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Rocket Matter iPad Edition: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers the new iPad app for a popular practice management system (see article below), a portable scanner that works with Android and iOS devices, a communications automation iPhone app, and device for improving and tracking your sleep. Don't miss the next issue.

LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT ON THE IPAD TAKES ORBIT

Law firms like the benefits of infrastructure but not its baggage. For example, back in the 1990s, law firms welcomed server-based practice management systems because of the collaboration they made possible. But they stuck the servers out of sight. Nowadays, cloud practice management systems have completely eliminated the need for local servers. However, web browsers have become a pain point given the resurgence of native software thanks largely to iOS.

Rocket Matter iPad Edition … in One Sentence

Announced today and launching soon, Rocket Matter iPad Edition is a free app for users of Rocket Matter, a cloud practice management system.

The Killer Feature

Rocket Matter iPad Edition features a customizable dashboard so that you can instantly see what's happening with your matters as well as across your entire law firm if you have the access rights. In addition to choosing what to display and the color palette, you can further customize the dashboard with a personal avatar and photos.

From the dashboard, you can access documents, add notes to a matter, create calendar events, delegate tasks, enter time, generate bills, review trust account balances, etc. Rocket Matter iPad Edition offers the same functionality of the web version of Rocket Matter.

"The Rocket Matter iPad Edition is not just a mere app," Rocket Matter CEO and Co-Founder Larry Port told us. "It's an entire tablet-based solution that ties into Rocket Matter's cloud data storage. We've carefully watched how lawyers, law firms, and bar associations have all eagerly embraced the practical advantages that tablets provide. We took these observations and combined them with direct suggestions from our lawyer partners to build unmatched legal practice management software."

Other Notable Features

Complementing the dashboards, Rocket Matter iPad Edition can generate a number of reports that provide a detailed snapshot of your firm's financials, including accounting, billing, and trust accounting. Customizable parameters and date ranges enable you to generate a report with the data you want. If you have an AirPrint or other compatible printer, you can print reports directly from your iPad.

Good design makes products easier to use. Legal cloud software companies have the most talented designers and user experience engineers in the industry. Rocket Matter has such an abundance of so-called "front-end" talent that it also designs websites for law firms. This team created a new user interface specifically for the iPad. Port describes the screens in Rocket Matter iPad Edition as "sleek, intuitive, and seamless."

Within a web browser, cloud applications function only when you have an Internet connection. This is a limitation of web browsers. By contrast, Rocket Matter iPad Edition works with or without an Internet connection. Any changes you make while offline synchronize when you reconnect to the Internet.

What Else Should You Know?

While Rocket Matter iPad Edition is free, it requires a Rocket Matter subscription. Prices range from $52 per month per user for the two-year plan to $65 per month per user without a long-term commitment. The company also offers annual and quarterly plans. You can try Rocket Matter for free for 30 days, including Rocket Matter iPad Edition. Learn more about Rocket Matter iPad Edition.

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 | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Document Naming; Reviews of QuickBooks Professional Services, Lanlogic, RingCentral; Bates Stamping; Acrobat Alternatives

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, September 4, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Jeffrey Chard, My Law Firm's Document Naming Rules

Jerry Gonzalez, Review: QuickBooks Pro Professional Services

Burton Bruggeman, Review: Lanlogic for Desktop as a Service

Ay Uaxe, Why and How You Should Bates Stamp Plus Acrobat Alternatives

Wallace Berry, Review: RingCentral

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 | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers

LexisNexis PCLaw 14: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, September 4, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an integrated accounting, billing, and practice management system with automated billing technology (see article below), a multifunction inkjet printer with specifications similar to that of laser printers, software for running Windows on your Mac, and a popular stock photo store that significantly reduced and simplified its pricing today. Don't miss the next issue.

THE SOONER YOU BILL, THE FASTER YOU GET PAID

Some studies have shown that up to 20% of a law firm's invoices are in arrears at any given time. This negatively impacts cash flow, not to mention morale if you have difficulty meeting payroll. This problem often stems more from inefficient billing workflows than from deliberately delinquent clients. Better technology can therefore improve your cash flow.

LexisNexis PCLaw 14 … in One Sentence

Launched this week, LexisNexis PCLaw 14 is a financial and practice management application with new automated billing technologies.

The Killer Feature

Batch Email Billing enables you to review, edit, and email multiple invoices to clients — 5, 10, 100, or more simultaneously. If you accept credit cards, PCLaw can process and apply payments to further increase payment speed and reduce delinquencies.

From the same screen, you can monitor trust account transfers and retainers applied during the billing cycle for every invoice. You can generate a report listing all the invoices you emailed. This information also resides within each client's file.

