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Good and Bad Reasons for Picking Practice Management System Plus 56 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, September 26, 2016

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected the 57 best legal technology articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week. Below you'll find a sampling from today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week. BlawgWorld is free so don't miss the next issue — sign up now.

Congratulations to Charity Anastasio of NWSidebar on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: Good and Bad Reasons for Picking Practice Management System

Practice Management and Document Assembly Everywhere You Go

What to Do When You Hate Windows 10

How to Use Safari's New Split View on the iPad in iOS 10

Wearables Don't Help You Lose Weight

Clio Cloud Recap and News of Clio's Data Report on Legal Trends

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession. 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. Subscribe now for free.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

Clio Makes It Easier to Replenish Trust Accounts and Track Marketing Efforts

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, September 9, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with new tools for automating client trust account replenishment and tracking marketing activities (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a virtual desktop service with two-factor authentication, an ebook law library, case analysis cloud software for litigators, an add-on for document management systems, legal project management software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many law firms require a retainer upfront during the client intake process but these funds often fail to cover the entire cost of a matter. During the twists and turns of a thorny litigation or a complex deal, clients may need to replenish their trust account several times. This process should become more automated to reduce the inherent friction of asking for money.

Clio … in One Sentence

Clio is a popular cloud practice management application that recently beefed up its trust accounting features and added tools for tracking marketing activities.

The Killer Feature

Clio's new Trust Requests feature enables you to ask clients to fund one or more of their matters or their account generally. You can specify a different amount per matter. During the approval process, you can add a note and edit any of the trust requests. Clients receive trust requests the same way they receive invoices — via the Clio Connect portal, email, or postal mail depending on your firm's preferences.

The Bills Dashboard lists all trust requests and their payment status. Clio tracks information for each payment that most jurisdictions require, including check number or wire transfer details. When you apply trust funds to a bill, Clio restricts you to funds available for that matter to prevent accounting errors. You can move funds marked for an inactive matter to a different matter upon receiving client approval. Using Clio's role-based permissions, you can restrict who has authority to move and apply trust funds.

Other Notable Features

Clio's Trust Ledger and Trust Listing reports facilitate compliance with monthly and annual trust accounting reconciliation requirements, including all activity related to trust requests. The Trust Ledger report displays trust information by practice area, clients, matters, etc. You can sort by date range and omit funds held in escrow. The Trust Listing report offers a simpler view by practice area. The reports are interactive, enabling you to drill down to individual transactions. You can export the reports in PDF or CSV formats.

Clio has partnered with LawPay for integrated credit card processing. This eliminates the $20 per month subscription LawPay charges for its highest level of service (you can transfer your existing LawPay account to Clio). When you send bills and trust requests electronically, clients can pay securely using a web browser. Clio also has a virtual terminal for processing credit card payments manually. "Clio users that accept credit cards receive same-day payment 30% of the time," Clio's lawyer-in-residence Joshua Lenon told me. "This improves cash flow and reduces time spent on collections."

Also new in Clio is the Campaigns feature for tracking your marketing efforts. You can generate trackable phone numbers that forward to your firm's number. When you use one of these phone numbers in an advertisement, you can precisely track the number of leads and clients it generates. Similarly, Clio can track the number of leads from landing pages on your website.

What Else Should You Know?

Clio runs in all desktop and mobile web browsers, and in native apps for Android and iOS. You can choose from three plans — Starter ($39 per user per month), Boutique ($59 per user per month), or Elite ($99 per user per month). Trust Requests and integrated credit card billing require the Boutique or Elite plan. Learn more about Clio.

