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Equipping a Midsize Law Firm; Synchronizing Email; Multiple Monitors; Date Created; Three New Questions

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Mark Chernoff, Equipping a Midsize Law Firm

Aaron Craft, Tip: How to Synchronize Your Email Across All Your Devices

Andrew Willinger, How to Bring Your Email Into the 21st Century

D. Paul Dalton, How Multiple Monitors Work

John Peters, Try Date Created Work for Your DIY Document Management System

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 | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Monitors | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers

LexisNexis Firm Manager: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud billing and practice management system with a search engine (see article below), a service that enhances the security of Dropbox and other popular cloud storage services, a cloud application for scheduling depositions, and an Android dictation app. Don't miss the next issue.

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE THAT HAS YOUR BACK

Practice management software has evolved over the years to encompass more and more of your law firm's key functions — billing, calendars, contacts, documents, intake, tasks, trust accounts, etc. Aspirational 20 years ago, the label "practice management" has become a reality. This wealth of data has resulted in two problems — learning how your practice management software works, and quickly finding the information you need.

LexisNexis Firm Manager … in One Sentence

Launched last month, LexisNexis Firm Manager is a cloud practice management application with a global search engine, and built with input from solo and small-firm attorneys.

The Killer Feature

When lawyer and LexisNexis Firm Manager product manager Christopher T. Anderson and his team set out to rebuild the product from the ground up about a year ago, they understood the importance of finding information quickly.

As a result, LexisNexis Firm Manager features Global Search, which searches everything as its name suggests — even within documents. According to Christopher, this "makes finding literally anything within the program fast and simple." Like popular search engines, it begins searching as you type, narrowing the results by relevancy. For added convenience, Global Search works contextually. For example, when in the Matters tab, Global Search lists Matters first since that's what you likely want.

Firm Manager uses this same search technology for finding conflicts of interest. You can send the results of a conflict search to a colleague for their input. When you or a colleague clears a prospective client, LexisNexis Firm Manager saves and time stamps your search and the results. This gives you a defensible record if needed.

Other Notable Features

In addition to managing contacts, calendars, and matters, LexisNexis Firm Manager also handles billing, trust accounting, documents, and tasks.

Regarding billing, a contemporaneous timer records time in any increment on any device from which you access LexisNexis Firm Manager. Additionally, you can create a time entry from within a matter or the Time & Expenses tab. LexisNexis Firm Manager also provides expense tracking. To help your firm bills clients as quickly as possible, you can choose from professionally-designed templates your invoices.

Trust accounting enables you to accept retainers while abiding by ethics rules. For example, it prevents co-mingling of funds. LexisNexis Firm Manager even alerts you if you take an action that may violate a rule. You can view balances and generate statements for clients.

Document management works via drag and drop. You can move multiple documents into a matter simultaneously. The application will automatically scan documents for malware and clean them if necessary (useful for documents received from clients and others outside your firm).

"LexisNexis Firm Manager has all the functionality a law firm needs but it's also easy to use," Christopher told us. This intuitiveness is the result of input from hundreds of independent attorneys who ensured that it works the way they work — without forcing them to adapt."

What Else Should You Know?

As a cloud application, LexisNexis Firm Manager works in all modern web browsers, including on tablets and smartphones. It costs $44.99 per month for the first user and $29.99 per month for each additional user. Learn more about LexisNexis Firm Manager.

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 | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster Version 17: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, March 7, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a billing and practice management system with a new document management component (see article below), an iPhone contacts automation app, backup software for popular cloud storage services, and speech recognition software. Don't miss the next issue.

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE INCLUDES MANAGING YOUR DOCUMENTS

It may seem to you like your law firm is organized until you take a step back to realize it's an illusion. This is especially true of so-called document management systems, most of which rely on a combination of Windows Explorer and rules for how to name documents and where to store them that everyone in your firm follows — except when they don't.

Tabs3 and PracticeMaster Version 17 … in One Sentence

Launched last month, Tabs3 and PracticeMaster Version 17 is integrated practice management and billing software with a new document management component.

The Killer Feature

A slew of products claim to have document management but really don't. Classic document management software eliminates human error and saves time through automation.

For example, every document stored in PracticeMaster has a corresponding Document Management Record containing the client, matter, document type, and other fields of your choosing. These profiles enable you to find every brief, contract, deposition, etc. associated with a specific matter. PracticeMaster also provides full-text searching.

You can automatically save documents from Microsoft Office (including email and their attachments). PracticeMaster automatically names and saves these documents using the policies you specify during setup. You can also bulk import documents during the setup process. The Verify Documents utility identifies documents that have moved or been renamed, possibly incorrectly.