"No matter how large or successful, cash flow is king for law firms," PCLaw Product Manager Steve Fetters told us. "Law firm customers today look for every way possible to speed the billing process so they can get paid faster. Batch email billing in PCLaw 14 helps reduce monthly invoicing time from days to just hours. The sooner the bills go out, the faster payments start arriving."

Other Notable Features

LexisNexis has also enhanced the dashboards in PCLaw. For example, the My Clients dashboard now enables you to access client time sheets, document a client telephone call, and record a collection memo. As with the previous version of PCLaw, My Clients continues to display for each client appointments, email, documents, ticklers, tasks, recent time entries, and financial information such as trust balance and overdue invoices.

The My Practice dashboard displays your appointments, email, tasks, recent matters, and news pertaining to your practice areas. The My Business dashboard displays firm-wide financial data such as Key Performance Indicators with the ability to drill down to financial statements, invoices, and more.

Finally, the new version of PCLaw makes it easier to onboard new clients. In addition to checking for conflicts, PCLaw can now email an intake form to prospective clients, and later import completed forms into PCLaw. You can alternatively perform client intake during a meeting or print your firm's client intake form from PCLaw for clients who prefer paper.

What Else Should You Know?

PCLaw costs $935 for the first user and $695 for each additional user. Prices include both the software and the first year of an Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP) subscription. The AMP subscription includes telephone technical support, software updates, PCLaw Mobility for secure access to PCLaw from your smartphone, and online training courses. Learn more about LexisNexis PCLaw 14.

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 | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Free Research Reports for Lawyers and Others in the Legal Industry

By Neil J. Squillante | Sunday, August 31, 2014

TechnoLawyer Library houses our growing collection of free research reports in PDF format. Reports of this caliber usually cost a fortune, but TechnoLawyer members can download all of them for free. TechnoLawyer membership is also free. Below you'll find links to selected research reports and also to the TechnoLawyer Library Sweepstakes. Click any link to get started and join TechnoLawyer today.

Why Lawyers Need Not Fear Disruption

Three Common Productivity Tasks That an iPad Performs Better Than a PC

Chill, Grill, and Bill: Summertime Gadgets for Summer-Loving Legal Professionals

TechnoLawyer Demographics 2014

LitigationWorld Quick Start Guide to Mastering Ediscovery

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Legal Billing Software

Can Microsoft Win the Legal Industry's Mobile Race?

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Outlook Add-Ons for Law Firms

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Document Management Systems for Law Firms (Second Edition)

Enter the TechnoLawyer Library Sweepstakes. There's no limit on how many times you can win.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Practice Management/Calendars | TechnoLawyer | TechnoLawyer Library | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Research

Choosing a Practice Management System; Hosted Exchange Tip; Windows Versus Android Tablet; Review of HelloFax

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, August 15, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Donald Coker, How to Choose a Practice Management System

Steve Long, Tip: Using Hosted Exchange in Outlook and on iPad and iPhone

Fredric Gruder, Review: HelloFax

Mark Olberding, Windows Tablets Versus Android Tablets for Litigators

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: Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers

Review of Amicus Cloud; Line Breaks Removal in Microsoft Word; Beware Gmail

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, August 8, 2014

Today's issue of Fat Friday contains these articles:

David Grabill, Review: Amicus Cloud

Nancy Mertzel, How To Quickly Remove Hard Line Breaks In A Word Document

Edward Zohn, Reminder: Don't Use Free Gmail For Work-Related Email

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 | Computer Accessories | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Fat Friday | Practice Management/Calendars | Privacy/Security

BlawgWorld: Lawyer David Sparks' Presentations Plus 56 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, August 1, 2014

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 57 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.

USB Hub Buyer's Guide

The Best iPhone Calendar Apps

Please Share Your Memories of Ross Kodner

The Fascinating History of Autocorrect

Congratulations to Jeff Richardson of iPhone J.D. on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: Review of Lawyer David Sparks' Presentations

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: BlawgWorld Newsletter | Computer Accessories | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | Presentations/Projectors | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

Why I Ditched the iPad; Review of Sony ICD-P520; Achieving a Paperless Law Office; Document Naming Twist

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, August 1, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Mark Klarich, Not Waiting for Godot: Why I Ditched My iPad

William Reaves, Review: Sony Digital Recorder ICD-P520

Tim Tierney, The Six Steps to Paperless Law Office

Steve Long, When to Place the Document Type Before the Date

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: Coming Attractions | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | Document Management | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers

Actionstep 14.7: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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.

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 | Coming Attractions | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Three Common Productivity Tasks That an iPad Performs Better Than a PC

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Can the iPad perform productivity tasks? Obviously. But can it perform them more efficiently than a PC? This is the more important question, which we continually research. In this issue of TL Research, we explain three tasks that the iPad performs better in terms of both functionality and speed than a PC. The accompanying video demonstrates two of these tasks.