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

iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2, AirPods; File Sharing Tips; Reviews of Classic Shell, PracticeMaster, Tabs3 Connect

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, September 8, 2016

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, Thoughts on iPhone 7, Apple Watch Series 2, and AirPods

Paul Pinkerton, Options for Sharing Files Between Two Computers

Mark Olberding, Review: Classic Shell for Windows 10

James Degnan, Review of PracticeMaster and Tabs3 Connect

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 | Coming Attractions | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Finding Nebo (Review of MyScript's Nebo); Reviews of RingCentral, Dragon; PracticeMaster Cost for 18-User Firm

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, September 2, 2016

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, Finding Nebo: Review of MyScript's Nebo Note-Taking App

David Scott Heier, Review: RingCentral Via PC and Smartphone

Edie Owsley-Zimmerman, PracticeMaster as a Time Matters Replacement, Including Cost

R. Wagoner, My Dragon Premium Experience

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 | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Abacus Private Cloud Offers Virtual Desktops Secured by Two-Factor Authentication

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, September 1, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual Windows desktop and network service that recently added two-factor authentication (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a contract drafting and proofreading tool, three cloud practice management apps, software for capturing the dark data that doesn't make it into your document management system, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many lawyers hesitate to store client and firm documents outside their law firm in the so-called "cloud." But the convenience is undeniable. Even more convenient is moving your applications to a virtual desktop environment, which eliminates the need to buy and manage servers. Just as significant differences exist among hardware and software products, the same is true of cloud services. Some focus more on security and client services than others.

Abacus Private Cloud … in One Sentence

Abacus Data Systems' Abacus Private Cloud is a secure, virtual Windows desktop and network service that makes your data and applications accessible from any Mac, Windows PC, iPad, smartphone, etc. using Microsoft Remote Desktop.

The Killer Feature

The "private cloud" in Abacus Private Cloud's name refers to the fact that Abacus Data Systems uses three geographically dispersed U.S.-based datacenters over which it has full control.

The company recently improved access security by offering two-factor authentication as an option at no additional cost. This requires everyone at your firm to use a second form of identity in addition to a password — namely a code sent to a free app available for Android and iOS. During my demo, Chief Solutions Architect Tomas Suros explained that delivery of the code by app is more secure than delivery by text message because of the latter's vulnerability to being hijacked as reported by Wired in June 2016.

Other Notable Features

Additional security measures include encryption of your data at rest and when transmitted, and secure tunnels to your firm's printers and scanners. Administrator tools enable you to control access to applications, documents, printers, etc. Abacus Private Cloud is capable of full HIPAA compliance, enabling you to securely store health-related documents on your virtual network.

Security can tax performance. Suros discussed various means by which Abacus Private Cloud escapes this trap to provide performance similar to local software even when using a 4G cellular connection. For example, all the servers in the three datacenters use solid state drives (SSD), which are much faster than traditional hard drives.

Abacus Private Cloud's Document Service offers virtually unlimited storage for your firm's documents. This acts like a network drive without the hassle of managing a file server. Practice management software Amicus Attorney, now owned by Abacus Data Systems, is among the many popular Windows applications you can run in Abacus Private Cloud. Others include AbacusLaw, Office 365, QuickBooks, and Adobe Acrobat.

AbacusLaw 2016, the new version of the company's other practice management software, has been optimized for Abacus Private Cloud. Many of the new features focus on practice automation, including case handling checklists, standardized workflows, and deadline tracking across your firm.

What Else Should You Know?

The company's Professional Services team sets up your private cloud and software, provides training, and can import legacy data if necessary. Regarding ongoing technical support, everyone has experienced the misery of two or more vendors pointing fingers at each other when you report a problem. Suros refers to this as a "vendor unaccountability loop." By contrast, he notes that Abacus Data Systems is your sole point of contact for any issues that arise. "It's another core advantage of our private cloud over consumer cloud services," he said. Learn more about Abacus Private Cloud.

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: Networking/Operating Systems | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Zola Suite Leaves No Practice Management Feature Unexplored Thanks to Five Years in Development

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, August 18, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers new cloud practice management software five years in the making (see article below), a Windows utility for managing multiple monitors, an online directory that connects you to prospective clients, and a Chrome plug-in that prevents you from using weak phrases in your email messages. Don't miss the next issue.

The expectations for practice management software keep rising. You want a polished user experience and design, the same functionality on your smartphone as on your desktop, workflow automation, email and document integration, financial management, and no data silos or duplicate data entry. Whew — that's quite a demanding list.

Zola Suite … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Zola Media's Zola Suite is cloud practice management software that includes document management, general ledger and trust accounting, and much more.

The Killer Feature

As I started my sixth page of notes during my online demo of Zola Suite, I asked Zola Media's Founder and Architect Fred Cohen how many years it had taken to build the software. "Five," he replied.