When someone edits a document, you can require them to check it out, which prevents others from editing it. You can also have the software nudge people to check in a document after a specified period of time. Upon check in, PracticeMaster can create a new version. Document comparison technology enables you to generate a redline. Every document has a "History" so that you can see who accessed it and when.

Because PracticeMaster's document management system resides in the same software as the Tabs3 billing system, you can create a time entry from a Document Management Record.

"Law firms that use version 17 of Tabs3 and PracticeMaster will appreciate how easily they can organize their documents and other information, bill for their work, and present it in a manner their clients can understand," Software Technology President Dan Berlin told us.

Other Notable Features

Continuing with the theme of automation, PracticeMaster's new QuickViews enable you to more easily find information in all areas of the software by creating filters. For example, when viewing contacts, calendar events, documents, etc. a QuickView might list only those items associated with a specific practice area. At the bottom of every list of records you'll find Smart Tabs for filtering your list even further. You can save QuickViews and Smart Tabs, customize their colors, and share them with others in your firm.

Long known for handling virtually any billing scenario, Tabs3 has enhanced its Split Billing for situations in which two or more clients pay for a matter. Now you can split hours and have the amounts calculated based on predefined rates, use percentages with up to four decimal places to round fees with more precision, display either the pre-split or post-split value on statements along with a summary of what was split, and much more.

What Else Should You Know?

Notwithstanding its new document management functionality, PracticeMaster also features tight integration with Worldox GX3. In all, PracticeMaster and Tabs3 contains more than 100 new features and improvements to existing features. Learn more about Tabs3 Software Version 17.

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 | Document Management | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Essential Software for Law Firms on a Tight, Moderate, or Large Budget Plus Picking Partners

By Kathryn Hughes | Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Coming today to SmallLaw: Many lawyers dream of the starting their own law firm. When they take the plunge, they tend to have one of three types of budgets for software — tight, moderate, or large. In this issue of SmallLaw, legal technology consultant Jack Schaller discusses the six essential categories of software for law firms, and then makes recommendations for each of these three budgets. His advice isn't just for startup law firms, but also for established firms that have outgrown their software. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week for tips on how to pick partners when starting or growing a law firm.

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 | Backup/Media/Storage | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | SmallLaw

Review of CaseManager Plus Law Firm Home Pages

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, February 28, 2014

Coming today to SmallLaw: Startup companies typically adopt new platforms faster than established players. Enter GoodCase Apps' CaseManager, a practice management app for the iPad and iPhone that costs just $20. When the company launched optional companion versions for Windows ($30) and Android ($20), we asked New Jersey lawyer Edward Zohn to review CaseManager for this issue of SmallLaw. Can you run your solo practice or small law firm on CaseManager? Ed has the answer. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week for new research about law firm website home pages.

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: Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | SmallLaw

Legal Hub: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Originally published in our free TL NewsWire newsletter. Instead of reading TL NewsWire here, sign up now to receive future issues via email.

SHARING IS THE POINT OF DOCUMENT AND PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Traditional practice management systems limit access to those who work at your law firm. This results in using email to send documents to clients and others. Email suffers from several problems such as the risk of misaddressing your message, the inability to track receipt and activity by recipients, and limits on attachment size. Instead of using email or implementing a separate solution such as SharePoint, practice management systems should have built-in collaboration tools.

Legal Hub by PBworks … in One Sentence

PBworks' Legal Hub is a document and practice management system and client portal for managing matters and documents, and securely collaborating with clients, co-counsel, and others.

The Killer Feature

Legal Hub has catered to large law firms for years. The new version released this month caters to solos and small law firms as well. Some solos and small law firms may find that they never need to pay for LegalHub. That's because it's free for up to 15 internal users, up to five external users, up to five clients and matters, and up to 50 MB of storage. This free plan also includes email technical support. You need not provide a credit card to get started.

"For years, leading law firms from the AmLaw 100 to solo practitioners have used Legal Hub to manage key client relationships and matters," PBworks CEO Jim Groff told us. "Now any law firm can sign up and try it for free."

Other Notable Features

Legal Hub describes itself as a SharePoint alternative built specifically for law firms. Because Legal Hub is a cloud application, law firms need not contend with SharePoint's complexity and hardware requirements.

You begin by setting up your clients and their respective matters, and then granting access rights to the matters you create. Each Matter has a summary page listing the Matter Number, status, the internal team, key external contacts, etc. From this page, you can drill down to access related documents, email, meetings, notes, and tasks. Legal Hub features a system-wide Google-style search so that you quickly find anything across all clients and matters.

You add documents and email messages to a matter using drag and drop. One-click sharing enables you to give clients and others access to select documents such as a draft agreement, pleadings, discovery documents, etc. You can see when someone accesses what you share and receive a notification via email (you can receive notifications for virtually any activity in Legal Hub).

