit card processors, CosmoPay doesn't deduct credit card fees from payments. Instead, to comply with ethics rules, it deposits the full amount into your bank account. LawPay bills you monthly for accrued processing fees. As we reported earlier this year, CosmoLex's Bank Feed feature automatically downloads transactions from your bank account for faster reconciliations.

"CosmoLex's mission is to simplify law practice management for attorneys," says Kabra. "We've built a strong ecosystem of trusted partners, and will continue to work with LawPay and others to improve the CosmoLex experience for our end users. With CosmoPay we are removing yet another barrier for small law firms, making it easier than ever for them to get paid. This is something all our users will immediately benefit from."

Other Notable Features

CosmoLex has added a number of other new financial features. The accounting system now supports the entry of vendor bills for more precise tracking of your firm's expenses as opposed to general ledger entries. You can create and send recurring office bills. For cases such as workers compensation that involve creditors, CosmoLex tracks third-party liens. The Matter Cost Statement summarizes these liens to help you with settlement negotiations.

The CosmoLex dashboard has gained interactivity. Expand a chart to view it at a larger size. Drill down into any item for details. For example, the Money Finder on the dashboard lists all events, notes, tasks, etc. not yet billed. Click on any item to create a time entry.

What Else Should You Know?

The updated CosmoLex mobile app for Android and iOS offers nearly all the practice management functionality as the desktop web app. CosmoLex costs $49 per month per user. Learn more about CosmoLex and CosmoPay.

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

Abacus Payment Exchange Adds Payment Processing to Abacuslaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a new payment processor with a flat fee per transaction that deposits funds overnight (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a Microsoft Word add-in for drafting litigation and transactional documents with a new document assembly engine, forms library, and machine-learning tools, a new legal research service that use artificial intelligence to keep you apprised of new federal legislation and regulations, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Giving clients more options to pay you results in faster payment. Consumers like using credit cards when their checking account is running on fumes, while a growing number of businesses prefer paying by ACH (echeck) for security reasons. However, third-party payment providers often charge fees and take a few days to release funds.

Abacus Payment Exchange … in One Sentence

Launched recently, AbacusNext's Abacus Payment Exchange (APX) is a payment processing platform that works within the company's AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online practice management systems.

The Killer Feature

APX addresses many complaints law firms have about payment providers. There's no contract, no monthly fees, no monthly minimums, and no additional fees for premium credit cards. Instead, APX charges a flat 3% of each credit card transaction. ACH payments sail through free of charge. In most cases, APX deposits payments into your designated bank account overnight.

"APX is convenient and easy to use when clients want to pay with credit card," said Ohio-based lawyer Norman J. Ullom-Morse. "It costs us substantially less than the previous vendor we used. It also works really well in the cloud environment. At this point, APX has become a necessity for my practice."

Other Notable Features

AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online contain an onboarding wizard for APX. This wizard auto-fills much of the required information such as your firm's address. You can finish the signup process anytime in case you need to retrieve information.

The wizard verifies and authenticates your credit rating through Vantage, an independent underwriter. For example, you may need to identify previous residences or vehicles. Most applications are approved within a day. APX is not privy to any of this information.

APX supports both operating and trust accounts. Accordingly, APX can deposit payments into a trust account, and deduct the 3% fee from your operating account. APX never deducts fees from trust accounts to comply with ethics rules.

In each respective practice management system, you can store a default payment method for each client to save keystrokes. You can always override this setting. APX emails clients a receipt confirming payment. With most providers, disputed charges (chargebacks) get sent to you. By contrast, APX receives chargebacks on your behalf and offers integrated tools for responding to and resolving these disputes.

The financial reports in AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online now include APX payment data so you can assess its impact on receivables aging. "Our clients have been telling us that that invoicing and getting paid is one of the hardest parts of a legal professional's job," said AbacusNext CEO Alessandra Lezama. "APX solves these payment and invoicing challenges within the industry-leading case management software."

What Else Should You Know?

APX is PCI-compliant and securely stores all payment information in its datacenters. No payment information resides in your practice management system. Learn more about Abacus Payment Exchange.

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

10.5-Inch iPad Pro in a Real Estate Practice; Reviews of Amicus Online, Surface Pro

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, August 17, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Wesley Y. S. Chang, How I Use My 10.5-Inch iPad Pro in a Real Estate Practice

Dwight Sowerby, Review of Amicus Online

Christian Onsager, Review of Surface Pro 3 (Sleek Beast But Getting Old)

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 | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity | Utilities

Inside My Mac Law Office; Reviews of Smokeball, Amicus Attorney, PDF Expert; Mouse v. Trackpad

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, June 29, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Scott Gardner, Inside My Mac Law Office: PDF Expert, iPad Scanning, and More

Ted Alatsas, Review of Smokeball

Sharon Sperling, Review of Amicus Attorney

Tom Trottier, Mouse v. Trackpad

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 | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Computer Accessories | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Why Clients Question Bills Plus 43 More Must-Reads

By TechnoLawyer | Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Coming today to SmallLaw: Our editorial team has selected and linked to the 44 best articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sampling from today's issue, including our SmallLaw Pick of the Week. SmallLaw is free so don't miss the next issue — sign up now.

Congratulations to Allison C. Shields of Legal Ease Blog on winning our SmallLaw Pick of the Week award: Client is Questioning a Legal Bill: Can This Relationship Be Saved?

Six Law Firm Management Fails You Need to Avoid

Just Say No to "No Charge" Invoice Items

How to Turn Your Law Firm Website Into a User Converting Machine

Lawyers Cannot Land Kudos or Be Cited Without Twitter Account

MailChimp Wants to Solve Every Small-Biz Marketing Challenge (Even Snail Mail)

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. Subscribe now for free.

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

The Gear I Use in My Law Practice and Why I Use It; PCLaw; Surface Pro v. iPad; Knowbrainer a No Brainer

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, May 12, 2017

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Sara Austin, The Gear I Use in My Law Practice and Why I Use It

Dean Surkin, Making PCLaw Bills More Presentable

Michael Schwartz, Why the Surface Pro 4 Beats the iPad

Davide Migliaccio, Knowbrainer a No Brainer for Dragon Users

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 | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | TL Serendipity
 
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