THREE COMMON PRODUCTIVITY TASKS THAT AN IPAD PERFORMS BETTER THAN A PC

In a recent episode of the A16Z podcast Andreessen Horowitz partner and mobile computing analyst Benedict Evans described smartphones as "way more sophicated than a PC" thanks to their camera and sensors.

He's right. It's relatively easy to build your own PC. However, you cannot build a smartphone — or a tablet — in your den. The mobile operating systems that run these devices likewise outclass their desktop counterparts. Look no further than installing and uninstalling apps as proof.

Sophistication Versus Utility

Of course, sophistication is just one aspect of a tool. A Tesla is more sophisticated than a Toyota Camry, but the latter will serve you better for most driving tasks thanks to the plethora of gas stations. While Tesla has a long road ahead, what about the iPad? It's the most popular tablet among TechnoLawyer members and all lawyers for that matter.

Over the past few years, lawyers have debated whether you can use an iPad for so-called "real work." While enjoyable, this debate sidesteps the more important question — should you even if you can?

For example, most lawyers can type faster on a PC than on an iPad. And despite my high hopes for taking handwritten notes when the iPad mini launched (our most tweeted article), I'm now more bullish on smartpens that write on paper and transfer your notes to an iPad.

On the other hand, the iPad bests the PC (and Mac) at certain tasks. Below are three that the iPad performs better in terms of both functionality and speed than a PC based on our research.

1. Sharing Web Articles

Email remains the most common way to privately share articles you find on the web with clients, colleagues, and friends.

Most people share articles by copying and pasting the URL into the email message they send. Recipients must click the URL, which means they cannot read your message and the article in the same place. And what if the article resides on a website that requires a subscription?

On an iPad (and iPhone), you can easily send the entire article inside your email message.

In Safari, tap the Reader button on the left side of the address bar (it's an icon comprised of four horizontal lines). This eliminates all the surrounding cruft, leaving only the article. Next tap the Share button to the left of the Reader button. Finally tap the Mail button. (If the article spans several pages, start with the printer-friendly version if one exists.)

This three tap sequence places the URL and the entire article into a new email message. Write whatever you want above the article and send the message.

The above video demonstrates this feature. Try sharing this article.

2. Adding Contacts From Unstructured Data

A number of Outlook add-ons such as Gwabbit and Copy2Contact exist that can recognize email addresses, street addresses, telephone numbers, etc. in the body of email messages (e.g., signatures) so that you can quickly create new contacts.

That's nice but the Mail app in iOS recognizes this unstructured data without having to buy any extra software.

You probably know how to tap an email address to start a new message, a street address to view that location in Maps, and a telephone number to make a call (iPhone only).

However, if you tap and hold you'll see an option to create a new contact or add the information to an existing contact.

The iOS Contacts database syncs with Google Apps, Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange in addition to Apple's iCloud. If you use one of these services (if you don't you should), the additions and changes you make on your iPad will appear in Outlook on your PC (or whichever application you use to store contacts).

Watch the above video for a demonstration of this feature.

3. Replacing Paper

A growing number of lawyers already use their iPad as a paper replacement, but it's such a powerful use case that it bears mentioning. The iPad offers an excellent reading experience while offering much better portability than paper once you get beyond 50 or so pages.

First, using any number of apps such as Adobe Reader, GoodReader, Notability, NoteSuite, PDF Expert, etc., you can store PDF documents on your iPad and annotate them. The sync services that these apps support make it easy to move documents from your PC to your iPad. There's no reason to lug reference books to court anymore. Or for that matter to save paper user guides when you buy a new whatever (most companies make their user guides available online in PDF format).

Second, consider taking paper replacement further. For example, hand your clients your iPad to show them a document. If everyone at a meeting has an iPad, use an app like Slingshot to share your screen with them. Finally, consider reviewing depositions on your iPad using an app such as TextMap or TranscriptPad.

The Future Ain't What It Used to Be

As Yogi Berra's quote teaches us, new technologies inevitably surpass old technologies, evolving from toys to necessities. The iPad has already proved its potential. iOS 8 — especially extensions — will add to the number of productivity tasks it can perform better than a PC.

Neil J. Squillante is the publisher of TechnoLawyer.

How to Receive TL Research
Our flagship newsletter offers in-depth buyer's guides and other helpful research reports for everyone in the legal profession. Written in plain English by leading experts, these reports combine exhaustive research with sound statistical techniques to provide you with reliable analysis, data, and insights. Just as importantly, TL Research reports often include benchmarks, charts, and other visuals that bring the information to life. TechnoLawyer members regularly use TL Research reports at strategic planning meetings. The TL Research newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Document Management | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Research
 
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