Cohen and his team seem to have left no feature unexplored, including parity between the desktop web app and the iPhone and Android apps. This means you can access the data you need on the fly in the mobile app as well as create new records. Additionally, the mobile app takes advantage of your smartphone — it contains a business card and document scanner with built-in OCR for adding contacts and searchable PDF documents to Zola Suite.

Zola Suite features many user experience touches such as the use of color — matters are purple, contacts are yellow, etc. The top right of every table has a real time search filter and a + button for adding a new record.

"As a former practicing attorney, tech geek and design nerd, I was frustrated by the limitations of the available practice management solutions," Cohen told me. "Together with my amazing team, we are doing things with Zola Suite that we believe will fundamentally change the way lawyers use practice management software. Our matter-based approach and dedicated iOS and Android apps that take advantage of smartphone hardware are creating quite a buzz and I am humbled by the response."

Other Notable Features

Zola Suite integrates with most IMAP and Microsoft Exchange email services, including Gmail and Office 365. Composing a new email message from within a matter automatically starts a timer. Contacts in Zola Suite auto-populate when addressing the message. These messages reside in Zola Suite but also behave normally in Gmail, Outlook, and on your smartphone. Similarly, you can file incoming messages in Zola Suite, and convert them into tasks.

Speaking of task management, you can "mind dump" as Cohen puts it to quickly enter tasks. These get assigned to you initially but you can later assign them to others, add a due date, and receive a notification when they're completed or overdue. Tasks contain a time entry tool and the ability to generate Task Templates facilitating multistep, recurring workflows such as client intake.

Cohen describes Zola Suite's Notes as "robust enough to replace OneNote." Similarly, Zola Suite can replace QuickBooks thanks to double entry general ledger accounting, check printing, trust accounting, and LawPay integration for credit card processing. The document management system offers nested folders with drag and drop, global search, retention of all document versions, and unlimited storage.

Other features include telephone call tracking, time entry, a calendar with support for email invitations, user permissions, and UTBMS codes.

What Else Should You Know?

When billed annually, Zola Suite costs $68 per attorney per month and $34 per support staff per month. A special plan for solos costs $49 per month. An optional branded client portal enables your clients to securely access their documents and pay invoices. Learn more about Zola Suite.

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: Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

How We Stopped Wasting Time on Email; iPad Pro as Second Display for Windows Laptop; Clio-Certified Independent Technology Consultants

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, August 15, 2016

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Wayne Pierce, How We Stopped Wasting Time On Email

Paul Harte, Review: Duet (iPad Pro As Second Display For Windows Laptop)

Joshua Lenon, Clio-Certified Independent Technology Consultants

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: Coming Attractions | Consultants/Services/Training | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Monitors | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Free Research Reports for Lawyers and Others in the Legal Industry

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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. Click any link to get started.

The Egg Theory: What Clients Really Want From Their Lawyers

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)

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

What the CaseRails Failure Says About Lawyers; Equipping a 30-Person Law Firm; Reviews of Midwest Legal Technology Consultancies

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, What The CaseRails Failure Says About Lawyers And Legal Technology

Donald Coker, Tips On Modernizing The Software In A 30-Person Law Firm

Benita Dansby, Review: Keno Kozie (Midwest Legal Technology Consultancy)

Thomas F. McDow, Review: Barron Henley Of Affinity (Midwest Legal Technology Consultant)

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 | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Coming Attractions | Consultants/Services/Training | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Fastest Mobile Networks Plus 49 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, July 18, 2016

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected the 50 best legal technology articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week. Below you'll find a sampling from today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week. BlawgWorld is free so don't miss the next issue — sign up now.

Congratulations to Sascha Segan of PCMag.com on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: Fastest Mobile Networks (2016)

Firm Manager 2.0 Broadens Its Appeal to Larger Small Firms

How to Add Real-Time Audience Responses to a PowerPoint Presentation

The Best Laptops of 2016

Five Mobile Dropbox Features You Need to Try

YouTube for Software Training

Fastcase 50 2016 Winners

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession. 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. Subscribe now for free.

Topics: Backup/Media/Storage | BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | Presentations/Projectors | Technology Industry/Legal Profession
 
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