Within each matter, you can focus on specific projects such as an upcoming closing or deposition. Each matter "workspace" contains relevant documents and email as well as tasks and deadlines. You can assign tasks to others and track their progress using a variety of reports.

Given the sensitivity of client-related information, Legal Hub uses enterprise-level encryption and security. Access rights extend all the way down to specific documents. Audit tracking logs all activity with date and time stamps.

What Else Should You Know?

If your firm exceeds the limits of the free version of Legal Hub, you can upgrade to unlimited clients and matters, as well as 100 GB of storage, for $40 per user per month. PBworks offers volume discounts beginning as 20 users. Learn more about Legal Hub.

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: Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Document Management | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Synergy Matters: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Originally published in our free TL NewsWire newsletter. Instead of reading TL NewsWire here, sign up now to receive future issues via email.

AUTOMATION MEETS PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Many law firms have more than enough work but not enough profits to show for it. Two solutions exist. You could raise rates and receive push back from clients. Alternatively, you can use technology to improve automation, enabling your firm to handle more work without raising rates (not to mention headcount).

Synergy Matters … in One Sentence

Launched this week, Legal Matters Software's Synergy Matters is a practice management system with an emphasis on automation thanks to tools for time capture, cost recovery, document management, and faxing.

The Killer Feature

Synergy Matters contains a number of technologies to prevent lost billable time. For example, it automatically tracks the time you spend on a matter (e.g., drafting documents, writing email messages, etc.). This eliminates the need to use timers and other manual time-tracking methods. A review window lists all your captured time by matter with a corresponding description. After editing (if required), you can post these time entries to any accounting system.

Similarly, Synergy Matters, automatically tracks your scans, faxes, and prints. If you charge for costs, Synergy Matters can automatically post these to your accounting system. If you don't, you can use this data to adjust your rates to make sure your disbursements don't eat into your profits.

"Synergy Matters is the result of eight years working with law firms and refining our software to produce the easiest-to-use tool to enhance productivity in a law firm environment", Vice President of Sales John Ryan told us.

Other Notable Features

When you create a new document or email message from within a matter, Synergy Matter automatically saves it there. Thanks to an integration with Outlook, you can save incoming email to a matter with one click.

Synergy Matters works with a number of scanners, enabling you to scan directly to a matter in PDF format. Built-in OCR software makes all scanned PDF documents searchable. You'll also find tools for converting Word documents into PDF format, combining multiple documents into a single PDF document, and Bates stamping PDF documents.

The document management system features collaborative tools and preservation of revisions. You can share a document with anyone by clicking the "For Review" button, which creates a link to the original document. Synergy matters automatically saves changes others make as a new version of the document, thus preserving all previous versions.

What Else Should You Know?

Synergy Matters offers fax server functionality when connected to the optional Synergy Fax Appliance. This enables everyone to send faxes from their PC. Synergy Matters automatically saves a copy of each fax with proof of delivery in the corresponding matter. You can route incoming faxes to individuals, groups, your records department, etc. Synergy Matters can automatically bill for all incoming and outgoing faxes. Learn more about Synergy Matters.

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 | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Microsoft Word Woes; Reviews of Credenza, DragonPad, PCLaw 12

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, February 7, 2014

Today's issue of Fat Friday contains these articles:

Annie Williams, Microsoft Word Is the Bane of My Existence

Richard Schafer, Review of Credenza Basic (Free Version)

Jesse Farr, Review of DragonPad

David Hudgens, Review: PCLaw Version 12

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

How to Receive Fat Friday
Our most serendipitous offering, Fat Friday consists of unsolicited contributions by TechnoLawyer members. 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 Fat Friday 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 | Fat Friday | Practice Management/Calendars

Reviews of NC-181 Headset, Credenza; Practice Management Troubles; Multiple Bates Stamps Tip

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, February 6, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Philip Franckel, Review: Andrea Electronics NC-181 Headset for Dragon

Daniel Fennick, Review: Folderico

Alli Lyde-Stad, Review: Credenza for Email and Document Management

Herb Donica, Our Practice Management Experience Is Like Killing a Mouse With a Hand Grenade

Frederic Wolfram, Tip: Multiple Bates Stamps With Adobe Acrobat Professional

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 | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers | Utilities

Equipping a New Law Firm Plus 75 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, February 3, 2014

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 76 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.

The Secrets to a Paperless Law Office

Apps for the Ultimate Mobile Office

Apps and Tips for Lawyers With Smartphones

Copying Versus Stealing in Technology

Congratulations to Bryan M. Sims and Nerino J. Petro Jr. of GP Solo on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: What Three Budgets Buy You When Equipping a New Law Firm

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 | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Copiers/Scanners/Printers | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Monitors | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | Privacy/Security | Technology Industry/Legal Profession
 
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